This Week's Focus Passage

The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands

Focus Passage: Psalm 9:16

‘The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.’

Perhaps the ‘classic’ example of the truth of the above reference is that which is to be found in the book of Esther. In that narrative we are told of the hatred of a man named Haman; a hatred that he bore to the Jews, but in particular to one of the Jews; a man by the name of Mordecai. This Mordecai was the uncle of Esther, a young woman destined to become the bride of Ahasuerus, and thus the queen of Persia and Media. This is a most important notice, for God brought about in His providence the relationship of Mordecai and Esther as well as the relationship of Esther and Ahasuerus. The account of Esther, Ahasuerus, Haman, and Mordecai begins in the first chapter of the book bearing the name of Esther. In the first chapter, we find the present queen, Vashti, being removed from her position as queen because of her refusal to display her beauty—probably in the nude—before all the king’s ‘pals.’ This seems conspicuously, on the part of the king, a case of showing off the pulchritude of his female possession before all the other boys—shameful vanity. Nevertheless, in the providence of God, it became the groundwork for Esther becoming his next queen. This elevation seems to have involved a place for Mordecai at the King’s gate. This Mordecai, we are told in the narrative, was actually the cousin of Esther, for we are informed in 2:7, that she was his uncle’s daughter and that when her mother and father were dead, he took her for his own daughter. At the king’s gate, Mordecai became privy to a plot against the king’s life which he swiftly informed the proper authorities of and thus was instrumental in saving the life of the king from assassination.

In the meanwhile, ‘Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, was promoted by the king who advanced him above all the princes that were with him. Because of this prominence, all the servants at the king’s gate were commanded to bow down and reverence Haman. This they did, with the notable exception of the Jew, Mordecai. This infuriated Haman and he determined to get revenge through an evil plot to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai, for it had been made known to Haman that Mordecai was a Jew. When this plot became known to Mordecai, he informed Esther of it, beseeching her to intercede with the king. Haman was so certain of himself that he went ahead and had built a gallows to hang his enemy upon. He could hardly wait until the day when he would witness Mordecai hanging from the gallows he had built for his execution. Esther, however, had not been inactive during this time. She had formed a plan. She invited Haman for dinner with the king and herself at the palace. Haman, in his arrogance, presumed that this was a token of esteem and that he was going to be advanced even further. But it was at this dinner that Esther revealed to the king Haman’s plot against the Jews and that she herself was of that people. Ahasuerus was in a rage and had Haman bound hand and foot carried to the gallows that he had built for Mordecai and then unceremoniously hanged thereupon those very gallows. Thus were the words of the psalmist, David, verified when he had said, ‘Jehovah hath made himself known, he hath executed judgment: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.’ This case of Haman is a striking example of the verity of the statement made by David in Psalm 9:16. Yet this is not the only occasion of an utterance evidencing the penchant—we mean no irreverence—that God seems to have for paying in like kind. We find this emblazoned elsewhere in the Psalms. In 7:16, we may read, ‘His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violence shall come down upon his own pate.’ And again in 57:6, ‘They have digged a pit before me; They are fallen into the midst thereof themselves.’

The words in our focus passage, Psalm 9:16, are followed by a pair of untranslated words, namely, Higgaion. Selah. These words evidently call for us to meditate, pause, and consider; tune your instrument. Bethink yourselves and solemnly adjust your hearts to these things you have just read. C. H. Spurgeon will have us to remember that:

Persecutors and oppressors are often ruined by their own projects. “Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves;” the contentious are involved in ruinous costs; the vicious are devoured with fierce diseases; the envious eat their own hearts; and blasphemers curse their own souls. Thus, men may read their sin in their punishment.

Paul the apostle to the Gentiles knew this truth. He wrote of it to the church that was in Galatia when he said in Galatians 6:7, ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life.’

How about ourselves; how are we doing? Are we thinking to make a gallows for another; we may well find the rope stretched around our own necks and be hanged upon it ourselves in due time. Are we preparing a snare for some particular fowl? Meditate, pause, consider, tune your instrument; you may find yourself flying unwittingly into that snare yourself. Do you dream that you are even now in the process of digging a pit, disguising it by throwing over its opening all sorts of branches and leaves, that your hapless victim may stumble into it and fall headlong into ruin, or even destruction? Bethink yourselves and solemnly adjust your hearts to these things you have just read. God is not mocked! Remember Ahasuerus, remember Mordcai, remember Esther, remember Haman. Above all, remember God; remember Jesus Christ, and remember His Word, ‘The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.’

David Farmer, elder,

Fellowship Bible Church


Join us Sunday at