Messiah’s Prayer Against Judas & Judas-like Men 

a brief study of Psalm 109, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 6 August 2010 

Psalm 109 is not a psalm which we sing regularly. It is an imprecatory psalm. But this is an important psalm for it is applied by the apostle Peter to Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:16-20. Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit declares plainly that the man spoken against in this psalm is Judas Iscariot; and therefore by implication, the man who prays the words of this psalm is not David, but the Lord Jesus Christ who was betrayed by Judas. 

Well, David might have written these words as an imprecation against Ahithophel, his friend who became his arch-enemy when his son Absalom rebelled against him. But David wrote in the Spirit of Christ so that the words of this Psalm are the words of Christ. The sentiments of this psalm are the sentiments of Christ. 

This has always been the way that the early Fathers understood this psalm. It was seen as a prayer of the Lord in the Valley of Humiliation, just as Psalm 110 is seen as the response of the Father in the Peak of Exaltation. 

It may be entitled: “Messiah’s Prayer Against Judas and Judas-like men.” 
It has 3 main sections. From verses 1-5, the Lord Pours out His Heart For His Suffering due to the Enemies. From verses 6-20, the Lord Prays Against the Enemies. From verses 21-29, the Lord Pleads the Father’s Help.

Let’s look at these three sections briefly.

1. The Lord Pours out His Heart (v. 1-5)

The Gospel accounts do not record the thoughts of our Lord. But the psalms give us an indication of what was in His heart. Psalm 109 gives us a glimpse of what was in our Lord’s heart perhaps as He hung on the Cross. Though He spoke little audibly, His heart was no doubt filled with prayer and meditation.

Immediately as we enter into this Psalm, we see that our Lord was grieved, but not bitter…

1 Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; 2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

Our Lord would not only praise the Father when things were well with Him. He was the God of his praise even when His heart was hurting.

As He is truly man, our Lord could be hurt by lies spoken against Him. And though He is the God-Man, He was representing man, and as such, He could not take vengeance against those who hurt Him deeply. “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord [God]” (Heb 10:30; Ps 94:1).

He might only pray, and so He does. He pours his heart unto His Father about the deceit and lies and words of hatred spoken against Him by the Chief Priests and Pharisees, and even by those whom He had shown love toward. “They have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love” he lament (v. 5).

What would the Lord want the Father to do for Him?

2. The Lord Prays Against the Enemies (v. 6-20)

Our Lord had many enemies. But one man stood out as so often is the case when we have many who oppose us. The man who stood out as our Lord’s enemy was Judas Iscariot. He was not the leader of the enemy band, but he stood out because what he did in betraying the Lord and returning evil for good to Him was by comparison far more sordid and damnable than the open hatred of all the unbelieving Jews and leaders combined.

Our Lord therefore singled him out for imprecation:

6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. 7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. 8 Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

Verse 8 is the verse referred to by the apostle Peter. Our Lord minces no words in His imprecation against Judas. He did not pretend that Judas had only sinned lightly. No, no; Judas sinned against the Son of Man.

“The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born” says our Lord (Mk 14:21).

We will not elaborate on the imprecation. Suffice to say that our Lord felt that Judas deserved both temporal and eternal suffering for what he did. He deserved loss and shame upon the earth. He deserved the wrath of God and the torment of Satan for eternity.

Why? Because he was a heartless man whose depravity showed itself shamelessly in his refusal to show mercy and his willingness to persecute the poor and needy (v. 16). Our Lord was already suffering because of persecution. Judas would have known that. The Lord spoke of His impending death often. And His movement was also restricted because of those who sought to kill Him. But Judas did not care. He would rather enrich himself than that the Master who taught him and provided for him should be protected.

Our Lord who is perfectly righteous and sinless could not overlook such a great sin. Indeed, He would have the Father deal with all who would be ungrateful, cruel and wicked like Judas in the same way that He wants Judas to be dealt with (v. 20).

Let all who are tempted to allow the depravity of the heart to do the unthinkable take heed. No professing believer can betray the Lord and His church and servants without grave consequences.

But those who face persecution like the Lord, let them cry unto the Father like our Lord did. For consider thirdly, how…

3. The Lord Pleads the Father’s Help

But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name's sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me. 22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is     wounded within me. 23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth.

Our Lord was suffering. He was wounded in His heart and He was dying. His days were declining like a shadow as the sun goes down the horizon. He was bleeding and weakened by lack of food and water. The people around Him did not care. They wagged their heads when they saw Him (v. 25). “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads.… He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” they jeered (Mt 27:39).

But when there was no one to help. Yet the Father never fails.…

26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: 27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.

The Father would indeed hear His prayer. As the Son was bearing the sin of His people; He would experience the Father’s wrath. Our Lord must have cringed at this thought. He would suffer intensely. But He knew that His Father would hear His prayer and vindicate Him. “Let thy servant rejoice” He says (v. 28).

Indeed, this thought of vindication and restoration evoked a beautiful conclusion to this psalm of intense sadness and imprecation.

30 I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.

Our Lord Jesus anticipated the Father’s vindication and restoration. He also looked forward to praising the LORD His Father in union with His people. Our Lord’s hope has been fulfilled. He was raised again from the dead on the third day. He ascended to the right hand of the throne of God to take the highest office that man can ever be given. From there He sent the Holy Spirit upon His people.

Multitudes have been converted. Multitudes have praised the Father who raised the Lord for their justification. The Son will through the church, His body, praise the Father for His everlasting love and salvation for all eternity.


This is Psalm 109. This is a Psalm with strong feelings. We live in a day when strong feelings and expressions are considered politically incorrect and rude. But we must not forget that the sentiments of Psalm 109 are not the sentiments of a mere man, but the Son of God.

We may not use the same imprecations against our personal enemies because we often make enemies due to our sin. But we may surely use the words of this psalm against the public enemies of the Lord—both of false religions and the church of the antichrist.

But more than that, let us assimilate the Lord’s indignation towards sin against Christ and His church and not lightly overlook such sins. May the Lord grant that our heart will beat with His heart beat—that we may hate what He hates and love what He loves! May we learn to weep where He weeps and hope according to His Hope as a people united to Him on account of His blood shed for us. Amen. Ω