English Basic Explanation - Chapter 94
This chapter is an appeal to God to exact retribution from the cruel, arrogant oppressors of the enemy nations, who heartlessly torment and abuse the innocent members of Am Yisrael. As the author – whom the Sages identify as Moshe Rabbenu – describes (verses 6-7), these tyrants freely and unhesitatingly murder even the poor, defenseless widows and orphans, confident that God has no knowledge of their conduct. The author ridicules this confident denial of providence, noting that He who created human ears and eyes certainly has the ability Himself to hear and observe what transpires here on earth. He can thus be assured to harshly repay the enemies for their crimes – which He very carefully watches and of which He most certainly takes note.
As for the innocent victims of the enemies' cruelty, the Psalmist declares, "Fortunate in the man whom God punishes – so long as He teaches him from Your Torah!" (verse 12). The innocent sufferer who is committed to Torah is far more fortunate then the heartless tormentors who disregard even the most basic religious and ethical values. For ultimately, as the subsequent verses declare, God will intervene and bring punishment upon the oppressor and reward to the righteous. This chapter concludes on an upbeat, optimistic note, anticipating the ultimate defeat of the wicked and confidently trusting in the protection God will provide for their intended victims.
This chapter is read each week as the "Shir Shel Yom" for Wednesday. On the fourth day of creation, the Gemara explains, God created the sun and the moon, which eventually became objects of idol worship. On this day we therefore recite the chapter of Tehillim that speaks of the punishment God will visit upon the evildoers of the world. God created the earth to assist mankind in his endeavor to achieve spiritual perfection and closeness to God, but instead he has used it to betray the values which he came into the world to promote. In this chapter we pray that the world should soon realize the objective for which it was created, when those who prayed to the sun and moon – who misused the earth for sin and corruption – will be eliminated, and righteousness and virtue will finally prevail.