Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
As Augustine begins his brief comments on Psalm 12, he addresses the ascription, which he finds reading “To the end, for the eighth, a psalm of David” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320005). He takes the “eighth” to refer to eternity, after the cycles of seven days are ended. The Psalmist asks the Lord for salvation. Even godly people had failed. He was not able to find those who would speak the truth. Instead, in verse two, people seemed intent on speaking and working evil. Verse three moves on to ask the Lord to work vengeance. All deceitful lips should be stopped. Augustine points out that “all” has no exceptions, so would also include David himself (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320013).
By Psalm 12:5, the Lord has had pity on His people and will arise to help them. Augustine notes this is exactly the pattern of the Lord shown in the Gospels. Those who are needy are to be rescued (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320018). God is concerned with bringing salvation to people in need. This he does, in verse six, using his “pure words.” God’s Word is intended to be used in purity. Augustine contrasts this perfection, saying that “many preach the truth impurely; for they sell it for the bribe of the advantages of this life” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320022). God, however, uses His word in purity to bless the needy.
Because of the confidence of God’s Word, in verse seven, David confesses that he will be preserved by God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320037). In contrast, the ungodly wander around, never arriving at eternity (verse 8). This is Augustine’s assessment of the futility of unbelief.