Fly Away like a Bird

Psalm 11

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 11

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. My sheep hear my voice. I know my sheep. They follow me. Nobody will ever take them away from me". (From John 10:14,27,28.) A shepherd is a sheep farmer. Jesus meant that his friends are his sheep. He cares for them.

Psalm 11

  (This is) a song of David for the music leader.

v1   (These are words of David.)
  I am hiding in the LORD.
  How can you say to me,
  (These are the words of David's friends.)
  Fly away like a bird to the hills?

v2   Look at the godless!
  They are preparing their bows and arrows.
  They are getting ready to shoot at good people.
  They are hiding in the shadows.

v3   When people destroy the foundations
  what can the righteous do?

v4   (These are words of David.)
  The LORD is in his holy temple.
  The LORD is sitting on his throne in heaven.
  He is looking down.
  His eyes see what the sons of men are doing.

v5   The LORD is (also) checking what the righteous are doing.
  But the LORD really hates the godless.
  He also hates the people that love to hurt other people.

v6   Burning coal and sulphur will rain on the godless.
  A very hot wind will be their inheritance and cup.

v7   The LORD is righteous.
  He loves righteous people.
  They will see his face.

Word list

arrow ~ a very sharp stick, shot by a bow

foundations ~ the stones or earth that we build houses on

coal ~ black material men dig out of the ground: we burn it to keep us warm

sulphur ~ yellow material men dig out of the ground: it burns with a very bad smell

inheritance ~ money and things our parents give us when they die

The story of Psalm 11

After David killed Goliath he lived with King Saul. The story of David starts below. When Saul was sad, David made music for Saul. This made Saul happy again. Later, Saul thought that David wanted to become king. This was not true. But Saul wanted David dead. The friends of David said, "run away". (Or, "fly away like a bird".) David said, "No!" Later David did go, because God told him to.

What Psalm 11 means

Verses 1 3: David asks his friends why they tell him to run away. His friends say, "The godless want to kill the righteous". Here, this means David. Sometimes we feel like this. We want to run away. We say, "Everything is going wrong". We must be like David. We must stay where God put us! Verse 3 means this. If you take away the foundations of a house it will fall down. The same is true of our lives and our countries. If we do not build them on something good they will not continue for long.

Verses 4 6: This tells us what David believes. He says:

    the LORD is in his temple. David means that God is in heaven. From heaven God can see everybody on the earth.

    the LORD can see the bad people and the good people. David calls the good people righteous. This is a difficult word. Only God is really righteous. But he calls his servants righteous. When they do wrong things they must ask God to forgive them. Look after Psalms 1 and 5 to find out what "forgive" means.

    the LORD will not forgive some people because they do not ask him to forgive them. Their inheritance is what happens to them. David also calls it their cup. God will punish them. (Punish means hurt them because they did wrong things.) David gives 3 pictures of this: coal that burns, sulphur that smells bad and winds that stop people from breathing.

Verse 7: The psalm ends with a wonderful promise. Righteous people will one day see the face of God!

Something to do

Life becomes difficult at times. Then we want to run away. But we must be like David. We must stay where God puts us. He will say when we can go. Psalm 11 is a good psalm to read in times of trouble.

The Story of David

David lived in Bethlehem when he was young. He kept sheep. He killed wild animals when they attacked his sheep. The sheep were safe with David. One day David took food to his brothers. They were with the King of Israel. His name was Saul. They were all fighting the Philistines. Goliath was a Philistine. He was 3 metres high. Saul and his soldiers were afraid of Goliath. David killed Goliath. David went to live with Saul in the house of the king. David made music for Saul. This made Saul happy when he was sad.

At first Saul was a good king. Later he did not obey God. He became a bad king. God decided that David must become king. Saul was very angry. He wanted to kill David. David ran away. He lived in the fields, the woods and the hills.

When Saul died David was a good king. But he sometimes broke God's rules. David wanted to marry a woman called Bathsheba. She was the wife of Uriah. David planned to kill Uriah. David married Bathsheba when Uriah was dead. David had a friend call Nathan. Nathan told David that God was very angry. David told God that he was sorry. God forgave David.

David had many sons. Absalom and Solomon were 2 of them. When David was old Absalom wanted to become king. He attacked David. David ran away from Jerusalem. David asked God for help. David heard that Absalom was dead. This made David very, very sad. David loved Absalom. David returned to Jerusalem. David was king again. David wanted to build a house for God in Jerusalem. God said, "No!" Solomon built the house after David died. We call it the temple. It was on a hill called Zion in Jerusalem. David ruled over Israel for 40 years. This was 1000 years before Jesus came to earth.

David wrote many of the psalms. He wrote the words and some music. A psalm is a song. Some of the psalms tell us about the life of David. Examples are 3, 4, 18, and 23. In other psalms David was a prophet. (8,12, and 16.) A prophet tells people the words of God. He also says what will happen in the future.


2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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