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Isai. II, 4.
2 Chron. 19. 2. Ps. 119. 158.
19 Wilt thou not slay the wicked, O God? (depart from me, [therefore,] ye blood-thirsty men.).
20 For they speak unrighteously against thee; and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and, am not I grieved with those, that rise up against thee?
22 Yea, I hate them right sore [with perfect hatred], even as though they were mine enemies.
23 Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart: prove me, and examine my thoughts:
24 Look well, if there be any way of wickedness in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps. 101. 11.
Mal. 3. 2, 3. 1 Pet. 1.7.
Jer. 17. 9, 10.
THERE is said to be no doubt, but that this Psalm proceeded from
David, when persecuted by Saul, in consequence of the inhuman and treacherous conduct of Doeg and the Ziphites. 1 Sam. xxii.
19 Wilt thou not slay, fc. The second part of the Psalm commences here. David's character, as was intimated in the introduction, appears, at this time, to have been oppressed with a load of calumny. He consequently entreats that He, who well knew the justice of his cause, and the iniquity of his enemies, would destroy such wicked and cruel men, as thirsted for his blood : moreover, he evinces his confident expectation, that God would answer his petition, by authoritatively commanding them to cease from persecuting him.
20 Take thy name in vain. This clause may signify, that they called the Deity to witness the truth of their lying accusations. It is not, however, quite clear, what connexion such a meaning has with all that precedes. Possibly the words are merely designed to, express the duplicity and hypocrisy of these men, who had religion ever on their tongues, though endeavoring to injure by their calumnies a devout servant of God.
23 Try me, fc. The examination and proving, for which David asked, were of course, that his real character might be ascertained, and the springs of his conduct laid open; for thus he would be vindicated, even to his accusers, from every suspicion of entertaining ambitious views. He might also desire to know himself, and to repent of the sins, which he should be found to have committed. Psalm xii. 7: Lxvi. 9.
24 The way everlasting. This is either the path, which leads to everlasting life; or, the path of faith and piety, which God has taught man from the beginning of the world, and in which he will require him to walk, as long as that world exists. Jer. vi. 16.
Rom. 3. 13.
9, &c. : xxiv. 19. He, therefore, entreats to be preserved from the craft and violence of his enemies, whose destruction he foretels, at the same time that he proclaims his own confidence
in the divine protection. DELIVER me, O Lord, from the evil man, Ps
. 43. 1; and preserve me from the wicked man; 59. 3, 4. 2 Who imagine mischief in their hearts, and Ps. 56. 5, 6. stir strife all the day long.
Mic. 2. 1, &c. up 3 They have sharpened their tongues like a Ps. 58. 4. serpent: adder's poison is under their lips.
4 Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the Ps. 17. 5. ungodly: preserve me from the wicked men, John 7. 31, 32. who are purposed to overthrow my goings.
5 The proud have laid a snare for me, and Jer. 5. 26: spread a net abroad with cords; yea, and set traps in my way.
6 I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God : Zech. 13. 9. hear the voice of my prayers, O Lord.
7 O Lord God, thou strength of my health 1 Sam. 17. 37, 45. [salvation], thou hast covered my head in the 2 Sam. 8. 6. day of battle.
8 Let not the ungodly have his desire, O Deut. 32. 27, 28. Lord: let not his mischievous imagination 2 Sam. 15. 31. [wicked device] prosper, lest they be too proud.
9 Let the mischief of their own lips fall upon Ps. 7. 16, 17. the head of them, that compass me about.
10 Let hot burning coals fall upon them: Matt. 13. 41, 42. let them be cast into the fire, and into the pit Rev. 21. 8. [into deep pits], that they never rise up again.
18. 22, 23.
Prov. 18. 7.
2 Imagine. See on Psalm üi. 3.
3. They have sharpened, gic. We find in this place a double comparison. For the tongue is not only likened to a sword (Psalm Lvii. 5); but David's enemies are declared to have prepared their tongues. for the utterance of slander, as eagerly as the serpents prepare theirs, when about to wound any one; since, by the continual and rapid motion which they then use, they almost seem to be sharpening them. Psalm Lxiv. 3. —Adder's poison, &c. See on Psalm x. 7.
4 To overthrow my goings. To trip me up; that, when prostrate on the ground, I may become an easy prey to them. Psalm xlix. 5.
7 My health. See on Psalm ü.3.- - Thou hast covered, 8c. Thou hast been to me as great a protection in the day of battle, as a helmet is to the head of a warrior. From past deliverances David, as usual, inspires himself with confidence for the future.
8 They. A remarkable change of number. Psalm cxxvii. 6. 9 Let the mischief, fc. See on Psalm cxix. 23. 10 Let hot burning coals, &c. The phrase, in all likelihood, alludes
Prov. 12. 13.
11 A man full of words shall not prosper upon the earth: evil shall hunt the wicked
person to overthrow him. 1 Kings 8. 45. 12 Sure I am, that the Lord will avenge
the poor (afflicted], and maintain the cause of the helpless.
13 The righteous also shall give thanks unto 1 Thess. 4. 17, 18. thy name; and the just shall continue in thy
Ps. 9. 4.
John 14. 3.
David, being obliged to flee from his native country through the
persecutions of Saul, here implores, that, by the influence of divine grace, he may be so kept from transgressing, as neither to utter any inconsiderate speeches, nor to be drawn into any sinful compliances with idolatrous rites, whilst living among the Philistines : he entreats also, to be assisted in his distress; to be preserved from the devices of those, who were so eagerly seeking his destruction; and, further, to see the ruin, plotted against himself, fall on the heads of his relentless enemies. He probably composed this Psalm just before his flight to Achish, king of Gath, when he had a second time spared Saul's life, but could trust him no longer. 1 Sam. xxvii, 1.
to the judgments sent on the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrahe Gen. xix. 24. Psalm xi. 7.-Into the fire. The fire of hell may be meant; though, in after times, to be cast into the fire was a punishment frequent in the East, and, especially, amongst the Chaldeans. Jer. xxix. 22. Dan. iii. 21.- -Into the pit, fc.
Wild beasts were commonly taken in pitfalls (see on Psalm vii. 16), from which, of course, they did not often come out alive. David may, however, intend such a pit as that, into which Joseph or Jeremiah was cast. Gen. xxxvii. 22. Isai. xxiv, 22. Jer. xxxviii. 6. The whole verse is sometimes thought to be merely descriptive of the fate of Korah and his companions in rebellion. Num. xvi. 31, &c.
Il A man full of words. All evil speakers and false accusers. Job xi. 2.--Evil shall hunt, fc. A very striking simile, in which the punishment of the evil, which he has committed, is represented, as hunting the violent and wicked man, just as the hounds do the fleeing animal through all its windings and doublings, until they seize upon it and destroy it.
13 The righteous, &c. Moreover, thy devout servants, being the continual objects of thy protection, will ever have ample cause to sing thy praises; and they, who persevere in the ways of uprightness, will equally enjoy thy favor, always dwelling, as it were, in thy presence, and under the guardianship of thine all-seeing eye. Thus the two clauses of the verse may be considered identical, which is often the case in Hebrew poetry. Psalm xxxv. 27: XL. 19.
, and consider [give ear unto] my voice, Matt. 9. 2. when I cry unto thee.
2 Let my prayer be set forth in thy sight, as Rev. 5. 8: the incense; and let the lifting up of
my hands 8.3, 4. be an [as the] evening sacrifice.
3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, Jam. 1. 26: and keep the door of my lips.
40 let not mine heart be inclined to any Ps. 106. 28. evil thing: let me not be occupied in ungodly Prov. 23. 6. works with the men, that work wickedness, lest I eat of such things, as please them [of their dainties]
5 Let the righteous rather smite me friendly, Eccles. 7. 5. and reprove me.
6 But let not their precious balms [excellent Ps. 55. 22.
Gal. 6. 1, 2.
2 As the incense. When driven from the courts of the Lord, and from the communion of his people, David purposed to be as regular and constant in his devotions, as the priests were in burning incense, and offering the accustomed sacrifices. He prays, therefore, that his fervent supplications may be accepted with the same favor, as if they had been presented in the sanctuary. It seems evident, that in this verse are meant both the public and daily services, which occurred at the third and ninth hours, or at nine in the morning, and at three in the afternoon. Exod. xxx. 7, 8. Num. xxviii. 3, &c.
3 Set a watch, fc. David, manifestly, is under great apprehensions, that, when dwelling in the midst of idolaters, he may be tempted to trifle, to dissemble, or to speak inconsistently with his character as a zealous worshipper of the true God; or, according to the opinion of some persons, that he may be led to express his sense of the ill usage, which he had received from Saul, in a violent and unbecoming
4 O let not, fc. Because corrupt examples, placed continually before his eyes, might gradually draw him aside from his allegiance to Jehovah, he likewise supplicates, that his heart may not, by the absence of God's directing grace, be inclined to wickedness, nor his mind given to cultivate the society of the idolatrous Philistines; and this, lest he should be induced to join in celebrating their impious rites, and to partake of the luxurious feasts, which they offered to their false gods. Num. xxv. 2. The last clause is capable of a figurative meaning :-lest I be ready to participate in their unholy practices and amusements.
5 Let the righteous, &c. But, should I be at all disposed to yield to the temptations, which surround me, let some religious and kind friend among my attendants and companions, with merciful severity, check me by his timely reproofs.
6 But let not, &c. At feasts, to anoint the head of a guest with perfumed oil was a mark of peculiar honor. See on Psalm xxii. 5.
Acts 4. 29, 30.
1 Chron. 10.1. Luke 4. 22.
2 Cor. 1. 9, 10.
oil] break my head; yea, I will pray yet against their wickedness.
7 Let their judges be overthrown in stony places, that they may hear my words, for they are sweet.
8 Our bones Jie scattered before the pit, like as when one breaketh and heweth wood upon the earth.
9 But mine eyes look unto thee, O Lord God: in thee is my trust; O cast not out my soul.
10 Keep me from the snare, that they have laid for me; and from the traps of the wicked doers.
11 Let the ungodly fall into their own nets together, and let me ever escape
2 Chron. 20. 12. Ps. 102. 24.
Luke 20. 19, &c.
Esth. 7. 10.
PSALM CXLII. We have here an earnest supplication to God, in which are stated
by the author the utter failure of all human means of assistance; and the absolute necessity of being aided, in his afflictions, from
Let not, however, the fair, though deceptive, speeches of the idolaters prevail over me to my spiritual ruin. Ver. 4. So earnest, indeed, am I on this point, that I will not cease to pray for heavenly assistance, in order to possess the power of resisting, both their wicked endeavors to ensnare me, and the seductive influence of their evil customs.
7 Let their judges, fc. David now returns to his enemies among his own nation. He prays, that Saul and the chief men of his party, the present rulers (see on Psalm ii. 10.) of Israel, may be, in some manner or another, overthrown, and that the remainder of the people, being cooled by ill success, may thus become prepared to listen to those salutary and peaceful admonitions, which, because uttered by himself they have hitherto despised. The verse is, doubtless, obscure, and could only be satisfactorily explained by means of fuller information, than we have yet obtained, respecting all the circumstances, which gave rise to the Psalm.
8 Our bones, fc. Some of David's companions, then, having fallen into the hands of Saul, had been killed, and their bodies, perhaps, cut to pieces. The words may expressly refer to the murder of the priests and their families (1 Sam. xxi. 17, &c.) by Doeg, because they were supposed to favor David. The figure employed is one, which represents the slaughter as so great, that the bones of the unburied dead lay “scattered at the grave's mouth,” as plentifully and as disregarded, as chips from the axe of the woodman.