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Psalm 140:11-13

11. The man (vir) of tongue shall not be established in the earth, evil shall hunt the man (vir) 231231     איש is the word for man in both these clauses. of violence to banishments. 12. I have known that God will accomplish the judgment of the poor, the judgment of the afflicted. 13. Surely the righteous will praise thy name, the upright shall dwell before thy face.

 

11. The man of tongue, 232232     “A man, of tongue, i.e., of evil tongue; a slanderer or detractor.” — Phillips. The Bible translation renders the phrase “an evil speaker;” and the Chaldee Paraphrase has “the man of detraction, with a three-forked tongue;” because such a man wounds three at once — the receiver, the sufferer, and himself. etc. Some understand by this the loquacious man, but the sense is too restricted; nor is the reference to a reproachful, garrulous, vain and boastful man, but the man of virulence, who wars by deceit and calumny, and not openly. This is plain from what is said of the other class of persons in the subsequent part of the sentence, that his enemies were given to open violence as well as to treachery and cunning — like the lion as well as the wolf — as formerly he complained that the poison of the asp or viper was under their lips. The words run in the future tense, and many interpreters construe them into the optative form, or into a prayer; but I prefer retaining the future tense, as David does not appear so much to pray, as to look forward to a coming deliverance. Whether his enemies wrought by treachery, or by open violence, he looks forward to God as his deliverer. The figure drawn from hunting is expressive. The hunter, by spreading his toils on all sides, leaves no way of escape for the wild beast; and the ungodly cannot by any subterfuge elude the divine judgments. Mischief hunts them into banishment’s, for the more they look for impunity and escape, they only precipitate themselves more certainly upon destruction.

12. I have known; that God, etc. There can be no question that David here seals or corroborates his prayer by turning his thoughts and discourse to the providential judgments of God, for, as I have already said, doubtful prayer is no prayer at all. He declares it to be a thing known and ascertained that God cannot but deliver the afflicted. As he may connive for a time, however, and suffer good and upright persons to be grievously tried, David suggests as consideration which may meet this temptation, that God does so advisedly, that he may relieve those who are in affliction, and recover those who are oppressed. He accordingly says in express words that he will be the judge of the poor and the afflicted. In this way does he encourage both others and himself under continued troubles, till the time proper for deliverance arrive, intimating that though he might be universally considered an object of pity in being exposed to the fury of the wicked, and in not being immediately delivered by the hand of God, he would not give way to despair, but remember that it was the very part of God to undertake the cause of the poor. It were to weaken the passage if we considered David merely to be speaking of his own individual case.

He infers (Psalm 140:13) that the righteous would give thanks to God, and be safe under his help. For the particle אך, ach, which is often adversative in the Hebrew, is here affirmative, and denotes inference or consequence from what was formerly stated. Though the godly may be silenced for a time, and through the force of trouble may not raise the praises of God, David expresses his conviction that what was taken away would be speedily restored, and they would celebrate the loving kindness of the Lord with joy and alacrity. As this is not easily believed in circumstances of trial, the already referred to is inserted. We must endeavor, though with a struggle, to rise to a confident persuasion, that however low they may be brought, the Lord’s people will be restored to prosperity, and will soon sing his praises. The second clause of the verse gives the reason of their thanksgiving’s. He speaks of this as being the ground of the praises of the righteous, that they experience God’s care of them, and concern for their salvation. For to dwell before God’s face is to be cherished and sustained by his fatherly regards.


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