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122

Guarantee your servant’s well-being;

do not let the godless oppress me.


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121. I have done judgment and righteousness. The Prophet implores the help of God against the wicked who troubled him, and he does so in such a manner as at the same time to testify that the harassing treatment he received from them was on his part altogether undeserved. If we would have God to come down to succor us, it becomes us to see to it that we meet him with the testimony of a good conscience. As He everywhere promises his aid to the afflicted who are unrighteously oppressed, it is no superfluous protestation which the Prophet makes, that he had not provoked his enemies, but had restrained himself from all injury and wrong-doing, and had not even attempted to requite evil for evil. In asserting that he had at all times done judgment, he means that whatever rite wicked practiced, he steadfastly persevered in following after integrity, and never turned aside from what was just and right in any of his public or private transactions.

122. Become surety for thy servant for good. This prayer is almost similar to that of the preceding verse; for I prefer translating the Hebrew verb ערוב, arob, by Become surety for, to rendering, as others do, Delight thy servant in good, or Make thy servant to delight in good According to this second version, the words are a prayer that God would rejoice his servant with his benefits. There is a third translation, by which they become a prayer that God would inspire his heart with the love and desire of rectitude; for true perfection consists in our taking pleasure in justice and uprightness. But as from the last clause of the verse it is obvious that David here desires succor against his enemies, the verb Become surety is the more appropriate rendering 55     ערב This verb signifies to be pleasant, acceptable. So Bucer has translated the first part of the verse, oblecta servum tuum bono; and indeed the Chaldee has given the same sense to the verb, for it is rendered by בסים, make merry. But the other meaning which it has, viz. to become surety, is evidently more suitable; for the expression Be surety for thy servant for good, corresponds very well with the previous and subsequent petitions, which are for deliverance from the hands of the enemy.” — Phillips. Lord, as if he had said, since the proud cruelly rush upon me to destroy me, interpose thyself between us, as if thou weft my surety. The letter ל, lamed, which signifies for, is not indeed prefixed to the noun, but this is no valid objection to our translation, as that letter is often understood. It is a form of expression full of comfort, to represent God as performing the office of a surety in order to effect our deliverance. He is said metaphorically to become surety for us, just as if, on finding us indebted in a large sum of money, he discharged us of the obligation, by paying down the money to our creditor. The prayer is to this effect, That God would not suffer the wicked to exercise, their cruelty against us at their pleasure, but that he would interpose as a defender to save us. By these words the Prophet intimates, that he was in extreme danger, and that he had nothing else left him in which to hope but the help of God.




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