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61

Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,

I do not forget your law.


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61. The cords of the wicked have caught hold of me. Those who translate חבלי, cheblei, by sorrows, bring out no natural meaning, and perplex themselves as well as wrest the passage. Two readings then remain, either of which may be admitted: The cords of the wicked have caught hold of me, or The companies of the wicked have robbed me. 423423     “The congregation of the ungodly have robbed me. — Common Prayer Book. Rather the cords of the wicked have unfolded me; i.e., their machinations have been directed against me, and not without effect. A cord, however, from its being composed of many strings twisted together, was used metaphorically by the Hebrews, as, the word band is by us, to denote a collection of men: and it is accordingly, in 1 Samuel 10:5, 10, rendered in our English Bible by company, in which sense it is here taken in the version of our Book of Common Prayer, after the Chaldee: the Septuagint gives the literal translation of the word.” — Cresswell. Whether we adopt the one or the other of these readings, what the prophet intends to declare is, that when Satan assailed the principles of piety in his soul, by grievous temptations, he continued with undeviating steadfastness in the love and practice of God’s law. Cords may, however, be understood in two ways; either, first, as denoting the deceptive allurements by which the wicked endeavored to get him entangled in their society; or, secondly, the frauds which they practiced to effect his ruin. If the first sense is preferred, David intimates that he had manifested a rare virtue, in continuing in the observance of God’s law, even when the wicked seemed to have involved him in their nets; but as it is more generally agreed that the verb עוד, ived, signifies to despoil or rob, let us adopt this interpretation — that the prophet being assailed by troops of the ungodly, and afterwards robbed and rifled at their pleasure, never deserted his ground. This was a proof of singular fortitude; for when we are exposed to dangers and wrongs of a more than ordinary kind, if God does not succour us we immediately begin to doubt of his providence: it seems to be of no advantage for a man to be godly; we imagine also that we may lawfully take revenge; and amidst these waves, the remembrance of the Divine law is easily lost, and, as it were, submerged. But the prophet assures us:, that to continue to love the law, and to practice righteousness, when we are exposed as a prey to the ungodly, and perceive no help from God, is an evidence of genuine piety.




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