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Psalm 35

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Of David.

1

Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;

fight against those who fight against me!

2

Take hold of shield and buckler,

and rise up to help me!

3

Draw the spear and javelin

against my pursuers;

say to my soul,

“I am your salvation.”

 

4

Let them be put to shame and dishonor

who seek after my life.

Let them be turned back and confounded

who devise evil against me.

5

Let them be like chaff before the wind,

with the angel of the Lord driving them on.

6

Let their way be dark and slippery,

with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

 

7

For without cause they hid their net for me;

without cause they dug a pit for my life.

8

Let ruin come on them unawares.

And let the net that they hid ensnare them;

let them fall in it—to their ruin.

 

9

Then my soul shall rejoice in the Lord,

exulting in his deliverance.

10

All my bones shall say,

“O Lord, who is like you?

You deliver the weak

from those too strong for them,

the weak and needy from those who despoil them.”

 

11

Malicious witnesses rise up;

they ask me about things I do not know.

12

They repay me evil for good;

my soul is forlorn.

13

But as for me, when they were sick,

I wore sackcloth;

I afflicted myself with fasting.

I prayed with head bowed on my bosom,

14

as though I grieved for a friend or a brother;

I went about as one who laments for a mother,

bowed down and in mourning.

 

15

But at my stumbling they gathered in glee,

they gathered together against me;

ruffians whom I did not know

tore at me without ceasing;

16

they impiously mocked more and more,

gnashing at me with their teeth.

 

17

How long, O Lord, will you look on?

Rescue me from their ravages,

my life from the lions!

18

Then I will thank you in the great congregation;

in the mighty throng I will praise you.

 

19

Do not let my treacherous enemies rejoice over me,

or those who hate me without cause wink the eye.

20

For they do not speak peace,

but they conceive deceitful words

against those who are quiet in the land.

21

They open wide their mouths against me;

they say, “Aha, Aha,

our eyes have seen it.”

 

22

You have seen, O Lord; do not be silent!

O Lord, do not be far from me!

23

Wake up! Bestir yourself for my defense,

for my cause, my God and my Lord!

24

Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,

according to your righteousness,

and do not let them rejoice over me.

25

Do not let them say to themselves,

“Aha, we have our heart’s desire.”

Do not let them say, “We have swallowed you up.”

 

26

Let all those who rejoice at my calamity

be put to shame and confusion;

let those who exalt themselves against me

be clothed with shame and dishonor.

 

27

Let those who desire my vindication

shout for joy and be glad,

and say evermore,

“Great is the Lord,

who delights in the welfare of his servant.”

28

Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness

and of your praise all day long.


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Ps 35:1-28. The Psalmist invokes God's aid, contrasting the hypocrisy, cunning, and malice of his enemies with his integrity and generosity. The imprecations of the first part including a brief notice of their conduct, the fuller exposition of their hypocrisy and malice in the second, and the earnest prayer for deliverance from their scornful triumph in the last, are each closed (Ps 35:9, 10, 18, 27, 28) with promises of praise for the desired relief, in which his friends will unite. The historical occasion is probably 1Sa 24:1-22.

1-3. God is invoked in the character of a warrior (Ex 15:3; De 32:41).

3. fight against—literally, "devour my devourers."

stop the way against—literally, "shut up" (the way), to meet or oppose, &c.

I … thy salvation—who saves thee.

4. (Compare Ps 9:17).

devise my hurt—purpose for evil to me.

5, 6. (Compare Ps 1:4)—a terrible fate; driven by wind on a slippery path in darkness, and hotly pursued by supernatural violence (2Sa 24:16; Ac 12:23).

7, 8. net in a pit—or, "pit of their net"—or, "net-pit," as "holy hill" for "hill of holiness" (Ps 2:6); a figure from hunting (Ps 7:15). Their imprecations on impenitent rebels against God need no vindication; His justice and wrath are for such; His mercy for penitents. Compare Ps 7:16; 11:5, on the peculiar fate of the wicked here noticed.

10. All my bones—every part.

him that spoileth him—(Compare Ps 10:2).

11. False witnesses—literally, "Witnesses of injustice and cruelty" (compare Ps 11:5; 25:19).

12-14. Though they rendered evil for good, he showed a tender sympathy in their affliction.

spoiling—literally, "bereavement." The usual modes of showing grief are made, as figures, to express his sorrow.

13. prayer … bosom—may denote either the posture—the head bowed—(compare 1Ki 18:42)—or, that the prayer was in secret. Some think there is a reference to the result—the prayer would benefit him if not them.

14. behaved—literally, "went on"—denoting his habit.

heavily—or, "squalidly," his sorrowing occasioning neglect of his person. Altogether, his grief was that of one for a dearly loved relative.

15, 16. On the contrary, they rejoiced in his affliction. Halting, or, "lameness," as in Ps 38:17 for any distress.

abjects—either as cripples (compare 2Sa 4:4), contemptible; or, degraded persons, such as had been beaten (compare Job 30:1-8).

I knew it not—either the persons, or, reasons of such conduct.

tear me, and ceased not—literally, "were not silent"—showing that the tearing meant slandering.

16. mockers—who were hired to make sport at feasts (Pr 28:21).

17. darling—(Compare Ps 22:20, 21).

18. (Compare Ps 22:22).

19. enemies wrongfully—by false and slanderous imputations.

wink with the eye—an insulting gesture (Pr 6:13).

without a cause—manifests more malice than having a wrong cause.

20. deceitful matters—or, "words of deceit."

quiet in the land—the pious lovers of peace.

21. On the gesture compare Ps 22:7; and on the expressions of malicious triumph, compare Ps 10:13; 28:3.

23, 24. (Compare Ps 7:6; 26:1; 2Th 1:6). God's righteous government is the hope of the pious and terror of the wicked.

25. swallowed him up—utterly destroyed him (Ps 21:9; La 2:16).

26. clothed—covered wholly (Job 8:22).

27. favour … cause—delight in it, as vindicated by Thee.

Let the Lord, &c.—Let Him be greatly praised for His care of the just.

28. In this praise of God's equitable government (Ps 5:8) the writer promises ever to engage.




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