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140. Psalm 140

Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;

2Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.

3They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.

4Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.

5The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.

6I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.

7O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.

8Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.

9 As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.

10Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.

11Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.

12I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.

13Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

4. Keep me, O Jehovah! To complaints and accusations he now again adds prayer, from which it appears more clearly, as I observed already, that it is God whom he seeks to be his avenger. It is the same sentiment repeated, with one or two words changed; for he had said deliver me, now he says keep me, and for the wicked man he substitutes the hand of the wicked. He had spoken of their conceiving mischief’s, now of their plotting how they might ruin a poor unsuspecting individual. What he had said of their fraud and deceit he repeats in figurative language, which does not want emphasis. He speaks of nets spread out on every side to circumvent him, unless God interposed for his help. Though at first sight the metaphors may seem more obscure than the prayer was in its simple unfigurative expression, they are far from darkening the previous declarations, and they add much to the strength of them. From the word גאים, geim, which signifies proud or lofty in the Hebrew, we learn that he does not speak of common men, but of men in power, who considered that they would have no difficulty in crushing an insignificant individual. When our enemies attack us in the insolence of pride, let us learn to resort to God, who can repel the rage of the wicked. Nor does he mean to say that they attacked him merely by bold and violent measures, for he complains of their spreading gins and snares; both methods are spoken of, namely, that while they were confident of the power which they possessed, they devised stratagems for his destruction.


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