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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.

8. Grant not, O Jehovah! the desires of the wicked 228228     “The desires which the wicked have for my destruction.” — Phillips. We might render the words Establish not, though the meaning would be the same — that God would restrain the desires of the wicked, and frustrate all their aims and attempts. We see from this that it is in his power, whenever he sees proper, to frustrate the unprincipled designs of men, and their wicked expectations, and to dash their schemes. When, therefore, it is found impracticable to bring our enemies to a right state of mind, we are to pray that the devices which they have imagined may be immediately overthrown and thwarted. In the next clause there is more ambiguity. As the Hebrew verb פוק, puk, means to lead out, as well as to strike or fall, the words might mean, that God would not carry out into effect the counsels of the wicked. But the opinion of those may be correct who read — their thought is thou wilt not strike, David representing such hopes as the wicked are wont to entertain. We find him elsewhere (Psalm 10:6) describing their pride in a similar way, in entirely overlooking a divine providence, and considering all events as subject to their control, and the world placed under their sole management. The word which follows with thus come in appropriately — they shall be lifted up, in illusion to the wicked being inflated by pride, through the idea that they can never be overtaken by adversity. If the other reading be preferred, the negative particle must be considered as repeated — “Suffer not their attempts to be carried into effect; let them not be exalted.” At any rate David is to be considered as censuring the security of his enemies, in making no account of God, and in surrendering themselves to unbridled license.


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