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141. Psalm 141

Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.

2Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

3Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

4Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.

5Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

6When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

7Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.

8But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.

9Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

10Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

6. Their judges have been thrown down upon stony places 240240     Those who understand this verse as containing an allusion to the generous manner in which David acted towards Saul in the cave of En-gedi, and to his mild expostulation after they had both left the cave, translate thus: —
   “Their princes on the sides of the rock were dismissed,
or let go in safety; And they heard my words that they were pleasant.”

   This exactly corresponds with the occurrences referred to. In correspondence with the first line, it, is said in 1 Samuel 24:2, that Saul and his chosen men went to seek David upon the rocks of the wild goats; and the terms in which David expostulated with Saul, were so gentle, dutiful and affecting, as for the time to melt into tenderness and contrition the heart of Saul, and to impress the minds of all who heard them.
Almost all interpreters agree, that the tense of the verb should be changed from the preterit to the future, and then resolve it into the optative — let them be thrown down. It appears to me that the sense of David would be made very plain by reading, When their judges have been cast down from the rock, or upon stony places, they shall hear my words. David, on perceiving the rage which the common people expressed towards him, as carried away through the influence of error and misrepresentation, lays the blame upon their leaders. When their power should be taken away, he is confident that the simple, who had been misled, would be brought to a right mind. Casting from the rocks, or upon stony places, is a metaphorical expression in reference to the high and dignified position in which they were placed. Although not without blame in following evil counselors so as to persecute unjustly a good and godly man, yet he had reason to entertain more hope of their repentance, that they would return to consideration when God executed vengeance upon those who were at their head. We see how ready the common people are to judge by impulse rather than deliberation, and to be hurried into most condemnable proceedings by blind prejudice, while afterwards upon being admonished they retrace their steps with equal precipitation. So that, granting cruelty must always be sinful, and simplicity no excuse, we are taught by David’s example to pray that sound counsel may be sent to such as are in error, with a view to enabling them to hear the truth and the right with patience.


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