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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.

7. As one who breaketh, etc. Here David complains that his enemies were not satisfied with inflicting upon him one death — death of a common description — but must first mangle him, and those associated with him, and then cast them into the grave. The common robber on the highway throws the body of his murdered victim whole into the ditch; David tells us, that he and those with him were treated more barbarously, their Bones being dispersed, as one cleaves wood or stones into fragments, or digs the earth. From this it appears, that David, like Paul, (2 Corinthians 1:9,) was delivered from deaths oft; 241241     If David here refers to the treatment he and his followers met with at the hands of Saul, this exhibits in dark colors the extreme inhumanity of that monarch. “We are not sufficiently informed,” says Walford, “respecting the cruelties which were perpetrated against David and those who adhered to him, to enable us to point out the instances to which he here alludes; but the murder of Abimelech, and of the priests who were with him, furnishes a pregnant proof of the atrocities which Saul and his agents were capable of perpetrating. (See 1 Samuel 22.) It appears from the language of this verse that such enormities were not confined to a few cases, but must have been numerous, to give occasion to the image which is employed to describe them.” How striking the contrast between David’s treatment of Saul, and that which Saul adopted towards him! Mr. Peters in his Dissertations on Job, gives an exposition of this 7th verse which is ingenious, and which Archbishop Secker calls “admirable, though not quite unexceptionable.” Understanding the verse as referring to the slaughter of the priests at Nob, just now adverted to, he renders the words שאול לפי, (which Calvin translates, at the grave’s mouth,) at the mouth, that is, at the command of Saul. In support of this translation he produces similar expressions, על פי פרעה, at the command of Pharaoh, (Genesis 45:21,) and על פיך, at thy command. (Job 39:17.) To this rendering there is, however, this strong objection, that we do not find David ever mentioning Saul by name in any of the Psalms. Peters, indeed, states that this objection was offered to him against his view, and he endeavors to remove it, though, as we think, with indifferent success. and we may learn the duty of continuing to cherish hope of life and deliverance even when the expression may apply to us, that our bones have been broken and scattered.


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