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Psalm 17

Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors

A Prayer of David.


Hear a just cause, O L ord; attend to my cry;

give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.


From you let my vindication come;

let your eyes see the right.



If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,

if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;

my mouth does not transgress.


As for what others do, by the word of your lips

I have avoided the ways of the violent.


My steps have held fast to your paths;

my feet have not slipped.



I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;

incline your ear to me, hear my words.


Wondrously show your steadfast love,

O savior of those who seek refuge

from their adversaries at your right hand.



Guard me as the apple of the eye;

hide me in the shadow of your wings,


from the wicked who despoil me,

my deadly enemies who surround me.


They close their hearts to pity;

with their mouths they speak arrogantly.


They track me down; now they surround me;

they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.


They are like a lion eager to tear,

like a young lion lurking in ambush.



Rise up, O L ord, confront them, overthrow them!

By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,


from mortals—by your hand, O L ord

from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.

May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;

may their children have more than enough;

may they leave something over to their little ones.



As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

10. They have inclosed themselves in their own fat If the translation which is given by others is considered preferable, They have inclosed their own fat, the meaning will be quite the same. Some Jewish interpreters explain the words thus: that being stuffed with fat, and their throat being, as it were, choked with it, they were unable to speak freely; but this is a very meagre and unsatisfactory exposition. By the word fat, I think, is denoted the pride with which they were filled and swollen, as it were, with fatness. It is a very appropriate and expressive metaphor to represent them as having their hearts choked up with pride, in the manner in which corpulent persons are affected from the fat within them. 365365     “Comme les gens replets se trouvent saisis de leur graisse au dedans.” — Fr. “The sacred writers employ this term [fat] to signify a body pampered to excess by luxury and self-indulgence, Psalm 73:7; 119:70; Job 15:27.” - French and Skinner’s Translation of the Book of Psalms. There may no doubt be a reference to the personal appearance and sensual indulgence of David’s enemies. But something more is implied. “We know that, in the figurative language of Scripture fatness denotes pride. This connection of ideas is still maintained in the East, where, when it is intended to indicate a proud man, he is said to be fat, or to look fat, whether really so or not.” — Illustrated Commentary upon the Bible. David complains of their being puffed up with their wealth and pleasures, and accordingly we see the ungodly, the more luxuriously they are pampered, conducting themselves the more outrageously and proudly. But I think there is described by the word fat an inward vice namely, their being inclosed on all sides with arrogance and presumption, and their having become utter strangers to every feeling of humanity. 366366     Dr Geddes translates the clause, “Their hearts have they hardened.” “Literally,” says he, “they have closed their midriff; — shut out all compassion from their hearts.” The Hebrew word which is rendered fat is explained by Gesenius, when used figuratively, as denoting a fat, that is, an unfeeling heart. The Psalmist next declares that this is abundantly manifested in their language. In short, his meaning is, that inwardly they swell with pride, and that they take no pains to conceal it, as appears from the high swelling words to which they give utterance. When it is said, They have spoken proudly with their mouth, the word mouth is not a pleonasm, as it often is in other places; for David means, that with mouths widely opened they pour forth scornful and contemptuous language, which bears testimony to the pride which dwells within them.

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