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35. Psalm 35

Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

2Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

3Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

4Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

5Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.

6Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.

7For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

8Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

9And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

10All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?

11False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

14I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

15But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

16With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

17Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

18I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

19Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

20For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

21Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

22 This thou hast seen, O Lord: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

23Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

24Judge me, O Lord my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

25Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

26Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

27Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

28And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

16. Among perfidious jesters. Others translate it, With hypocrites, but in my opinion David simply relates the combination of his enemies. And the meaning of the expression is to this effect, That among men of a crafty disposition, who had been addicted to deceit, and were consequently lost to all sense of shame, the only and the constant subject of their deliberations was, how they might destroy this afflicted man. David again reverts to the leaders of the people, and to those in power, as the source whence all the mischief took its rise; for this description could not apply to a great part of the common people, who acted rather by thoughtless impulse. He therefore speaks particularly of the rulers, and others of a similar character, and accuses them of cruelty, saying, that they gnash their teeth upon him like furious wild beasts. He first calls them perfidious or wicked, that he may the more easily obtain help and aid of God, as if calling upon him in the extremity of distress; and, secondly, he calls them jesters or mockers, by which he means that they have such effrontery, and are so far lost to all sense of shame, that there is nothing which they will not dare to do. As to the meaning of the word מעוג, maog, which follows, interpreters are not agreed. Properly, it signifies bread baked upon the hearth upon the embers. Some, however, because they could not elicit from it a meaning suitable to the passage, have thought that it should be taken for talkative jesting, or idle speech. Others, presuming to give a still wider range to their fancy, have supposed the meaning of the Psalmist to be, that the scoffing of such persons was as bread to them, because they take pleasure in scoffing and jesting. To me, it appears that we ought to retain the proper signification of the word, while, at the same time, it may be understood in a twofold sense. Some taking מעוג, maog, for a cake or tart, are of opinion that David here censures people of a delicate taste, who seek after fine and dainty fare, many of whom are always to be found in the courts of princes. Others rather suppose that he rebukes persons of a servile and sordid spirit, who, for the most trifling consideration, would employ their tongues in reviling others, just as in all ages there have been found men who, for a bit of bread, as we say, set their tongues to sale. When I carefully consider other passages in which David describes the nature and character of his enemies, I am disposed to think that those who indulged in jesting and scoffing at feasts, and who, in sitting over their cups, consulted about putting David to death, are here referred to. He therefore complains, that even in the midst of their feasting and banqueting, the ungodly, who had shaken off all shame, communed how they might take away his life.

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