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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.

In the following verse, that he may cherish still greater confidence in God, David again declares, that he has to do with enemies of an irreconcilable character, and who are fully bent upon cruelty. Of this we ought to be firmly persuaded, that the more grievously we are oppressed, so much the more certainly ought we to expect deliverance. He therefore says, that they speak of nothing but of tumults and slaughter. The meaning of the latter clause is somewhat obscure, arising from the ambiguous signification of the word רגע, rige. As the word from which it is derived sometimes signifies to cut, and sometimes to rest, or to be quiet and peaceable, there are some who translate it the meek and peaceable of the earth: others translate it, with the tranquil and easy of the earth; meaning by this, those who live in the midst of riches and abundance, in the enjoyment of undisturbed repose. Both these seem to me to be forced interpretations. Others, too, though not more correctly, expound the word in caves or secret places, in order that, as they say, the wicked and deceitful counsels of such persons may not come to light. But it may be very appropriately rendered, the clefts of the earth, and by this metaphor are meant the miserable and afflicted, who are, as it were, broken and maimed. David, therefore, declares that as soon as his enemies see any opening, that is to say, some calamity befall him, they instantly put forth all their efforts to accomplish his destruction. Those who, in the time of his prosperity and power, never dared even to utter a word against him, began now, when they saw that his influence was feeble, to plot his ruin, just as we know that the wicked are for the most part persons of a servile and cowardly disposition, and assume not the tone of insolence save when an advantageous opportunity presents itself, as when the good and simple are in adversity. To the same purpose he represents them in the next verse, as crying out with open mouth, Aha! aha! and clapping their hands for joy that they saw David overcome, and, as it were, laid prostrate in the dust, a spectacle in which they took great delight.


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