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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.

8. Let confusion of which he is not aware come upon him. David again prays that God would cause to return upon the head of his enemies the mischief which they had directed against a just and an inoffensive man. The change from the plural to the singular number, even when the same subject, is spoken of, is, we know, a thing very common among the Hebrews. Accordingly, what is here said of one man is applicable to all David’s enemies in general, unless, perhaps, we are rather inclined to suppose that allusion is here made to Saul or some one of his nobles. But as it is certain that the prayer which he here offers against Saul as the head extends to the whole body, in other words, to all his followers, 707707     “Qu’il fait yci contre Saul comme le chef, s’estend a tout le corps, c’est a dire, tous ses adherens.” — Fr. it matters little in which way we understand it. The Hebrew word שואה, shoah, sometimes signifies confusion, and sometimes destruction; and, therefore, many translate it, Let destruction, or desolation, or ruin, come upon him. The other rendering, however, seems more suitable, for he immediately adds, Let his own net which he hath hidden catch him, let him fall into it with confusion The way in which others render it, Let him fall into destruction itself, is certainly forced and unnatural. But the meaning of the clause will be brought out very suitable if it is viewed as a prayer of David, that as the wicked settle down like wine upon the lees, in present enjoyments, and fear nothing, as if they were placed beyond the reach of all danger, some calamity which they think not of may suddenly come upon them like a tempest, and overwhelm them. It never for a moment occurs to them as at all possible that their stratagems and craft, their wicked practices, and all the snares which they lay for the good and the simple, turn to the destruction of themselves who have devised them. David, therefore, very properly desires that they may fall with confusion into the nets which they have laid; in other words, that they may be filled with amazement and terror when they are suddenly and unexpectedly visited with calamity. The more unbounded and extravagant the exultation of men is, through their vainly and foolishly imagining that they shall escape unpunished, the more are they filled with amazement and fear when calamity suddenly overtakes them. I have, however, no doubt that David here refers to some strange and extraordinary calamity. Let confusion, then, of which he thinks not, come upon him; that is to say, when he shall have persuaded himself that all goes well with him, and promised himself peace in his deceitful fascinations, then let unwonted terror strike him to the heart, and let him feel by his tumultuous fear that he is caught in his own snares.

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