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54. Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.

2Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

3For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

4Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

5He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

6I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O Lord; for it is good.

7For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

5. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies As the verb ישיב, yashib, may be rendered he shall cause to return, 292292     French and Skinner read, “May their mischief return upon those who watch me;” and observe, “that their mischief in Hebrew is the evil, and that the meaning is, the very evil which they devised against me. Compare Psalm 7:16.” it seems to point not only at the punishment, but the kind of punishment, which would be awarded to his enemies, in the recoiling of their wicked machinations upon their own heads. Some give an optative signification to the verb, understanding the words to express a wish or prayer; but I see no reason why it should not be taken strictly in the future tense, and imagine that David intimates his certain expectation that this favor, which he had already prayed for, would be granted. It is by no means uncommon to find the prayers of the Psalmist intersected with sentences of this kind, inserted for the purpose of stimulating his faith, as here, where he announces the general truth, that God is the righteous judge who will recompense the wicked. With the view of confirming his hopes, he adverts particularly to the truth of God; for nothing can support us in the hour of temptation, when the Divine deliverance may be long delayed, but a firm persuasion that God is true, and that he cannot deceive us by his divine promises. His confidence of obtaining his request was grounded upon the circumstance that God could no more deny his word than deny himself.


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