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Call to Arms against Ungrateful Persecutors, Addressed to God
This Psalms 35 and Ps 34 form a pair. They are the only Psalms in which the name מלאך יהוה is mentioned. The Psalms that belong to the time of David's persecution by Saul are the Psalms which are more especially pervaded by such retrospective references to the Tôra. And in fact this whole Psalm is, as it were, the lyrical expansion of that which David expresses before Saul in 1 Samuel 24:15. The critical opinion as to the authorship of this Psalm is closely allied with that respecting the author of Ps 40 and 69 to which Ps 35 is nearly related; cf. Psalms 35:21, Psalms 35:27 with Psalms 40:16.; Psalms 35:13 with Psalms 69:11.; whereas the relation of Ps 71 to Ps 35 is decidedly a secondary one. Hitzig conjectures it to be Jeremiah; but Psalms 35:1 are appropriate in the lips of a persecuted king, and not of a persecuted prophet. The points of contact of the writings of Jeremiah with our Psalm (Jeremiah 18:19., Jeremiah 23:12; Lamentations 2:16), may therefore in this instance be more safely regarded as reminiscences of an earlier writer than in Ps 69. Throughout the whole Psalm there prevails a deep vexation of spirit (to which corresponds the suffix מו - , as in Ps 59; Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 11:1-7; Psalms 17:1-15; 22; Psalms 64:1-10) and strong emotion; it is not until the second part, where the poet describes the base ingratitude of his enemies, that the language becomes more clam and transparent, and a more quiet sadness takes the place of indignation and rage.
Each of the three parts opens with a cry for deliverance; and closes, in the certain assumption that it will take place, with a vow of thanksgiving. The divisions cannot therefore be mistaken, viz., Psalms 35:1, Psalms 35:11, Psalms 35:19. The relative numbers of the stichs in the separate groups is as follows: 6. 6. 5. 5. 7. 7. 5. 6. 6. 6. 5.
There are only a few Psalms of David belonging to the time of Saul's persecution, which, like Ps 22, keep within the limits of deep inward grief; and in scarcely a single instance do we find him confining himself to the expression of the accursed fate of his enemies with prophetic certainty, as that which he confidently expects will be realised (as, e.g., in Psalms 7:13-17). But for the most part the objective announcement of punishment is swallowed up by the force of his inmost feelings, and changed into the most importunate prayer (as in Psalms 7:7; Psalms 17:13, and frequently); and this feverish glow of feeling becomes still more harshly prominent, when the prayer for the revelation of divine judgment in punishment passes over into a wish that it may actually take place. In this respect Ps 7, 35, 69, 109 form a fearful gradation. In Ps 109, the old expositors count as many as thirty anathemas. What explanation can we give of such language coming from the lips and heart of the poet? Perhaps as paroxysms of a desire for revenge? His advance against Nabal shows that even a David was susceptible of such feelings; but 1 Samuel 25:32. also shows that only a gentle stirring up of his conscience was needed to dissuade him from it. How much more natural-we throw out this consideration in agreement with Kurtz - that the preponderance of that magnanimity peculiar to him should have maintained its ascendancy in the moments of the highest religious consecration in which he composed his Psalms! It is inconceivable that the unholy fire of personal passion could be here mingled with the holy fire of his love to God. It is in fact the Psalms more especially, which are the purest and most faithful mirror of the piety of the Old Testament: the duty of love towards one's enemies, however, is so little alien to the Old Testament (Exodus 23:4., Leviticus 19:18; Proverbs 20:22; Proverbs 24:17; Proverbs 25:21., Job 31:29.), that the very words of the Old Testament are made use of even in the New to inculcate this love. And from Ps 7, in its agreement with the history of his conduct towards Saul, we have seen that David was conscious of having fulfilled this duty. All the imprecatory words in these Psalms come, therefore, from the pure spring of unself-seeking zeal for the honour of God. That this zeal appears in this instance as zeal for his own person or character arises from the fact, that David, as the God-anointed heir of the kingdom, stands in antagonism to Saul, the king alienated from God; and, that to his mind the cause of God, the continuance of the church, and the future of Israel, coincide with his own destiny. The fire of his anger is kindled at this focus (so to speak) of the view which he has of his own position in the course of the history of redemption. It is therefore a holy fire; but the spirit of the New Testament, as Jesus Himself declare sin Luke 9:55, is in this respect, nevertheless, a relatively different spirit from that of the Old. That act of divine love, redemption, out of the open fountain of which there flowed forth the impulse of a love which embraces and conquers the world, was then as yet not completed; and a curtain then still hung before eternity, before heaven and hell, so that imprecations like Psalms 69:20 were not understood,even by him who uttered them, in their infinite depth of meaning. Now that this curtain is drawn up, the New Testament faith shrinks back from invoking upon any one a destruction that lasts לעולם ; and love seeks, so long as a mere shadow of possibility exists, to rescue everything human from the perdition of an unhappy future-a perdition the full meaning of which cannot be exhausted by human thought.
In connection with all this, however, there still remains one important consideration. The curses, which are contained in the Davidic Psalms of the time of Saul's persecution, are referred to in the New Testament as fulfilled in the enemies of Jesus Christ, Acts 1:20; Romans 11:7-10. One expression found in our Psalm, ἐμίσησάν με δωρεάν (cf. Psalms 69:5) is used by Jesus (John 15:25) as fulfilled in Him; it therefore appears as though the whole Psalm ought to be, or at least may be, taken typically as the words of Christ. But nowhere in the Gospels do we read an imprecation used by Jesus against His own and the enemies of the kingdom of God; David's imprecations are not suited to the lips of the Saviour, nor do the instances in which they are cited in the New Testament give them the impress of being His direct words: they are treated as the language of prophecy by virtue of the Spirit, whose instrument David was, and whose work the Scriptures are. And it is only in this sense that the Christian adopts them in prayer. For after the pattern of his Lord, who on the cross prayed “Father forgive them,” he desires that even his bitterest enemies may not be eternally lost, but, though it be only when in articulo mortis , that they may come to their right mind. Even the anathemas of the apostle against the Judaising false teachers and against Alexander the smith (Galatians 1:9; Galatians 5:12; 2 Timothy 4:14), refer only to temporal removal and chastisement, not to eternal perdition. They mark the extreme boundary where, in extraordinary instances, the holy zeal of the New Testament comes in contact with the holy fervour of the Old Testament.
The psalmist begins in a martial and anthropomorphical style such as we have not hitherto met with. On the ultima-accentuation of ריבה , vid., on Psalms 3:8. Both את are signs of the accusative. This is a more natural rendering here, where the psalmist implores God to subjugate his foes, than to regard את as equivalent to עם (cf. Isaiah 49:25 with ib. Psalms 27:8; Job 10:2); and, moreover, for the very same reason the expression in this instance is לחם , (in the Kal, which otherwise only lends the part. לחם , Psalms 56:2., to the Niph. נלחם ) instead of the reciprocal form הלּחם . It is usually supposed that לחם means properly vorare , and war is consequently conceived of as a devouring of men; but the Arabic offers another primary meaning: to press close and compact ( Niph. to one another), consequently מלחמה means a dense crowd, a dense bustle and tumult (cf. the Homeric κλόνος ). The summons to Jahve to arm, and that in a twofold manner, viz., with the מגן for warding off the hostile blow and צנּה (vid., Ps 5:13) which covers the body like a testudo - by which, inasmuch as it is impossible to hold both shields at the same time, the figure is idealised - is meant to express, that He is to make Himself felt by the foes, in every possible way, to their own confounding, as the unapproachable One. The ב of בּעזרתי (in the character of help turned towards me) is the so-called Beth essentiae,
(Note: The Hebrew Beth essentiae is used much more freely and extensively than the Arabic, which is joined exclusively to the predicate of a simple clause, where in our language the verb is “to be,” and as a rule only to the predicate of negative clauses: laisa bi - hakı̂mim , he is not wise, or laisa bi - l - hakı̂mi , he is not the wise man. The predicate can accordingly be indeterminate or determinate. Moreover, in Hebrew, where this ב is found with the predicate, with the complement of the subject, or even, though only as a solecism (vid., Gesenius' Thesaurus p. 175), with the subject itself, the word to which it is prefixed may be determinate, whether as an attribute determined by itself (Exodus 6:3, בּאל שׁדּי ), by a suffix (as above, Psalms 35:2, cf. Psalms 146:5; Exodus 18:4; Proverbs 3:26), or even by the article. At all events no syntactic objection can be brought against the interpretations of בעשׁן , “in the quality of smoke,” Psalms 37:20; cf. בּהבל , Psalms 78:33, and of בּנּפשׁ , “in the character of the soul,” Leviticus 17:11.)
as in Exodus 18:4; Proverbs 3:26; Isaiah 48:10 ( tanquam argentum ), and frequently. הריק has the same meaning as in Exodus 15:9, cf. Genesis 14:14, viz., to bring forth, draw forth, to draw or unsheath (a sword); for as a sword is sheathed when not in use, so a spear is kept in the δουροδόκη ( Odyss. i. 128). Even Parchon understands סגר to mean a weapon; and the word σάγαρις , in Herodotus, Xenophon, and Strabo, a northern Asiatic, more especially a Scythian, battle-axe, has been compared here;
(Note: Probably one and the same word with the Armenian sakr , to which are assigned the (Italian) meanings mannaja, scure, brando ferro, in Ciakciak's Armenian Lexicon; cf. Lagarde's Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1866, S. 203.)
but the battle-axe was not a Hebrew weapon, and סגר , which, thus defectively written, has the look of an imperative, also gives the best sense when so taken (lxx σύγκλεισον , Targ. וּטרוק ), viz., close, i.e., cut off, interclude scil. viam. The word has Dechî, because לקראת רדפי , “casting Thyself against my persecutors,” belongs to both the preceding summonses. Dachselt rightly directs attention to the similar sequence of the accents in Psalms 55:19; Psalms 66:15. The Mosaic figure of Jahve as a man of war ( אישׁ מלחמה , Exodus 15:3; Deuteronomy 32:41.) is worked out here with brilliant colours, under the impulse of a wrathful spirit. But we see from Psalms 35:3 what a spiritual meaning, nevertheless, the whole description is intended to convey. In God's intervention, thus manifested in facts, he would gladly hear His consolatory utterance to himself. The burden of his cry is that God's love may break through the present outward appearance of wrath and make itself felt by him.
Throughout the next two strophes follow terrible imprecations. According to Frst and others the relation of בּושׁ and חפר is like that of erblassen, to turn pale (cf. Isaiah 29:22 with Psalms 34:6), and erröthen, to turn red, to blush. בושׁ has, however, no connection with בוץ , nor has חפר , Arab. chfr, chmr, any connection with Arab. hmr, to be red; but, according to its radical notion, בּושׁ means disturbari (vid., Ps 6:11), and חפר , obtegere , abscondere (vid., Psalms 34:6). יסּגוּ , properly “let them be made to fall back” (cf. e.g., Isaiah 42:17). On the figure on Psalms 35:5 cf. Psalms 83:14. The clauses respecting the Angel of Jahve, Psalms 35:5 and Psalms 35:6, are circumstantial clauses, viz., clauses defining the manner. דּחה (giving, viz., them, the push that shall cause their downfall, equivalent to דּחם or דּחם , Psalms 68:28) is closely connected with the figure in Psalms 35:6, and רדפם , with the figure in Psalms 35:5; consequently it seems as though the original position of these two clauses respecting the Angel of Jahve had been disturbed; just as in Ps 34, the ע strophe and the פ strophe have changed their original places. It is the Angel, who took off Pharaoh's chariot wheels so that they drave them heavily (Exodus 14:25) that is intended here. The fact that this Angel is concerned here, where the point at issue is whether the kingship of the promise shall be destroyed at its very beginning or not, harmonises with the appearing of the מלאך ה at all critical junctures in the course of the history of redemption. חלקלקּות , loca passim lubrica , is an intensive form of expression for חלקות rof noisserp , Psalms 73:18. Just as דּחה recalls to mind Ex 15, so רדפם recalls Judg 5. In this latter passage the Angel of Jahve also appears in the midst of the conquerors who are pursuing the smitten foe, incarnate as it were in Deborah.
Psalms 35:7 also needs re-organising, just as in Psalms 35:5. the original positions of דחה and רדפס are exchanged. שׁחת רשׁתּם would be a pit deceptively covered over with a net concealed below; but, as even some of the older critics have felt, שׁחת is without doubt to be brought down from Psalms 35:7 into Psalms 35:7: without cause, i.e., without any provocation on my part, have they secretly laid their net for me (as in Psalms 9:16; Psalms 31:5), without cause have they digged a pit for my soul. In Psalms 35:8 the foes are treated of collectively. לא ידע is a negative circumstantial clause (Ew. §341, b): improviso, as in Proverbs 5:6; Isaiah 47:11 extrem. Instead of תּלכּדנּוּ the expression is תּלכּדוּ , as in Hosea 8:3; the sharper form is better adapted to depict the suddenness and certainty of the capture. According to Hupfeld, the verb שׁאה signifies a wild, dreary, confused noise or crash, then devastation and destruction, a transition of meaning which - as follows from שׁואה (cf. תּהוּ ) as a name of the desolate steppe, from שׁוא , a waste, emptiness, and from other indications - is solely brought about by transferring the idea of a desolate confusion of tones to a desolate confusion of things, without any intermediate notion of the crashing in of ruins. But it may be asked whether the reverse is not rather the case, viz., that the signification of a waste, desert, emptiness or void is the primary one, and the meaning that has reference to sound (cf. Arab. hwâ , to gape, be empty; to drive along, fall down headlong, then also: to make a dull sound as of something falling, just like rumor from ruere, fragor (from frangi) the derived one. Both etymology (cf. תּהה , whence תּהוּ ) and the preponderance of other meanings, favour this latter view. Here the two significations are found side by side, inasmuch as שׁואה in the first instance means a waste = devastation, desolation, and in the second a waste = a heavy, dull sound, a rumbling ( δουπεῖν ). In the Syriac version it is rendered: “into the pit which he has digged let him fall,” as though it were שׁחת in the second instance instead of שׁואה ; and from his Hupfeld, with J. H. Michaelis, Stier, and others, is of opinion, that it must be rendered: “into the destruction which he himself has prepared let him fall.” But this quam ipse paravit is not found in the text, and to mould the text accordingly would be a very arbitrary proceeding.
This strophe, with which the first part of the song closes, contains the logical apodosis of those imprecatory jussives. The downfall of the power that is opposed to God will be followed by the joy of triumph. The bones of the body, which elsewhere are mentioned as sharing only in the anguish of the soul (Psalms 6:3; Psalms 31:11; Psalms 32:3; Psalms 51:10), are here made to share (as also in Psalms 51:10) in the joy, into which the anxiety, that agitated even the marrow of the bones, is changed. The joy which he experiences in his soul shall throb through every member of his body and multiply itself, as it were, into a choir of praiseful voices. כּל with a conjunctive accent and without Makkeph, as also in Proverbs 19:7 (not כּל־ , vid., the Masora in Baer's Psalterium p. 133), is to be read cāl (with קמץ רחב , opp. קמץ חטוף ) according to Kimchi. According to Lonzano, however, it is to be read col, the conjunctive accent having an equal power with Makkeph; but this view is false, since an accent can never be placed against Kametz chatuph. The exclamation מי כמוך is taken from Exodus 15:11, where, according to the Masora, it is to be pointed מי כמוך , as Ben Naphtali also points it in the passage before us. The Dagesh, which is found in the former passage and is wanting here, sharpens and hardens at the same time; it requires that the expression should be emphatically pronounced (without there being any danger in this instance of its being slurred over); it does not serve to denote the closer connection, but to give it especial prominence. חזק ממּנוּ , stronger than he, is equivalent to: strong, whereas the other is weak, just as in Jeremiah 31:11, cf. Habakkuk 1:13, צדּיק ממּנוּ , righteous, whereas he is ungodly. The repetition of ועני is meant to say: He rescues the עני , who is אביון (poor) enough already, from him who would take even the few goods that he possesses.
The second part begins with two strophes of sorrowful description of the wickedness of the enemy. The futures in Psalms 35:11, Psalms 35:12 describe that which at present takes place. עדי חמס are μάρτυρες ἄδικοι (lxx). They demand from him a confession of acts and things which lie entirely outside his consciousness and his way of acting (cf. Psalms 69:5): they would gladly brand him as a perjurer, as an usurper, and as a plunderer. What David complains of in Psalms 35:12, we hear Saul confess in 1 Samuel 24:18; the charge of ingratitude is therefore well-grounded. שׁכול לנפשׁי is not dependent on ישׁלּמוּני , in which case one would have looked for כּשׁול rather than שׁכול , but a substantival clause: “bereavement is to my soul,” its condition is that of being forsaken by all those who formerly showed me marks of affection; all these have, as it were, died off so far as I am concerned. Not only had David been obliged to save his parents by causing them to flee to Moab, but Michal was also torn from him, Jonathan removed, and all those at the court of Saul, who had hitherto sought the favour and friendship of the highly-gifted and highly-honoured son-in-law of the king, were alienated from him. And how sincerely and sympathisingly had he reciprocated their leanings towards himself! By ואני in Psalms 35:13, he contrasts himself with the ungrateful and unfeeling ones. Instead of לבשׁתּי שׁק , the expression is לבוּשׁי שׁק ; the tendency of poetry for the use of the substantival clause is closely allied to its fondness for well-conceived brevity and pictorial definition. He manifested towards them a love which knew no distinction between the ego and tu, which regarded their sorrow and their guilt as his own, and joined with them in their expiation for it; his head was lowered upon his breast, or he cowered, like Elijah (1 Kings 18:42), upon the ground with his head hanging down upon his breast even to his knees, so that that which came forth from the inmost depths of his nature returned again as it were in broken accents into his bosom. Riehm's rendering, “at their ungodliness and hostility my prayer for things not executed came back,” is contrary to the connection, and makes one look for אלי instead of אל־חיקי . Perret-Gentil correctly renders it, Je priai la tête penchée sur la poitrine.
The Psalmist goes on to say in Psalms 35:14, I went about as for a friend, for a brother to me, i.e., as if the sufferer had been such to me. With התחלּך , used of the solemn slowness of gait, which corresponds to the sacredness of pain, alternates שׁחח used of the being bowed down very low, in which the heavy weight of pain finds expression. כּאבל־אם , not: like the mourning (from אבל , like הבל from הבל ) of a mother (Hitzig), but, since a personal אבל is more natural, and next to the mourning for an only child the loss of a mother (cf. Genesis 24:67) strikes the deepest wound: like one who mourns ( אבל־ ,
(Note: According to the old Babylonian reading (belonging to a period when Pathach and Segol were as yet not distinguished from one another), כּאבל (with the sign of Pathach and the stroke for Raphe below = ä); vid., Pinsker, Zur Geschichte des Karaismus, S. 141, and Einleitung, S. 118.)
like לבן־ , Genesis 49:12, from אבל , construct state, like טמא ) for a mother (the objective genitive, as in Genesis 27:41; Deuteronomy 34:8; Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 6:26). קדר signifies the colours, outward appearance, and attire of mourning: with dark clothes, with tearful unwashed face, and with neglected beard. But as for them - how do they act at the present time, when he finds himself in צלע (Psalms 38:17; Job 18:12), a sideway direction, i.e., likely to fall (from צלע , Arab. ḍl‛ , to incline towards the side)? They rejoice and gather themselves together, and this assemblage of ungrateful friends rejoicing over another's misfortune, is augmented by the lowest rabble that attach themselves to them. The verb נכה means to smite; Niph. נכּא , Job 30:6, to be driven forth with a whip, after which the lxx renders it μάστιγες , Symm. πλῆκται , and the Targum conterentes me verbis suis ; cf. הכּה בּלשׂון , Jeremiah 18:18. But נכים cannot by itself mean smiters with the tongue. The adjective נכה signifies elsewhere with רגלים , one who is smitten in the feet, i.e., one who limps or halts, and with רוּח , but also without any addition, in Isaiah 16:7, one smitten in spirit, i.e., one deeply troubled or sorrowful. Thus, therefore, נכים from נכה , like גּאים from גּאה , may mean smitten, men, i.e., men who are brought low or reduced (Hengstenberg). It might also, after the Arabic nawika , to be injured in mind, anwak , stupid, silly (from the same root נך , to prick, smite, wound, cf. ichtalla , to be pierced through = mad), be understood as those mentally deranged, enraged at nothing or without cause. But the former definition of the notion of the word is favoured by the continuation of the idea of the verbal adjective נכים by ולא ידעתּי , persons of whom I have hitherto taken no notice because they were far removed from me, i.e., men belonging to the dregs of the people (cf. Job 19:18; Job 30:1). The addition of ולא ידעתי certainly makes Olshausen's conjecture that we should read נכרים somewhat natural; but the expression then becomes tautological, and there are other instances also in which psalm-poesy goes beyond the ordinary range of words, in order to find language to describe that which is loathsome, in the most glaring way. פרע , to tear, rend in pieces, viz., with abusive and slanderous words (like Arab. qr‛ II) also does not occur anywhere else.
And what remarkable language we now meet with in Psalms 35:16! מעוג does not mean scorn or buffoonery, as Böttcher and Hitzig imagine,
(Note: The Talmudic עגה לשׁון ) , B. Sanhedrin 101 b, which is said to mean “a jesting way of speaking,” has all the less place here, as the reading wavers between עגה עגא ) and אגא . )
but according to 1 Kings 17:12, a cake of a round formation (like the Talmudic עגּה , a circle); לעג , jeering, jesting. Therefore לעגי מעוג means: mockers for a cake, i.e., those who for a delicate morsel, for the sake of dainty fare, make scornful jokes, viz., about me, the persecuted one, vile parasites; German Tellerlecker, Bratenriecher, Greek κνισσοκόλακες, ψωμοκόλακες , Mediaeval Latin buccellarii . This לעגי מלוג , which even Rashi interprets in substantially the same manner, stands either in a logical co-ordinate relation (vid., on Isaiah 19:11) or in a logical as well as grammatical subordinate relation to its regens חנפי . In the former case, it would be equivalent to: the profane, viz., the cake-jesters; in the latter, which is the more natural, and quite suitable: the profane (= the profanest, vid., Psalms 45:13; Isaiah 29:19; Ezekiel 7:24) among cake-jesters. The בּ is not the Beth of companionship or fellowship, to express which עם or את (Hosea 7:5) would have been used, but Beth essentiae or the Beth of characterisation: in the character of the most abject examples of this class of men do they gnash upon him with their teeth. The gerund חרק (of the noise of the teeth being pressed together, like Arab. ḥrq , of the crackling of a fire and the grating of a file), which is used according to Ges. §131, 4, b, carries its subject in itself. They gnash upon him with their teeth after the manner of the profanest among those, by whom their neighbour's honour is sold for a delicate morsel.
Just as the first part of the Psalm closed with wishes, and thanksgiving for their fulfilment, so the second part also closes with a prayer and thanksgiving. כּמּה (compounded of כּ , instar, and the interrogative מה which is drawn into the genitive by it; Aramaic כּמא , Arabic kam , Hebrew, like בּמּה , with Dag. forte conjunct ., properly: the total of what?), which elsewhere means quot, here has the signification of quousque, as in Job 7:19. משּׁאיהם from שׁאה , the plural of which may be both שׁאים and שׁאות (this latter, however, does not occur), like the plural of אימה , terror, אימים and אימות . The suffix, which refers to the enemies as the authors of the destructions (Proverbs 3:25), shows that it is not to be rendered “from their destroyers” (Hitzig). If God continues thus to look on instead of acting, then the destructions, which are passing over David's soul, will utterly destroy it. Hence the prayer: lead it back, bring that back, which is already well night borne away to destruction. On יהידה vid., Psalms 22:21. The כּפירים , which is intended literally in Psalms 34:11, is here emblematical. אודך is the cohortative. עצוּם as a parallel word to רב always refers, according to the context, to strength of numbers or to strength of power.
I the third part, Psalms 35:19 the description of the godlessness of his enemies is renewed; but the soul of the praying psalmist has become more tranquil, and accordingly the language also is more clear and moves on with its accustomed calmness. שׁקר and חנּם are genitives, having an attributive sense (vid., on 2 Samuel 22:23). The verb קרץ signifies both to pinch = nip , Job 33:6 (cf. the Arabic karada, to cut off), and to pinch together, compress = to wink, generally used of the eyes, but also of the lips, Proverbs 16:30, and always as an insidiously malicious gesture. אל rules over both members of the verse as in Psalms 75:6, and frequently. שׁלום in Psalms 35:20 is the word for whatever proceeds from good intentions and aims at the promotion or restoration of a harmonious relationship. רגעי־ארץ (from רגע , cf. ענוי־ארץ , Psalms 76:10, Zephaniah 2:3, צפוּניך , Psalms 83:4) are those who quietly and unostentatiously walk in the ways of God. Against such they devise mischievous, lying slanders and accusations. And with wide-opened mouth, i.e., haughty scorn, they cry, as they carouse in sight of the misfortune of those they have persecuted: now we have that which we have longed to see. האח (composed of ההּ and אח ) is a cry of joy, and more especially of malignant joy at another's hurt (cf. Ezekiel 25:3).
The poet takes up this malignant “now our eye sees it” and gives another turn to it. With יהוה , alternates in Psalms 35:22, Psalms 35:23, cf. Psalms 35:17, אדני , the pronominal force of which is revived in the combination אלחי ואדני (vid., Psalms 16:2). חעיר , carrying its object within itself, signifies to stir, rouse up, and הקיץ , to break off, tear one's self away, gather one's self up from, sleep. “To my right,” viz., to prove it by facts; “to my cause,” to carry it on in my defence.
On the metonymical use of נפשׁ , like τὸ ὀρεκτικόν for ὄρεξις , vid., Psychol. S. 203 tr. p. 239. The climax of desire is to swallow David up, i.e., to overpower him and clear him out of the way so that there is not a trace of him left. בּלּענוּהוּ with ע before נ , as in Psalms 132:6, and frequently; on the law of the vowels which applies to this, vid., Ewald, §60, a. שׂמחי רעתי is a short form of expression for רעתי שׂמחים בּ על . To put on shame and dishonour (Psalms 109:29, cf. Ps 18), so that these entirely cover them, and their public external appearance corresponds with their innermost nature.
Those who wish that David's righteousness may be made manifest and be avenged are said to take delight in it. When this takes place, Jahve's righteousness is proved. יגדּל , let Him be acknowledged and praised as great, i.e., let Him be magnified! David desires that all who remain true to him may thus speak; and he, on his part, is determined to stir up the revelation of God's righteousness in his heart, and to speak of that of which his heart is full (Psalms 71:24).
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Psalms 35". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany