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This Psalm was composed by David upon occasion of those slanderous and reproachful speeches and treacherous dealings which David had from his enemies in Saul’s tithe, of which we have an account in the history.
The psalmist prayeth for deliverance and safety from wicked men, Psalms 140:1-7, for judgment upon them, Psalms 140:8-11, and comforteth himself with an assurance of God’s righteousness, Psalms 140:12,Psalms 140:13.
Either Saul or Doeg, or some other malicious enemy, or rather enemies; the word man being taken collectively for men, as appears from the next verse, where he speaks of this man in the plural number.
To execute those bloody enterprises which they had devised in the first clause of this verse.
They have sharpened their tongues; their malicious hearts stirred up their tongues to utter vile slanders against me. Like a serpent; either whetting their tongues, as serpents are said to whet theirs when they are about to bite; or rather, using words as sharp and piercing as the sting of a serpent.
Whose design and full resolution it is, if thou dost not prevent it, to overthrow my goings, or my feet or footsteps, i.e. to throw me down to the ground, to defeat all my hopes and counsels, and bring me to ruin.
The proud; my insolent enemies, who despise me for my meanness, and exalt themselves against thee.
By the wayside; in which I used to walk.
With thy powerful protection, as with a helmet or shield.
His wicked device; which is to destroy me.
Exalt themselves; not only against me, but against thee also, as if by their power and policy they had frustrated thy design and promise made to me.
The head; or, heads; the singular number put for the plural, as is frequent. By which he understands either,
1. Their politic heads, their chiefs or ringleaders, who were most malicious, and by whom all the rest were supported and stirred up: or,
2. Their proper and natural heads, as this word is used Psalms 140:7; and this covering of their heads here is opposed to the covering of David’s head there.
Let the mischief of their own lips cover them; let the mischief which by their calumnies they design against me fall upon themselves.
Burning coals; Divine vengeance, which is compared to coals of fire, as Psalms 18:12, and elsewhere.
Rise not up again; either to my danger, or their own comfort.
An evil speaker; such as slander me and other innocent persons, to exasperate princes against us.
Evil; either the evil of punishment; or, which comes to the same thing, the evil of sin, their own wickedness, which shall recoil upon themselves.
I know, both by God’s word, which hath promised it, and by my own experience of it in the course of God’s providence.
Shall give thanks unto thy name; shall have occasion to praise thee for their deliverance.
Shall dwell in thy presence; shall constantly enjoy thy gracious and powerful presence and assistance.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 140". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16