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Shiggaion: this seems to be the name of a certain kind either of song, or tune, or instrument, which then was very well known, but now is only matter of conjecture; wherewith I think it not fit to trouble the unlearned reader; and the learned may consult my Latin Synopsis.
Concerning the words; the false and slanderous reports raised or fomented by him. This was the occasion of this Psalm.
Of Cush; by which he designs either,
1. Saul; whom he thought it indecent to express by his proper name, for which he might at this time have divers reasons, and therefore he deciphers him enigmatically, which is not unusual in Holy Scripture; where Babylon is called Sheshach, Jeremiah 25:26; Jeremiah 51:41, and Rome is called Egypt, and Sodom, and Babylon in the Revelation; and John the Baptist is called Elias. And he might call him Cush. partly by a tacit allusion to his father’s name Kish, and partly with respect to his black and wicked disposition planted and firmly rooted in him. Compare Jeremiah 13:23; Amos 9:7. Or,
2. Some eminent and potent commander or courtier under Saul called Cush, though he be not elsewhere named; it being the lot of many other persons to be named but once in Scripture. And he is called the Benjamite, because he was one of that tribe, in which Saul put most confidence. See 1 Samuel 22:7.
The psalmist prayeth for deliverance from his persecuting enemies, Psalms 7:1,Psalms 7:2, and maketh a solemn profession of his innocency, Psalms 7:3-7. By faith he seeth his defence, Psalms 7:8-11, and the destruction of his enemies, Psalms 7:12-17.
In thee do I put my trust; all my hope and confidence is in thy favour and faithfulness to make good thy promise made to me.
Lest he, i.e. mine enemy, as it is expressed, Psalms 7:4, even Saul, or any of his followers,
tear my soul out of my body; or destroy me and my life, as Psalms 6:5.
Like a lion; to which he compares him both for power and cruelty, and withal intimates his own inability to oppose or escape his rage without God’s almighty help.
While there is none to deliver; whilst I have no considerable force to defend myself, but am forced to flee to mountains, and caves, and woods for my safety.
If I have done this, i.e. that which Cush and others falsely lay to my charge. If I design or have endeavoured to take away Saul’s crown and life by violence, as Saul’s courtiers maliciously reported, 1 Samuel 24:9,1 Samuel 24:10; 1 Samuel 26:19.
In my hands, i.e. in my actions or carriage towards Saul. The hand is oft put for actions, whereof the hand is a great and common instrument, as Psalms 78:42; Psalms 109:27; Jonah 3:8. If I design or have attempted to lay violent hands upon Saul.
Unto him that was at peace with me, i.e. to Saul, when he was peaceable and friendly towards me; for David was charged with evil designs against Saul before Saul broke out into open enmity against him.
Yea: this particle is here used by way of correction or opposition, as it is also Psalms 2:6; Proverbs 6:16. So far have I been from doing this, that I have done the contrary.
I have delivered him, when it was in my power to destroy him, as 1 Samuel 24:0; 1 Samuel 26:0;.
Without cause; without any provocation on my part.
I am contented, and wish that Saul may so persecute my life as to overtake it, and take it away. Mine honour; either,
1. That honourable and royal estate to which I am chosen and designed. Or,
2. My reputation and memory. Or rather,
3. The same thing which he called his
soul and his life in the former branch of the verse, and here his honour; it being very frequent to express one thing in several words or phrases in one verse. And so here may be observed a gradation. Let him,
1. Persist to persecute it;
2. Take it;
3. Tread it down, or destroy it; and,
4. Lay it in the dust, or bury it, to prevent all hopes of restitution.
Arise in thine anger; oppose thy just anger to their causeless and sinful rage against me.
Lift up thyself, that thou mayst give them a deadly blow. A metaphor from men who arise and lift up themselves to do so. Heb.
be thou exalted; glorify thyself, and show thyself to be above them.
To the judgment that thou hast commanded; to execute that just and righteous sentence of Saul’s deposition, and my advancement, which thou hast
commanded, i.e. appointed, (as that word is used, Psalms 148:5; 1 Kings 17:4, and in this very case, 1 Samuel 13:14) and declared by thy holy prophet Samuel.
The congregation of the people; either,
1. A great number of all sorts of people, who shall observe thy justice, and holiness, and goodness, in pleading my righteous cause against my cruel and implacable oppressor. Or rather,
2. The whole body of thy people Israel, to whom both these Hebrew words are commonly ascribed in Holy Scripture.
Compass thee about; they will, and I as their king and ruler in thy stead will, take care that they shall come from all parts and meet together to worship thee, which in Saul’s time they have grossly neglected, and been permitted to neglect, and to offer to thee praises and sacrifices for thy favour to me, and for the manifold benefits which they shall enjoy by my means, and under any government.
For their sakes; or, for its sake, i.e. for the sake of thy congregation, which now is woefully dissipated and oppressed, and have in a great measure lost all administration of justice, and exercise of religion.
Return thou on high; or, return to thy high place, i.e. to thy tribunal, to sit there and judge my cause. An allusion to earthly tribunals, which generally are set up on high above the people, 1 Kings 10:19.
It belongs to thee to judge all persons and people, and to give sentence between them, especially when they appeal unto thee; which I now do. If I be guilty of those evil designs towards him, wherewith Cush and others charge me, do thou give sentence against me; but if I be just and innocent towards him, as thou knowest I am and have been. do thou plead my right.
Let the malice of mine enemies cease, put a stop to their wicked practices, either by changing their hearts, or by tying their hands, or some other way; say to it, as thou dost to the sea, Hitherto hast thou gone, but thou shalt go no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. Or,
The wickedness of the wicked shall have an end; not an end of perfection, which is to be accomplished; but all end of termination, it shall cease; and an end of destruction, it shall be rooted out. Or, Let, I pray thee, wickedness consume the wicked, i.e. those that are maliciously and incorrigibly such. And so this prayer is opposed to that following prayer for the just. And such prayers against some wicked men we find used by prophetical persons, which are not rashly to be drawn into precedent by ordinary persons.
Establish; or, and thou wilt establish, or confirm, or uphold; which is opposed to that coming to an end or consuming last mentioned.
The just; all just persons and causes, and mine in particular, which is so.
The righteous God trieth the heart and reins; and therefore he knows that I have not so much as a thought or a desire of that mischief which Cush and others report I am designing against Saul.
My defence is of God, Heb. My shield is upon God; he doth as it were carry my shield before me. See 1 Samuel 17:7. He doth and will protect me against all mine enemies.
Which saveth the upright in heart; and therefore me, whom he knoweth to be sincere and honest in my carriage toward him and toward Saul.
God judgeth, i.e. defendeth, or avengeth, or delivereth, as this word is oft used, as Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalms 9:4; Psalms 10:18; Psalms 26:1, &c. To judge is properly to give sentence; which because it may be done either by absolving and acquitting from punishment, or by condemning and giving up to punishment, therefore it is sometimes used for the one and sometimes for the other, as the circumstances of the place determine it.
With the wicked; which though it may seem a bold supplement, yet is necessary, and easily fetched out of the next and following verses.
Every day; even then, when his providence seems to favour them and they are most secure and confident.
If he, i.e. the wicked man last mentioned, either Cush or Saul, turn not from this wicked course of calumnating or persecuting me, he, i.e. God, who is often designed by this pronoun, being easily to be understood from the nature of the thing,
will whet his sword, i.e. will prepare, and hasten, and speedily execute his judgments upon him. Did I say, he will do it? nay,
he hath already done it; his sword is drawn, his bow is bent, and the arrows are prepared and ready to be shot.
For him; either,
1. For or against the persecutor, as it follows. Or rather,
2. For himself, for his own use, to wit, to shoot against his enemies.
The instruments of death, i.e. arrows, or other deadly weapons.
He ordaineth, Heb. maketh or worketh, designeth or fitteth for his very use.
Against the persecutors; or, against furious and wry persecutors, as the word signifies, and as it is used, Genesis 31:36; Psalms 10:2; Lamentations 4:19.
He, i.e. the wicked, as is undeniably manifest from the matter and context.
Conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood: this metaphor noteth his deep design, and continued course, and vigorous endeavours for the doing of mischief, and his restlessness and pain till he have accomplished it.
Hath brought that evil upon himself which he intended against me; which may be understood either of Saul, who whilst he plotted against David’s life ran into apparent hazard of losing his own, 1 Samuel 24:0; 1 Samuel 26:0; or of some courtier or courtiers of Saul, in whom this was evidently verified, although the history and memory of it be now lost.
Which phrase may note whence this retribution should come, even from heaven, or from the righteous and remarkable judgment of God.
According to his righteousness, declared and asserted by him in their exemplary punishment, and my seasonable and wonderful deliverance.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 7". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12