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David prayeth for his own safety, and his enemies' confusion: he complaineth of their wrongful dealing, whereby God is incited against them.
A Psalm of David.
Title. לדוד ledavid.— This Psalm is thought to have been composed by David when he was persecuted by Saul; whose forces, which were unjustly raised against him, he beseeches God to dissipate, and especially to stop the mouths of his false accusers; such as Doeg and the Ziphites, of whom he complains bitterly. Many commentators suppose, that David is here speaking in the person of Christ; and, consequently, that the enemies here referred to, are more especially the rulers of the darkness of this world, whose destruction is prophetically foretold.
Psalms 35:1. Plead my cause, &c.— Contend, O Lord, with them who contend with me.
Psalms 35:4. Let them be confounded, &c.— They shall blush and be ashamed—They shall be turned back, &c. We should render in the future all the following verses; which our translation puts in the optative mood, and consequently gives them too much the appearance of an imprecatory and revengeful spirit. See the note on Psalms 5:10.
Psalms 35:5. And let the angel of the Lord chase them— And an angel of the Lord driving: i.e. a very violent wind. He maketh his angels wind, &c. Mudge.
Psalms 35:7. Which without cause, &c.— Without provocation he hath digged a pit for my life. Saul seems to be pointed at in this clause, by the change of the plural number into the singular. Compare 1 Samuel 18:10-9.18.11; 1Sa 18:21 and 1 Samuel 19:10.
Psalms 35:10. All my bones shall say— These are figuratively represented as praising God; as if he had said, "All the members of my body, as well as all the faculties of my soul, shall be affected with a deep sense of thy goodness towards me, and thereby set forth thy praise."
Psalms 35:11. False witnesses did rise up, &c.— False witnesses will arise; so the Hebrew speaks in the future; and the verbs in the two next periods are also future; to intimate that the prophet was speaking of what was then future, in the person of him against whom false witnesses did arise; and who, because our souls were sick, clothed himself with the sackcloth of our flesh; mourning at the very thought that his prayers, in any measure, should return into his own bosom. See Fenwick, and 1 Samuel 24:9., and Matthew 26:59-40.26.60.
Psalms 35:12. To the spoiling of my soul— And attempt to rob me of my life. Green. The Hebrew שׁכול shekol, is abortion, or bereavement to my soul: "That I may be bereft of my soul, as a woman of an abortive child." Mudge and Houbigant.
Psalms 35:13. And my prayer returned into mine own bosom— And my prayer rested, or settled in my bosom; i.e. "I was never without a prayer for them in my breast;" for it would be odd, says Mudge, to talk of prayers returning, without having mentioned any prayer at all.
Psalms 35:14. As one that mourneth, &c.— As a mourning mother.
Psalms 35:15-19.35.16. But in mine adversity they rejoiced, &c.— But in my halting they rejoiced, and gathered together; they gathered about me, crouching, when I did not know it; they rent me without ceasing: Psalms 35:16. Amidst profligate common buffoons, they grinned upon me with their teeth. These two verses express in the strongest images the insult of his enemies. When he halted, from weakness, they gathered about him, and mocked him with a mimic halting; for נכים nekim, properly signifies people weak in their legs, and consequently limping and crouching: they would come behind him and rend his garment; for קרעו karu, I think, never signifies any thing else. They would grin their teeth at him, amidst the loosest, most abandoned, profligate buffoons by profession; for there is not a worse word than חנפי chanpei. See Mudge. The indignities and outrages which our Blessed Saviour endured from the Jews seem to be plainly foretold here. Compare Mar 14:65 where Jesus, being blindfolded, suffered a variety of indignities; but could not know who the wretched mockers and buffoons were, otherwise than by his divine power.
Psalms 35:17. My darling— My solitary one. See Psalms 22:20.
Psalms 35:19. Wink with the eye— i.e. In derision of my misfortunes.
REFLECTIONS.—The cause of God and truth has hitherto been here more or less under the cross. We have,
1. David calling upon God to plead his cause, and vindicate his injured innocence. His enemies maligned and traduced him; not satisfied with plundering him of all, and driving him out as a vagabond in the earth, they thirsted for his precious blood. Note; (1.) The best of men have been often persecuted as the vilest criminals; and the most inoffensive and peaceable in the land, charged with the blackest designs of conspiracy and rebellion. (2.) When we have a good cause and a good conscience, it should make us the more easily put up with the revilings of men. (3.) God will one day visit for oppression and wrong; till then, let us possess our souls in patience.
2. He prays that God would inwardly support him, and outwardly manifest his power to the confusion of his enemies. [1.] He begs inward support, say unto my soul, I am thy salvation: all other trials would sit light upon him, while he possessed this consciousness of God's power and grace engaged for him. Note; When the conscience of the believer assures him of his part in the Almighty Saviour, then all is peace within, and he can defy the glittering sword without. [2.] He cries for God's appearing to protect him, and confound his enemies; not in the language of revenge, but under the spirit of prophesy, as what would surely come to pass. God's shield and buckler spread over him, and sword and spear lifted up against his persecutors, will not only save him, but confound them. Note; (1.) Though we may not indulge private resentment, nor wish evil to our worst enemies, we may safely pray for the deliverance of God's suffering people, and the confusion of the enemies of Christ and his church. (2.) The sinner's foot is in a slippery place, and through the darkness of his fallen mind he sees not the dreadful pit just before him.
3. He rejoices in the confidence that God would save him, and therefore ascribes to him the glory. All my bones, my soul and body, my whole man, shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee? so peerless in thy own excellencies, so condescending to thy poor people, so good to redeem, so great to deliver them from all their mighty adversaries. Note; (1.) They who make the Lord their strength, will find him their joy. (2.) If God be for us, no matter who are against us.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 35". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent