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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
Psalms 120



Verse 2

From lying lips; from the unjust censures and malicious slanders of mine enemies, who traduce me as an egregious hypocrite, as a rebel and traitor.

From a deceitful tongue; which covereth mischievous designs with pretences of kindness.

Verse 3

What shall be given unto thee, whosoever thou art who art guilty of these practices? He applies himself severally to the consciences of every one of them. Or he designs Doeg or some other person in Saul’s court eminent for this wickedness. The sense may be this, It is true, thou dost me some mischief; but what benefit dost thou get by it, if all thy accounts be cast up? For although thou mayst thereby obtain some favour and advantage from Saul, yet thou wilt assuredly bring upon thyself the curse and vengeance of God; and then thou wilt be no gainer by the bargain. And to do mischief to another without benefit to thyself, is an inhuman and diabolical wickedness.

Verse 4

So this verse contains an answer to the question Psa 120 3, and declares the slanderer’s recompence; which is the wrath and vengeance of the mighty God, which in Scripture, and particularly in this book, is oft compared to at. rows, as Psalms 7:13,14, &c, and here to arrows of the mighty, i.e. shot by the hands of a strong man; and to coals, Psalms 140:10, and here to

coals of juniper, which being kindled burn very fiercely, and retain their heat for a long time. And the psalmist may possibly express it in these words, to show, the suitableness of the punishment to the sin; as thy tongue shoots arrows, (for so calumnies are called, Psalms 57:4 64:3) and kindles coals, so thou shalt bring God’s arrows and coals kindled by the fire of his wrath upon thyself. But according to the other translation, which is in the margin, this is a further declaration of the sin of calumny. Though, all things considered, it doth thee no good, yet it doth others much hurt, to whom it is like sharp arrows, &c.

Verse 5

Mesech and

Kedar are two sorts of people, oft mentioned in Scripture, and reckoned amongst the heathen and barbarous nations. But their nurses are not here to be understood properly, (for we do not read that either David or the Israelites in the Babylonish captivity dwelt in their lands,) but only metaphorically, as the ungodly Israelites are called Sodom and Gomorrah, Isaiah 1:10, and Amorites and Hittithes, Ezekiel 16:3,45, and as in common speech among us, men of an evil character are called Turks or Jews. And so he explains himself in the next verse by this description of them, him or them that hated peace, although David sought peace with them, Psalms 120:7. And so he speaks either,

1. Of the Philistines, among whom he sojourned for a time. But he did not seek peace with them, but sought their ruin, as the event showed; nor did they wage war against him, whilst he lived peaceably among them. Or rather,

2. The courtiers and soldiers of Saul, and the generality of the Israelites, who, to curry favour with Saul, sought David’s ruin, and that many times by treachery and pretences of friendship; of which he oft complains in this book; whom as he elsewhere calls heathen, as Psalms 9:5 59:5, it is not strange if he compares them here to the savage Arabians. And amongst such persons David was oft forced to sojourn in Saul’s time, and with them he sought peace by all ways possible; but they hated peace, and the more he pursued peace, the more eagerly did they prosecute the war, as it here follows.


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 120:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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