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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 140



Verses 1-13

CXL. The Prayer of a Man hard Beset by Treacherous Foes.—It seems clear that the foes of whom the author complains are Jews, not foreign assailants. Slander and violence are their weapons, and the war which they stir up is party strife, not actual battle. Note further that the Psalmist characterises his enemies (Psalms 140:5) as "the proud"—a very natural term for the poor and pious Pharisee to use of the rich and aristocratic Sadducee. We have no certain indication of the date at which the Ps. was written. We can only say that it is natural to regard it as a Pharisee Ps. and to compare Psalms 56-59, 82, 94.

Psalms 140:1-5. The Ps. begins with a double introduction, or rather with two variants of the same introduction, Psalms 140:1-4 f. Note that the words ‘Preserve me from the violent man" occur in each introduction.

Psalms 140:6-11. Prayer for victory and imprecations upon his foes.

Psalms 140:8 b - Psalms 140:10. The text is quite uncertain. We may emend and translate thus: "Grant not, O Yahweh, the desires of the wicked man: His plot do not thou promote. Let not them that encompass me about lift up their head: let the iniquity of their lips overwhelm them: may he rain upon them coals of fire: may he cast them into floods so that they rise not." Of course such conjectures can do no more than give the general sense.

Psalms 140:12 f. The poet is confident that the cause of the godly, who are as a rule poor and needy, will prevail.


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 140:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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