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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 64



Verse 1

1. My prayer—The word “prayer,” here, takes the sense of complaint, as in Psalms 55:2, and title of Psalms 102, “not in tones of pain, but in words.”Delitzsch.

Verse 2

2. Secret counsel—Conspiracy, dark plotting.

Insurrection—The word signifies a tumultuous assembly, a rushing together of the masses, as Psalms 2:1; a noisy crowd, Psalms 55:14. The secret counsel of Saul and the leaders of the nation gave birth to open demonstrations on the part of the people, both which are here deprecated.

Verse 3

3. Bend their bows—Hebrew, They have bent their arrows. Same as “bend the bow,” Psalms 7:13, or placing or aiming the arrow, Psalms 58:7.

Bitter words—Better, a bitter word. An evil tongue is sharper than a sword, and “bitter words” enter deeper into the soul than barbed arrows.

Verse 4

4. Shoot in secret—A mark at once of treachery, cowardice, and cruelty. See Psalms 10:8-10 and Psalms 11:2.

They… fear not— “They cast their arrows at men because they are not seen by them, and they are not afraid of God, who does see them.”Phillips, Psalms 55:19

Verse 5

5. They encourage themselvesThey strengthen themselves in an evil plot or counsel. This “hand to hand” wickedness, (Proverbs 11:21,) this emboldening each other by mutual vows of support in crime, is the last degree of depravity.

They commune—They reckon. “Each part of their evil plot being, as it were, carefully gone over and enumerated.” Perowne.

They say—They say “in their heart,” within themselves, as Psalms 10:6.

Who shall see them—Literally, Who will look to it; that is, judicially, in order to punish it. See Psalms 10:11; Psalms 10:13; Psalms 73:11; Psalms 94:7

Verse 6

6. They search out iniquities—Mentally, and with great labour, they work out plans for accomplishing wicked ends, as Psalms 58:2.

They accomplish a diligent search—Literally, they have accomplished a search searched out; that is, an exhaustive investigation. But the verb accomplished (ended, finished) may be taken in the first person plural, as a soliloquy of the conspirators, thus: We have finished a plot thoroughly wrought out! which gives dramatic effect.

Both the inward thought—The word “inward,” here, is the same as “inward part,” Psalms 5:9, and is here synonymous with heart, the seat of thought and affection. The inward part of a man, even the heart, is deep. This is the reflection of David after reviewing the conduct of his enemies. See Jeremiah 17:9-10; Psalms 19:12; Psalms 139:23-24. The preparations of his enemies are ended. The crisis has come. It is now time for God to work.

Verse 7

7. But God shall shoot at them with an arrow—Both the verbs in the two lines of this verse are in the past tense, and though the Hebrew gives an ambiguous idea as to interpunction, yet we should read:

But God hath shot at them an arrow,

Suddenly have come their wounds.

Thus, when they had completed their deep schemeswhen they had bent their bow to shoot in secret at the upright,(Psalms 64:3-4,) in a moment, by the unseen arrow of God, they received their own death wound. See Psalms 7:12; Psalms 38:2

Verse 8

8. Make their own tongue to fall upon themselves—The evil which they had proposed to bring upon the righteous by false testimony and vile slander, shall be visited back upon themselves to their ruin. Psalms 7:16; Proverbs 12:13; Proverbs 18:7. “They were thinking of wounding the upright, but behold they are wounded themselves.”Hengstenberg.

All that see them shall flee—As the people fled at the cry of Korah and his company when they saw them swallowed up alive. Numbers 16:34. But the word translated flee, signifies, radically, to move to and fro, to shake; and hence, also, to wag or shake the head in derisive triumph, as in Jeremiah 18:16; Jeremiah 48:27, in which latter it is translated in our English Bible, “skippedst for joy.” See also Psalm 14:14. So Furst translates the text, “All that look upon them shake [the head].” In this sense the looking upon them signifies, “the gratification of looking upon those who are justly punished, and rendered harmless.”Delitzsch. See Psalms 59:10; Psalms 92:11

Verse 9

9. All men shall fear—The wicked no less than the righteous shall recognise this judgment as of God. Psalms 53:5.

And shall declare— See on Psalms 58:11

Verse 10

10. The righteous shall be glad… trust… glory—On “glory,” see Psalms 63:11. The effect of the divine judgment in the overthrow of his enemies would cause the wicked to fear and confess God, and the righteous to rejoice, trust, and give praise.


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 64:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

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