David complains of the implacable cruelty of his enemies, and of their treachery and rancorous calumnies. In the close, having besought God's help, and expressing his persuasion of obtaining his layout, he comforts himself with the hope of deliverance, and just vengeance being executed upon his enemies.
To the chief Musician -- A Psalm of David.
1. Deliver me, O Jehovah! from the evil man, (homo,) preserve me from the man (vir)1 of injuries. 2. Who imagine mischiefs in their heart; daily they congregate for war. 3. They have sharpened their tongue like a serpent:2 the poison of an asp3 is under their lips. Selah. 4. Keep us, O Jehovah! from the hands of the wicked: preserve me from the man of injuries, who plot to overthrow my goings. 5. The proud have set a snare for me, and have spread a net with cords: by the way side they have set gins for me.4 Selah.
1 "The word 'man' in these two lines is expressed in the first by
2 Mant translates --
"The serpent's brandished tongue is theirs."
"The verb," says he, "here rendered 'brandished,' signifies either 'to whet, sharpen,' which is performed by reiterated motion or friction, or to 'vibrate.' In either case the metaphor, as applied to a wicked tongue, is beautiful and appropriate. I have preferred the latter as affording a more poetical image. See Parkhurst on
3 The original word
"As to the poison, it will be observed, that in the venomous serpents there is a gland under the eye secreting the poisonous matter which is conveyed in a small tube or canal to the end of a fang which lies concealed at the roof of the mouth. This fang is moveable at the pleasure of the serpent, and is protruded when it is about to strike at an antagonist. The situation of this poison, which is in a manner behind the upper lip, gives great propriety to the expression -- 'Adders' poison is under their lips.' The usage of the Hebrew language, renders it by no means improbable that the fang itself is called
4 The imagery in this verse is borrowed from the practices of hunters and fowlers in the eastern regions of the world, who are accustomed to take and destroy the ferocious beasts and the larger species of birds by a variety of ingenious snares and devices. It is a curious circumstance, as noticed by Thevenot, that artifices of this kind are literally employed against men as well as against birds and wild beasts by some of the Orientals. "The cunningest robbers in the world," says he, as quoted by Mant, "are in this country. They use a certain slip, with a running noose, which they cast with so much slight about a man's neck when they are within reach of him, that they never fail, so that they strangle him in a trice."
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