Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 109

Verses 1-31

Psalms 109:6 . Set thou a wicked man over him. This cannot apply to Ahithophel; he was already his own executioner. Let Satan, that is, an adversary, stand at his right hand, to accuse him, as Doëg stood and falsely accused the highpriest, and David also of conspiracy against Saul; a just punishment for accusing the innocent.

Psalms 109:14 . Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered. Sin is often strikingly entailed on posterity, in diseases, moral consequences, and temporal circumstances.

Psalms 109:17 . As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him. See on Genesis 9:25, where Noah curses Canaan, and Ham his father. Let all culprits truly repent, and pray the Lord for temporal mitigation; for no sentence or curse of the magistrate can affect a man’s final salvation.


How awful are the courses of the wicked. They often far exceed the intentions of the culprits, when they first enter on a course of crimes. Surely Doëg, when he used his lying tongue, could not think nor know, that in one hour he should murder four score priests, and that on the same day, all their mothers, wives and children, should be slain! The faction formed against David requited him evil for good, and let loose all the wickedness of the human heart, and the long festering corruptions of a guilty people: and all who love God will shun the counsel of the ungodly. Just so did the Jews requite the Saviour evil for good: they loaded his character with calumny, and thirsted for his blood.

We have the awful visitations which the Holy Ghost prompted David to utter against Doëg, and against his children, unless by repentance they obtained the removal of these evils. But it is proper to repeat here what is said before, that those maledictions are not to be understood of real evil wishes towards enemies; but rather as wishes prophetical, because in twenty places David prays for the good of his enemies. So they were understood in the primitive church. Hæc non optando sunt dicta, sed obtandi specie prophetando. August. de Civ. Dei. lib. 17. cap. 19. But we, being neither prophets nor judges, ought not to use this language to our enemies, how wicked soever they may be.

This will farther appear from the mystical sense of the passage. The Holy Spirit prompted David to say this more of Judas, and the Jews, than of Doëg. Whose readeth let him understand: the days of both those traitors were few. Satan standing at their right hand, drove them both to destruction. Their wives were widows, and their children orphans. The days also of the conspirators against our Saviour were few. The Romans everywhere cut them off. They were driven out from the presence of the Lord, their children were made vagabonds, seeking their bread in the desolate places of the gentiles. The extortioners for more than twelve hundred years have seized their wealth, and strangers have spoiled their labour. The principal cities of Europe have been stained with their blood; and in India they are poor and wretched to a proverb. Thus their posterity has been cut off, and their name in many places blotted out. They showed no favour to Christ, nor to his church; neither did the bloody Romans, nor the misguided christians show them any mercy. Nay, God himself would not hear them when they cried. What shall we say to these things? If this be not the accomplishment of prophecy, and the pursuing hand of vengeance, we must renounce all belief in the providence of God.

David, betrayed of men, made the Lord his confidence. From the twenty first verse to the close of this psalm, his devotion rises to that reliance on the rock of his salvation, which anticipated the deliverance which in the course of six years placed him on the throne.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 109". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.