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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 140

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-13

This psalm was composed by David, on occasion of Saul’s persecution. The title, a psalm of David, is undisputed.

Psalms 140:1 . From the evil man, Doëg the Edomite: from the violent man, Saul, whose name through delicacy David now forbears to mention. 1 Samuel 22:23.

Psalms 140:10 . Let burning coals fall upon them, as on Sodom. For upon the wicked he shall rain snares of fire and brimstone. Psalms 11:6. The word imports spiritual visitations of God’s high displeasure. Yet David often prays for repentance to be granted to his enemies. These psalms, being connected with war, are only like our christian prayers, that we may gain the victory by the slaughter of our foes.


This psalm has been anticipated in many of the preseding ones. David, long in exile and long persecuted, often resumed the subject of his grief. In all cases he carried his troubles to the Lord, pleaded his calamities in detail, and uttered the anguish of his heart in daily devotion. He marked the evil tendency of the slanders of those wicked men who surrounded Saul; it was the adder’s or the asp’s poison festering in their heart, which is almost certain death to the man who is bitten by that reptile. The daily plots of Doëg were thus continually tending to shed innocent blood; and the devices of Satan, the old serpent, are continually aimed against the faithful.

He prays God to preserve him, and he is encouraged to expect his care, because the Lord had already covered his head with a celestial shield in the day of battle.

The supplications here used for the destruction of his enemies are, as in the seventh psalm, in the form of prophecies, that they shall be destroyed: and on Gilboa all these evils came upon them. They fell, as they had plotted David’s fall; and he rose to the throne. Thus the Lord maintained the cause of the afflicted, and supported the rights of the poor. But David, as a prophet, might feel in the spirit, that Doëg and his bloody party had passed into a state of reprobation, and consequently he might say of him, as our Lord said of Judas, Good it were for that man if he had not been born. This psalm concludes in the language of faith. Hence whatever are the troubles of the righteous, after prayer to God, hope springs up in the mind, and faith anticipates salvation. How happy then is even the most afflicted saint, who walks in the counsel, and clothes himself with the might of the Lord.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 140". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-140.html. 1835.
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