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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 109

Verse 1

Psalms 109:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;

A Psalm of David ] Written by him, usque adeo terribili et horrifica oratione, saith Beza, in such terrible terms, as the like is not to be found in Holy Scripture; wherefore it is to be read and used with very great judgment, and not as those miscreants of whom Faber writeth, Quod more magico clam murmurabant hune Psalmum per modum execrationis in eorum hostes, that after a conjuring fashion they muttered out this psalm, by the way of curse upon their enemies.

Ver. 1. Hold not thy peace ] But plead my cause, clear mine innocence.

O God of my praise ] The object of my praises, or thou that keepest up my credit, as a witness, judge, and avenger of mine integrity.

Verse 2

Psa 109:2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

Ver. 2. For the mouth of the wicked ] There is nothing more easy than to wag a wicked tongue.

They have spoken against me with a lying tongue ] But with so much impudence as if it were a very truth. Socrates in his Apology, My lords, said he to the judges, I know not how you have been affected with mine accusers’ eloquence, while you heard them speak. For mine own part, I assure you that I, whom it toucheth not, was almost drawn to believe that all they said, though against myself, was true, when they scarce uttered one word of truth.

Verse 3

Psa 109:3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.

Ver. 3. They compassed me about also, &c. ] So that I could not find out any way to clear myself, though never so innocent.

And fought against me ] So they smote Jeremiah with the tongue, and our Saviour suffered the opposition of sinners, Heb 12:3

Verse 4

Psa 109:4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I [give myself unto] prayer.

Ver. 4. For my love they are mine adversaries ] Heb. they satanically hate me. To render evil for evil is brutish, but to render evil for good is devilish.

But I give myself to prayer ] Heb. But I am prayer, or, a man of prayer, as Psalms 120:7 , But I am peace. So, being defamed, we pray, 1 Corinthians 4:12 . When our Saviour was wearied out with the people’s obstinace, he turned himself to God in prayer, Matthew 11:26 , and prayed for his crucifiers, Luk 23:34 Send me to my toads again (in the dungeon), where I may pray for your lordship’s conversion, said Saunders, the martyr, to Winchester.

Verse 5

Psa 109:5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Ver. 5. And they have rewarded me ] See Psalms 109:4 .

Flectere naturam gratia nulla potest.

Verse 6

Psa 109:6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.

Ver. 6. Set thou a wicked man over him ] Whose tender mercies may be cruelties; let the devil be his taskmaster. Thus he prayed against Doeg, or Ahithophel, but certainly Judas, Acts 1:20 . And so the primitive Christians prayed against Julian the apostate, and afterwards against Arius the heretic, whose death was precationis opus non morbi, the effect of prayer, rather than of his disease, saith Socrates, lib. i. cap. 15. We are bound to pray daily, "Thy kingdom come," but must be advised how we pray, as David here doth, against particular persons; his curses here and elsewhere are indefinite, or conditional; either he nameth not the man, or intendeth it if God intend it so; or they are non tam vota quam vaticinia, not so much prayers as prophecies.

And let Satan (or an adversary) stand at his right hand] To withstand him and get the better of him, as Zechariah 3:1 . Or, to aggravate his fault before an unjust judge.

Verse 7

Psa 109:7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.

Ver. 7. When he shall be judged ] Let him be cast in all his suits, causa excidat.

And let his prayer become sin ] Quot apud iudicem preces adhibebit tot sibi mulctas aecersat, If he beg favour of the judge, let it be the worse for him, as it befell Haman, Esther 7:7-8 .

Verse 8

Psa 109:8 Let his days be few; [and] let another take his office.

Ver. 8. Let his days be few ] Let his execution be hastened, as Haman’s was. Ahithophel and Judas were their own deathsmen. Doeg, doubtless, came to an ill end; and so did other persecutors. See the Book of Martyrs.

And let another take his office ] Praefecturam. Officers are ofttimes the Church’s chief enemies; Popish bishops especially, as here in Queen Mary’s days. Judas was guide to those that took Jesus, Acts 1:16 ; Acts 1:20 .

Verse 9

Psa 109:9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Ver. 9. Let his children be fatherless ] Helpless and shiftless. A sore vexation to many on their death beds, and just enough on graceless persecutors. But happy are they who, when they lie a dying, can say, as Luther did, Domine Deus gratias ago tibi quod volueris me esse pauperem, &c., Lord God, I thank thee for my present poverty, but future hopes. I have not any houses, lands, possessions, money, to leave behind me. Thou hast given me life and children, behold, I return them back to thee, and beseech thee to nourish them, teach them, keep them safe, as hitherto thou hast done me, O thou Father of the fatherless, and judge of widows.

Verse 10

Psa 109:10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek [their bread] also out of their desolate places.

Ver. 10. Let his children be continually vagabonds ] Let them wandering wander, as Gen 4:12 Cain’s curse. Let them rogue about, - et timida voce rogare cibos. This is many times a token of God’s wrath.

Out of their desolate places ] Or, for that their places are desolate, and will afford them no help.

Verse 11

Psa 109:11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.

Ver. 11. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath ] As it were in nets and snares, that is, in bonds, debts, mortgages; so Chrysostom expoundeth Psalms 10:9 . Et ipsum et omnes eius facultates inexplicabilibus suis laqueis immites foeneratores irretiant, Let the merciless usurer make a prey of him and his estate.

And let the stranger, &c. ] Who hath no right to it, and will show as little mercy. The Chaldee here hath it, Colligat fiscus omnia quae ipsius sunt. And Quae non capit Christus, rapit fiscus, saith Bernard.

Verse 12

Psa 109:12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.

Ver. 12. Let there be none to extend mercy to him ] Let God in his justice set off all hearts from him that had been so unreasonably merciless. Thus no man opened his mouth to intercede for Haman; Judas was shaken off by the priests, and bid see to himself, &c.

Neither let there be any to favour his fatherless ] Pupillis pusillis. Let there be none to plead their pupil’s cause against the griping extortioner, or the stranger that violently invadeth their right.

Verse 13

Psa 109:13 Let his posterity be cut off; [and] in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Ver. 13. Let his posterity be cut Off ] Sit eius exitus excidium, so some render it, let his end be destruction; and it is better to take it, as we translate, "Let his posterity," &c. Let them be razed and rooted out of remembrance, they and their whole race.

Let their name be blotted out ] That they may not live, so much as by fame. The Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, have no memorial but what they have in the Bible, and that is for no good. And the like may be said of Meroz, Judges 5:23 , which seemeth to have been some city near the place where the battle was fought; but what it was none can determine, since there is no mention elsewhere to be found of it, which seemeth to be an effect of that bitter curse pronounced against it. See Proverbs 10:7 .

Verse 14

Psa 109:14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.

Ver. 14. Let the iniquity of his fathers, &c. ] In whose sinful steps he treadeth, be charged upon him.

And let not the sin of his mother ] Who bred him no better, but cockered him in wicked courses, and gave him no good example, Partus fere sequitur ventrem.

Verse 15

Psa 109:15 Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Ver. 15. Let them be before the Lord ] Stand ever upon record in his presence, to provoke him to wrath. A heavy curse indeed.

Verse 16

Psa 109:16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.

Ver. 16. Because that he remembered not to show mercy ] Here the prophet beginneth to show why he useth such doleful imprecations against his enemies, viz. not out of a spirit of revenge, or a false zeal, but as truly seeking God’s glory, and his Church’s safety, which could not otherwise be procured, unless these merciless men were devoted to destruction. He remembered not, that is, de industria oblitus est et omisit, he forgot and neglected it on purpose.

Verse 17

Psa 109:17 As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.

Ver. 17. As he loved cursing, &c. ] "The backslidcr in heart shall be filled with his own ways," Proverbs 14:14 . Cursing men are cursed men, as were easy to instance in sundry, as Hacker, hanged in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, and Sir Jervase Elloways, lieutenant of the Tower in King James’s days, according to their own wishes. See Mr. Clark’s Mirror, p. 210, &c. The Jews are still great cursers of Christians, they shut up their daily prayers with Maledic Domine Nazaraeis, and how it cometh home to them who knoweth not, even wrath to the utmost? 1 Thessalonians 2:16 .

Verse 18

Psa 109:18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.

Ver. 18. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment ] Ut vestis commensurata corpori, as the inner garment that sticks closest to the body, and is not done off but with much ado, as he hath wrapped, and trussed up himself in cursing.

So let it come into his bowels like water ] Let him have his belly full of it, and his bones full too.

And like oil ] Which easily soaketh through. See Numbers 5:22 .

Verse 19

Psa 109:19 Let it be unto him as the garment [which] covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.

Ver. 19. Let it be unto him as a garment ] Yet as an inner, but outer garment also, that men may see and say, This is an accursed person; the visible vengeance of God pursueth him.

Verse 20

Psalms 109:20 [Let] this [be] the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul.

Ver. 20. Let this be the reward ] Opus vel operae precium. The same Hebrew word signifieth work and wages, Actio et merces, Job 7:2 Isaiah 49:4 ; persecutors shall be sure of their payment.

Verse 21

Psa 109:21 But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy [is] good, deliver thou me.

Ver. 21. But do thou for me ] Fac mecum, sis mihi a latere, stick to me, act on my behalf, and for my benefit.

Verse 22

Psa 109:22 For I [am] poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.

Ver. 22. For I am poor and needy ] As a leper showeth his ulcers to move pity, so doth David his indigency and ailments.

And my heart is wounded ] I have my inward troubles also: or I am cordicitus vulneratus, almost dead, animam ago.

Verse 23

Psa 109:23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.

Ver. 23. I am gone like the shadow ] Abii, perii, evanui, I vanish, as the long shadows do so soon as the sun setteth.

As the locust ] Leapeth from hedge to hedge, so do I from place to place, being tossed from post to pillar, αστατουμεν , 1Co 4:11

Verse 24

Psa 109:24 My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.

Ver. 24. My knees are weak through fasting ] Either for lack of meat or stomach to it; genua labant, my knees buckle under me, the strong men bow themselves, Ecclesiastes 12:3 .

My flesh faileth of fatness ] I am lean and low brought. Christ might well cry out, "My leanness, my leanness"; so busy he was for his Father, and so worn out, that they judged him well nigh fifty, when he was not much over thirty, John 8:57 .

Verse 25

Psa 109:25 I became also a reproach unto them: [when] they looked upon me they shaked their heads.

Ver. 25. I became also a reproach ] In respect to my leanness.

They shaked their heads ] This is threatened as a curse, Deuteronomy 28:15-68 , but may befall the best, as it did our Saviour, Psa 22:7 Mat 27:39

Verse 26

Psa 109:26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:

Ver. 26. Help me, O Lord ] Prayer, like those arrows of deliverance, must be multiplied, as our trouble is lengthened and lieth on.

Verse 27

Psa 109:27 That they may know that this [is] thy hand; [that] thou, LORD, hast done it.

Ver. 27. That they may know ] That I am delivered merely by thy presence and power. It is the ingenuity of the saints, in all their desired or expected mercies, to study God’s ends more than their own.

Verse 28

Psa 109:28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.

Ver. 28. Let them curse, but bless thou ] Yea, the rather, as 2 Samuel 16:12 ; and I wot well that those whom thou blessest shall be blessed, as Isaac once said of his son Jacob, Genesis 27:33 .

When they arise ] To plead their own cause, causa excidant.

Verse 29

Psa 109:29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.

Ver. 29. As with a mantle ] Sicut diploide, saith the Vulgate, as with a doublet, q.d. Let them be doubley ashamed; for which purpose also he here doubleth his prayer.

Verse 30

Psa 109:30 I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

Ver. 30. I will greatly praise the Lord ] Diligenter et impense. God’s blessings are binders; and great deliverances call for suitable praises, the neglect hereof is crimen stellionatus, cousenage.

Verse 31

Psa 109:31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save [him] from those that condemn his soul.

Ver. 31. For he shall stand at the right hand ] As a faithful and powerful ( παραστατης or υπεραπιστης ) champion, and not as Satan standeth at the persecutor’s right hand, Psalms 109:6 .

From those that condemn him ] Heb. from the judges of his soul, sc. Saul and his courtiers, who judged him worthy of death,

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 109". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.