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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 140

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-13

Prayer for Deliverance from Malicious Enemies.

To the chief musician, for performance in public worship, a psalm of David, in which he presents to the Lord the usual complaint, adding to this a fervent prayer and confident hope of relief.

v. 1. Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man; preserve me from the violent man, one who delights in inflicting injuries,

v. 2. which, that is, such people as a class, imagine mischiefs in their heart, ever planning evil and wickedness; continually are they gathered together for war, stirring up strife at every opportunity.

v. 3. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent, so that the sting of it is as deadly as that of a snake; adders' poison is under their lips, to be poured into the wounds made by their fangs as they slander their victim. Selah.

v. 4. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked, for they will not hesitate to vent their spite by outright acts of violence; preserve me from the violent man, who have purposed to overthrow my goings, literally, "to upset my steps," either by tripping or by kicking, the figure picturing the malicious manner in which the ungodly try to bring harm upon the faithful.

v. 5. The proud have hid a snare for me and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside, very near to the path which the believer must go, so that he will likely be caught; they have set gins, traps and pitfalls, for me. Selah. Cf Psalms 10:7; Psalms 31:13; Psalms 58:4. With all this malice and mischief before his eyes the psalmist now makes a declaration of his trust in the Lord.

v. 6. I said unto the Lord, to Jehovah, the God of mercy, Thou art my God, the essence of true faith being expressed in the confident possessive "my," with which the believer defies all enemies; hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord, the appeal by which he places himself entirely into the care of his heavenly Father.

v. 7. O God the Lord, the All-powerful, the Strength of my salvation, the one Stronghold in which the believers are sure of deliverance, Thou hast covered my head in the day of battle, literally, "in the day of armor," namely, when this is carried into battle; for it is then that the Lord is the Helmet of the faithful, protecting them from all harm. The psalmist does not depend upon his own strength in the emergency in which he finds himself, but on God alone.

v. 8. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked, by which he intends to destroy the believers; further not his wicked device, so that his plans meet with success; (lest) they exalt themselves. Selah.

v. 9. As for the head of those that compass me about, if they lift up their heads to carry out their wicked plans, let the mischief of their own lips cover them, that is, the trouble or suffering which they intend for others shall recoil upon their own heads, as a well-deserved punishment.

v. 10. Let burning coals fall upon them, be cast upon them in perils of a terrible nature; let them be cast into the fire, into everlasting destruction; into deep pits, abysses filled with water, that they rise not up again. The entire passage emphasizes the heinousness of the sin of slander and the severity of its just punishment.

v. 11. Let not an evil speaker, literally, "a man of tongue," one who steadily engages in slander, be established in the earth, be tolerated anywhere; evil shall hunt the violent man, who engages in such vicious practices, to overthrow him, overtaking him quickly and making an end of him. Once more, in conclusion, the psalmist states his confident belief in the God of his salvation.

v. 12. I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, bringing it to a successful issue in spite of all attempts of the wicked, and the right of the poor, because those who lack this world's goods are usually also without influence to fight malicious attacks.

v. 13. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Thy name, for the deliverance which is bound to come; the upright shall dwell in Thy presence, here in time, in the enjoyment of the means of grace, and hereafter in eternity, when they will be beyond the reach of malice and wickedness.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 140". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/psalms-140.html. 1921-23.
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