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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 64

A.M. 2956. B.C. 1048.

The matter of this Psalm plainly declares that it was made at a time when David was greatly distressed and reproached: which he was, both under Saul, and in the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Here David describes his enemies, Psalms 64:1-6 . Foretels their destruction, Psalms 64:7-10 .

Verses 1-4

Psalms 64:1-4. Preserve my life from fear That is, from danger: the act or passion of fear being often put for its object, danger, as Psalms 14:5; 1 Peter 3:14, and frequently elsewhere. Hide me from the secret counsels of the wicked That is, from the ill effects of their plots against me. Who shoot their arrows Of which phrase, see notes on Psalms 58:7. Even bitter words Slanderous and pernicious speeches against me. That they may shoot in secret Lying in ambush, or hiding themselves in secret places, as fowlers commonly do; at the perfect Or, upright man; that is, at me, who, in spite of all their calumnies, dare avow that my heart is perfect with God, and that I am blameless as to them, having given them no just provocation; suddenly At the very first opportunity; do they shoot at him, and fear not Neither fear men, because they conceal their actions from them, as appears from the foregoing and following words; nor God, whose judgments they despise.

Verses 5-6

Psalms 64:5-6. They encourage themselves Hebrew, יחזקו , jechazeku, they strengthen, or fortify themselves, by firm resolutions, by assured confidence of success, by uniting their counsels and forces together, and by mutual encouragements and exhortations. They say, Who shall see them Their snares are so secretly laid, that they think David cannot discern, nor therefore avoid them. They search out iniquities They study diligently and constantly to find out either matter which they may lay to my charge, or new ways and means of doing mischief. They accomplish a diligent search They have long and accurately searched, till at last they have ripened and perfected their thoughts, and contrived a very cunning and deep plot. Or, they say, We have accomplished our accurate search. By long searching we have at last found what we desired. And the heart is deep Deep as hell, desperately wicked, who can know it? By their unaccountable wickedness, they show themselves to be, both in subtlety and malignity, the genuine offspring of the old serpent.

Verse 7

Psalms 64:7. But God shall shoot at them Though I can neither search out nor prevent their subtle devices, yet God can, and will certainly do it, for he ordains his arrows against persecutors, Psalms 7:13, and his arrows will hit more surely, and fly more swiftly, and pierce more deeply than theirs do or can. They have many arrows, but they are only words, though bitter, and the curse causeless shall not come: but God has one arrow that will be their destruction; his curse, which is never causeless, and therefore shall come. Suddenly shall they be wounded That is, their wound by it will be a surprise upon them, because they were secure, and not apprehensive of any danger.

Verses 8-9

Psalms 64:8-9. They shall make their own tongue, &c. The mischief of their hard speeches, and threats, and crafty counsels against me, shall be turned against themselves. All that see them shall flee away Partly through abhorrence of them, and partly through fear of being involved in their destruction. Some think this was fulfilled in the death of Saul, when not only his army was dispersed, but the inhabitants of the neighbouring country were so terrified with his fall, and with that of his three sons, that they quitted their cities and fled, 1 Samuel 31:7. And all men shall fear A great number of those who shall see this event shall be affected with a holy awe of God upon the consideration of it, and shall fear and tremble because of his judgments; shall fear being found persecutors of God’s people. And shall declare the work of God His admirable work of divine wisdom, power, and faithfulness; they shall speak one to another, and to all about them, of the justice of God in punishing persecutors. For they shall wisely consider of his doing Learning wisdom by the folly and misery of these persecutors, and avoiding those evil courses which brought ruin upon them. There is need of consideration and serious thought, rightly to take up such a matter of fact, and need of wisdom to put a true interpretation upon it. What God does is well worth our considering, Ecclesiastes 7:13. But it must be considered wisely, that we do not mistake the design of it, and the instruction it is intended to convey.

Verse 10

Psalms 64:10. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord Not glad of the misery and ruin of their fellow-creatures, but glad that God is glorified, and his word fulfilled, and the cause of injured innocence pleaded effectually. And shall trust in him Their faith shall be hereby encouraged, and they shall commit themselves to him, in the way of duty, and be willing to expose themselves to danger, and to encounter difficulties for him, with an entire confidence in him. And all the upright in heart That keep a good conscience and approve themselves to God; shall glory Not in themselves, but in God, in his favour, his righteousness, and goodness, and in their relation to him, and interest in him. Let him that glorieth glory in the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 64". Benson's Commentary. 1857.