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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 7

A.M. 2942. B.C. 1062.

David, being maliciously aspersed and calumniated, expresses his trust in God, and prays for deliverance from his enemies, 1, 2. Appeals to God for his innocence, Psalms 7:3-5 . Prays to him to judge his cause, Psalms 7:6-8 . And to abolish sin and establish righteousness, Psalms 7:9 , Psalms 7:10 . Bears witness to God’s wrath against sinners, and resolution to punish them, Psalms 7:11-13 . Describes the progress and end of sin, with the joy and triumph of the faithful, Psalms 7:14-17 .

Title of the Psalm. Shiggaion of David A song or hymn of David. Shiggaion is rendered by Houbigant, cantio erratica, a wandering song, or song of wanderings, so Parkhurst after Fenwick. It was probably composed by David in his wanderings, when persecuted by Saul and his servants: “in which,” says Dr. Dodd, “the psalmist stands as a type of Christ and his church, persecuted by Satan and his adherents.” Which he sang unto the Lord Which he not only composed, but which he himself sang, in a devout and religious manner, unto the Lord; concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite Who this Cush was we are nowhere told. Some think he was the same with Shimei, because he appears, from the third and fourth verses, to have reproached David, in the same manner as Shimei did, with his ingratitude to Saul. Some again are rather of opinion that Saul himself, the son of Cis, is meant by Cush, to which conjecture the Chaldee title of the Psalm gives some countenance, terming it “a song of David, which he sang before the Lord when he delivered a poem upon the death of Saul, the son of Cis.” But as this opinion seems to be formed on the supposed resemblance of the two names, Cush and Cis, it must be observed, that in the original they bear no resemblance whatever; קישׁ , kish, the name of Saul’s father, differing totally in two of its radical letters, from כושׁ , Cush, here spoken of. It seems more likely, therefore, that not Saul, but, as Bishop Patrick has observed, one of his courtiers, captains, or kinsmen, is intended. What the things were, of which he accused David, we know not. But the strong terms in which David declares his innocence, and, “indeed, the whole subject matter of the Psalm seems to assure us,” as Dr. Dodd justly remarks, “that on whatever occasion David wrote it, the Holy Spirit led him to use words which, in their full and proper sense, must have been designed for the mouth of him who was perfectly righteous, and in whose hands there never was any iniquity.”

Verse 1

Psalms 7:1. In thee do I put my trust All my hope and confidence are in thy favour, and faithfulness to fulfil thy promise made to me. Save me from all them that persecute me “To a tender and ingenuous spirit,” says Dr. Horne, “the persecution of the tongue is worse than that of the sword, and with more difficulty submitted to; as, indeed, a good name is more precious than bodily life. Believers in every age have been persecuted in this way; and the King of saints often mentions it as one of the most bitter ingredients in his cup of sorrows. Faith and prayer are the arms with which this formidable temptation must be encountered, and may be overcome. The former assures us, that God can ‘save and deliver’ us from it; the latter induces him so to do.”

Verse 2

Psalms 7:2. Lest he That is, mine enemy, as it is expressed, Psalms 7:4. The singular number here used, evidently proves that one particular enemy is referred to, whom some suppose to be the great enemy and accuser, whose agents and tools wicked men are. But it is much more probable that either Saul or one of his followers is intended; tear my soul Out of my body: or destroy me and my life, for soul sometimes signifies the life, of which it is the principle, and sometimes the person himself; either of which senses agrees to this place. Like a lion To which he compares his enemy, both for power and cruelty. While there is none to deliver While I have no power to defend myself, but am forced to flee to mountains, and caves, and woods, for my safety.

Verse 3

Psalms 7:3. O Lord, if I have done this Which Cush and others falsely lay to my charge; if there be iniquity in my hands In my actions, the hand being often put for actions whereof it is a great instrument: “David here makes a solemn appeal to God, the searcher of hearts, as judge of his innocence, with regard to the particular crime laid to his charge. Any person, when slandered, may do the same. But Christ only could call upon Heaven to attest his universal uprightness.” Horne.

Verse 4

Psalms 7:4. If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me He probably means to Saul, when he was peaceable and friendly toward him; for David was charged with evil designs against Saul, before Saul broke out into open enmity against him. Yea I have been so far from doing this that I have done the contrary; I have delivered him When it was in my power to destroy him; that without cause Without any provocation on my part, is mine enemy It is probable that David alludes here to his preserving the life of Saul when he was pressed by his attendants to suffer them to take it away, 1 Samuel 24:6; 1 Samuel 26:8, &c.

Verse 5

Psalms 7:5. Let the enemy persecute my soul, &c. I am contented, and wish that Saul may so persecute my life as to overtake it, and take it away. And lay mine honour in the dust Meaning either 1st, that honourable and royal dignity for which he was designed; or, 2d, his reputation and memory: or, rather, 3d, his soul or life, mentioned in the former clause, it being very usual to express the same thing by different words or phrases in one verse: thus we may observe a gradation here. 1st, Let him persist to persecute it; 2d, take it; 3d, tread it down, or destroy it; and, 4th, lay it in the dust, or bury it, to prevent all hopes of restitution. So that the evils which David imprecates on himself, if he were such a person as his adversaries represented him to be, are persecution, apprehension, death, and disgrace.

Verse 6

Psalms 7:6. Arise, O Lord, in thine anger Oppose thy just anger to their causeless and sinful rage against me. Lift up thyself Hebrew, הנשׂא , hinnasee, Be thou exalted; glorify thyself, and show thyself to be above them. Awake for me to the judgment, &c. To execute that righteous sentence which thou hast commanded That is, appointed and declared by thy holy prophet Samuel. Thus to a protestation of innocence he adds a prayer for judgment upon the case, formed on two considerations: 1st, the unreasonable and unrelenting fury of his persecutors; 2d, the justice which God commanded others to execute, and which, therefore, he himself would doubtless execute on such occasions.

Verse 7

Psalms 7:7. So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about Such a visible display of thy righteous judgment in thus pleading my cause against my cruel and implacable oppressor will induce multitudes of people, who shall behold or hear of it, to adore and glorify thee. For, observing thy justice, and holiness, and goodness, which will be hereby manifested, they will come from all parts to worship thee and to offer thee praises and sacrifices. For their sakes therefore For the sake of thy congregation, which is now wofully scattered and oppressed, and has, in a great measure, lost all administration of justice and exercise of religion; return thou on high Or, return to thy high place, that is, to thy tribunal, to sit there and judge my cause: an allusion to earthly tribunals, which generally are set upon high above the people, 1 Kings 10:19. The ark, and tabernacle, and worship of God, had been greatly neglected in Saul’s days, 1 Chronicles 13:3; his neglect of duty, impiety, and persecution, having driven his subjects from God’s ordinances, and seduced them into many crimes. “The words compass about,” says Dr. Dodd, after Spencer, “allude to the Jewish rite of going round the altar in time of divine worship. So that, to compass about, in a triumphant and joyful procession, means to adore, worship, and praise God. So Psalms 26:6, I will wash my hands in innocence, and so will I compass, or go round, thine altar.”

Verse 8

Psalms 7:8. The Lord shall judge the people The Sovereign of the world will not fail to dispense equal justice unto all, according to their works. Assured of which, I say, Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness For I desire no greater favour than to be disposed of according to my innocence in this matter. If I be guilty of those evil designs toward Saul wherewith Cush and others charge me, do thou give sentence against me; but, if I be just and innocent toward him, as thou knowest I am, and have been, do thou plead my right. Observe, reader, “legal or perfect righteousness and integrity are peculiar to the Redeemer; but evangelical righteousness and integrity all must have who would be saved.” Horne.

Verse 9

Psalms 7:9. Let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end Let the malice of mine enemies cease: put a stop to their wicked practices, either by changing their hearts or tying their hands: say to it as thou dost to the sea, Hitherto hast thou gone, but thou shalt advance no further. Hebrew, The wickedness of the wicked shall have an end; it shall cease: it shall be rooted out and destroyed. But establish the just Or, And thou wilt establish, or confirm, or uphold the just, all just persons and causes; which is opposed to wickedness coming to an end, last mentioned. For the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins And, therefore, he knows the secret wickedness of the wicked, and how to bring it to an end; and he is a witness to the secret sincerity of the just, and has secret ways of establishing them in it. “It is predicted, that wickedness will, in the end, be abolished, and the just immoveably established, by Him who knoweth intimately the very thoughts and desires of both good and bad men, and will give to each their due reward. How can we doubt of this when it has pleased God to afford so many examples and preludes to it in his dispensations of old time? The righteous cause hath already triumphed in Christ; let us not doubt that it will do so in the church. Happy the man whose hope is therefore in God, because he saveth the upright in heart.” Horne.

Verses 10-11

Psalms 7:10-11 . My defence is of God Hebrew, מגני על אלהים , maginni gnal Elohim, my shield is upon God. He, as it were, carries my shield before me: see 1 Samuel 17:7. He does and will protect me against all mine enemies. Which saveth the upright in heart And therefore will save me whom he knows to be sincere and upright in my conduct toward him and toward Saul. God judgeth the righteous That is, defendeth, or avengeth, or delivereth, as this word is often used. To judge is properly to give sentence; which, because it may be done either by absolving and acquitting from punishment, or by condemning and giving up to punishment, therefore, it is sometimes used for the one and sometimes for the other, as the circumstances of the place determine. God is angry with the wicked every day Even then when his providence seems to favour them, and they are most secure and confident.

Verses 12-13

Psalms 7:12-13. If he The wicked man last mentioned; turn not From his wicked course; he God; will whet his sword Will prepare, and hasten, and speedily execute his judgments upon him. He hath bent his bow Did I say, He will do it? nay, he hath already done it; his sword is drawn, his bow is bent, and the arrows are prepared and ready to be shot. The wrath of God may be slow, but it is always sure, and the sinner who is not converted by the vengeance inflicted on others, will himself, at length, be made an example of vengeance to others. He hath prepared for him For the wicked; the instruments of death That is, deadly weapons. He ordaineth Designs or fits for this very use; his arrows against the persecutors Of all sinners, persecutors are set up as the fairest marks of divine wrath. They set God at defiance, but cannot set themselves out of the reach of his judgments.

Verse 14

Psalms 7:14. Behold, he That is, the wicked, travaileth with iniquity, &c. This metaphor denotes his deep design and vigorous endeavours for doing mischief; and his restlessness and pain till he have accomplished it. “When an evil thought,” says Dr. Horne, “is instilled into the heart of man, then the seed of the wicked one is sown; by admitting, retaining, and cherishing the diabolical suggestion in his mind he ‘conceiveth’ a purpose of mischief; when that purpose is gradually formed and matured for the birth, he ‘travaileth with iniquity;’ at length, by carrying it into action, he

‘bringeth forth falsehood.’ The purity of the soul, like that of the body, from whence the image is borrowed, must be preserved by keeping out of the way of temptation.”

Verses 15-16

Psalms 7:15-16 . He made a pit, &c. This is a proverbial manner of speech often used in Scripture. It is taken from pits which are digged, and then covered with the leaves of trees, or some such unstable materials, either to make men fall into them, or else wild beasts, which are hunted into them. And is fallen into the ditch which he made He hath brought that evil upon himself which he intended against others. His mischief shall return upon his own head “All the world agrees to acknowledge the equity of that sentence which inflicts upon the guilty the punishment intended by them for the innocent. No one pities the fate of a man buried in that pit which he had dug to receive his neighbour; or of him who owes his death wound to the return of an arrow shot against heaven. Saul was overthrown by those Philistines whom he would have made the instruments of cutting off David. Haman was hanged on his own gallows. The Jews, who excited the Romans to crucify Christ, were themselves, by the Romans, crucified in crowds. Striking instances these of the vengeance to be one day executed on all tempters and persecutors of others; when men and angels shall lift up their voices and cry out together, ‘Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgments.’“

Verse 17

Psalms 7:17. I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness I will give him the glory of that gracious protection under which he takes his afflicted people, and of the just vengeance with which he will pursue them that afflict them; and will most thankfully acknowledge, not only the power, but the just judgment of God, and his faithfulness to his word. “Whatever doubts may at present arise in our minds concerning the ways of God, let us rest assured that they will receive a solution; and that the

‘righteousness’ of the great Judge, manifested in his final determinations, will be the subject of everlasting hallelujahs.” Horne.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 7". Benson's Commentary. 1857.