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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 140

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 140:0.

David prayeth to be delivered from Saul and Doeg: he prayeth against them: he comforteth himself by confidence in God.

To the chief musician. A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד מזמור למנצח lamnatseach mizmor ledavid. There is no doubt but David wrote this psalm; and it is pretty generally agreed, that it was written under the persecution of Saul, and occasioned by the malicious and treacherous dealings of Doeg and the Ziphites.

Verse 2

Psalms 140:2. Are they gathered together, &c.— Are they creating wars: forming and occasioning quarrels and contentions.

Verse 8

Psalms 140:8. Further not his wicked device Or, as the original may be rendered, Permit not his wicked device to go forward, or be advanced: so the prayer is, not so much that God would not give him good success, as that he would interpose to his hindrance, and blast and frustrate his designs, instead of permitting them to prosper. Mudge, in agreement with Bishop Hare, renders the next clause and the following verse, Let those that beset me lift up the head: Let the labour of their own lips cover them.

Verse 10

Psalms 140:10. Let burning coals Burning coals shall, &c. They shall fall into miry pits. Mudge. The Psalmist seems here to allude to the destruction of the Sodomites. See what has been said on the 8th and 9th verses of the 137th psalm.

Verse 11

Psalms 140:11. Let not an evil speaker Or, A sycophant shall not. A man of tongue, according to the original; which signifies with the Hebrews a detractor, or sycophant; one who gives his tongue the liberty to vent what mischief he pleases. The Chaldee expresses it remarkably by a delator, or vile informer, with a three-fold, or three-forked tongue; because such a man wounds three at once, the receiver, the sufferer, and himself.

Verse 13

Psalms 140:13. Surely the righteous, &c.— The two clauses here are co-incident. The latter means, as the former, that good men shall always be admitted into God's presence; that is, here, to thank him for their victory over the wicked.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The way to glory lies through much tribulation; thus David came to the throne of Israel, and we may expect to meet with our portion of temptation, to suffer for Christ, before we reign with him. We have,

1. The Psalmist's complaints; many, mighty, and inveterate were his enemies; they were evil in their dispositions, and violent in their rage against him, crafty and mischievous, incessantly studying his ruin, and united in strict confederacy against him. With tongues of malignant venom they aspersed his character. Hardened in wickedness, they stopped at no violence; and, with full purpose of heart, determined his destruction. Proud, and confident of success, they laid their snares for him in all his paths, and expected quickly to see him their prey. Thus was Christ also beset with the malice and persecution of men, aspersed by their envenomed tongues; and snares laid to destroy him; while Herod and Pilate, priests and people, confederated against him, with ceaseless enmity pursued him to the cross. Let none of his servants count it strange, if they meet with the like enmity, slander, and opposition. The disciple is not above his master.

2. His prayer and confidence in God. Deliver me from their hands, preserve me from their snares, keep me, for I cannot keep myself; Thou art my God, my rock, my refuge, on whom I depend, the strength of my salvation, able to save to the uttermost, engaged to do it in that covenant which seals thee mine. Hear the voice of my supplications, and answer me in peace, according to the protection that I have hitherto experienced; for thou hast covered my head in the day of battle, and warded off every mortal blow aimed at me by my enraged foes. In the conflict with the powers of darkness, the Son of David thus offered up prayers and supplications, and was heard in the day of trouble, made triumphant in his resurrection, and his head exalted over all his foes. Behold here also every believer's warfare and strength. 1. His recourse is by prayer to God for strengthening and upholding grace. 2. He is enabled to exercise faith in God, as his God, and to find in him the strength of his salvation. 3. Thus is he protected in every dangerous conflict, and though his spiritual foes thrust sore at him, that he should fall, his head is covered, his soul preserved, and, if faithful, all his foes at last shall be made his footstool.

2nd, However prevalent for a time the wicked may seem, their triumphing is but for a moment.
1. David prays for the disappointment of his enemies. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked, further not his wicked device, or let it not come forth, however deep laid, or eagerly pursued, disconcert the enterprise when ready to be carried into execution, lest they exalt themselves, and grow insolent with success.

2. He foresees their ruin approaching. For as let may be rendered shall, what appears a prayer may be translated as a prophesy; though that God should be glorified in the destruction of the obstinately impenitent, may, without any private enmity, be the subject of a believer's prayer. Their cursing and lies shall return upon their own heads, and their own mischief cover them with confusion. The wrath of God shall fall on them, as the fire that devoured the cities of Sodom; and, sunk into the pit of torment, they shall never rise again from the everlasting burnings. All lying tongues are but for a moment, and the gains of falsehood shall never be established in the earth: like a beast of prey, evil shall hunt the violent man, till, at the last, destruction final and eternal shall overtake him. And this might be particularly levelled against Saul, or Doeg, but it is universally true of all the enemies of Christ and his people, whose end shall be, that they shall be rooted out at the last.

3. He expresses his confidence in God's care over his believing people. I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted; he had experienced this himself, and was sure it would be still the case respecting his suffering servants, whose innocence he would vindicate, and whose quarrel he would espouse; and the right of the poor, because such are liable to be oppressed; but God is the poor man's friend, to do him that justice which on earth may be denied him. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name, acknowledging with gratitude his kind interposition on their behalf, and the upright shall dwell in thy presence, as children under their father's care protected and preserved, as servants in their master's house, to wait his orders, or as saints around his throne in glory, to follow him with their everlasting praises.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 140". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-140.html. 1801-1803.
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