Psalm 118:13
You have thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 118:13-14. Thou hast thrust sore at me, &c. — O mine enemy. The singular number may possibly be here put collectively for all his enemies; or, this apostrophe, which is strong, might be directed to some particular person in the battle, who had put David into great danger. The Lord is my strength and song — The author of my strength, and therefore the just object of my praise; and is become my salvation — The author of my protection and safety, and the source of my peace and comfort. Observe, reader, if God be our strength, he ought to be our song; if he work all our works in us, he ought to have all praise and glory from us. God is sometimes the strength of his people when he is not their song; they have spiritual supports when they want spiritual delights; but if he be both to us, we have indeed abundant reason to triumph in him.118:1-18 The account the psalmist here gives of his troubles is very applicable to Christ: many hated him without a cause; nay, the Lord himself chastened him sorely, bruised him, and put him to grief, that by his stripes we might be healed. God is sometimes the strength of his people, when he is not their song; they have spiritual supports, though they want spiritual delights. Whether the believer traces back his comfort to the everlasting goodness and mercy of God, or whether he looks forward to the blessing secured to him, he will find abundant cause for joy and praise. Every answer to our prayers is an evidence that the Lord is on our side; and then we need not fear what man can do unto us; we should conscientiously do our duty to all, and trust in him alone to accept and bless us. Let us seek to live to declare the works of God, and to encourage others to serve him and trust in him. Such were the triumphs of the Son of David, in the assurance that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall - literally, "Thrusting thou hast thrust at me." This is the Hebrew mode of expressing intensity, repetition, or emphasis. The meaning is, that they had made a deadly thrust at him; that they had repeated the blows; that they had come with a fierce determination to crush and destroy him. The psalmist, as it were, sees the enemy again before him, and addresses him as if he were present. Everything is vivid to the mind; the whole scene appears again to pass before him. 13-16. The enemy is triumphantly addressed as if present. Thou, O mine enemy, and the head of all mine enemies. Possibly he understandeth Saul, whom for honour’s sake he forbears to name; or some other chief commander of his enemies. Or the singular word is here put collectively for all his enemies. Thou hast thrust sore at me, that I might fall,.... Or "pushing, thou hast pushed me (a), that I might fall": an apostrophe to some particular enemy, as Saul was to David; who thrust sore at him to take away his life, by casting a javelin at him; speaking to his servants to kill him; sending messengers to watch his house and slay him, and by, pursuing him from place to place. And such an one was Judas to Christ, who lifted up his heel against him, and betrayed him into the hands of his enemies; or the devil in him, and by him; and who thrust sore at Christ by others; by Herod in his infancy, who sought to take away his life; and by the Scribes and Pharisees, who attempted it in different ways, and at last got him nailed to the cross; as well as Satan thrust sore at him, by his temptations in the wilderness, and when in his agonies in the garden, and when on the cross: and so the same enemy thrusts sore at the members of Christ, to cause them to fall from him, and the steadfastness of their faith in him to fail; that they may fall into temptation, and by it into sin, and that finally and totally, and into hell itself, could he obtain it;

but the Lord helped me; helped David, so that he perished not by the hand of Saul, he sometimes feared he should; helped Christ, as man and Mediator, in the day of salvation, and raised him from the dead, and gave him glory: and he helps his people against all their enemies; holds them with his right hand; helps them to fight against them; maintains his own work of grace in them, and keeps them from a total and final falling away, by his power unto salvation. The Targum is,

"the Word of the Lord helped me.''

(a) "impellendo impulisti me", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Michaelis; "trudendo trusisti me", Cocceius.

{e} Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.

(e) He notes Saul his chief enemy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Thou didst thrust sore at me] The community as an individual addresses its enemies as an individual. Israel and the foe are as it were two warriors matched in single combat. Cp. Micah 7:8.Verse 13. - Thou hast thrust lore at me that I might fall; rather, thou didst thrust (Revised Version). The psalmist recalls the past, and throws himself, as it were, once more into the midst of the struggle. Thou - mine enemy, Babylon - didst make s desperate onset upon me, fully intending my destruction. But the Lord helped me. Frustrated thy purpose - preserved the life, the national life, which thou aimedst at destroying, and so did most effectually "help me." The Hodu-cry is addressed first of all and every one; then the whole body of the laity of Israel and the priests, and at last (as it appears) the proselytes (vid., on Psalm 115:9-11) who fear the God of revelation, are urgently admonished to echo it back; for "yea, His mercy endureth for ever," is the required hypophon. In Psalm 118:5, Israel too then begins as one man to praise the ever-gracious goodness of God. יהּ, the Jod of which might easily become inaudible after קראתי, has an emphatic Dagesh as in Psalm 118:18, and המּצר has the orthophonic stroke beside צר (the so-called מקּל), which points to the correct tone-syllable of the word that has Dechמ.

(Note: Vid., Baer's Thorath Emeth, p. 7 note, and p. 21, end of note 1.)

Instead of ענני it is here pointed ענני, which also occurs in other instances not only with distinctive, but also (though not uniformly) with conjunctive accents.

(Note: Hitzig on Proverbs 8:22 considers the pointing קנני to be occasioned by Dech, and in fact ענני in the passage before us has Tarcha, and in 1 Samuel 28:15 Munach; but in the passage before us, if we read במרחביה as one word according to the Masora, ענני is rather to be accented with Mugrash; and in 1 Samuel 28:15 the reading ענני is found side by side with ענני (e.g., in Bibl. Bomberg. 1521). Nevertheless צרפתני Psalm 17:3, and הרני Job 30:19 (according to Kimchi's Michlol, 30a), beside Mercha, show that the pointing beside conjunctive as beside disjunctive accents wavers between a& and a4, although a4 is properly only justified beside disjunctive accents, and צוּני also really only occurs in pause.)

The constructions is a pregnant one (as in Psalm 22:22; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 74:7; 2 Samuel 18:19; Ezra 2:62; 2 Chronicles 32:1): He answered me by removing me to a free space (Psalm 18:20). Both lines end with יהּ; nevertheless the reading במּרחביה is attested by the Masora (vid., Baer's Psalterium, pp. 132f.), instead of בּמּרחב יהּ. It has its advocates even in the Talmud (B. Pesachim 117a), and signifies a boundless extent, יה expressing the highest degree of comparison, like מאפּליה in Jeremiah 2:31, the deepest darkness. Even the lxx appears to have read מרחביה thus as one word (εἰς πλατυσμόν, Symmachus εἰς εὐρυχωρίαν). The Targum and Jerome, however, render it as we do; it is highly improbable that in one and the same verse the divine name should not be intended to be used in the same force of meaning. Psalm 56:1-13 (Psalm 56:10; Psalm 56:5, Psalm 56:12) echoes in Psalm 118:6; and in Psalm 118:7 Psalm 54:1-7 (Psalm 54:6) is in the mind of the later poet. In that passage it is still more clear than in the passage before us that by the Beth of בּעזרי Jahve is not meant to be designated as unus e multis, but as a helper who outweighs the greatest multitude of helpers. The Jewish people had experienced this helpful succour of Jahve in opposition to the persecutions of the Samaritans and the satraps during the building of the Temple; and had at the same time learned what is expressed in Psalm 118:7-8 (cf. Psalm 146:3), that trust in Jahve (for which חסה ב is the proper word) proves true, and trust in men, on the contrary, and especially in princes, is deceptive; for under Pseudo-Smerdis the work, begun under Cyrus, and represented as open to suspicion even in the reign of Cambyses, was interdicted. But in the reign of Darius it again became free: Jahve showed that He disposes events and the hearts of men in favour of His people, so that out of this has grown up in the minds of His people the confident expectation of a world-subduing supremacy expressed in Psalm 118:10.

The clauses Psalm 118:10, Psalm 118:11, and Psalm 118:12, expressed in the perfect form, are intended more hypothetically than as describing facts. The perfect is here set out in relief as a hypothetical tense by the following future. כּל־גּוים signifies, as in Psalm 117:1, the heathen of every kind. דּברים (in the Aramaic and Arabic with )ז are both bees and wasps, which make themselves especially troublesome in harvest time. The suffix of אמילם (from מוּל equals מלל, to hew down, cut in pieces) is the same as in Exodus 29:30; Exodus 2:17, and also beside a conjunctive accent in Psalm 74:8. Yet the reading אמילם, like יחיתן Habakkuk 2:17, is here the better supported (vid., Gesenius, Lehrgebude, S. 177), and it has been adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer. The כּי is that which states the ground or reason, and then becomes directly confirmatory and assuring (Psalm 128:2, Psalm 128:4), which here, after the "in the name of Jahve" that precedes it, is applied and placed just as in the oath in 1 Samuel 14:44. And in general, as Redslob has demonstrated, כּי has not originally a relative, but a positive (determining) signification, כ being just as much a demonstrative sound as ד, ז, שׁ, and ת (cf. ἐκεῖ, ἐκεῖνος, κει'νος, ecce, hic, illic, with the Doric τηνεί, τῆνος). The notion of compassing round about is heightened in Psalm 118:11 by the juxtaposition of two forms of the same verb (Ges. 67, rem. 10), as in Hosea 4:18; Habakkuk 1:5; Zephaniah 2:1, and frequently. The figure of the bees is taken from Deuteronomy 1:44. The perfect דּעכוּ (cf. Isaiah 43:17) describes their destruction, which takes place instantly and unexpectedly. The Pual points to the punishing power that comes upon them: they are extinguished (exstinguuntur) like a fire of thorns, the crackling flame of which expires as quickly as it has blazed up (Psalm 58:10). In Psalm 118:13 the language of Israel is addressed to the hostile worldly power, as the antithesis shows. It thrust, yea thrust (inf. intens.) Israel, that it might fall (לנפּל; with reference to the pointing, vid., on Psalm 40:15); but Jahve's help would not suffer it to come to that pass. Therefore the song at the Red Sea is revived in the heart and mouth of Israel. Psalm 118:14 (like Isaiah 12:2) is taken from Exodus 15:2. עזּי (in MSS also written עזּי) is a collateral form of עזּי (Ew. 255, a), and here signifies the lofty self-consciousness which is united with the possession of power: pride and its expression an exclamation of joy. Concerning זמרת vid., on Psalm 16:6. As at that time, the cry of exultation and of salvation (i.e., of deliverance and of victory) is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of Jahve - they sing - עשׂה חיל (Numbers 24:18), practises valour, proves itself energetic, gains (maintains) the victory. רוממה is Milra, and therefore an adjective: victoriosa (Ew. 120 d), from רמם equals רוּם like שׁומם from שׁמם. It is not the part. Pil. (cf. Hosea 11:7), since the rejection of the participial Mem occurs in connection with Poal and Pual, but not elsewhere with Pilel (רומם equals מרומם from רוּם). The word yields a simpler sense, too, as adject. participle Kal; romēmā́h is only the fuller form for ramā́h, Exodus 14:8 (cf. rā́mah, Isaiah 26:11). It is not its own strength that avails for Israel's exultation of victory, but the energy of the right hand of Jahve. Being come to the brink of the abyss, Israel is become anew sure of its immortality through Him. God has, it is true, most severely chastened it (יסּרנּי with the suffix anni as in Genesis 30:6, and יהּ with the emphatic Dagesh, which neither reduplicates nor connects, cf. Psalm 118:5, Psalm 94:12), but still with moderation (Isaiah 27:7.). He has not suffered Israel to fall a prey to death, but reserved it for its high vocation, that it may see the mighty deeds of God and proclaim them to all the world. Amidst such celebration of Jahve the festive procession of the dedication of the Temple has arrived at the enclosure wall of the Temple.

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