|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 12. - They compassed me about like bees; i.e. in vast numbers, and with intense energy, and a furious desire to injure (comp. Deuteronomy 1:44; and the powerful description of Virgil, 'Georg.,' 4:236-238). They are quenched as the fire of thorns. Their fury dies away and goes out suddenly, like a fire kindled among thorns, which blazes up with vast heat and noise, but in a short time dies down and disappears. For in the Name of the Lord I will destroy them (see the comment on ver. 11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They compassed me about like bees,.... In great numbers (w); as a swarm of bees, which, being irritated and provoked, will fly upon persons in a body, and with great fury; to which the Amorites and the Assyrian army were compared, Deuteronomy 1:44. They will attack horses and kill them, as Aristotle (x) says; and places besieged have been delivered by throwing out hives of bees among the besiegers (y): and yet as they are feeble creatures, so by striking they lose their sting; and either die very quickly, or however become useless. All which denotes the numbers of the enemies of David and of Christ, and of his church and people, and the wrath and fury of them against them, as well as their fruitless and unsuccessful attempts upon them; for though they rage, what they contrive and endeavour to put in execution are vain things, and in the issue end in their own ruin and destruction;
they are quenched as the fire of thorns; which make a blaze, a noise, for a while; but are soon consumed, and leave only a few ashes behind. Wicked men are often compared to thorns, they being like them, unfruitful in themselves, unprofitable to others, harmful to the saints, and whose end is to be burnt; and whose destruction is certain and sudden, and easily effected as the burning of thorns; see Psalm 58:9, Ecclesiastes 7:6. The Targum renders it,
"they burned as fire among thorns;''
which is easily kindled and soon quenched: and so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions; as if it was expressive of their wrath and fury, which was soon over; which agrees with what follows:
for; or "but", or "verily" (z),
in the name of the Lord I will destroy them; See Gill on Psalm 118:10 and See Gill on Psalm 118:11.
(w) , Homer. Iliad. 2. v. 87, Vid. Virgil. Aeneid. 12. v. 587. (x) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 40. (y) Vid. Dieteric. Antiqu. Biblic. p. 478. (z) "sed", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "certe utique", Polus; "quod certissime", Michaelis.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
118:12 Bees - ln great numbers. Thorns - Which burns fiercely, but quickly spends itself.
Psalm 118:12 Parallel Commentaries
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