|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
140:1-7 The more danger appears, the more earnest we should be in prayer to God. All are safe whom the Lord protects. If he be for us, who can be against us? We should especially watch and pray, that the Lord would hold up our goings in his ways, that our footsteps slip not. God is as able to keep his people from secret fraud as from open force; and the experience we have had of his power and care, in dangers of one kind, may encourage us to depend upon him in other dangers.
Verse 3. - They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent (comp. Psalm 52:2; Psalm 57:4; Psalm 59:7; Psalm 64:3). Adders' poison is under their lips (comp. Psalm 58:4; Romans 3:15). The meaning is that their tongues inflict wounds which are as painful as poisoned wounds. The pause-sign, "selah," marks off the first stanza.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent,.... Which Kimchi says it does before it bites. Aristotle (i) observes, that the tip or extreme point of a serpent's tongue is as small as a hair, and so exceeding sharp and piercing. Arama interprets this of the sharpness and cunning of the serpent; and particularly the serpent that deceived Eve, and spake cunningly to her. "For God knoweth", &c. and may design the calumnies and detractions, which were sharp as a razor; as swords, and spears, and arrows, and as the tongue of a serpent, Psalm 57:4; and the subtlety of false teachers, and deceitful workers; and the sharp and cutting words of wicked men against Christ and his people, Jde 1:15;
adder's poison is under their lips; which may signify the malignity of sin in wicked men, which comes from the old serpent the devil; is latent in men; very infectious, like poison, and deadly and incurable, but by the grace of God, and blood of Christ: and may describe particularly the mischief of the tongue, which is a little member, as the asp is a little creature; but very mischievous, full of deadly poison, which lurks in it, lies under it, and which spitting out, it stupifies and kills insensibly; as do the calumnies of wicked men, and the doctrines of false teachers; see Romans 3:13. The Targum is,
"the poison of the spider;''
though it is said (k) the spider is not venomous.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(i) Hist. Animal. l. 2. c. 17. (k) Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 800. & vol. 5. par. 1. p. 24.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. sharpened … like a serpent—not like a serpent does, but they are thus like a serpent in cunning and venom.
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