|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:7-13 The psalmist teaches to look forward with faith, and hope, and prayer upon what God would further do. The success with which God blessed David, was a type of the total overthrow of all Christ's enemies. Those who might have had Christ to rule and save them, but rejected him and fought against him, shall find the remembrance of it a worm that dies not. God makes sinners willing by his grace, receives them to his favour, and delivers them from the wrath to come. May he exalt himself, by his all-powerful grace, in our hearts, destroying all the strong-holds of sin and Satan. How great should be our joy and praise to behold our Brother and Friend upon the throne, and for all the blessings we may expect from him! yet he delights in his exalted state, as enabling him to confer happiness and glory on poor sinners, who are taught to love and trust in him.
Verse 12. - Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back; literally, their neck (comp. Psalm 18:40). The meaning is simply, "Thou shalt put them to flight." When thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them. The Authorized Version, by supplying "when" and "thine arrows," expresses what the psalmist has left to the intelligence of the reader. The psalmist says, "Thou shalt put them to flight; thou shalt make ready upon thy strings against the face of them, no doubt meaning that the discharge of arrows would produce the hasty flight, but not saying it.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Therefore shall thou make them turn their back,.... Or flee and run away to private places, to hide themselves from the wrath of God and of the Lamb, though to no purpose; or "make them turn behind thy back": God will turn his back upon them, and be negligent and careless of them, and not regard them when they cry in their misery and destruction. Some Jewish interpreters (e) understand it of their being put together on one side, in one corner, and be separate from the people of God; to which sense the Targum inclines, rendering the word for "back" the "shoulder", which sometimes signifies unanimity and union, Zephaniah 3:9; and thus, being all together by themselves, the wrath of God shall be poured forth upon them, and they shall be destroyed at once: so the Christians were, by the providence of God, brought out of Jerusalem before its destruction; and the saints will be called out of Babylon before its fall; and the goats, the wicked, will be separated from the righteous, and set together at Christ's left hand; for they shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous: but the best sense of the words is, "thou shalt set them for a butt" or (f) "heap"; or, as it is in the Hebrew text, a shoulder; a butt to shoot at being so called, because it is earth heaped up like a shoulder; see Job 16:12; and to this agrees what follows:
when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them; that is, direct the arrows of his wrath and vengeance right against them; see Psalm 7:11.
(e) Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc. (f) "ponis eos metam", Cocceius; "humerum", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "velut tumulum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. turn their back—literally, "place them [as to the] shoulder."
against the face of them—The shooting against their faces would cause them to turn their backs in flight.
Psalm 21:12 Parallel Commentaries
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