|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
35:1-10 It is no new thing for the most righteous men, and the most righteous cause, to meet with enemies. This is a fruit of the old enmity in the seed of the serpent against the Seed of the woman. David in his afflictions, Christ in his sufferings, the church under persecution, and the Christian in the hour temptation, all beseech the Almighty to appear in their behalf, and to vindicate their cause. We are apt to justify uneasiness at the injuries men do us, by our never having given them cause to use us so ill; but this should make us easy, for then we may the more expect that God will plead our cause. David prayed to God to manifest himself in his trial. Let me have inward comfort under all outward troubles, to support my soul. If God, by his Spirit, witness to our spirits that he is our salvation, we need desire no more to make us happy. If God is our Friend, no matter who is our enemy. By the Spirit of prophecy, David foretells the just judgments of God that would come upon his enemies for their great wickedness. These are predictions, they look forward, and show the doom of the enemies of Christ and his kingdom. We must not desire or pray for the ruin of any enemies, except our lusts and the evil spirits that would compass our destruction. A traveller benighted in a bad road, is an expressive emblem of a sinner walking in the slippery and dangerous ways of temptation. But David having committed his cause to God, did not doubt of his own deliverance. The bones are the strongest parts of the body. The psalmist here proposes to serve and glorify God with all his strength. If such language may be applied to outward salvation, how much more will it apply to heavenly things in Christ Jesus!
Verse 1. - Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me (comp. 1 Samuel 24:15, "The Lord therefore be Judge, and judge between me and thee; and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand." The word translated "plead" is a judicial term; but the context shows that it was in the battle-field, rather than in the law-courts, that David's cause was to be pleaded. The second hemistich is therefore added to explain and correct the first; it is fighting, not pleading, that is needed under the circumstances.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me,.... Meaning Saul and his courtiers; concerning whom he elsewhere desires that the Lord would judge between them, plead his cause, and deliver him; as he accordingly did, and maintained it, and the righteousness of it, 1 Samuel 24:12. So Christ pleaded not his own cause as man, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously; and his people leave their cause with him, who is their advocate, and is able to plead it thoroughly; and does plead it against wicked and ungodly men, who unrighteously charge them; against. Satan the accuser of the brethren, who stands at their right hand to resist them; and against their own hearts, and the sins of them, which lust and war against them, and condemn them;
fight against them that fight against me: so the Lord is sometimes represented as a man of war, and Christ as a warrior fighting for the saints; and safe are they on whose side he is; but miserable all such who are found fighters against him and his; for none ever opposed him and prospered.
The Treasury of David
1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.
2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.
4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
5 Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery; and let the angel of the Lord persecute them.
7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares: and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?
"Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me." Plead against those who plead against me; strive with my strivers; contend with my contenders. If they urge their suit in the law-court, Lord, meet them there, and beat them at their own weapons. Every saint of God shall have this privilege: the accuser of the brethren shall be met by the Advocate of the saints. "Fight against them that fight against me." If my adversaries try force as well as fraud, be a match for them; oppose thy strength to their strength. Jesus does this for all his beloved - for them he is both intercessor and champion; whatever aid they need they shall receive from him, and in whatever manner they are assaulted they shall be effectually defended. Let us not fail to leave our case into the Lord's hand. Vain is the help of man, but ever effectual is the interposition of heaven. What is here asked for as a boon, may be regarded as a promise, to all the saints; in judgment they shall have a divine advocate, in warfare a divine protection.
"Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help." In vivid metaphor the Lord is pictured as coming forth armed for battle, and interposing himself between his servant and his enemies. The greater and lesser protections of providence may be here intended by the two defensive weapons, find by the Lord's standing up is meant his active and zealous preservation of his servant in the perilous hour. This poetic imagery shows how the Psalmist realised the existence and power of God; and thought of him as a real and actual personage, truly working for his afflicted.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 35:1-28. The Psalmist invokes God's aid, contrasting the hypocrisy, cunning, and malice of his enemies with his integrity and generosity. The imprecations of the first part including a brief notice of their conduct, the fuller exposition of their hypocrisy and malice in the second, and the earnest prayer for deliverance from their scornful triumph in the last, are each closed (Ps 35:9, 10, 18, 27, 28) with promises of praise for the desired relief, in which his friends will unite. The historical occasion is probably 1Sa 24:1-22.
1-3. God is invoked in the character of a warrior (Ex 15:3; De 32:41).
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