|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 4. - Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul. It appears from this that David's life is being sought, which only happened at two periods in his career:
(1) when he was a fugitive from Saul (1 Samuel 19:15 - 26:4); and
(2) during the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 15:13 - 18:8).
The psalm therefore belongs to one or other of those periods, most probably to the former (see the introductory paragraph, and note the resemblance between this passage and 1 Samuel 20:1; 1 Samuel 22:23). Let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. Imprecations closely resembling these occur frequently in the Davidical psalms (see ver. 26; Psalm 40:14; Psalm 70:2; Psalm 71:13), and amount to a sort of commonplace, to be used whenever the machinations of his enemies against him are the subject that occupies his thought.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let them be confounded, and put to shame, that seek after my soul,.... This petition, and what follows, which seem to be by way of imprecation, are to be considered as prophecies of what would be, and as expressions of faith that so it should be; and are not to be drawn into examples, and to be imitated by private persons; nor are they contrary to those evangelical rules, which require men to love their enemies, and pray for them; to give place to wrath, and not meditate vengeance, nor take it: and so it was with David's enemies. Saul, who hunted after his soul or life, to take it away, was filled with shame and confusion, when David, having cut off the skirt of his garment, held it up to him; by which he was convinced that his life was in his hands, and he did not take it away, though he was seeking after his: and so it will fare with the enemies of Christ, the Jews; who sought to take away his life and did take it away, when they shall see him come in the clouds of heaven, whom they have pierced; and in like manner will it be with the enemies of all his people, whom nothing will content but their lives, when they shall see the lambs they have worried and butchered on Christ's right hand, and they on the left; and to the sheep said, Come, ye blessed; and to them, Go, ye cursed, Matthew 25:34;
let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt; as Saul did David's, even when he made the most specious show of affection and respect unto him, as well as when he more openly persecuted him; and more than once was he turned back with shame, and departed home; see 1 Samuel 24:22. The Jews, that came to apprehend Christ, together with the Roman soldiers, and who had devised and intended his hurt, went backward, and fell to the ground with shame and confusion, when, having asked them who they sought, and they had replied, told them he was the person; and how often has it been, that when wicked men have devised, deceitful matters against the members of Christ, that their counsel has been carried headlong, they have not been able to perform their enterprises; a hook has been put into their nose, and a bridle in their jaws, and they have been turned back the way they came, with shame and disgrace.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. (Compare Ps 9:17).
devise my hurt—purpose for evil to me.
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