|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:1-7 Be merciful unto me, O God. This petition includes all the good for which we come to throne of grace. If we obtain mercy there, we need no more to make us happy. It implies likewise our best plea, not our merit, but God's mercy, his free, rich mercy. We may flee to, and trust the mercy of God, when surrounded on all sides by difficulties and dangers. His enemies were too hard for him, if God did not help him. He resolves to make God's promises the matter of his praises, and so we have reason to make them. As we must not trust an arm of flesh when engaged for us, so we must not be afraid of an arm of flesh when stretched out against us. The sin of sinners will never be their security. Who knows the power of God's anger; how high it can reach, how forcibly it can strike?
Verse 5. - Every day they wrest my words; rather, all the day long. they wrest (or, torture) my words. They seek to give my words an evil meaning, and so to misrepresent me to Achish, their king. As Canon Cook says, "This description is singularly applicable to David's position among the envious nobles at the court of Achish Still, it does not speak of his having been actually arrested, and does not, therefore, seem to have suggested the inscription." All their thoughts are against his for evil. They are entirely bent on doing the psalmist some hurt. What they really seek is his life (ver. 6); but, short of that, they would gladly do him some mischief.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Every day they wrest my words,.... Form, fashion, and shape them at their pleasure; construe them, and put what sense upon them they think fit. The word (u) is used of the formation of the human body, in Job 10:8; They put his words upon the rack, and made them speak what he never intended; as some men wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction, 2 Peter 3:16; and as the Jews wrested the words of Christ, John 2:19. The word has also the sense of causing vexation and grief, Isaiah 63:10; and so it may be rendered here, "my words cause grief" (w); to his enemies; because he had said, in the preceding verses, that he would trust in the Lord, and praise his word, and not be afraid of men; just as the Sadducees were grieved at the apostles preaching, through Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, Acts 4:1. Or they caused grief to himself; for because of these his enemies reproached him, cursed him, and distressed him. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin render it, "they cursed my words"; or despised them, as the Ethiopic and Arabic versions:
all their thoughts are against me for evil; their counsels, schemes, and contrivances, were all formed to do him all the hurt and mischief they could.
(u) "fingunt mea verba", Cocceius, Gusset. p. 628. "They painfully form and frame my words", Ainsworth. (w) "Dolore afficient", Montanus, Gejerus, Vatablus.
The Treasury of David
5 Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
"Every day they wrest my words." This is a common mode of warfare among the ungodly. They put our language on the rack, they extort meanings from it which it cannot be made fairly to contain. Thus our Saviour's prophecy concerning the temple of his body, and countless accusations against his servants, were founded on wilful perversions. They who do this every day become great adepts in the art. A wolf can always find in a lamb's discourse a reason for eating him. Prayers are blasphemies if you choose to read them the wrong way upwards. "All their thoughts are against me for evil." No mixture of good will tone down their malice. Whether they viewed him as a king, a Psalmist, a man, a father, a warrior, a sufferer, it was all the same, they saw through coloured glass, and could not think a generous thought towards him. Even those actions of his which were an undoubted blessing to the commonwealth, they endeavoured to undervalue. Oh, foul spring, from which never a drop of pure water can come!
"They gather themselves together." Firebrands burn the fiercer for being pushed together. They are afraid to meet the good man till their numbers place terrible odds against him. Come out, ye cowards, man by man, and fight the old hero! No, ye wait till ye are assembled like thieves in bands, and even then ye waylay the man. There is nothing brave about you. "They hide themselves." In ambuscade they wait their opportunity. Men of malice are men of cowardice. He who dares not meet his man on the king's highway, writes himself down a villain. Constantly are the reputations of good men assailed with deep-laid schemes, and diabolical plots, in which the anonymous enemies stab in the dark. "They mark my steps," as hunters mark the trail of their game, and so track them. Malicious men are frequently very sharp-sighted to detect the failings, or supposed failings, of the righteous. Spies and mouchards are not all in the pay of earthly governments, some of them will have wages to take in red-hot coin from one who himself is more subtle than all the beasts of the field. "When they wait for my soul." Nothing less than his life would content them, only his present and eternal ruin could altogether glut them. The good man is no fool, he sees that he has enemies, and that they are many and crafty; he sees also his own danger, and then he shows his wisdom by spreading the whole case before the Lord, and putting himself under divine protection.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5, 6. A vivid picture of the conduct of malicious enemies.
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