Psalm 10:2
The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
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(2) The wicked.—Better, in the pride of the wicked, the sufferer burns. (So LXX., Aquila, Symmachus, and Vulg.) Not to be taken of indignation felt by the sufferers, but literally of the afflictions they endure. The Authorised Version rendering of the next clause takes the wicked as the subject of the verb; but it preserves the parallelism better, and is more in accordance with the rest of the psalm (Psalm 10:8-10), to understand it of the “humble,” the singular changing to the plural in the subject when supplied: “they (the sufferers) are taken (the verb is in the present) in the plot which they (the wicked) have devised.”

Psalm 10:2. The wicked in his pride — The pride of his heart which makes him forget God, despise the poor, and oppress others: Hebrew, בגאות, begaa-vath, in his exaltation; doth persecute the poor — With great earnestness and burning fury, as the verb דלק, dalak, here used, signifies: as if he had said, The use which he makes of that power and authority to which thou hast advanced him is to persecute those whom he ought to protect and cherish.

10:1-11 God's withdrawings are very grievous to his people, especially in times of trouble. We stand afar off from God by our unbelief, and then complain that God stands afar off from us. Passionate words against bad men do more hurt than good; if we speak of their badness, let it be to the Lord in prayer; he can make them better. The sinner proudly glories in his power and success. Wicked people will not seek after God, that is, will not call upon him. They live without prayer, and that is living without God. They have many thoughts, many objects and devices, but think not of the Lord in any of them; they have no submission to his will, nor aim for his glory. The cause of this is pride. Men think it below them to be religious. They could not break all the laws of justice and goodness toward man, if they had not first shaken off all sense of religion.The wicked in his pride - Margin: "In the pride of the wicked he doth." The margin is a literal translation of the Hebrew; but the sense is the same. The meaning is, that the fact that the wicked persecuted the poor, in the case referred to, was to be traced to his pride, haughtiness, ambition; that is, in pursuing his own selfish and ambitious purposes, he became utterly regardless of the rights and comforts of others. He esteemed their interest and happiness as unworthy of regard in comparison with his own aims and purposes, and trampled down all their rights in prosecuting his own ends. The term "wicked" here - in the original in the singular number, רשׁע rāshâ‛, though perhaps used collectively - means properly the wicked one, or the wicked man, and doubtless refers to some enemy that David had in his eye, and from whom he was at that time suffering wrong. It is not possible now to ascertain with certainty who this was; but as the whole description proceeds in the singular number Psalm 10:3-11, it is most natural to suppose that this refers to one individual.

Doth persecute the poor - עני ידלק yidelaq ‛ânı̂y. Prof. Alexander renders this, "burns the sufferer." Luther, muss der Elende leiden - "must the afflicted suffer." DeWette: angstigen sich die Elenden. The Latin Vulgate: "When the impious (man) is proud, the poor (man) is burned:" incenditur pauper. So the Septuagint. Gesenius (Lexicon) supposes it means, to burn with anguish. Horsley renders it, "In the exaltation of the impious one the helpless is consumed." But it seems to me that our common version has expressed the true sense. The word rendered persecuteth - דלק dâlaq - means properly to burn, to flame; then to burn with love, with anger; then to burn after anyone, to persecute. See it; explained in the notes at Psalm 7:13. According to the most natural application of the word here, it would seem to mean, "In the pride of the wicked, he persecutes the poor or the afflicted;" that is, he burns after him; he is inflamed against him; he hotly pursues him. The word poor in this place - עני ‛ânı̂y - means the afflicted; the crushed; the downtrodden; those in circumstances of humiliation and poverty. The psalmist doubtless refers to himself as a poor and persecuted man; and the time in his life would seem to be when he was without a protector or friend, probably before he came to the throne.

Let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined - The artifice, plan, or scheme, which they have formed. That is, they have formed a scheme to take advantage of, or to destroy others; and the psalmist prays that, as a just retribution, this very calamity may come upon them. No man could have a right to complain if the mischief and wrong which he had devised for others should be brought upon himself; and if it were certain that this in all eases would occur, there could be nothing that would so effectually deter men from wrongdoing. The psalmist, then, simply prays that justice might be done. Compare Psalm 5:10, note; Psalm 7:15-16, notes. The plural form of the verb is used here, but it is not certain that the psalmist had more than one enemy in view, for on expressing his feelings toward that one enemy he may have designed to use language which would be applicable to all in similar circumstances.

2. Literally, "In pride of the wicked they (the poor or humble, Ps 10:17; 12:5) shall be taken in the devices they (the proud) have imagined."2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.

3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.

4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

5 His ways are always grievous; thy judgments art far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.

6 He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.

7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.

8 He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.

9 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.

10 He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.

11 He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.

Psalm 10:2

The second verse contains the formal indictment against the wicked: "The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor." The accusation divides itself into two distinct charges - pride and tyranny; the one the root and cause of the other. The second sentence is the humble petition of the oppressed: "Let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined." The prayer is reasonable, just, and natural. Even our enemies themselves being judges, it is but right that men should be done by as they wished to do to others. We only weigh you in your own scales, and measure your corn with your own bushel. Terrible shall be the day, O persecuting Babylon! when thou shalt be made to drink of the winecup which thou thyself hast filled to the brim with the blood of saints. There are none who will dispute the justice of God, when he shall hang every Haman on his own gallows, and cast all the enemies of his Daniels into their own den of lions.

Psalm 10:3

The indictment being read, and the petition presented, the evidence is now heard upon the first count. The evidence is very full and conclusive upon the matter of pride, and no jury could hesitate to give a verdict against the prisoner at the bar. Let us, however, hear the witnesses one by one. The first testifies that he is a boaster. "For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire." He is a very silly boaster, for he glories in a mere desire: a very brazen-faced boaster, for that desire is villainy; and a most abandoned sinner, to boast of that which is his shame. Bragging sinners are the worst and most contemptible of men, especially when their filthy desires - too filthy to be carried into act - become the theme of their boastings. When Mr. Hate-Good and Mr. Heady are joined in partnership, they drive a brisk trade in the devil's wares. This one proof is enough to condemn the prisoner at the bar. Take him away, jailor! But stay, another witness desires to be sworn and heard. This time, the impudence of the proud rebel is even more apparent; for he "blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth." This is insolence, which is pride unmasked. He is haughty enough to differ from the Judge of all the earth, and bless the men whom God hath cursed. So did the sinful generation in the days of Malachi, who called the proud happy, and set up those that worked wickedness (Malachi 3:15). These base pretenders would dispute with their Maker; they would -


In his pride; through pride of heart; which makes him forget God, Psalm 10:4, and despise the poor, and oppress others, either because they oppose or dislike his wicked courses, or that he may have more fuel for his pride or ambition. Or, in his exaltation. This is the use that he makes of that power and authority to which thou hast advanced him, to persecute those whom he should protect and cherish. He seems to point at Saul or his courtiers.

Doth persecute with great fervency and burning fury, as the word signifies.

The poor, to wit, me, who am through their tyranny poor, and destitute, and miserable, and therefore the more proper object for thy compassion, and others who favour my righteous cause.

The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor,.... The "poor" is the good and gracious man, who is commonly poor in this world's things, and is sensibly poor in spirit, or sensible of his spiritual poverty; or he is so called because "afflicted", as the word signifies; and he is afflicted because he is poor: these two characters generally go together. The "wicked" man is the wicked one, the lawless one, the man of sin, and son of perdition, antichrist, the great persecutor of Christ's poor saints and faithful witnesses, more or less, ever since he has been in power; and which arises from the "pride" of his heart, not bearing that any should refuse to pay homage to him, contradict his will, or dissent from him. The word (s) signifies to follow after, to pursue, as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it; and "to pursue hotly", as it is rendered in Genesis 31:36; and denotes the vehemence and heat of his wrath and fury, with which antichrist persecutes the followers of the Lamb; hence persecution is compared to the heat of the sun, Matthew 13:6; Some render the words, "through the pride of the wicked the poor is burned", or "the poor burns" (t): which may be understood either literally, of the burning of the martyrs of Jesus by antichrist, as here in Queen Mary's days; and which was foretold, that some of the saints should fall by flame, as well as by sword, captivity, and spoil; and to which that part of the description of Christ answers, whose feet are said to be like fine brass, as if it burned in a furnace; and which is prefaced to the epistle to the church at Thyatira, which is an emblem of the apostate church: see Daniel 11:33; or figuratively, of the poor saints burning with grief at the pride and wickedness of the man of sin, and with zeal for the honour and glory of God; see 2 Corinthians 11:29, Sol 8:6;

let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined: we read the words as a petition; and so the sense is, let the wicked persecutors be taken in the wicked and crafty schemes which they have devised for the hurt of others, as they are, or will be; see Psalm 9:15. But the psalmist is not yet come to petitions, nor does he until Psalm 10:12; but is all along describing the wickedness of the wicked one. It seems better therefore to render the words as do the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, "they are taken in the devices that they have imagined": and the meaning is, that the poor, who are persecuted by the wicked, are taken by their crafty schemes they lay for them, as Jarchi interprets it, and are put to death by them. So these words show the issue and event of persecution: and this sense best agrees with the boasted success of the wicked man Psalm 10:3.

(s) "fervide persequitur", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "ferventer", Gejerus; so Ainsworth. (t) "Incenditur", V. L. "ardet", Tigurine version, Muis, Cocceius.

The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
2. The general sense of the first clause is that given by R.V.:

In the pride of the wicked the poor is hotly pursued;

or possibly, is consumed, by fear, anxiety, and distress.

In the second clause there is a double ambiguity. The verb taken may be rendered as a wish or as a statement of fact; and its subject may be the ‘wicked’ or the ‘poor.’ Hence either, as A.V.,

let them (the wicked) be taken in the devices that they have imagined: or, as LXX, Vulg., R.V. marg.:

they (the poor) are taken in the devices that they (the wicked) have imagined.

With the first rendering comp. Psalm 7:15-16, Psalm 9:16 : but the second is on the whole preferable. It gives a good parallelism to the first line of the verse; and a further description of the wrongs of the poor suits the context better than a parenthetical cry for retribution.

Verse 2. - The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor. Dr. Kay translates, "Through the pride of the wicked man the poor is set on fire;" and our Revisers, "In the pride of the wicked, the poor is hotly pursued;" and so (nearly) the LXX., the Vulgate, Aquila, Symmachus, Kohler, Hengstenberg, and others. The Authorized Version paraphrases rather than translates; but it does not misrepresent the general sense, which is a complaint that the poor are persecuted by the wicked. Let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined (comp. Psalm 35:8, "Let his net that he hath hid catch himself;" and Psalm 141:10, "Let the wicked fall into their own nets;" see also Psalm 7:15, 16; Psalm 9:15; Proverbs 5:22; Proverbs 26:27: Ecclesiastes 10:8). Some, however, translate, "They (i.e. the poor) are ensnared in the devices which they (i.e. the wicked) have imagined;" and this is certainly a possible rendering. Hengstenberg regards it as preferable to the other "on account of the parallelism and connection." Psalm 10:2The Psalm opens with the plaintive inquiry, why Jahve tarries in the deliverance of His oppressed people. It is not a complaining murmuring at the delay that is expressed by the question, but an ardent desire that God may not delay to act as it becomes His nature and His promise. למּה, which belongs to both members of the sentence, has the accent on the ultima, as e.g., before עזבתּני in Psalm 22:2, and before הרעתה in Exodus 5:22, in order that neither of the two gutturals, pointed with a, should be lost to the ear in rapid speaking (vid., on Psalm 3:8, and Luzzatto on Isaiah 11:2, נחה עליו).

(Note: According to the Masora למּה without Dag. is always Milra with the single exception of Job 7:20, and ימּה with Dag. is Milel; but, when the following closely connected word begins with one of the letters אהע it becomes Milra, with five exceptions, viz., Psalm 49:6; 1 Samuel 28:15; 2 Samuel 14:31 (three instances in which the guttural of the second word has the vowel i), and 2 Samuel 2:22, and Jeremiah 15:18. In the Babylonian system of pointing, למה is always written without Dag. and with the accent on the penultimate, vid., Pinsker, Einleitung in das Babylonish-hebrishce Punktationssystem, S. 182-184.)

For according to the primitive pronunciation (even before the Masoretic) it is to be read: lam h Adonaj; so that consequently ה and א are coincident. The poet asks why in the present hopeless condition of affairs (on בצּרה vid., on Psalm 9:10) Jahve stands in the distance (בּרחוק, only here, instead of מרחוק), as an idle spectator, and why does He cover (תּעלּים with orthophonic Dagesh, in order that it may not be pronounced תּעלים), viz., His eyes, so as not to see the desperate condition of His people, or also His ears (Lamentations 3:56) so as not to hear their supplication. For by the insolent treatment of the ungodly the poor burns with fear (Ges., Stier, Hupf.), not vexation (Hengst.). The assault is a πύρωσις, 1 Peter 4:12. The verb דּלק which calls to mind דּלּקת, πυρετός, is perhaps chosen with reference to the heat of feeling under oppression, which is the result of the persecution, of the (בּו) דּלק אחריו of the ungodly. There is no harshness in the transition from the singular to the plural, because עני and רשׁע are individualising designations of two different classes of men. The subject to יתּפשׁוּ is the עניּים, and the subject to חשׁבוּ is the רשׁעים. The futures describe what usually takes place. Those who, apart from this, are afflicted are held ensnared in the crafty and malicious devices which the ungodly have contrived and plotted against them, without being able to disentangle themselves. The punctuation, which places Tarcha by זוּ, mistakes the relative and interprets it: "in the plots there, which they have devised."

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