Psalm 109:4
For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
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(4) For my love . . .i.e., in return for my love I give myself unto prayer. For a concise expression of the same kind as “I prayer,” see Psalm 120:7, “I peace.” Of course the psalmist means, that in the face of all the taunts and reproaches of his maligners, he simply and naturally has recourse to prayer, and, as the context seems to indicate, prayer for them.

109:1-5. It is the unspeakable comfort of all believers, that whoever is against them, God is for them; and to him they may apply as to one pleased to concern himself for them. David's enemies laughed at him for his devotion, but they could not laugh him out of it.For my love ... - As a recompence for my love; or, this is the return which I get for all the expressions of my love to them. The enemies referred to were those whom he had treated kindly; to whom he had done good. This is not uncommon in the world. It was illustrated in an eminent degree in the life of the Saviour.

But I give myself unto prayer - literally, "I - prayer;" that is, I am all prayer; I continually pray. This may mean, either, that he bore these trials with a meek spirit, and did not allow these things to disturb his devotions; or, more probably, that he prayed constantly "for them;" he desired their good, and sought it from above.

4, 5. They return evil for good (compare Ps 27:12; Pr 17:13).

I give myself unto prayer—or literally, "I (am) prayer," or, "as for me, prayer," that is, it is my resource for comfort in distress.

For my love they are my adversaries; they requite my love and good will with enmity and mischief, as it is explained, Psalm 109:5.

But I give myself unto prayer, Heb. but I prayer, i.e. I am a man of prayer, or I betake myself to prayer. Thus I peace is put for I am for peace, as we render it, Psalm 120:7; and thy bread for the men of thy bread, or that eat thy bread, Ob 7. The sense is, Whilst they reproach and curse me, I pray either,

1. For them, as he did, Psalm 35:13; or,

2. For myself: I did not render unto them evil for evil, but quietly committed myself and my cause to God by prayer, desiring him to plead my cause against them; and I had no other refuge.

For my love they are my adversaries,.... For the love that Christ showed to the Jews; to their bodies, in going about and healing all manner of diseases among them; to their souls, in preaching, the Gospel to them in each of their cities; and for the love he showed to mankind in coming into the world to save them, which should have commanded love again; but instead of this they became his implacable adversaries: they acted the part of Satan; they were as so many Satans to him, as the word signifies.

But I give myself unto prayer; or "I am a man of prayer" (y); as Aben Ezra and Kimchi supply it; so he was in the days of his flesh, Hebrews 5:7, he was constant at it, and fervent in it; sometimes a whole night together at it: his usual method was, when at Jerusalem, to teach in the temple in the daytime, and at night to go to the mount of Olives, and there abide and pray, Luke 6:12. This was the armour he alone made use of against his enemies, when they fought against him, and acted the part of an adversary to him; he betook himself to nothing else but prayer; he did not return railing for railing, but committed himself in prayer to God, who judgeth righteously, 1 Peter 2:23, yea, he prayed for those his adversaries: and so Aben Ezra and Kimchi interpret it, that he was a man of prayer for them, and prayed for them; as it is certain Christ did, when he was encompassed by his enemies, and they were venting all their spite and malice against him, Luke 23:34.

(y) "et ego vir orationis", Pagninus, Gejerus.

For my love they are my adversaries: {b} but I give myself unto prayer.

(b) To declare that I had no other refuge, but you, in whom my conscience was at rest.

4. In return for my love they behave as adversaries unto me,

Though I (gave myself unto) prayer.

Their hostility is not merely gratuitous (Psalm 109:3); it is an actual return of evil for good. The Heb. word for ‘adversaries’ is characteristic of this Psalms , vv20, 29; cp. Psalm 109:6 : elsewhere in the Psalter only in Psalm 38:20; Psalm 71:13. It may mean not ‘enemies’ in general, but ‘accusers,’ opponents in a court of law. For the forcible idiom I (was) prayer cp. Psalm 120:7, “I am peace”; Psalm 110:3, “Thy people are freewill offerings.” The A.V., But I give myself unto prayer, retained in R.V., takes the meaning to be that in his need he commits his cause to God (cp. Psalm 69:13). But the parallel passage in Psalm 35:13 is decidedly in favour of supposing that his prayers for them in past times are meant, and this explanation suits the context best. To these prayers he refers as the proof of his love, the good for which they are now (Psalm 109:5) requiting him with evil.

Verse 4. - For my love they are my adversaries. The tenderness and kindness of the good towards wicked men does not soften them. Rather it provokes them to greater hostility. This was seen clearly in the instance of Saul. But I give myself unto prayer; literally, but I prayer; i.e. "but I am wholly prayer," "I do nothing during their attacks on me but pray for them." Psalm 109:4A sign for help and complaints of ungrateful persecutors form the beginning of the Psalm. "God of my praise" is equivalent to God, who art my praise, Jeremiah 17:14, cf. Deuteronomy 10:21. The God whom the Psalmist has hitherto had reason to praise will also now show Himself to him as worthy to be praised. Upon this faith he bases the prayer: be not silent (Psalm 28:1; Psalm 35:22)! A mouth such as belongs to the "wicked," a mouth out of which comes "deceit," have they opened against him; they have spoken with him a tongue (accusative, vid., on Psalm 64:6), i.e., a language, of falsehood. דּברי of things and utterances as in Psalm 35:20. It would be capricious to take the suffix of אהבתי in Psalm 109:4 as genit. object. (love which they owe me), and in Psalm 109:5 as genit. subject.; from Psalm 38:21 it may be seen that the love which he has shown to them is also meant in Psalm 109:4. The assertion that he is "prayer" is intended to say that he, repudiating all revenges of himself, takes refuge in God in prayer and commits his cause into His hands. They have loaded him with evil for good, and hatred for the love he has shown to them. Twice he lays emphasis on the fact that it is love which they have requited to him with its opposite. Perfects alternate with aorists: it is no enmity of yesterday; the imprecations that follow presuppose an inflexible obduracy on the side of the enemies.
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