Psalm 119:85
The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.
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(85) Which.—Better, who. Its antecedent, of course, the proud, not the pits.

Psalm 119:85-88. The proud have digged pits for me — Have sought to destroy me by deceit and treachery, as well as by violence; which are not after thy law — Which pits, that is, which insidious designs against an innocent person, are not agreeable to thy law, but directly contrary to it. Or the meaning may be, Which men are not after thy law, that is, act and behave without any regard to it, nay, in direct opposition to its injunctions. For all thy commandments are faithful — Are in themselves most just and true, and require righteousness from men, promising many blessings to those that practise it, and severely forbid all fraud or falseness, threatening grievous punishments to those that use them; and such promises and threatenings are true, and shall certainly be executed. They had almost consumed me — As to my present life and all my happiness; upon earth — Whereby be implies that his immortal soul and eternal happiness in heaven were safe and out of their reach. Quicken me after thy loving-kindness — Revive, support, and comfort me by the Spirit of life, which proceeds from thy loving-kindness; so shall I keep the testimony. &c. — Making it the rule of my conduct, and the ground of my confidence and hope, for time and for eternity.

119:81-88 The psalmist sought deliverance from his sins, his foes, and his fears. Hope deferred made him faint; his eyes failed by looking out for this expected salvation. But when the eyes fail, yet faith must not. His affliction was great. He was become like a leathern bottle, which, if hung up in the smoke, is dried and shrivelled up. We must ever be mindful of God's statutes. The days of the believer's mourning shall be ended; they are but for a moment, compared with eternal happiness. His enemies used craft as well as power for his ruin, in contempt of the law of God. The commandments of God are true and faithful guides in the path of peace and safety. We may best expect help from God when, like our Master, we do well and suffer for it. Wicked men may almost consume the believer upon earth, but he would sooner forsake all than forsake the word of the Lord. We should depend upon the grace of God for strength to do every good work. The surest token of God's good-will toward us, is his good work in us.The proud - Those in high life, or of exalted rank. See the notes at Psalm 119:51.

Have digged pits for me - See the notes at Psalm 7:15. Compare Psalm 35:7; Psalm 57:6; Psalm 94:13.

Which are not after thy law - The word which here refers not to the pits, but to the proud. They who have done this are people who do not regard thy commands; people who are open and public offenders. It is that class of people with whom I have to contend - inert who set at defiance all the laws of God; men high in rank, who wield great power, and who have no regard to the law of God in their conduct. Even they have sought my destruction in the meanest way possible - by covert arts, by underhanded means, by digging pits, as they would for wild beasts.

85. pits—plots for my destruction.

which—rather, "who," that is, "the proud"; "pits" is not the antecedent.

Have digged pits for me; have sought to destroy me by deceit and treachery, as well as by violence.

Which; either,

1. Which men have no respect to thy law, which forbids such things. Or rather,

2. Which thing, to wit, to dig pits for me, an innocent and just man, is not agreeable to thy law, but directly contrary to it.

The proud have digged pits for me,.... Laid snares and temptations in his way, to draw him into sin, and so into mischief; they sought indeed to take away his life, and formed schemes for it. The allusion is to the digging of pits for the taking of wild beasts; which shows the ill opinion they had of David, and their ill usage of him; see Psalm 7:15;

which are not after thy law; no, contrary to it; which forbids the digging of a pit, and leaving it uncovered, so that a neighbour's beast might fall into it, Exodus 21:33; and if those might not be dug to the injury of beasts, then much less to the injury of men, to the hurt of the servants of the Lord, or to the shedding of innocent blood, which the law forbids.

The proud have {d} digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.

(d) They have not only oppressed me violently but also craftily conspired against me.

85. pits] A metaphor from the pitfalls used by hunters. Cp. Psalm 57:6; and especially Jeremiah 18:20; Jeremiah 18:22.

which] Rather, who. His enemies are presumptuous sinners, who despise and defy God’s law (Psalm 119:21; Psalm 119:53). Godless Israelites are clearly meant.

Verse 85. - The proud have digged pits for me; i.e. "have set traps to catch me" (comp. Psalm 7:15; Psalm 9:15). Which are not after thy Law. God's Law is opposed to all underhand and treacherous dealing - therefore to all traps and snares. Psalm 119:85The eightfold Kaph. This strengthening according to God's promise is his earnest desire (כּלה) now, when within a very little his enemies have compassed his ruin (כּלּה). His soul and eyes languish (כּלה as in Psalm 69:4; Psalm 84:3, cf. Job 19:27) for God's salvation, that it may be unto him according to God's word or promise, that this word may be fulfilled. In Psalm 119:83 כּי is hypothetical, as in Psalm 21:12 and frequently; here, as perhaps also in Psalm 27:10, in the sense of "although" (Ew. ֗362, b). He does not suffer anything to drive God's word out of his mind, although he is already become like a leathern bottle blackened and shrivelled up in the smoke. The custom of the ancients of placing jars with wine over the smoke in order to make the wine prematurely old, i.e., to mellow it (vid., Rosenm׬ller), does not yield anything towards the understanding of this passage: the skin-bottle that is not intended for present use is hung up on high; and the fact that it had to withstand the upward ascending smoke is intelligible, notwithstanding the absence of any mention of the chimney. The point of comparison, in which we agree for the most part with Hitzig, is the removal of him who in his dungeon is continually exposed to the drudgery of his persecutors. כּמּה in Psalm 119:84 is equivalent to "how few." Our life here below is short, so also is the period within which the divine righteousness can reveal itself. שׁיחות (instead of which the lxx erroneously reads שׂיחות), pits, is an old word, Psalm 57:7. The relative clause, Psalm 119:85, describes the "proud" as being a contradiction to the revealed law; for there was no necessity for saying that to dig a pit for others is not in accordance with this law. All God's commandments are an emanation of His faithfulness, and therefore too demand faithfulness; but it is just this faithfulness that makes the poet an object of deadly hatred. They have already almost destroyed him"in the land." It is generally rendered "on earth;" but "in heaven" at the beginning of the following octonary is too far removed to be an antithesis to it, nor does it sound like one (cf. on the other hand ἐν τοῖς ouranoi's, Matthew 5:12). It is therefore: in the land (cf. Psalm 58:3; Psalm 73:9), where they think they are the only ones who have any right there, they have almost destroyed him, without shaking the constancy of his faith. But he stands in need of fresh grace in order that he may not, however, at last succumb.
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