Psalm 120:2
Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
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(2) Deliver . . .—This is the cry for help of which mention has just been made. The thought is one we have met frequently. Of all the elements of bitterness which made up the lot of Israel under foreign dominion, taunts and calumnies seem to have made the deepest wound, and left the most lasting scar. This was “the torture prolonged from age to age,” under which we hear psalmist after psalmist raising his cry for deliverance.

Psalm 120:2-4. Deliver my soul from lying lips — From the unjust censures and malicious slanders of mine enemies; and from a deceitful tongue — Which covers mischievous designs under pretences of kindness. What shall be given unto thee — By the righteous Judge of heaven and earth; thou false tongue — O thou false accuser, or slanderer, or whosoever thou art, that art guilty of any such like practices? Sharp arrows of the mighty —

The wrath and vengeance of the almighty God, which in Scripture, and particularly in this book, is often compared to arrows, as Psalm 7:13-14, &c., and here to arrows of the mighty, that is, arrows shot by the hands of a strong man; and to coals, Psalm 140:10, and here to coals of juniper, which burn very fiercely, and retain their heat for a long time. And the psalmist may possibly express himself in these words, to show the suitableness of the punishment to the sin. As if he had said, As thy tongue shoots arrows, (as calumnies are often called,) and kindles coals, so thou shalt bring God’s arrows and coals, kindled by the fire of his wrath, upon thyself. 120:1-4 The psalmist was brought into great distress by a deceitful tongue. May every good man be delivered from lying lips. They forged false charges against him. In this distress, he sought God by fervent prayer. God can bridle their tongues. He obtained a gracious answer to this prayer. Surely sinners durst not act as they do, if they knew, and would be persuaded to think, what will be in the end thereof. The terrors of the Lord are his arrows; and his wrath is compared to burning coals of juniper, which have a fierce heat, and keep fire very long. This is the portion of the false tongue; for all that love and make a lie, shall have their portion in the lake that burns eternally.Deliver my soul, O Lord - My soul is harassed and distressed. Perhaps the meaning also may be, My life is in danger. Or, if it refers to the soul as such, then it means that everything pertaining to his soul was deeply affected by the course which was pursued. He was maligned, slandered, misrepresented, deceived, and he had no comfort or peace.

From lying lips - False, deceitful, slanderous. Compare the notes at Psalm 31:18.

And from a deceitful tongue - From a tongue whose statements cannot be relied on; whose words are deceptive; whose promises are false. David was often called to experience troubles of this sort; and this is a kind of trial which may come upon anyone in a form which he can no more anticipate or prevent than he can the coming of a "mist from the ocean." No man can certainly guard against the influence of falsehood; no man can be sure that all that will be said to him is true; no man can be certain that all the promises made to him - save those made to him by God - will be performed.

2, 3. Slander and deceit charged on his foes implies his innocence.

tongue—as in Ps 52:2, 4.

From lying lips; from the unjust censures and malicious slanders of mine enemies, who traduce me as an egregious hypocrite, as a rebel and traitor.

From a deceitful tongue; which covereth mischievous designs with pretences of kindness. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. Not from such lips, and such a tongue of his own, which David abhorred; though every good man desires to be kept from speaking lies and deceit; nor from the company of those who have such lips and tongues, which he was determined should not dwell with him; but from the malignity of them, from being hurt in his character and reputation by them; God can restrain them, and prevent the ill influence of them when he pleases, Psalm 31:20. Such were the lips and tongues of Doeg the Edomite, Psalm 52:2, and of Saul's courtiers, who insinuated to him that David sought his hurt, 1 Samuel 24:9; and of the Scribes and Pharisees, that flattered Christ to his face, and reproached him to the people; and of Judas, that betrayed him with "Hail, master", Matthew 26:49; and of the false witnesses suborned against him; and of false teachers, deceitful workers, that lie in wait to deceive, and, by their good words and fair speeches, do deceive the hearts of the simple; and of antichrist and his followers, who, as they are given up to believe a lie, speak lies in hypocrisy; and of Satan the father of lies, and who is the old serpent, the devil, that deceives the whole world: and to be delivered from the bad effects of such lips and tongues is very desirable. Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
2. Cp. Psalm 52:1-4; Micah 6:12.

2–4. The earnestness of the prayer and the severity of the condemnation point to a person or a party, fomenting feud and strife in the community by calumny and false accusations, and resolutely refusing all attempts to promote harmony.Verse 2. - Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips. Such as Sanballat's (Nehemiah 6:6 - 8). And from a deceitful tongue; literally, a tongue that is fraud - a mere variant of the expression in the preceding clause. The eightfold Tav. May God answer this his supplication as He has heard his praise, and interest Himself on behalf of His servant, the sheep that is exposed to great danger. The petitions "give me understanding" and "deliver me" go hand-in-hand, because the poet is one who is persecuted for the sake of his faith, and is just as much in need of the fortifying of his faith as of deliverance from the outward restraint that is put upon him. רנּה is a shrill audible prayer; תּחנּה, a fervent and urgent prayer. ענה, prop. to answer, signifies in Psalm 119:172 to begin, strike up, attune (as does ἀποκρίνεσθαι also sometimes). According to the rule in Psalm 50:23 the poet bases his petition for help upon the purpose of thankful praise of God and of His word. Knowing how to value rightly what he possesses, he is warranted in further supplicating and hoping for the good that he does not as yet possess. The "salvation" for which he longs (תּאב as in Psalm 119:40, Psalm 119:20) is redemption from the evil world, in which the life of his own soul is imperilled. May then God's judgments (defective plural, as in Psalm 119:43, Psalm 119:149, which the Syriac only takes a singular) succour him (יעזּרני, not יעזרני). God's hand, Psalm 119:173, and God's word afford him succour; the two are involved in one another, the word is the medium of His hand. After this relationship of the poet to God's word, which is attested a hundredfold in the Psalm, it may seem strange that he can say of himself תּעיתי כּשׂה אבד; and perhaps the accentuation is correct when it does not allow itself to be determined by Isaiah 53:6, but interprets: If I have gone astray - seek Thou like a lost sheep Thy servant. שׂה אבד is a sheep that is lost (cf. אבדים as an appellation of the dispersion, Isaiah 27:13) and in imminent danger of total destruction (cf. Psalm 31:13 with Leviticus 26:38). In connection with that interpretation which is followed by the interpunction, Psalm 119:176 is also more easily connected with what precedes: his going astray is no apostasy; his home, to which he longs to return when he has been betrayed into by-ways, is beside the Lord.
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