Psalm 13:4
Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
13:1-6 The psalmist complains that God had long withdrawn. He earnestly prays for comfort. He assures himself of an answer of peace. - God sometimes hides his face, and leaves his own children in the dark concerning their interest in him: and this they lay to heart more than any outward trouble whatever. But anxious cares are heavy burdens with which believers often load themselves more than they need. The bread of sorrows is sometimes the saint's daily bread; our Master himself was a man of sorrows. It is a common temptation, when trouble lasts long, to think that it will last always. Those who have long been without joy, begin to be without hope. We should never allow ourselves to make any complaints but what drive us to our knees. Nothing is more killing to a soul than the want of God's favour; nothing more reviving than the return of it. The sudden, delightful changes in the book of Psalms, are often very remarkable. We pass from depth of despondency to the height of religious confidence and joy. It is thus, ver. 5. All is gloomy dejection in ver. 4; but here the mind of the despondent worshipper rises above all its distressing fears, and throws itself, without reserve, on the mercy and care of its Divine Redeemer. See the power of faith, and how good it is to draw near to God. If we bring our cares and griefs to the throne of grace, and leave them there, we may go away like Hannah, and our countenances will be no more said, 1Sa 1:18. God's mercy is the support of the psalmist's faith. Finding I have that to trust to, I am comforted, though I have no merit of my own. His faith in God's mercy filled his heart with joy in his salvation; for joy and peace come by believing. He has dealt bountifully with me. By faith he was as confident of salvation, as if it had been completed already. In this way believers pour out their prayers, renouncing all hopes but in the mercy of God through the Saviour's blood: and sometimes suddenly, at others gradually, they will find their burdens removed, and their comforts restored; they then allow that their fears and complaints were unnecessary, and acknowledge that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with them.Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him - I have overpowered him; I have conquered him. That is, to triumph over him as having obtained a complete victory.

And those that trouble me - Hebrew, "My adversaries." The reference here is the same as in the former member of the verse. It is to the enemies that seemed almost to have triumphed over him already, and under whose power he was ready to sink. "Rejoice." Exult; triumph.

When I am moved - Moved from my steadfastness or firmness; when I am overcome. Hitherto he had been able to hold out against them; now he began to despair, and to fear that they would accomplish their object by overcoming and subduing him. His ground of apprehension and of appeal was, that by his being vanquished the cause in which he was engaged would suffer, and that the enemies of religion would triumph.

4. rejoice—literally, "shout as in triumph."

I am moved—cast down from a firm position (Ps 10:6).

I have prevailed against him, to wit, by my art or strength; which will reflect dishonour upon thee, as if thou wept either unfaithful and unmindful of thy promises, or unable to make them good. Therefore repress this their arrogancy and blasphemy, and maintain thine own honour.

When I am moved; or, stumble, or fall, to wit, into mischief. Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him,.... Which is an argument God takes notice of; and for which reason he does not give up his people into the hands of their enemies; see Deuteronomy 32:27. The Chaldee paraphrase interprets this of the evil imagination or corruption of nature, and represents it as a person, as the Apostle Paul does in Romans 7:15; and which may be said to prevail, when it pushes on to sin, and hinders doing good, and carries captive; and it may be applied to Satan, the great enemy of God's people, who triumphs over them, when he succeeds in his temptations;

and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved; meaning from his house and family, from his country and kingdom, from a prosperous state and condition to a distressed one; at which the troublers of David's peace would rejoice. They that trouble the saints are sin, Satan, and the world; and the two last rejoice when they are in an uncomfortable and afflicted condition; and especially Satan rejoices when he gains his point, if it is but to move them from any degree of steadfastness, of faith and hope, or from the ways of God in any respect: the Targum adds, "from thy ways"; for to be moved so as to perish eternally they cannot, being built upon the Rock of ages, and surrounded by the power and grace of God.

Lest mine enemy say, I have {c} prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

(c) Which might turn to God's dishonour: if he did not defend his.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. and those &c.] R.V., Lest mine adversaries rejoice when I am moved. Cp. Psalm 38:16. And by their triumph, as the emphatic contrast of the following verse implies, the honour of God Whom he trusts will suffer.Verse 4. - Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him. The triumph of David's enemy over him, whether he were Saul or any one else, even the ideal wicked man, would be the triumph of evil over good, of those who had cast God behind their back over those who faithfully served him, of irreligion over piety. He could therefore appeal to God - not in his own personal interest, but in the interest of truth and right, and the general good of mankind - to prevent his enemy's triumph. And those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. There would be a general rejoicing on the part of all his foes, if his arch-enemy succeeded in seriously injuring him. (Heb.: 12:6-7) In Psalm 12:6 the psalmist hears Jahve Himself speak; and in Psalm 12:7 he adds his Amen. The two מן in Psalm 12:6 denote the motive, עתּה the decisive turning-point from forebearance to the execution of judgment, and ימר the divine determination, which has just now made itself audible; cf. Isaiah's echo of it, Isaiah 33:10. Jahve has hitherto looked on with seeming inactivity and indifference, now He will arise and place in ישׁע, i.e., a condition of safety (cf. שׂים בּחיּים Psalm 66:9), him who languishes for deliverance. It is not to be explained: him whom he, i.e., the boaster, blows upon, which would be expressed by יפיח בּו, cf. Psalm 10:5; but, with Ewald, Hengstenberg, Olshausen, and Bttcher, according to Habakkuk 2:3, where הפיח ל occurs in the sense of panting after an object: him who longs for it. יפיח is, however, not a participial adjective equals יפח, but the fut., and יפיח לו is therefore a relative clause occupying the place of the object, just as we find the same thing occurring in Job 24:19; Isaiah 41:2, Isaiah 41:25, and frequently. Hupfeld's rendering: "in order that he may gain breath (respiret)" leaves אשׁית without an object, and accords more with Aramaic and Arabic than with Hebrew usage, which would express this idea by ינוּח לו or ירוח לו.

In Psalm 12:7 the announcement of Jahve is followed by its echo in the heart of the seer: the words (אמרות instead of אמרות by changing the Sheb which closes the syllable into an audible one, as e.g., in אשׁרי) of Jahve are pure words, i.e., intended, and to be fulfilled, absolutely as they run without any admixture whatever of untruthfulness. The poetical אמרה (after the form זמרה) serves pre-eminently as the designation of the divine power-words of promise. The figure, which is indicated in other instances, when God's word is said to be צרוּפה (Psalm 18:31; Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5), is here worked out: silver melted and thus purified בּעליל לארץ. עליל signifies either a smelting-pot from עלל, Arab. gll, immittere, whence also על (Hitz.); or, what is more probable since the language has the epithets כוּר and מצרף for this: a workshop, from עלל, Arab. ‛ll, operari (prop. to set about a thing), first that which is wrought at (after the form מעיל, פּסיל, שׁביל), then the place where the work is carried on. From this also comes the Talm. בּעליל equals בּעליל manifeste, occurring in the Mishna Rosh ha-Shana 1. 5 and elsewhere, and which in its first meaning corresponds to the French en effet.

(Note: On this word with reference to this passage of the Psalm vid., Steinschneider's Hebr. Bibliographie 1861, S. 83.)

According to this, the ל in לארץ is not the ל of property: in a fining-pot built into the earth, for which לארץ without anything further would be an inadequate and colourless expression. But in accordance with the usual meaning of לארץ as a collateral definition it is: smelted (purified) down to the earth. As Olshausen observes on this subject, "Silver that is purified in the furnace and flows down to the ground can be seen in every smelting hut; the pure liquid silver flows down out of the smelting furnace, in which the ore is piled up." For it cannot be ל of reference: "purified with respect to the earth," since ארץ does not denote the earth as a material and cannot therefore mean an earthy element. We ought then to read לאבץ, which would not mean "to a white brilliancy," i.e., to a pure bright mass (Bttch.), but "with respect to the stannum, lead" (vid., on Isaiah 1:25). The verb זקק to strain, filter, cause to ooze through, corresponds to the German seihen, seigen, old High German sihan, Greek σακκεῖν (σακκίζειν), to clean by passing through a cloth as a strainer, שׂק. God's word is solid silver smelted and leaving all impurity behind, and, as it were, having passed seven times through the smelting furnace, i.e., the purest silver, entirely purged from dross. Silver is the emblem of everything precious and pure (vid., Bhr, Symbol. i. 284); and seven is the number indicating the completion of any process (Bibl. Psychol. S. 57, transl. p. 71).

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