The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Net.—An elaboration of the favourite image of the net. (Psalm 9:15.) The frequent occurrence of this figure well indicates the dangers to which Israel was subjected through the leaning of many of the nation itself to foreign influences.Psalm 35:7, note; Psalm 57:6, note.
And cords - Strings; twine; as those do who lay a net to catch birds, and who design to spring it upon them unawares.
They have spread a net by the wayside - Where I may be expected to walk, and where it may be suddenly sprung upon me.
They have set gins for me - Snares, toils - such as are set for wild beasts. The meaning is, that they had not only made open war upon him, but they had sought to bring him into an ambush - to rush upon him suddenly when he was not on his guard, and did not know that, danger was near.The proud; my insolent enemies, who despise me for my meanness, and exalt themselves against thee.
By the wayside; in which I used to walk. Psalm 119:85; the character well agrees with the Scribes and Pharisees, who were proud boasters, and despised others, and often laid snares for Christ to take away his life; and with the enemies of the church and people of God; who, through their pride, persecute them, and are insidious, and use artful methods to ensnare them; as the fowler lays his snare for the bird, and has his cords to draw it to him when it is taken in the snare, to which the allusion is;
they have spread a net by the wayside: they waylaid him; knowing the way he would go, they lay in wait for him, to seize him at once as he went along; see John 18:1; the word "cords" in the preceding clause should be connected with this, and be read, "and with cords they have spread a net by the wayside": it being usual, as Jarchi observes, to fasten a long cord at the top of the net; and when the fowler sees the birds under the net, he draws the cord, and the net falls upon the fowls;
they have set gins for me; all these expressions design the insidiousness, and the private, secret, artful methods, the enemies of David, of Christ and his people, took and do take to ensnare them. Arama interprets the "snare and cords" of the watching of David's house; the "net by the wayside" of posting themselves at the gates of the city, and surrounding it; and gins of spies; see 1 Samuel 19:11.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. For the figures cp. Psalm 31:4; Psalm 119:110; Psalm 141:9; Psalm 142:3. The hunter sets his snares in the ‘run’ of the animal he wishes to catch, and the Psalmist’s enemies are scheming to ruin him as he goes about his daily duties. Cp. Matthew 22:15, “how they might ensnare (παγιδεύσωσιν, cp. LXX παγίδα here) him in talk.” He calls them proud, for their hostility to God’s servant is virtually a defiance of God (Psalm 10:2).
grins] More properly, baits or lures, to entice him to his ruin. Grins, the original reading of the A.V. of 1611, restored by Scrivener, is an obsolete word of the same meaning as gins, which has been substituted for it in modern editions of the A.V. here and in Psalm 141:9. For examples of its use see Wright’s Bible Word Book.Verse 5. - The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords. An instance of the figure hendiadys. What is meant is a snare composed of cords. Such snares, when laid for animals, were "hidden" in long grass, or low shrubs, or rough ground. They have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me (comp. Psalm 31:4; Psalm 35:7; Psalm 57:6; Psalm 119:10; Psalm 141:9; Psalm 142:3). A second pause-sign marks off a second stanza. Psalm 139:17, the poet here says שׂרעפּים, which signifies branches (Ezekiel 31:5) and branchings of the act of thinking (thoughts and cares, Psalm 94:19). The Resh is epenthetic, for the first form is שׂעפּים, Job 4:13; Job 20:2. The poet thus sets the very ground and life of his heart, with all its outward manifestations, in the light of the divine omniscience. And in Psalm 139:24 he prays that God would see whether any דּרך־עצב cleaves to him (בּי as in 1 Samuel 25:24), by which is not meant "a way of idols" (Rosenmller, Gesenius, and Maurer), after Isaiah 48:5, since an inclination towards, or even apostasy to, heathenism cannot be an unknown sin; nor to a man like the writer of this Psalm is heathenism any power of temptation. דוך בּצע (Grהtz) might more readily be admissible, but דוך עצב is a more comprehensive notion, and one more in accordance with this closing petition. The poet gives this name to the way that leads to the pain, torture, viz., of the inward and outward punishments of sin; and, on the other hand, the way along which he wishes to be guided he calls דּרך עולם, the way of endless continuance (lxx, Vulgate, Luther), not the way of the former times, after Jeremiah 6:16 (Maurer, Olshausen), which thus by itself is ambiguous (as becomes evident from Job 22:15; Jeremiah 18:15), and also does not furnish any direct antithesis. The "everlasting way" is the way of God (Psalm 27:11), the way of the righteous, which stands fast for ever and shall not "perish" (Psalm 1:6).
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