Psalm 141:10
Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I with escape.
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(10) Comp. Psalm 7:15.

Withal.—Probably, altogether (“whilst I altogether escape”), which some join with the previous clause, “Let the wicked fall into their own nets together, whilst I escape.”

141:5-10 We should be ready to welcome the rebuke of our heavenly Father, and also the reproof of our brethren. It shall not break my head, if it may but help to break my heart: we must show that we take it kindly. Those who slighted the word of God before, will be glad of it when in affliction, for that opens the ear to instruction. When the world is bitter, the word is sweet. Let us lift our prayer unto God. Let us entreat him to rescue us from the snares of Satan, and of all the workers of iniquity. In language like this psalm, O Lord, would we entreat that our poor prayers should set forth our only hope, our only dependence on thee. Grant us thy grace, that we may be prepared for this employment, being clothed with thy righteousness, and having all the gifts of thy Spirit planted in our hearts.Let the wicked fall into their own nets - See the notes at Psalm 35:8. Compare Psalm 7:15-16.

While that I withal escape - Margin, as in Hebrew, "pass over." While I safely pass over the net or snare which has been secretly laid for me. The word "withal" means, in the Hebrew, "together, at the same time;" that is, At the same time that they fall into the net, let me pass over it in safety. See the notes at Job 5:13.


Ps 141:1-10. This Psalm evinces its authorship as the preceding, by its structure and the character of its contents. It is a prayer for deliverance from sins to which affliction tempted him, and from the enemies who caused it.

Into their own nets, Heb. into his nets; either into God’s nets, the relative being put without the antecedent, as is usual in such cases, where it is easily understood; or, each

into his own nets, to wit, the mischiefs which he designs against me.

Withal, or, together, to wit, with my followers; or, in like manner, as I have done formerly. But this word may seem to be more fitly joined to the foregoing clause, to which it is next placed in the Hebrew, and the verse may be and is by divers, both ancient and later translators, thus rendered, Let the wicked fall (or, the wicked shall fall) into their own nets together, (altogether, or alike, one as well as another, Saul himself not excepted, whom though I dare not destroy, God will judge,)

whilst that I escape; am preserved from that common calamity in which mine enemies shall perish; which was verified by the event. For David was strangely kept out of harm’s way when Saul and others of David’s enemies were cut off by the Philistines, 1 Samuel 31. Let the wicked fall into their own nets,.... Which they have laid for others, as they very often do; see Psalm 7:15; or "into his net" (k), either Saul into his own net, and others with him, so Kimchi and Ben Melech; or the wicked into the net which God has laid for them; see Ezekiel 12:13;

whilst that I withal escape; or "whilst I together escape", or "pass over" (l); that is, while he, together with his companions, passed over the net laid; or,

"till I pass over safe and sound,''

will all mine, as Noldius (m); not only pass over and escape the snares of the wicked, but pass out of this world into a state of happiness and glory in another.

(k) "in retiacula ejus", Pagninus, Montanus; "in retia ejus", Vatablus, Cocceius; so Ainsworth. (l) "simul transeam", Montanus, Vatablus, Musculus; "una cum meis transiturus sum", Piscator. (m) Concord. Partic. Ebr. Chald. p. 363. No. 1279. so Michaelis.

Let the wicked fall into {i} their own nets, {k} whilst that I withal escape.

(i) Into God's nets, by which he catches the wicked in their own malice.

(k) So that none of them escape.

10. into their own nets] Heb. into his own nets, i.e. each into his own net. “The enginer” is “hoist with his own petar.” For the thought that the plots of the wicked recoil upon themselves cp. Psalm 140:11; Psalm 7:15-16; Psalm 9:16.

withal escape] Lit. pass on unharmed, at the same time as they are caught in their own snare.

Additional Note

The P.B.V. of Psalm 141:5-7 gives a striking example of the use which Coverdale made of S. Münster’s version in revising his translation of 1535 for the ‘Great Bible’ of 1539 (see Introd. p. lxxiii), and also of the variations between the editions of the Great Bible.

Coverdale’s version of 1535 is: “Let the rightuous (rather) smite me frendly, and reprove me: so wil I take it, as though he had poured oyle upô my heade: it shal not hurte my heade, yee I wil praye yet for their wickednesse. Their iudges stôble at the stone, yet heare they my wordes, ye they be ioyfull. Oure bones lye scatered before ye pytt, like as when one graueth and dyggeth vp the grounde.”

In the Great Bible of 1539, reprinted in April 1540, the only change (with the exception of variations of spelling) is in Psalm 141:6, which runs: “Let theyr judges stomble in stony places: that they may heare my wordes, for they are swete.”

But in the second Great Bible, also published in 1540, all the changes with which we are familiar in the P.B.V. have been introduced. The passage runs thus: “Let the ryghteous rather smyte me frendly and reproue me. But let not ther preciouse balmes: breake myne heed, yee, I wyll praye yet agaynste theyr wyckednesse. Lett theyr judges be overthrowen in stony places: that they may heare my wordes: for they are swete. Our bones lye scatered before the pit, lyke as whç one breaketh and heweth wood upô ye erth.”

The substantial changes are all taken from Münster’s version: “Percutiat me justus in pietate atque redarguat me, oleum autem praecipuum non frangat caput meum: quia adhuc oratio mea contra mala eorum. Praecipitentur in locis petrosis judices illorum, ut audiant sermones meos, quoniam suaves sunt. Sicut qui frangit et dissecat (ligna) in terra, dispersa sunt ossa nostra iuxta sepulchrum.”Verse 10. - Let the wicked fall into their own nets (comp. Psalm 7:15; Psalm 35:8; Psalm 57:6; Proverbs 5:22). The moral sense is always satisfied when the wicked man falls into his own trap, or is "hoist with his own petard." Even a heathen poet could say -

"Nec lex justior ulla est,
Quam necis artifices arte perire sun."
Whilst that I withal escape; literally, until that I pass over; i.e. whilst I pass over the nets, or traps, in safety.

The prayer now begins to be particularized, and that in the first instance as a petition fore the grace of silence, calling to mind old Davidic passages like Psalm 39:2; Psalm 34:14. The situation of David, the betrayed one, requires caution in speaking; and the consciousness of having sinned, not indeed against the rebels, but against God, who would not visit him thus without his deserving it, stood in the way of any outspoken self-vindication. In pone custodiam ori meo שׁמרה is ἅπ. λεγ., after the infinitive form דּבקה, עזבה, עצמה. In Psalm 141:3 דּל is ἅπ. λεγ. for דּלת; cf. "doors of the mouth" in Micah 7:5, and πύλαι στόματος in Euripides. נצּרה might be imper. Kal: keep I pray, with Dag. dirimens as in Proverbs 4:13. But נצר על is not in use; and also as the parallel word to שׁמרה, which likewise has the appearance of being imperative, נצּרה is explicable as regards its pointing by a comparison of יקּהה in Genesis 49:10, דּבּרה in Deuteronomy 33:3, and קרבה in Psalm 73:28. The prayer for the grace of silence is followed in Psalm 141:4 by a prayer for the breaking off of all fellowship with the existing rulers. By a flight of irony they are called אישׁים, lords, in the sense of בּני אישׁ, Psalm 4:3 (cf. the Spanish hidalgos equals hijos d'algo, sons of somebody). The evil thing (רע דּבר, with Pasek between the two ר, as in Numbers 7:13; Deuteronomy 7:1 between the two מ, and in 1 Chronicles 22:3 between the two )ל, to which Jahve may be pleased never to incline his heart (תּט, fut. apoc. Hiph. as in Psalm 27:9), is forthwith more particularly designated: perpetrare facinora maligne cum dominis, etc. עללות of great achievements in the sense of infamous deeds, also occurs in Psalm 14:1; Psalm 99:8. Here, however, we have the Hithpo. התעלל, which, with the accusative of the object עללות, signifies: wilfully to make such actions the object of one's acting (cf. Arab. ta‛allala b-'l-š', to meddle with any matter, to amuse, entertain one's self with a thing). The expression is made to express disgust as strongly as possible; this poet is fond of glaring colouring in his language. In the dependent passage neve eorum vescar cupediis, לחם is used poetically for אכל, and בּ is the partitive Beth, as in Job 21:25. מנעמּים is another hapaxlegomenon, but as being a designation of dainties (from נעם, to be mild, tender, pleasant), it may not have been an unusual word. It is a well-known thing that usurpers revel in the cuisine and cellars of those whom they have driven away.
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