Psalm 17:9
From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
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(9) Deadly.—Literally, with the soul, or life, or better, as in the Syriac, “against the life,” and so deadly. Others take it adverbially with the verb, “eagerly compass.”

17:8-15 Being compassed with enemies, David prays to God to keep him in safety. This prayer is a prediction that Christ would be preserved, through all the hardships and difficulties of his humiliation, to the glories and joys of his exalted state, and is a pattern to Christians to commit the keeping of their souls to God, trusting him to preserve them to his heavenly kingdom. Those are our worst enemies, that are enemies to our souls. They are God's sword, which cannot move without him, and which he will sheathe when he has done his work with it. They are his hand, by which he chastises his people. There is no fleeing from God's hand, but by fleeing to it. It is very comfortable, when we are in fear of the power of man, to see it dependent upon, and in subjection to the power of God. Most men look on the things of this world as the best things; and they look no further, nor show any care to provide for another life. The things of this world are called treasures, they are so accounted; but to the soul, and when compared with eternal blessings, they are trash. The most afflicted Christian need not envy the most prosperous men of the world, who have their portion in this life. Clothed with Christ's righteousness, having through his grace a good heart and a good life, may we by faith behold God's face, and set him always before us. When we awake every morning, may we be satisfied with his likeness set before us in his word, and with his likeness stamped upon us by his renewing grace. Happiness in the other world is prepared only for those that are justified and sanctified: they shall be put in possession of it when the soul awakes, at death, out of its slumber in the body, and when the body awakes, at the resurrection, out of its slumber in the grave. There is no satisfaction for a soul but in God, and in his good will towards us, and his good work in us; yet that satisfaction will not be perfect till we come to heaven.From the wicked that oppress me - Margin, "That waste me." The margin expresses the sense of the Hebrew. The idea is that of being wasted, desolated, destroyed, as a city or country is by the ravages of war. The psalmist compares himself in his troubles with such a city or country. The "effect" of the persecutions which he had endured had been like cities and lands thus laid waste by fire and sword.

From my deadly enemies - Margin, "My enemies against the soul." The literal idea is, "enemies against my life." The common translation expresses the idea accurately. The sense is, that his enemies sought his life.

Who compass me about - Who surround me on every side, as enemies do who besiege a city.

9. compass me—(compare Ps 118:10-12). From the wicked; or, because of the wicked. From my deadly enemies; Heb. from those who are mine enemies in, or for, or against my (which pronoun is easily supplied out of the foregoing word, where it is expressed) soul or life, i.e. whom nothing but my blood and life will satisfy.

Who compass me about; which shows both their extreme malice and his great danger.

From the wicked that oppress me,.... Or "waste" or "destroy" (g); as wild beasts do a field or vineyard when they get into it; and such havoc do persecutors and false teachers make of the church and people of God, when they are suffered to get in among them, Psalm 80:13; wherefore from such wicked and unreasonable men protection is desired, 2 Thessalonians 3:2;

from my deadly enemies; enemies against his soul or life, who sought to take it away, nothing would satisfy them but this;

who compass me about; on all sides, in order to obtain their desire; such were the enemies of Christ, and so they are described, Psalm 22:12.

(g) "quid vastant", Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "qui vastaverunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Michaelis.

From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass {h} me about.

(h) For their cruelty cannot be satisfied but with my death.

9. that oppress me] R.V., that spoil me. Cp. Psalm 12:5. (R.V.).

my deadly enemies] Nothing but his life will satisfy them. Cp. 1 Samuel 24:11. This is the sense, whether the exact meaning is enemies in soul, i.e. with murderous intent (Psalm 27:12; Psalm 41:2), or enemies against (my) soul.

Verse 9. - From the wicked that oppress me; or, lay me waste - treat me as invaders treat an enemy's territory (see Isaiah 15:1). From my deadly enemies, who compass me about; literally, my enemies in soul - those who in heart and mind are wholly set against me. When hunted by Saul upon the mountains, David was often "compassed about" with foes (1 Samuel 23:14, 15, 26; 1 Samuel 26:20). Psalm 17:9The covenant relationship towards Himself in which Jahve has placed David, and the relationship of love in which David stands to Jahve, fully justified the oppressed one in his extreme request. The apple of the eye, which is surrounded by the iris, is called אישׁון, the man (Arabic insân), or in the diminutive and endearing sense of the termination on: the little man of the eye, because a picture in miniature of one's self is seen, as in a glass, when looking into another person's eye. בּת־עין either because it is as if born out of the eye and the eye has, as it were, concentrated itself in it, or rather because the little image which is mirrored in it is, as it were, the little daughter of the eye (here and Lamentations 2:18). To the Latin pupilla (pupula), Greek κόρη, corresponds most closely בּבת עין, Zechariah 2:12, which does not signify the gate, aperture, sight, but, as בּת shows, the little boy, or more strictly, the little girl of the eye. It is singular that אישׁון here has the feminine בּת־עין as the expression in apposition to it. The construction might be genitival: "as the little man of the apple of the eye," inasmuch as the saint knows himself to be so near to God, that, as it were, his image in miniature is mirrored in the great eye of God. But (1) the more ozdinary name for the pupil of the eye is not בּת עין, but אישׁון; and (2) with that construction the proper point of the comparison, that the apple of the eye is an object of the most careful self-preservation, is missed. There is, consequently, a combination of two names of the pupil or apple of the eye, the usual one and one more select, without reference to the gender of the former, in order to give greater definition and emphasis to the figure. The primary passage for this bold figure, which is the utterance of loving entreaty, is Deuteronomy 32:10, where the dazzling anthropomorphism is effaced by the lxx and other ancient versions;

(Note: Vid., Geiger, Urschrift und Ueberstezungen der Bibel, S. 324.)

cf. also Sir. 17:22. Then follows another figure, taken from the eagle, which hides its young under its wings, likewise from Deuteronomy 32, viz., Psalm 17:11, for the figure of the hen (Matthew 23:37) is alien to the Old Testament. In that passage, Moses, in his great song, speaks of the wings of God; but the double figure of the shadow of God's wings (here and in Psalm 36:8; Psalm 57:2; Psalm 63:8) is coined by David. "God's wings" are the spreadings out, i.e., the manifestations of His love, taking the creature under the protection of its intimate fellowship, and the "shadow" of these wings is the refreshing rest and security which the fellowship of this love affords to those, who hide themselves beneath it, from the heat of outward or inward conflict.

From Psalm 17:9 we learn more definitely the position in which the psalmist is placed. שׁדד signifies to use violence, to destroy the life, continuance, or possession of any one. According to the accentuation בּנפשׁ is to be connected with איבי, not with יקּפוּ, and to be understood according to Ezekiel 25:6 : "enemies with the soul" are those whose enmity is not merely superficial, but most deep-seated (cf. ἐκ ψυχῆς, Ephesians 6:6; Colossians 3:23). The soul (viz., the hating and eagerly longing soul, Psalm 27:12; Psalm 41:3) is just the same as if בנפשׁ is combined with the verb, viz., the soul of the enemies; and איבי נפשׁי would therefore not be more correct, as Hitzig thinks, than בנפשׁ איבי, but would have a different meaning. They are eager to destroy him (perf. conatus), and form a circle round about him, as ravenous ones, in order to swallow him up.

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