Psalm 17:9
From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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). David refers to the divine testing and illumination of the inward parts, which he has experienced in himself, in support of his sincerity. The preterites in Psalm 17:3 express the divine acts that preceded the result בּל־תּמצא, viz., the testing He has instituted, which is referred to in צרפתּני and also בּחנתּ as a trying of gold by fire, and in פּקד as an investigation (Job 7:18). The result of the close scrutiny to which God has subjected him in the night, when the bottom of a man's heart is at once made manifest, whether it be in his thoughts when awake or in the dream and fancies of the sleeper, was and is this, that He does not find, viz., anything whatever to punish in him, anything that is separated as dross from the gold. To the mind of the New Testament believer with his deep, and as it were microscopically penetrating, insight into the depth of sin, such a confession concerning himself would be more difficult than to the mind of an Old Testament saint. For a separation and disunion of flesh and spirit, which was unknown in the same degree to the Old Testament, has been accomplished in the New Testament consciousness by the facts and operations of redemption revealed in the New Testament; although at the same time it must be remembered that in such confessions the Old Testament consciousness does not claim to be clear from sins, but only from a conscious love of sin, and from a self-love that is hostile to God.

With זמּותי David begins his confession of how Jahve found him to be, instead of finding anything punishable in him. This word is either an infinitive like חנּות (Psalm 77:10) with the regular ultima accentuation, formed after the manner of the הל verbs, - in accordance with which Hitzig renders it: my thinking does not overstep my mouth, - or even 1 pers. praet., which is properly Milel, but does also occur as Milra, e.g., Deuteronomy 32:41; Isaiah 44:16 (vid., on Job 19:17), - according to which Bttcher translates: should I think anything evil, it dare not pass beyond my mouth, - or (since זמם may denote the determination that precedes the act, e.g., Jeremiah 4:28; Lamentations 2:17): I have determined my mouth shall not transgress. This last rendering is opposed by the fact, that עבר by itself in the ethical signification "to transgress" (cf. post-biblical עברה παράβασις) is not the usage of the biblical Hebrew, and that when יעבר־פּי stand close together, פי is presumptively the object. We therefore give the preference to Bttcher's explanation, which renders זמותי as a hypothetical perfect and is favoured by Proverbs 30:32 (which is to be translated: and if thou thinkest evil, (lay) thy hand on thy mouth!). Nevertheless בל יעבר־פי is not the expression of a fact, but of a purpose, as the combination of בל with the future requires it to be taken. The psalmist is able to testify of himself that he so keeps evil thoughts in subjection within him, even when they may arise, that they do not pass beyond his mouth, much less that he should put them into action. But perhaps the psalmist wrote פּיך originally, "my reflecting does not go beyond Thy commandment" (according to Numbers 22:18; 1 Samuel 15:24; Proverbs 8:29), - a meaning better suited, as a result of the search, to the nightly investigation. The ל of לפעלּות fo ל need not be the ל of reference (as to); it is that of the state or condition, as in Psalm 32:6; Psalm 69:22. אדם, as perhaps also in Job 31:33; Hosea 6:7 (if אדם is not there the name of the first man), means, men as they are by nature and habit. בּדבר שׂפתיך does not admit of being connected with לפעלּות: at the doings of the world contrary to Thy revealed will (Hofmann and others); for פּעל בּ cannot mean: to act contrary to any one, but only: to work upon any one, Job 35:6. These words must therefore be regarded as a closer definition, placed first, of the שׁמרתּי which follows: in connection with the doings of men, by virtue of the divine commandment, he has taken care of the paths of the oppressor, viz., not to go in them; 1 Samuel 25:21 is an instance in support of this rendering, where שׁמרתי, as in Job 2:6, means: I have kept (Nabal's possession), not seizing upon it myself. Jerome correctly translates vias latronis; for פּריץ signifies one who breaks in, i.e., one who does damage intentionally and by violence. The confession concerning himself is still continued in Psalm 17:5, for the inf. absol. תּמך, if taken as imperative would express a prayer for constancy, that is alien to the circumstances described. The perfect after בּל is also against such a rendering. It must therefore be taken as inf. historicus, and explained according to Job 23:11, cf. Psalm 41:13. The noun following the inf. absol., which is usually the object, is the subject in this instance, as, e.g., in Job 40:2; Proverbs 17:12; Ecclesiastes 4:2, and frequently. It is אשׁוּרי, and not אשּׁוּרי, אשׁור (a step) never having the שׁ dageshed, except in Psalm 17:11 and Job 31:7.

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