Psalm 21:11
For they intended evil against you: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) For they.—Better, though they have intended evil against thee, have plotted mischief, they have no power at all.

21:7-13 The psalmist teaches to look forward with faith, and hope, and prayer upon what God would further do. The success with which God blessed David, was a type of the total overthrow of all Christ's enemies. Those who might have had Christ to rule and save them, but rejected him and fought against him, shall find the remembrance of it a worm that dies not. God makes sinners willing by his grace, receives them to his favour, and delivers them from the wrath to come. May he exalt himself, by his all-powerful grace, in our hearts, destroying all the strong-holds of sin and Satan. How great should be our joy and praise to behold our Brother and Friend upon the throne, and for all the blessings we may expect from him! yet he delights in his exalted state, as enabling him to confer happiness and glory on poor sinners, who are taught to love and trust in him.For they intended evil against thee - literally, "They stretched out evil." The idea seems to be derived from "stretching out" or laying snares, nets, or gins, for the purpose of taking wild beasts. That is, they formed a plan or purpose to bring evil upon God and his cause: as the hunter or fowler forms a purpose or plan to take wild beasts or fowls. It is not merely a purpose in the head, as our word "intended" would seem to imply; it supposes that arrangements had been entered into, or that a scheme had been formed to injure the cause of God - that is, through the person referred to in the psalm. The purposes of wicked men against religion are usually much more than a mere "intention." The intention is accompanied with a scheme or plan in their own mind by which the act may be accomplished. The evil here referred to was that of resisting or overpowering him who was engaged in the cause of God, or whom God had appointed to administer his laws.

They imagined a mischievous device - They thought, or they purposed. The word rendered "mischievous device" מזמה mezimmâh - means properly "counsel, purpose; then prudence, sagacity;" then, in a bad sense, "machination, device, trick." Gesenius, Lexicon. Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 24:8.

Which they are not able to perform - literally, "they could not;" that is, they had not the power to accomplish it, or to carry out their purpose. Their purpose was plain; their guilt was therefore clear; but they were prevented from executing their design. Many such designs are kept from being carried into execution for the want of power. If all the devices and the desires of the wicked were accomplished, righteousness would soon cease in the earth, religion and virtue would come to an end, and even God would cease to occupy the throne.

11. This terrible overthrow, reaching to posterity, is due to their crimes (Ex 20:5, 6). Against thee, i.e. against God, not directly, but by conseqence, because it was against David, whom God had anointed, and against the Lord’s people, whose injuries God takes as done to himself, Zechariah 2:8.

To perform; such supplements are usual after this verb, as Exodus 8:18 Psalm 101:5 139:6 Isaiah 1:13. Or, for which

they were unable or insufficient. Or, but they did not prevail, as this verb signifies, Psalm 13:4 129:2. This clause seems to be added to teach us this great and necessary lesson, that men are justly punished by God for their wicked intentions, although they be hindered from the execution of them, contrary to what some Jewish doctors and others have taught. For they intended evil against thee,.... All evil, whether in thought or deed, if not immediately and directly, yet is ultimately against the Lord, whose law is transgressed, and who is despised and reflected upon as a lawgiver; all sin is an hostility committed against God, or against Christ, against the Lord and his Anointed, or against his people, who are all one as himself: the intention of evil is evil, and is cognizable by the Lord, and punishable by him:

they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform; not the death of Christ; that was indeed in itself a mischievous device of theirs, but that they performed, though they had not their end in it; they expected his name would then perish, and they should hear no more of him: but rather it respects his resurrection from the dead, they could not prevent, though they took all imaginable care that them might be no show of it; and when they found he was really raised from the dead, they contrived a wicked scheme to stop the credit of it, but in vain, Matthew 27:63; and Jews and Gentiles, and Papists, have formed schemes and done all they can to root the Gospel, cause, and interest of Christ, out of the world, but have not been able to perform it.

For they {g} intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.

(g) They laid as it were their nets to make God's power bend to their wicked enterprises.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11, 12. Though they threaten thee with evil,

Though they devise a mischievous plan, they shall avail naught,

For thou shalt make them turn their backs,

Aiming with thy bowstrings against their faces.Verse 11. - For they intended evil against thee. Their destruction is brought upon them by their own selves. They plot against the people of God, and thus provoke God to anger, and cause him to deliver them into their enemy' s hand. It does not matter that they can effect nothing. The "intention" is enough. They imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. The inability is not so much from a deficiency of strength in themselves, as from the opposition offered to their schemes by God. The best-laid plans an powerless, if God wills to baffle them. (Heb.: 21:6-7) The help of God turns to his honour, and paves the way for him to honour, it enables him-this is the meaning of. Psalm 21:6 - to maintain and strengthen his kingship with fame and glory. שׁוּה על used, as in Psalm 89:20, of divine investiture and endowment. To make blessings, or a fulness of blessing, is a stronger form of expressing God's words to Abram, Genesis 12:2 : thou shalt be a blessing i.e., a possessor of blessing thyself, and a medium of blessing to others. Joy in connection with (את as in Psalm 16:11) the countenance of God, is joy in delightful and most intimate fellowship with Him. חדּה, from חדה, which occurs once in Exodus 18:9, has in Arabic, with reference to nomad life, the meaning "to cheer the beasts of burden with a song and urge them on to a quicker pace," and in Hebrew, as in Aramaic, the general signification "to cheer, enliven."
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