Psalm 27:2
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came on me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) When . . .—Literally, In the coming against me (of) the wicked to devour my fleshmy enemies and my foes to methemselves stumbled and fell. Job 19:22 would allow us to understand those who eat up flesh, as a figure for calumniators and detractors; but the context marks out the situation so clearly as that of a warrior, that we rather take it as a general metaphor for savage and violent attacks. To me, is an emphatic repetition—my enemies, mine.

Psalm 27:2-3. When my foes came upon me to eat up my flesh — Greedy to devour me: aiming at no less than my utter destruction, and confident they should effect it; they stumbled and fell — Not, I smote them and they fell, but they stumbled, namely, of their own accord, without my lifting a hand against them; and fell — They were so confounded and weakened that they could not go on with their enterprise. Thus they that came to take Christ were, by a word of his, made to stagger and fall to the ground, John 18:6. The ruin of some of the enemies of God’s people is an earnest of the complete conquest of them all. And, therefore, these being fallen, he is fearless of the rest. Though a host should encamp, &c. — Though my enemies be numerous as a host; though they be daring, and their attempts threatening; though they encamp against me, an army against one man; though they wage war upon me, yet my heart shall not fear — Hosts cannot hurt us, if the Lord of hosts protect us.27:1-6 The Lord, who is the believer's light, is the strength of his life; not only by whom, but in whom he lives and moves. In God let us strengthen ourselves. The gracious presence of God, his power, his promise, his readiness to hear prayer, the witness of his Spirit in the hearts of his people; these are the secret of his tabernacle, and in these the saints find cause for that holy security and peace of mind in which they dwell at ease. The psalmist prays for constant communion with God in holy ordinances. All God's children desire to dwell in their Father's house. Not to sojourn there as a wayfaring man, to tarry but for a night; or to dwell there for a time only, as the servant that abides not in the house for ever; but to dwell there all the days of their life, as children with a father. Do we hope that the praising of God will be the blessedness of our eternity? Surely then we ought to make it the business of our time. This he had at heart more than any thing. Whatever the Christian is as to this life, he considers the favour and service of God as the one thing needful. This he desires, prays for and seeks after, and in it he rejoices.When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me - This refers, doubtless, to some particular period of his past life when he was in very great danger, and when God interposed to save him. The margin here is, "approached against me." The literal rendering would be, "in the drawing near against me of the wicked to eat up my flesh." The reference is to some period when they purposed an attack upon him, and when he was in imminent danger from such a threatened attack.

To eat up my flesh - As if they would eat me up. That is, they came upon me like ravening wolves, or hungry lions. We are not to suppose that they literally purposed to eat up his flesh, or that they were cannibals; but the comparison is one that is drawn from the fierceness of wild beasts rushing on their prey. Compare Psalm 14:4.

They stumbled and fell - They were overthrown. They failed in their purpose. Either they were thrown into a panic by a false fear, or they were overthrown in battle. The language would be rather applicable to the former, as if by some alarm they were thrown into consternation. Either they differed among themselves and became confused, or God threw obstacles in their way and they were driven back. The general idea is, that God had interposed in some way to prevent the execution of their purposes.

2. eat … my flesh—(Job 19:22; Ps 14:4). The allusion to wild beasts illustrates their rapacity.

they stumbled—"they" is emphatic; not I, but they were destroyed.

To eat up my flesh; greedy to devour me at one morsel. Compare Job 19:22 31:31. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me,.... They are wicked men, men of malignant spirits, and evildoers, who are the enemies and foes of the people of God, and who hate them with an implacable hatred, and do everything they can to distress and afflict them; and such enemies David had, who were many and mighty; and these "came upon" him, or "approached against" him (c), they drew near to him to make war with him, as the word signifies (d); they attacked him in an hostile manner; and their view was, as he says,

to eat up my flesh, as they eat bread, Psalm 14:4; to devour him at once, to make but one morsel of him, to destroy his life, to strip him of his substance, to take away his wives and children, as the Amalekites at Ziklag, 1 Samuel 30:1;

they stumbled and fell; the Lord put stumbling blocks in their way, and retarded their march, and hindered them from executing their designs; and they fell into the hands of David, and were subdued under him, or fell by death; and these past instances of divine goodness the psalmist calls to mind, to keep up his heart and courage, and animate and strengthen him against the fears of men, of death and hell.

(c) "cum appropinquaverint adversum me", Pagninus; so Gejerus. (d) "Belligerantibus contra me", Junius & Tremellius; so Piscator & Ainsworth.

When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. When evil-doers came near against me to eat my flesh,

Even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.

This may refer to past experience, or it may be a confident anticipation of the discomfiture of his foes. According to a common Hebrew idiom the perfect tense may realise their defeat as an accomplished plished fact. See Appendix, Note IV. He compares his assailants to wild beasts, eager to devour him. Cp. Psalm 3:7.

stumbled and fell] Cp. Isaiah 8:15; Jeremiah 46:6.Verse 2. - When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. A special occasion seems to be intended, so that the LXX. have rightly, ἠσθένησαν καὶ ἔπεσαν. Some unrecorded event in the war with Absalom before the final struggle, is probably alluded to. There is an emphasis on "mine enemies," which implies that the adversaries were not the foes of the country, but David's personal foes. The poet supports his petition by declaring his motive to be his love for the sanctuary of God, from which he is now far removed, without any fault of his own. The coloured future ואסבבה, distinct from ואסבבה (vid., on Psalm 3:6 and Psalm 73:16), can only mean, in this passage, et ambiam, and not et ambibam as it does in a different connection (Isaiah 43:26, cf. Judges 6:9); it is the emotional continuation (cf. Psalm 27:6; Sol 7:12; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 5:19, and frequently) of the plain and uncoloured expression ארחץ. He wishes to wash his hands in innocence (בּ of the state that is meant to be attested by the action), and compass (Psalm 59:7) the altar of Jahve. That which is elsewhere a symbolic act (Deuteronomy 21:6, cf. Matthew 27:24), is in this instance only a rhetorical figure made use of to confess his consciousness of innocence; and it naturally assumes this form (cf. Psalm 73:13) from the idea of the priest washing his hands preparatory to the service of the altar (Exodus 32:20.) being associated with the idea of the altar. And, in general, the expression of Psalm 26:6. takes a priestly form, without exceeding that which the ritual admits of, by virtue of the consciousness of being themselves priests which appertained even to the Israelitish laity (Exodus 19:16). For סבב can be used even of half encompassing as it were like a semi-circle (Genesis 2:11; Numbers 21:4), no matter whether it be in the immediate vicinity of, or at a prescribed distance from, the central point. לשׁמע is a syncopated and defectively written Hiph., for להשׁמיע, like לשׁמד, Isaiah 23:11. Instead of לשׁמע קול תּודה, "to cause the voice of thanksgiving to be heard," since השׁמיע is used absolutely (1 Chronicles 15:19; 2 Chronicles 5:13) and the object is conceived of as the instrument of the act (Ges. 138, 1, rem. 3), it is "in order to strike in with the voice of thanksgiving." In the expression "all Thy wondrous works" is included the latest of these, to which the voice of thanksgiving especially refers, viz., the bringing of him home from the exile he had suffered from Absolom. Longing to be back again he longs most of all for the gorgeous services in the house of his God, which are performed around the altar of the outer court; for he loves the habitation of the house of God, the place, where His doxa, - revealed on earth, and in fact revealed in grace, - has taken up its abode. ma`own does not mean refuge, shelter (Hupfeld), - for although it may obtain this meaning from the context, it has nothing whatever to do with Arab. ‛ân, med. Waw, in the signification to help (whence ma‛ûn, ma‛ûne, ma‛âne, help, assistance, succour or support), - but place, dwelling, habitation, like the Arabic ma‛ân, which the Kamus explains by menzil, a place to settle down in, and explains etymologically by Arab. mḥll 'l-‛ı̂n, i.e., "a spot on which the eye rests as an object of sight;" for in the Arabic ma‛ân is traced back to Arab. ‛ân, med. Je, as is seen from the phrase hum minka bi-ma‛ânin, i.e., they are from thee on a point of sight ( equals on a spot where thou canst see them from the spot on which thou standest). The signification place, sojourn, abode (Targ. מדור) is undoubted; the primary meaning of the root is, however, questionable.
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