Psalm 31:11
I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
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(11) The adverb rendered especially seems out of place. It is therefore better to take it as a noun, in the sense of burden, a sense etymologically probable.

“Because of all mine oppressors I have become a reproach,

And to my neighbours a burden,

And a fear to my acquaintance.”

Fled.—Literally, fluttered away like frightened birds.

Psalm 31:11. I was a reproach among all mine enemies — That is, the subject of their reproaches and scoffs. “This,” said they, “is David, anointed to be king of Israel, a goodly monarch indeed! forsaken by God and men, and in a desperate and perishing condition. He pretends great piety to God, and loyalty to Saul; but, in truth, he is a great impostor, and a traitor and rebel to his king.” But especially among my neighbours — Though they have been witnesses of my integrity in all my actions. And a fear to mine acquaintance — Hebrew, פחד, pachad, a terror. They were afraid to give me any countenance or assistance, or to be seen in my company. They that did see me without — That met me in the highway; fled from me — To prevent their own danger and ruin, which might have been occasioned by their appearing to have any acquaintance with, or friendship for me.

31:9-18 David's troubles made him a man of sorrows. Herein he was a type of Christ, who was acquainted with grief. David acknowledged that his afflictions were merited by his own sins, but Christ suffered for ours. David's friends durst not give him any assistance. Let us not think it strange if thus deserted, but make sure of a Friend in heaven who will not fail. God will be sure to order and dispose all for the best, to all those who commit their spirits also into his hand. The time of life is in God's hands, to lengthen or shorten, make bitter or sweet, according to the counsel of his will. The way of man is not in himself, nor in our friend's hands, nor in our enemies' hands, but in God's. In this faith and confidence he prays that the Lord would save him for his mercies's sake, and not for any merit of his own. He prophesies the silencing of those that reproach and speak evil of the people of God. There is a day coming, when the Lord will execute judgment upon them. In the mean time, we should engage ourselves by well-doing, if possible, to silence the ignorance of foolish men.I was a reproach among all mine enemies - That is, he was subjected to their reproaches, or was calumniated and reviled by them. See the notes at Psalm 22:6.

But especially among my neighbors - I was reproached by none more than by my neighbors. They showed special distrust of me, and manifested special unkindness, even more than my enemies did. They turned away from me. They abandoned me. They would not associate with me. They regarded me as a disgrace to them, and forsook me. Compare Job 19:13-15, and the notes at that passage.

And a fear to mine acquaintance - An object of dread or terror, so that they fled from me.

They that did see me without - In the streets, or in public - out of my own house. Not only those in my own dwelling - the members of my family - regarded me in this manner, but passers in the streets - those whom I accidentally met - turned from me and fled in disgust and horror. It is not possible now to determine at what time in the life of the psalmist this occurred, or to ascertain the exact circumstances. There were, doubtless, times when with the saddest feelings he could say that all this was true of him. His troubles in the time of his persecutions by Saul, and still more probably his trials in the time when Absalom rebelled against him, and when he was driven away from his throne and his capital, would furnish an occasion when this would be true. If the latter was the occasion, then we can see how naturally he would connect all this with his "iniquity," and regard it as the consequence of his sin in the matter of Uriah - a sin which would probably be always in his recollection, and which he would ever onward regard as lying at the foundation of all his afflictions.

11. among—or, literally, "from," or, "by" my enemies. The latter clauses describe the progress of his disgrace to the lowest degree, till, A reproach, i.e. the matter of their reproaches and scorns. This, said they, is David, anointed to be king of Israel, a goodly monarch indeed, forsaken by God and men, and in a perishing and desperate condition; he pretends great piety to God, and loyalty to Saul, but in truth he is a great impostor, and a traitor and rebel to his king. Especially among my neighbours; which aggravates their sin, and his misery, partly because they were obliged by the laws of neighbourhood to perform all friendly offices to him; and partly because they were daily witnesses of his integrity, and therefore sinned against their own knowledge. A fear; or, a terror. They were afraid to give me any countenance or assistance, or to be seen in my company; being warned by Ahimelech’s punishment for it, 1 Samuel 22.

Fled from me; either loathing me as a monster of men, and an unlucky spectacle, and such a villain as mine enemies represented me, and they believed me to be; or to prevent their own danger and ruin, which might be occasioned by it.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies,.... This is a common case of the people of God; and though it may be the least of their afflictions, yet it is not grateful to the flesh; and it is as it is made: under divine supports saints rejoice, and take pleasure in reproaches, that they are counted worthy to bear them, and esteem them as great riches; at other times they seize and feed upon their spirits, and are ready to break their hearts;

but especially among my neighbours; who knew him, and knew he did not deserve to be so treated; and who ought, as neighbours, to have loved him, and done all good offices to him; so that this is an aggravation both of their sin and his distress;

and a fear to mine acquaintance; not that they were afraid that he should do them any mischief; but they were afraid to own him, and to do him any service; unless the sense is, that they were afraid that evil would befall him, that he should not escape with his life; which, though it may express the affectionate concern of his friends, yet shows the danger he was exposed to;

they that did see me without fled from me; as if he had something very pestilential and infectious about him.

I was a {g} reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

(g) My enemies had drawn all men to their part against me, even my chief friends.

11. Because of all mine adversaries I am become a reproach,

Yea, unto my neighbours exceedingly. (R.V.)

The original is as awkward as the translation, and we should probably connect because of all mine adversaries with the previous verse, and read, I am become a reproach unto my neighbours exceedingly: or else, with Lagarde, Cheyne, and others, read a shaking of head (Psalm 44:14, cp. 13), in place of exceedingly. Cp. Psalm 22:6-7; Jeremiah 20:7-8.

they that did see me &c.] Those who met him in public avoided him, afraid of incurring persecution themselves by any sign of sympathy.

Verse 11. - I was a reproach among all mine enemies; rather, I am become a reproach (Kay, Revised Version). The psalmist complains of the loss of his reputation. Absalom's rebellion was preceded by a long course of calumnious accusation of David (2 Samuel 15:1-4), whereby men's hearts were stolen away from him, and his character blackened. His enemies made the most of these ill reports, and turned them to his reproach (camp. Psalm 69:18-20). But especially among my neighbours. Not that they reproached him more than others, but that he felt their reproaches more keenly. And a fear to mine acquaintance. His acquaintances were afraid of being recognized as such, and involved in his ill repute. They that did sea me without; i.e. "out of doors," or "in the street." Fled from me. Avoided my contact, not wishing to be seen with me (comp. Psalm 88:8). Psalm 31:11(Heb.: 31:10-14) After the paean before victory, which he has sung in the fulness of his faith, in this second part of the Psalm (with groups, or strophes, of diminishing compass: 6. 5. 4) there again breaks forth the petition, based upon the greatness of the suffering which the psalmist, after having strengthened himself in his trust in God, now all the more vividly sets before Him. צר־לּי, angustum est mihi, as in Psalm 69:18, cf. Psalm 18:7. Psalm 31:10 is word for word like Psalm 6:8, except that in this passage to עיני, the eye which mirrors the state of suffering in which the sensuous perception and objective receptivity of the man are concentrated, are added נפשׁ, the soul forming the nexus of the spirit and the body, and בּטן, the inward parts of the body reflecting the energies and feelings of the spirit and the soul. חיּים, with which is combined the idea of the organic intermingling of the powers of soul and body, has the predicate in the plural, as in Psalm 88:4. The fact that the poet makes mention of his iniquity as that by which his physical strength has become tottering (כּשׁל as in Nehemiah 4:4), is nothing surprising even in a Psalm that belongs to the time of his persecution by Saul; for the longer this persecution continued, the more deeply must David have felt that he needed this furnace of affliction.

The text of Psalm 31:12 upon which the lxx rendering is based, was just the same as ours: παρὰ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθρούς μου ἐγενήθην ὄνειδος καὶ τοῖς γείτοσί μου σφόδρα καὶ φόβος τοῖς γνωστοῖς μου. But this σφδόρα (Jerome nimis) would certainly only be tolerable, if it could be rendered, "I am become a reproach even to my neighbours exceedingly" - in favour of this position of מאד we might compare Judges 12:2, - and this rendering is not really an impossible one; for not only has ו frequently the sense of "even" as in 2 Samuel 1:23, but (independently of passages, in which it may even be explained as "and that," an expression which takes up what has been omitted, as in Amos 4:10) it sometimes has this meaning direct (like καὶ, et -etiam), Isaiah 32:7; Hosea 8:6 (according to the accents), 2 Chronicles 27:5; Ecclesiastes 5:5 (cf. Ew. @a7352, b). Inasmuch, however, as this usage, in Hebrew, was not definitely developed, but was only as it were just developing, it may be asked whether it is not possible to find a suitable explanation without having recourse to this rendering of the ו as equivalent to גּם, a rendering which is always hazardous. Olshausen places ולשׁכני after למידעי, a change which certainly gets rid of all difficulty. Hitzig alters מאד into מנּד, frightened, scared. But one naturally looks for a parallel substantive to חרפּה, somewhat like "terror" (Syriac) or "burden." Still מגור (dread) and משּׂאת (a burden) do not look as though מאד could be a corruption of either of those words. Is it not perhaps possible for מאד itself to be equivalent in meaning to משׂאת? Since in the signification σφόδρα it is so unsuited to this passage, the expression would not be ambiguous, if it were here used in a special sense. J. D. Michaelis has even compared the Arabic awd (awdat) in the sense of onus. We can, without the hesitation felt by Maurer and Hupfeld, suppose that מאד has indeed this meaning in this passage, and without any necessity for its being pointed מאד; for even the adverb מאד is originally a substantive derived from אוּד, Arab. âd (after the form מצד from צוּד) gravitas, firmitas, which is then used in the sense of graviter, firmiter (cf. the French ferme). אוּד, Arab. âd, however, has the radical signification to be compressed, compact, firm, and solid, from which proceed the significations, which are divided between âda, jaı̂du, and âda, jaûdu, to be strong, powerful, and to press upon, to burden, both of which meanings Arab. 'dd unites within itself (cf. on Psalm 20:9).

The number of opponents that David had, at length made him a reproach even in the eyes of the better disposed of his people, as being a revolter and usurper. Those among whom he found friendly shelter began to feel themselves burdened by his presence because they were thereby imperilled; and we see from the sad fate of Abimelech and the other priests of Nob what cause, humanly speaking, they, who were not merely slightly, but even intimately acquainted with him (מידּעים as inn Psalm 55:14; Psalm 88:9, 19), had for avoiding all intercourse with him. Thus, then, he is like one dead, whom as soon as he is borne out of his home to the grave, men are wont, in general, to put out of mind also (נשׁכּח מלּא, oblivione extingui ex corde; cf. מפּה, Deuteronomy 31:21). All intimate connection with him is as it were sundered, he is become כּכלי אבד, - a phrase, which, as we consider the confirmation which follows in Psalm 31:14, has the sense of vas periens (not vas perditum), a vessel that is in the act of אבד, i.e., one that is set aside or thrown away, being abandoned to utter destruction and no more cared for (cf. Hosea 8:8, together with Jeremiah 48:38, and Jeremiah 22:28). With כּי he gives the ground for his comparison of himself to a household vessel that has become worthless. The insinuations and slanders of many brand him as a transgressor, dread surrounds him on every side (this is word for word the same as in Jeremiah 20:10, where the prophet, with whom in other passages also מגור מסּביב is a frequent and standing formula, under similar circumstances uses the language of the psalmist); when they come together to take counsel concerning him (according to the accents the second half of the verse begins with בּהוּסדם), they think only how they may get rid of him. If the construction of ב with its infinitive were intended to be continued in Psalm 31:14, it would have been וזממוּ לקחת נפשׁי or לקחת נפשׁי יזמּוּ.

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