I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourns for his mother.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I bowed down heavily.—Better, I went squalid, and bowed down, alluding to the neglected beard and person, and to the dust and ashes of Oriental mourning.Psalm 35:14. I behaved myself — Hebrew, התהלכתי, hithhalacti, I caused myself to walk, namely, to visit and comfort him; or, I conducted myself toward him, as though he had been my friend, &c. — As if I had been in danger of losing a friend or brother. I bowed down heavily — Went hanging down my head as mourners used to do, Isaiah 58:5; as one that mourneth for his mother — I could not have looked more dejected if I had bewailed the death of the dearest mother.Philippians 3:18; Galatians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:11. It is not improperly rendered here, "I behaved myself."
As though he had been my friend or brother - Margin, as in Hebrew: "as a friend, as a brother to me." This shows that these persons were not his near "relations," but that they were his intheate friends, or were supposed to be so. He felt and acted toward them as though they had been his nearest relations.
I bowed down heavily - Prof. Alexander renders this, "Squalid I bowed down." The word rendered "I bowed down" refers to the condition of one who is oppressed with grief, or who sinks under it. All have felt this effect of grief, when the head is bowed; when the frame is bent; when one under the pressure throws himself on a couch or on the ground. The word rendered heavily - קדר qodēr - is derived from a word - קדר qâdar - which means to be turbid or foul, as a torrent: Job 6:16; and then, to mourn, or to go about in filthy garments or sackcloth as mourners: Job 5:11; Jeremiah 14:2; Psalm 38:6; Psalm 42:9; and then, to be of a dirty, dusky color, as the skin is that is scorched by the sun: Job 30:28. It is rendered "black" in Jeremiah 4:28; Jeremiah 8:21; 1 Kings 18:45; Jeremiah 14:2; "blackish," Job 6:16; "dark," Joel 2:10; Micah 3:6; Ezekiel 32:7-8; "darkened," Joel 3:15; "mourn and mourning." Job 5:11; Job 30:28; Psalm 38:6; Psalm 42:9; Psalm 43:2; Ezekiel 31:15; and "heavily" only in this place. The "idea" here is that of one appearing in the usual aspect and habiliments of mourning. He had a sad countenance; he had put on the garments that were indicative of grief; and thus he "walked about."
As one that mourneth for his mother - The psalmist here evidently designs to illustrate the depth of his own sorrow by a reference to the deepest kind of grief which we ever experience. The sorrow for a mother is special, and there is no grief which a man feels more deeply or keenly than this. We have but one mother to lose, and thousands of most tender recollections come into the memory when she dies. While she lived we had always one friend to whom we could tell everything - to whom we could communicate all our joys, and of whose sympathy we were certain in all our sorrows, however trivial in their own nature they might be. Whoever might be indifferent to us, whoever might turn away from us in our troubles, whoever might feel that our affairs were not worth regarding, we were sure that she would not be the one; we were always certain that she would feel an interest in whatever concerned us. Even those things which we felt could be scarcely worth a father's attention we could freely communicate to her, for we were sure there was nothing that pertained to us that was too insignificant for her to regard, and we went and freely told all to her. And then, how much has a mother done for us! All the ideas that we have of tenderness, affection, self-denial, patience, and gentleness, are closely connected with the recollection of a mother, for we have, in our early years, seen more of these tilings in her than in perhaps all other persons together. Though, therefore, we weep when a father dies, and though, in the formation of our character, we may have been more indebted to him than to her, yet our grief for him when he dies is different from that which we feel when a mother dies. We, indeed, reverence and honor and love him, but we are conscious of quite a different feeling from that which we have when a mother is removed by death.
heavily—or, "squalidly," his sorrowing occasioning neglect of his person. Altogether, his grief was that of one for a dearly loved relative.I behaved myself, Heb. I walked; either to him, to visit and comfort him; or about the streets, whither my occasions led me. Though walking is oft put for a man’s carriage or conversation.
I bowed down; went hanging down my head, as mourners used to do, Isaiah 58:5.
Mother; he mentions the mother rather than the father, either because her tender affection, and care, and kindness to him had more won upon his heart, and made him more sensible of the loss; or because, through the depravation of man’s nature, children are many times less sensible of their father’s loss or death, because it is compensated with some advantage to themselves; which doth not usually happen upon the mother’s death. Some render it, as a mourning mother, for the loss of her son. But this doth not seem to suit so well with the order of the Hebrew words. Psalm 41:9; and Arama thinks he is meant here; as Christ of Judas, whom he called friend, when he came to betray him; and who not only ate with him at table of his bread, but was steward of his family, and carried the bag, Matthew 26:50;
I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother; or as a mother that mourneth for her son, as Jarchi interprets it, whose affections are very strong; and thus Christ wept over Jerusalem, and had a tender concern for and sympathy with the Jews, his implacable enemies, and wept over them, and prayed for them, Luke 19:41.I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Better with R.V.
I behaved myself as though it had been my friend or my brother:
I bowed down mourning, as one that bewaileth his mother.
Had they been his nearest and dearest, he could not have displayed deeper grief. The verse would be improved by a slight transposition (which is supported by Psalm 38:6), thus; I bowed down (descriptive of the mourner’s gait with the head bowed down by the load of sorrow) … I went mourning (like Lat. squalidus, of all the outward signs of grief, dark clothes, tear-stained unwashed face, untrimmed hair and beard—see 2 Samuel 19:24).Verse 14. - I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother. In every such case I sympathized with the sufferer to such an extent, that my conduct was like that of an intimate friend or a brother. I bowed down heavily, as one that mournsth for his mother. Nay, I went further; I took on all those outward signs of grief which are usual when a man has lost his mother. I "bowed down heavily," as though I could scarcely stand. The Orientals are extreme and exaggerated in their manifestations both of joy and grief (see Herod., 8:99). Psalm 35:7 also needs re-organising, just as in Psalm 35:5. the original positions of דחה and רדפס are exchanged. שׁחת רשׁתּם would be a pit deceptively covered over with a net concealed below; but, as even some of the older critics have felt, שׁחת is without doubt to be brought down from Psalm 35:7 into Psalm 35:7: without cause, i.e., without any provocation on my part, have they secretly laid their net for me (as in Psalm 9:16; Psalm 31:5), without cause have they digged a pit for my soul. In Psalm 35:8 the foes are treated of collectively. לא ידע is a negative circumstantial clause (Ew. 341, b): improviso, as in Proverbs 5:6; Isaiah 47:11 extrem. Instead of תּלכּדנּוּ the expression is תּלכּדוּ, as in Hosea 8:3; the sharper form is better adapted to depict the suddenness and certainty of the capture. According to Hupfeld, the verb שׁאה signifies a wild, dreary, confused noise or crash, then devastation and destruction, a transition of meaning which - as follows from שׁואה (cf. תּהוּ) as a name of the desolate steppe, from שׁוא, a waste, emptiness, and from other indications - is solely brought about by transferring the idea of a desolate confusion of tones to a desolate confusion of things, without any intermediate notion of the crashing in of ruins. But it may be asked whether the reverse is not rather the case, viz., that the signification of a waste, desert, emptiness or void is the primary one, and the meaning that has reference to sound (cf. Arab. hwâ, to gape, be empty; to drive along, fall down headlong, then also: to make a dull sound as of something falling, just like rumor from ruere, fragor (from frangi) the derived one. Both etymology (cf. תּהה, whence תּהוּ) and the preponderance of other meanings, favour this latter view. Here the two significations are found side by side, inasmuch as שׁואה in the first instance means a waste equals devastation, desolation, and in the second a waste equals a heavy, dull sound, a rumbling (δουπεῖν). In the Syriac version it is rendered: "into the pit which he has digged let him fall," as though it were שׁחת in the second instance instead of שׁואה; and from his Hupfeld, with J. H. Michaelis, Stier, and others, is of opinion, that it must be rendered: "into the destruction which he himself has prepared let him fall." But this quam ipse paravit is not found in the text, and to mould the text accordingly would be a very arbitrary proceeding.
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