Psalm 35:2
Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
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(2) Shield and buckler.—Better, buckler and shield, as the first (Heb., magen) suggests a small, the latter (tsinnah) a large shield covering the whole body. Greek, θυρεός (see Note, Psalm 5:12.) Notice that the poet, in the intensity of his purpose, overlooks the anomaly of arming a warrior with two shields at once. The bold flight of imagination that could picture the Divine Being as a warrior, a picture common in Hebrew poetry, but here more vividly realised than anywhere else except Isaiah 63:1, may well excuse such a lapse.

35:1-10 It is no new thing for the most righteous men, and the most righteous cause, to meet with enemies. This is a fruit of the old enmity in the seed of the serpent against the Seed of the woman. David in his afflictions, Christ in his sufferings, the church under persecution, and the Christian in the hour temptation, all beseech the Almighty to appear in their behalf, and to vindicate their cause. We are apt to justify uneasiness at the injuries men do us, by our never having given them cause to use us so ill; but this should make us easy, for then we may the more expect that God will plead our cause. David prayed to God to manifest himself in his trial. Let me have inward comfort under all outward troubles, to support my soul. If God, by his Spirit, witness to our spirits that he is our salvation, we need desire no more to make us happy. If God is our Friend, no matter who is our enemy. By the Spirit of prophecy, David foretells the just judgments of God that would come upon his enemies for their great wickedness. These are predictions, they look forward, and show the doom of the enemies of Christ and his kingdom. We must not desire or pray for the ruin of any enemies, except our lusts and the evil spirits that would compass our destruction. A traveller benighted in a bad road, is an expressive emblem of a sinner walking in the slippery and dangerous ways of temptation. But David having committed his cause to God, did not doubt of his own deliverance. The bones are the strongest parts of the body. The psalmist here proposes to serve and glorify God with all his strength. If such language may be applied to outward salvation, how much more will it apply to heavenly things in Christ Jesus!Take hold of shield and buckler - That is, Arm thyself as if for the contest. It is a prayer, in a new form, that God would interpose, and that he would go forth as a warrior against the enemies of the psalmist. On the word "shield," see the notes at Psalm 5:12. Compare the notes at Ephesians 6:16. On the word "buckler," see the notes at Psalm 18:2. These terms are derived from the armor of a warrior, and the prayer here is that God would appear in that character for his defense.

And stand up for my help - As a warrior stands up, or stands firm, to arrest the attack of an enemy.


Ps 35:1-28. The Psalmist invokes God's aid, contrasting the hypocrisy, cunning, and malice of his enemies with his integrity and generosity. The imprecations of the first part including a brief notice of their conduct, the fuller exposition of their hypocrisy and malice in the second, and the earnest prayer for deliverance from their scornful triumph in the last, are each closed (Ps 35:9, 10, 18, 27, 28) with promises of praise for the desired relief, in which his friends will unite. The historical occasion is probably 1Sa 24:1-22.

1-3. God is invoked in the character of a warrior (Ex 15:3; De 32:41).

Take hold of shield and buckler; therewith to cover and defend me. Compare Psalm 91:4 Proverbs 2:7.

Take hold of shield and buckler,.... Defensive weapons; not that the Lord stands in need of any of these to defend himself with: but the sense is, that he would be as these to David; as he was to him, and is to all his people; namely, their shield and buckler: he gives unto them the shield of salvation; he encompasses them about with his favour as with a shield, and keeps them by his power safe from all their enemies;

and stand up for mine help; for which the Lord arises, and stands by his people, and against their enemies, delivering them out of their hands.

{b} Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

(b) Even though God can with his breath destroy all his enemies, yet the Holy Spirit attributes to him these outward weapons to assure us of his patient power.

2, 3. ‘Anthropomorphic’ language of remarkable boldness, expanding the idea of Jehovah as “a man of war” (Exodus 15:3 : cp. Deuteronomy 32:41 f.).

shield and buckler] See note on Psalm 5:12. The mention of both together is part of the poetical picture.

stand up for mine help] Rather, Arise as my help. Arise (see notes on Psalm 3:7; Psalm 7:6) in the character and capacity of my helper (Psalm 27:9).

Draw out] From the armoury, or more probably from the spear-holder in which it was kept when not in use (Gr. δουροδόκη, Hom. Od. i. 128). The word is used of drawing a sword from its sheath (Exodus 15:9).

stop the way] All the ancient versions render the word s’gor as an imperative; and this gives a good sense. First the enemy are checked in their pursuit; then (Psalm 35:4 ff.) put to flight. But an ellipse of the way is harsh; the verb shut is not so used elsewhere; and the preposition against seems to imply attack. Hence many modem commentators regard the word as the name of a weapon not mentioned elsewhere in the O.T., battle-axe (R.V. marg.) or, dirk (Cheyne); the equivalent of the sagaris mentioned by Greek historians as the characteristic weapon of Persians, Scythians, and other Asiatics.

that persecute me] Rather, that pursue me (R.V.). Cp. 1 Samuel 24:14; &c.

say unto my soul &c.] Give me the comforting assurance of thy interposition for my deliverance. Cp. Psalm 3:2; Psalm 3:8 and notes there. The primary meaning of the words is of course temporal not spiritual.

Verse 2. - Take hold of shield and buckler. "The shield (magen) was a smaller hand-weapon; the buckler (tsinnah)covered the whole body" (Kay). The "shield and buckler" are put forward first, because it is primarily defence and protection that David needs. His adversaries are the aggressors; he is on the defensive; Saul is hunting him upon the mountains. And stand up for mine help (comp. Psalm 7:6). Standing is the natural posture of one who interposes to help another. Psalm 35:2The psalmist begins in a martial and anthropomorphical style such as we have not hitherto met with. On the ultima-accentuation of ריבה, vid., on Psalm 3:8. Both את are signs of the accusative. This is a more natural rendering here, where the psalmist implores God to subjugate his foes, than to regard את as equivalent to עם (cf. Isaiah 49:25 with ib. Psalm 27:8; Job 10:2); and, moreover, for the very same reason the expression in this instance is לחם, (in the Kal, which otherwise only lends the part. לחם, Psalm 56:2., to the Niph. נלחם) instead of the reciprocal form הלּחם. It is usually supposed that לחם means properly vorare, and war is consequently conceived of as a devouring of men; but the Arabic offers another primary meaning: to press close and compact (Niph. to one another), consequently מלחמה means a dense crowd, a dense bustle and tumult (cf. the Homeric κλόνος). The summons to Jahve to arm, and that in a twofold manner, viz., with the מגן for warding off the hostile blow and צנּה (vid., Psalm 5:13) which covers the body like a testudo - by which, inasmuch as it is impossible to hold both shields at the same time, the figure is idealised - is meant to express, that He is to make Himself felt by the foes, in every possible way, to their own confounding, as the unapproachable One. The ב of בּעזרתי (in the character of help turned towards me) is the so-called Beth essentiae,

(Note: The Hebrew Beth essentiae is used much more freely and extensively than the Arabic, which is joined exclusively to the predicate of a simple clause, where in our language the verb is "to be," and as a rule only to the predicate of negative clauses: laisa bi-hakı̂mim, he is not wise, or laisa bi-l-hakı̂mi, he is not the wise man. The predicate can accordingly be indeterminate or determinate. Moreover, in Hebrew, where this ב is found with the predicate, with the complement of the subject, or even, though only as a solecism (vid., Gesenius' Thesaurus p. 175), with the subject itself, the word to which it is prefixed may be determinate, whether as an attribute determined by itself (Exodus 6:3, בּאל שׁדּי), by a suffix (as above, Psalm 35:2, cf. Psalm 146:5; Exodus 18:4; Proverbs 3:26), or even by the article. At all events no syntactic objection can be brought against the interpretations of בעשׁן, "in the quality of smoke," Psalm 37:20; cf. בּהבל, Psalm 78:33, and of בּנּפשׁ, "in the character of the soul," Leviticus 17:11.)

as in Exodus 18:4; Proverbs 3:26; Isaiah 48:10 (tanquam argentum), and frequently. הריק has the same meaning as in Exodus 15:9, cf. Genesis 14:14, viz., to bring forth, draw forth, to draw or unsheath (a sword); for as a sword is sheathed when not in use, so a spear is kept in the δουροδόκη (Odyss. i. 128). Even Parchon understands סגר to mean a weapon; and the word σάγαρις, in Herodotus, Xenophon, and Strabo, a northern Asiatic, more especially a Scythian, battle-axe, has been compared here;

(Note: Probably one and the same word with the Armenian sakr, to which are assigned the (Italian) meanings mannaja, scure, brando ferro, in Ciakciak's Armenian Lexicon; cf. Lagarde's Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 1866, S. 203.)

but the battle-axe was not a Hebrew weapon, and סגר, which, thus defectively written, has the look of an imperative, also gives the best sense when so taken (lxx σύγκλεισον, Targ. וּטרוק), viz., close, i.e., cut off, interclude scil. viam. The word has Dech, because לקראת רדפי, "casting Thyself against my persecutors," belongs to both the preceding summonses. Dachselt rightly directs attention to the similar sequence of the accents in Psalm 55:19; Psalm 66:15. The Mosaic figure of Jahve as a man of war (אישׁ מלחמה, Exodus 15:3; Deuteronomy 32:41.) is worked out here with brilliant colours, under the impulse of a wrathful spirit. But we see from Psalm 35:3 what a spiritual meaning, nevertheless, the whole description is intended to convey. In God's intervention, thus manifested in facts, he would gladly hear His consolatory utterance to himself. The burden of his cry is that God's love may break through the present outward appearance of wrath and make itself felt by him.

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