Psalm 35:22
This you have seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 35:22-24. Thou hast seen, O Lord — As they say they have seen, so my comfort is, that thou also hast seen, and dost observe all their plots and threats, and all my distresses and calamities, which I suffer for thy sake. Keep not silence — Or, Be not deaf, namely, to my prayers. Be not far from me — Do not withdraw thy favour and help from me. Awake unto my cause — At last undertake to plead my cause against my adversaries. According to thy righteousness — Whereby thou usest to defend the innocent and punish their oppressors.35:17-28 Though the people of God are, and study to be, quiet, yet it has been common for their enemies to devise deceitful matters against them. David prays, My soul is in danger, Lord, rescue it; it belongs to thee the Father of spirits, therefore claim thine own; it is thine, save it! Lord, be not far from me, as if I were a stranger. He who exalted the once suffering Redeemer, will appear for all his people: the roaring lion shall not destroy their souls, any more than he could that of Christ, their Surety. They trust their souls in his hands, they are one with him by faith, are precious in his sight, and shall be rescued from destruction, that they may give thanks in heaven.This thou hast seen, O Lord - Thou hast seen what they have done, as they profess to have seen what I have done Psalm 35:21. Thine eye has been upon all their movements, as they say that theirs has been upon mine. Compare the notes at Psalm 35:17.

Keep not silence - That is, Speak; rebuke them; punish them. God seemed to look on with unconcern. As we express it, he "said nothing." He appeared to pay no attention to what was done, but suffered them to do as they pleased without interposing to rebuke or check them. Compare the notes at Psalm 28:1.

O Lord, be not far from me - Compare the notes at Psalm 10:1.

21. On the gesture compare Ps 22:7; and on the expressions of malicious triumph, compare Ps 10:13; 28:3. As they say they have seen, so my comfort is, thou also hast seen, and dost observe all their plots and threats, and all my distresses and calamities, which I suffer for thy sake.

Keep not silence; or, be not deaf, to wit, to my prayers. The same word signifies both to be silent and to be deaf. See Poole "Psalm 28:1".

Be not far from me; do not withdraw thy favour and help from me. This thou hast seen, O Lord,.... The insults and derisions of these men, and the injuries they did to him, whom they hated. God is omniscient, and sees all things, all the evil wicked men do to him; and he will requite them in his own time; see Psalm 10:14;

keep not silence; meaning at his prayers; that he would not be as one deaf and dumb, turning his ears from his cries, and giving no answer to his requests; see Psalm 28:1;

O Lord, be not far from me; meaning not as to his general presence, in which sense he is not far from any, Acts 17: but with respect to his gracious presence and appearance to him for help and deliverance; see Psalm 22:1.

This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. He turns their taunt into a plea: Thou hast seen, O Jehovah. Cp. Psalm 35:17, note.

keep not silence] The same word as in Psalm 28:1, where R.V. renders, be not thou deaf unto me. With be not far from me, cp. Psalm 22:11; &c.Verse 22. - This thou hast seen, O Lord. Nothing of this has been hid from thee; thine eye, O Lord, has seen it. Therefore I call upon thee. Keep not silence. Refrain not thyself. "Up, and let not man have the upper hand" (Psalm 9:19). O Lord, be not far from me. Draw near, hasten, vindicate my name (comp. Psalm 22:19; Psalm 38:21; 70:12). The second part begins with two strophes of sorrowful description of the wickedness of the enemy. The futures in Psalm 35:11, Psalm 35:12 describe that which at present takes place. עדי חמס are μάρτυρες ἄδικοι (lxx). They demand from him a confession of acts and things which lie entirely outside his consciousness and his way of acting (cf. Psalm 69:5): they would gladly brand him as a perjurer, as an usurper, and as a plunderer. What David complains of in Psalm 35:12, we hear Saul confess in 1 Samuel 24:18; the charge of ingratitude is therefore well-grounded. שׁכול לנפשׁי is not dependent on ישׁלּמוּני, in which case one would have looked for כּשׁול rather than שׁכול, but a substantival clause: "bereavement is to my soul," its condition is that of being forsaken by all those who formerly showed me marks of affection; all these have, as it were, died off so far as I am concerned. Not only had David been obliged to save his parents by causing them to flee to Moab, but Michal was also torn from him, Jonathan removed, and all those at the court of Saul, who had hitherto sought the favour and friendship of the highly-gifted and highly-honoured son-in-law of the king, were alienated from him. And how sincerely and sympathisingly had he reciprocated their leanings towards himself! By ואני in Psalm 35:13, he contrasts himself with the ungrateful and unfeeling ones. Instead of לבשׁתּי שׁק, the expression is לבוּשׁי שׁק; the tendency of poetry for the use of the substantival clause is closely allied to its fondness for well-conceived brevity and pictorial definition. He manifested towards them a love which knew no distinction between the ego and tu, which regarded their sorrow and their guilt as his own, and joined with them in their expiation for it; his head was lowered upon his breast, or he cowered, like Elijah (1 Kings 18:42), upon the ground with his head hanging down upon his breast even to his knees, so that that which came forth from the inmost depths of his nature returned again as it were in broken accents into his bosom. Riehm's rendering, "at their ungodliness and hostility my prayer for things not executed came back," is contrary to the connection, and makes one look for אלי instead of אל־חיקי. Perret-Gentil correctly renders it, Je priai la tte penche sur la poitrine.

The Psalmist goes on to say in Psalm 35:14, I went about as for a friend, for a brother to me, i.e., as if the sufferer had been such to me. With התחלּך, used of the solemn slowness of gait, which corresponds to the sacredness of pain, alternates שׁחח used of the being bowed down very low, in which the heavy weight of pain finds expression. כּאבל־אם, not: like the mourning (from אבל, like הבל from הבל) of a mother (Hitzig), but, since a personal אבל is more natural, and next to the mourning for an only child the loss of a mother (cf. Genesis 24:67) strikes the deepest wound: like one who mourns (אבל־,

(Note: According to the old Babylonian reading (belonging to a period when Pathach and Segol were as yet not distinguished from one another), כּאבל (with the sign of Pathach and the stroke for Raphe below equals ); vid., Pinsker, Zur Geschichte des Karaismus, S. 141, and Einleitung, S. 118.)

like לבן־, Genesis 49:12, from אבל, construct state, like טמא) for a mother (the objective genitive, as in Genesis 27:41; Deuteronomy 34:8; Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 6:26). קדר signifies the colours, outward appearance, and attire of mourning: with dark clothes, with tearful unwashed face, and with neglected beard. But as for them - how do they act at the present time, when he finds himself in צלע (Psalm 38:17; Job 18:12), a sideway direction, i.e., likely to fall (from צלע, Arab. ḍl‛, to incline towards the side)? They rejoice and gather themselves together, and this assemblage of ungrateful friends rejoicing over another's misfortune, is augmented by the lowest rabble that attach themselves to them. The verb נכה means to smite; Niph. נכּא, Job 30:6, to be driven forth with a whip, after which the lxx renders it μάστιγες, Symm. πλῆκται, and the Targum conterentes me verbis suis; cf. הכּה בּלשׂון, Jeremiah 18:18. But נכים cannot by itself mean smiters with the tongue. The adjective נכה signifies elsewhere with רגלים, one who is smitten in the feet, i.e., one who limps or halts, and with רוּח, but also without any addition, in Isaiah 16:7, one smitten in spirit, i.e., one deeply troubled or sorrowful. Thus, therefore, נכים from נכה, like גּאים from גּאה, may mean smitten, men, i.e., men who are brought low or reduced (Hengstenberg). It might also, after the Arabic nawika, to be injured in mind, anwak, stupid, silly (from the same root נך, to prick, smite, wound, cf. ichtalla, to be pierced through equals mad), be understood as those mentally deranged, enraged at nothing or without cause. But the former definition of the notion of the word is favoured by the continuation of the idea of the verbal adjective נכים by ולא ידעתּי, persons of whom I have hitherto taken no notice because they were far removed from me, i.e., men belonging to the dregs of the people (cf. Job 19:18; Job 30:1). The addition of ולא ידעתי certainly makes Olshausen's conjecture that we should read נכרים somewhat natural; but the expression then becomes tautological, and there are other instances also in which psalm-poesy goes beyond the ordinary range of words, in order to find language to describe that which is loathsome, in the most glaring way. פרע, to tear, rend in pieces, viz., with abusive and slanderous words (like Arab. qr‛ II) also does not occur anywhere else.

And what remarkable language we now meet with in Psalm 35:16! מעוג does not mean scorn or buffoonery, as Bttcher and Hitzig imagine,

(Note: The Talmudic עגה (לשׁון), B. Sanhedrin 101b, which is said to mean "a jesting way of speaking," has all the less place here, as the reading wavers between עגה (עגא) and אגא.)

but according to 1 Kings 17:12, a cake of a round formation (like the Talmudic עגּה, a circle); לעג, jeering, jesting. Therefore לעגי מעוג means: mockers for a cake, i.e., those who for a delicate morsel, for the sake of dainty fare, make scornful jokes, viz., about me, the persecuted one, vile parasites; German Tellerlecker, Bratenriecher, Greek κνισσοκόλακες, ψωμοκόλακες, Mediaeval Latin buccellarii. This לעגי מלוג, which even Rashi interprets in substantially the same manner, stands either in a logical co-ordinate relation (vid., on Isaiah 19:11) or in a logical as well as grammatical subordinate relation to its regens חנפי. In the former case, it would be equivalent to: the profane, viz., the cake-jesters; in the latter, which is the more natural, and quite suitable: the profane ( equals the profanest, vid., Psalm 45:13; Isaiah 29:19; Ezekiel 7:24) among cake-jesters. The בּ is not the Beth of companionship or fellowship, to express which עם or את (Hosea 7:5) would have been used, but Beth essentiae or the Beth of characterisation: in the character of the most abject examples of this class of men do they gnash upon him with their teeth. The gerund חרק (of the noise of the teeth being pressed together, like Arab. ḥrq, of the crackling of a fire and the grating of a file), which is used according to Ges. 131, 4, b, carries its subject in itself. They gnash upon him with their teeth after the manner of the profanest among those, by whom their neighbour's honour is sold for a delicate morsel.

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