Psalm 35:5
Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) As chaff.—Comp. Psalm 1:4, and see Note. There can be little doubt that the “angel of Jehovah” in this and the following verse is (comp. Psalm 104:4) a personification of the “hurricane” itself, which drives before it all obstacles, and overwhelms even whole armies in dangerous places.

Psalm 35:5. Let them be — Or, They shall be; as chaff before the wind — That is, dispersed and chased from place to place, finding rest and safety nowhere. And let the angel of the Lord — Whom God employs to defend his people, and to destroy his enemies; chase them — Drive them forward to their destruction, as chaff is driven by a fierce wind.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!Let them be as chaff before the wind - As chaff is driven away in winnowing grain. See the notes at Psalm 1:4.

And let the angel of the Lord chase them - Drive them away, or scatter them. Angels are often represented in the Scriptures as agents employed by God in bringing punishment on wicked people. See 2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36; 1 Chronicles 21:12, 1 Chronicles 21:30; 2 Samuel 24:16.

5, 6. (Compare Ps 1:4)—a terrible fate; driven by wind on a slippery path in darkness, and hotly pursued by supernatural violence (2Sa 24:16; Ac 12:23). As chaff before the wind, i.e. dispersed and chased from place to place, finding rest and safety no where.

The angel of the Lord; whom God useth to defend his people, and to destroy their enemies. Let them be as chaff before the wind,.... As they are; see Psalm 1:4;

and let the angel of the Lord chase them; either a good angel, who is the Lord's, his creature that ministers unto him, and is ready to obey his orders; and who, as he encamps about the saints and protects them, so he is able to destroy their enemies; as one angel in a night destroyed all the firstborn in Egypt, and another the whole army of the Assyrians, Exodus 12:29; an angel of the Lord, who is swift to fly, and so to chase and overtake, and able to execute whatever is the will of the Lord; or else an evil angel, who is the Lord's, being made by him, though not made evil by him; and who is under his restraints, and can do nothing but by his permission; and who sometimes is employed by the Lord, as the executioner of his wrath upon wicked men; is suffered to distress and torture their consciences in this life, and hereafter drag them into everlasting burnings, prepared for the devil and his angels.

Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD {d} chase them.

(d) Smite them with the spirit of giddiness that their enterprises may be foolish, and they received just reward.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5, 6. Let them be as chaff before the wind,

The angel of Jehovah thrusting them down.

Let their way be all dark and slippery,

The angel of Jehovah pursuing them.

A terrible picture of a pell-mell rout. Does it not read like a recollection of some incident in a warrior’s life, perhaps some defeat of the Philistines? Helpless as chaff before the wind (Psalm 1:4, Psalm 83:13) they are driven headlong down a dark and slippery track, where they can neither see nor keep their footing, with the dread Angel smiting them down as they vainly strive to escape. “The tracks down the limestone hills of Palestine are often worn as smooth as marble” (Kay).

Most probably the participles should be transposed. Pursuing suits the image of the storm-driven chaff (Isaiah 17:13); thrusting down (Psalm 36:12; Psalm 118:13; Psalm 140:4) agrees better with the picture of the stumbling fugitives. For the angel of Jehovah see note on Psalm 34:7. Cp. the reminiscence of this passage in Jeremiah 23:12.Verse 5. - Let them be as chaff before the wind (comp. Psalm 1:4; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 29:5; Hosea 13:3). Chaff is the type of whatever is light, vain, futile, and worthless; chaff driven before the wind represents the confused rout of a beaten army flying without any resistance before an enemy. And let the angel of the Lord chase them; rather, smite them. The angel of the Lord, who protects the righteous (Psalm 34:7), is called on to complete the discomfiture of the wicked ones, who are David's enemies. (Heb.: 34:17-22) The poet now recommends the fear of God, to which he has given a brief direction, by setting forth its reward in contrast with the punishment of the ungodly. The prepositions אל and בּ, in Psalm 34:16 and Psalm 34:17, are a well considered interchange of expression: the former, of gracious inclination (Psalm 33:18), the latter, of hostile intention or determining, as in Job 7:8; Jeremiah 21:10; Jeremiah 44:11, after the phrase in Leviticus 17:10. The evil doers are overwhelmed by the power of destruction that proceeds from the countenance of Jahve, which is opposed to them, until there is not the slightest trace of their earthly existence left. The subjects to Psalm 34:18 are not, according to Psalm 107:17-19, the עשׁי רע (evil doers), since the indispensable characteristic of penitence is in this instance wanting, but the צדיקים (the righteous). Probably the פ strophe stood originally before the ע strophe, just as in Lamentations 2-4 the פ precedes the ע (Hitzig). In connection with the present sequence of the thoughts, the structure of Psalm 34:18 is just like Psalm 34:6 : Clamant et Dominus audit equals si qui (quicunque) clamant. What is meant is the cry out of the depth of a soul that despairs of itself. Such crying meets with a hearing with God, and in its realisation, an answer that bears its own credentials. "The broken in heart" are those in whom the egotistical, i.e., self-loving life, which encircles its own personality, is broken at the very root; "the crushed or contrite (דּכּאי, from דּכּא, with a changeable ā, after the form אילות from איּל) in spirit" are those whom grievous experiences, leading to penitence, of the false eminence to which their proud self-consciousness has raised them, have subdued and thoroughly humbled. To all such Jahve is nigh, He preserves them from despair, He is ready to raise up in them a new life upon the ruins of the old and to cover or conceal their infinitive deficiency; and, they, on their part, being capable of receiving, and desirous of, salvation, He makes them partakers of His salvation. It is true these afflictions come upon the righteous, but Jahve rescues him out of them all, מכּלּם equals מּכּלּן (the same enallage generis as in Ruth 1:19; Ruth 4:11). He is under the most special providence, "He keepeth all his bones, not one of them (ne unum quidem) is broken" - a pictorial exemplification of the thought that God does not suffer the righteous to come to the extremity, that He does not suffer him to be severed from His almighty protecting love, nor to become the sport of the oppressors. Nevertheless we call to mind the literal fulfilment which these words of the psalmist received in the Crucified One; for the Old Testament prophecy, which is quoted in John 19:33-37, may be just as well referred to our Psalm as to Exodus 12:46. Not only the Paschal lamb, but in a comparative sense even every affliction of the righteous, is a type. Not only is the essence of the symbolism of the worship of the sanctuary realised in Jesus Christ, not only is the history of Israel and of David repeated in Him, not only does human suffering attain in connection with Him its utmost intensity, but all the promises given to the righteous are fulfilled in Him κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν; because He is the righteous One in the most absolute sense, the Holy One of God in a sense altogether unique (Isaiah 53:11; Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 9:9; Acts 3:14; Acts 22:14). - The righteous is always preserved from extreme peril, whereas evil (רעה) slays (מותת stronger than המית) the ungodly: evil, which he loved and cherished, becomes the executioner's power, beneath which he falls. And they that hate the righteous must pay the penalty. Of the meanings to incur guilt, to feel one's self guilty, and to undergo punishment as being guilty, אשׁם (vid., on 1 Samuel 14:13) has the last in this instance.
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