Psalm 35:6
Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Dark and slippery.—See margin. Delitzsch supposes an allusion to the passage of the Red Sea, but the picture suggests rather the passage of some dangerous mountain pass in a raging storm. “The tracks in the limestone hills of Palestine are often worn as smooth as marble; comp. Psalm 73:18” (quoted from Kay, in the Speaker’s Commentary).

Psalm 35:6-7. Let their way — By which they flee, being chased, as was now said; be dark and slippery — So as that they can neither discern the right path, nor be able to stand in it, and much less to escape, especially from so swift a pursuer as an angel. For without cause — Out of mere malice, without any injury or provocation on my part; have they hid, &c. — The sundry expressions used in this clause, aggravate their sin, and signify that their persecution of him was not the effect of a sudden passion, but of a deep and habitual hatred and malice, carried on in a constant and continued course, with deliberation, craft, and deceit, and that against David’s soul, or life; for nothing less would satisfy them.

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 their way be dark - Margin, as in Hebrew: "darkness." That is, let them not be able to see where they go; what danger they incur; what is before them. The idea is that of persons who wander in the night, not knowing what is before them, or what danger may be near. The succession of images and figures here is terrific. The representation is that of persons scattered as the chaff is before the wind; pursued by the angel seeking vengeance; and driven along a dark and slippery path, with no guide, and no knowledge as to the precipices which may be before them, or the enemies that may be pressing upon them.

And slippery - Margin, as in Hebrew: "slipperiness." This is a circumstance which adds increased terror to the image. It is not only a dark road, but a road made slippery by rains; a road where they are in danger every moment of sliding down a precipice where they will be destroyed.

And let the angel of the Lord persecute them - Pursue or follow them. The word "persecute" we use now in the sense of subjecting one to pain, torture, or privation, on account of his religious opinions. This is not the meaning of the word used here. It is simply to "follow" or "pursue." The image is that of the avenging angel following on, or pursuing them in this dark and slippery way; a flight in a dark and dangerous path, with a destroying angel close in the rear.

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). Their way, by which they flee, being chased, as was now said.

Dark and slippery; so as they can neither discern the right path, nor be able to stand in it, and much less to run away, especially from so swift a persecutor as an angel, whereby they must unavoidably fall into their enemies’ hands, and be destroyed.

Let their way be dark and slippery,.... In which they run before the angel, chasing and pursuing them; so that they know not where they are, at what they stumble, whither to flee, nor how to stand; the ways of wicked men are as darkness, they know not in what condition they are, and whither they are going; and utter darkness, even blackness of darkness, is reserved for them: but here it means a calamitous, uncomfortable, fickle, and unstable situation in this life; see Jeremiah 23:11. The allusion is to some of the valleys in the land of Palestine, which were dark, and the roads in them very smooth and slippery, as travellers in those parts have observed (q);

and let the angel of God persecute them; See Gill on Psalm 35:5.

(q) See Maundrell's Travel's, p. 7.

Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 6. - Let their way be dark and slippery; literally, darkness and slipperiness; i.e. let them fly along dark and slippery paths, where they cannot see their way, and will be sure to stumble and fall. And let the angel of the Lord persecute them; rather, pursue after them. Psalm 35:6Throughout the next two strophes follow terrible imprecations. According to Frst and others the relation of בּושׁ and חפר is like that of erblassen, to turn pale (cf. Isaiah 29:22 with Psalm 34:6), and errצthen, to turn red, to blush. בושׁ has, however, no connection with בוץ, nor has חפר, Arab. chfr, chmr, any connection with Arab. hmr, to be red; but, according to its radical notion, בּושׁ means disturbari (vid., Psalm 6:11), and חפר, obtegere, abscondere (vid., Psalm 34:6). יסּגוּ, properly "let them be made to fall back" (cf. e.g., Isaiah 42:17). On the figure on Psalm 35:5 cf. Psalm 83:14. The clauses respecting the Angel of Jahve, Psalm 35:5 and Psalm 35:6, are circumstantial clauses, viz., clauses defining the manner. דּחה (giving, viz., them, the push that shall cause their downfall, equivalent to דּחם or דּחם, Psalm 68:28) is closely connected with the figure in Psalm 35:6, and רדפם, with the figure in Psalm 35:5; consequently it seems as though the original position of these two clauses respecting the Angel of Jahve had been disturbed; just as in Psalm 34, the ע strophe and the פ strophe have changed their original places. It is the Angel, who took off Pharaoh's chariot wheels so that they drave them heavily (Exodus 14:25) that is intended here. The fact that this Angel is concerned here, where the point at issue is whether the kingship of the promise shall be destroyed at its very beginning or not, harmonises with the appearing of the מלאך ה at all critical junctures in the course of the history of redemption. חלקלקּות, loca passim lubrica, is an intensive form of expression for חלקות rof noisserp, Psalm 73:18. Just as דּחה recalls to mind Exodus 15, so רדפם recalls Judges 5. In this latter passage the Angel of Jahve also appears in the midst of the conquerors who are pursuing the smitten foe, incarnate as it were in Deborah.
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