Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
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.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. 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.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 25:22. Just as the first פ, Psalm 25:16, is פּנה, so here in Psalm 34:17 it is פּני; and in like manner the two supernumerary Phe's correspond to one another - the Elohimic in the former Psalm, and the Jehovic in this latter.
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