The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 37:14-15. The wicked have drawn out the sword, &c. — They are furnished with all sorts of arms, and are ready to give the deadly blow. To slay such as be of upright conversation — Those against whom they have no quarrel, for any injury they have done them; but only for their integrity and righteousness, or because they are better than themselves, and will not comply with their wicked counsels and courses. Their sword shall enter into their own heart — God will not only defend the upright from their mischievous designs, but will make those designs to fall upon their own heads. “I cannot but think,” says a writer quoted here by Dr. Dodd, “that David understood by these weapons, with which he has furnished the ungodly, their bitter and malicious invectives, their false and foul reproaches, &c. These were the arms, in the use of which, as he frequently complains, they were admirably well skilled.” Thus, (Psalm 57:4,) speaking of wicked men, he says, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. And if so, then Psalm 37:15 “will mean that their intention will be frustrated; they shall not do the mischief they intended; their bows shall be broken — And their invectives and calumnies shall recoil and do themselves hurt; their sharp sword, their false and malicious tongues, shall pierce through their own soul. And that this was the psalmist’s meaning, who can doubt, after reading Psalm 64:3, where the wicked doers are said to have whet their tongue like a sword, and to shoot out their arrows, even bitter words.”
And have bent their bow - literally, "have trodden the bow," in allusion to the method by which the bow was bent: to wit, by placing the foot on it, and drawing the string back.
To cast down the poor and needy - To cause them to fall.
slay—literally, "slaughter" (1Sa 25:11).
poor and needy—God's people (Ps 10:17; 12:5). The punishment of the wicked as drawn on themselves—often mentioned (compare Ps 7:15, 16; 35:8).
Such as be of upright conversation; such against whom they have no quarrel for any injury they have done them, but only for their integrity and righteousness, or because they are better than themselves, and will not comply with their wicked counsels and courses.
and have bent their bow; having put the arrow in it, in order to shoot. The former expression may design the more open, and this the more secret way of acting against the righteous; and their view in both is
to cast down the poor and needy, who are so, both in a temporal and spiritual sense; to cause such to fall either into sin, or into some calamity or another:
and to slay such as be of upright conversation; who walk according to the rule of the word of God, and as becomes the Gospel of Christ: nothing less than the blood and life of these men will satisfy the wicked; and it is an aggravation of their wickedness that they should attempt to hurt men of such character who are poor and needy, holy, harmless, inoffensive, and upright; and this points at the reason why they hate them, and seek their ruin, because of the holiness and uprightness of their lives; see John 15:19.The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Sword and bow are not merely figurative expressions for any means of inflicting injury. The Psalm deals with a state of society in which the poor and defenceless were in constant danger of actual violence (Psalm 37:32). Cp. Proverbs 1:10 ff.
the poor and needy] Or, the afflicted and needy. See notes on Psalm 9:12; Psalm 9:18 : and cp. Amos 8:4; Isaiah 32:7; Jeremiah 22:16.
such as be of upright conversation] Lit. the upright of way: those whose life and conduct are upright. Cp. Psalm 119:1. The LXX however reads upright in heart (Psalm 36:10, and often).
conversation, as in Psalm 50:23, has the obsolete sense of manner of life, behaviour.
14, 15. Stanza of Cheth. The machinations of the wicked recoil upon themselves. Cp. Psalm 7:15 ff.; Psalm 9:15 ff.Verse 14. - The wicked have drawn out the sword, and bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy. David is perhaps thinking especially of his own persecutors, Saul and Absalom, who pursued after him with armed men, and sought his life (1 Samuel 23:8, 14, 26; 1 Samuel 24:2; 1 Samuel 26:2; 2 Samuel 17:24-26; 2 Samuel 18:6-8). But he may also have in his mind the raids that powerful chiefs made upon their weak and peaceful neighbours (Job 24:5-12). And to slay such as be of a right conversation; or, such as are upright in way; i.e. such as lead a righteous Proverbs 11:24; Psalm 21:5; Psalm 22:16): it tends only to evil-doing, it ends only in thy involving thyself in sin. The final issue, without any need that thou shouldst turn sullen, is that the מרעים, like to whom thou dost make thyself by such passionate murmuring and displeasure, will be cut off, and they who, turning from the troublous present, make Jahve the ground and aim of their hope, shall inherit the land (vid., Psalm 25:13). It is the end, the final and consequently eternal end, that decides the matter.
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