Psalm 40:14
Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
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40:11-17 The best saints see themselves undone, unless continually preserved by the grace of God. But see the frightful view the psalmist had of sin. This made the discovery of a Redeemer so welcome. In all his reflections upon each step of his life, he discovered something amiss. The sight and sense of our sins in their own colours, must distract us, if we have not at the same time some sight of a Saviour. If Christ has triumphed over our spiritual enemies, then we, through him, shall be more than conquerors. This may encourage all that seek God and love his salvation, to rejoice in him, and to praise him. No griefs nor poverty can render those miserable who fear the Lord. Their God, and all that he has or does, is the ground of their joy. The prayer of faith can unlock his fulness, which is adapted to all their wants. The promises are sure, the moment of fulfilment hastens forward. He who once came in great humility, shall come again in glorious majesty.Let them be ashamed and confounded together - See at Psalm 35:4, note; Psalm 35:26, note. This may be understood here rather as a confident expectation than a wish or desire. It implies the certainty that they would thus be ashamed and confounded; that is, that they would not be successful, or would be foiled in their purposes. But understood as a wish or prayer, it could not be improper. There is no sin in the wish that the wicked may not be successful in their plans, and may not be suffered to injure us. As the language of the Messiah it was in every way an appropriate prayer that the purposes of those who would defeat his design in coming into the world might be foiled - for on the execution of that design depended the salvation of a lost race.

That seek after my soul to destroy it - That seek after my life; that would destroy me. That is, they seek to kill me; they would take my life before the full time is come. As understood of the Messiah, this would refer to the times when his life was in danger, as it often was, before the full period had arrived for him to die: John 7:6; Matthew 26:18. The purpose of his enemies was to take his life; to prevent the spread of his doctrines; to cheek him in his work. The taking of his life at any time before the full period had arrived, or in any other way than that in which he had purposed to lay it down, would have been a defeat of his work, since in the plan of salvation it was contemplated that he should die at a certain time, and in a certain manner - that he should die at the time which had been predicted by the prophets, and in such a mode as to make an atonement for sin. All this would have been defeated if, before that time came, he had been put to death by stoning, or in any of the numerous ways in which his life was threatened.

Let them be driven backward, and put to shame, that wish me evil - Turned backward, as they are who are unsuccessful, or are defeated. Compare John 18:6.

14, 15. The language is not necessarily imprecatory, but rather a confident expectation (Ps 5:11), though the former sense is not inconsistent with Christ's prayer for the forgiveness of His murderers, inasmuch as their confusion and shame might be the very means to prepare them for humbly seeking forgiveness (compare Ac 2:37). Let them be ashamed, for the disappointment of their hopes and designs.

My soul, i.e. my life, as Exodus 4:9 1 Samuel 20:1.

Let them be ashamed and confounded together,.... As they will be at the last day, when they shall see him whom they have pierced come in the clouds of heaven, in his own and his Father's glory, and in the glory of the holy angels;

that seek after my soul to destroy it; that is, his life, as did Herod in his infancy, and the Scribes and Pharisees, chief priests and elders of the people of the Jews, frequently, and at last accomplished what they sought after;

let them be driven backward; as those were who came with Judas into the garden to apprehend him, John 18:6;

and put to shame that wish me evil: as did the Jews, who sought all opportunities to ensnare him, and that they might have to accuse him to the Roman governor; and who earnestly desired his crucifixion, and vehemently wished his death; see Psalm 41:5.

Let them be {l} ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

(l) He desires that God's mercy may contend for him against the rage of his enemies.

14. The whole verse is a repetition, with variations, of Psalm 35:4; Psalm 35:26 (cp. Psalm 38:12); and v. 5-17 recall v. 21, 25, 27, 10 of the same Psalm. Together and to destroy it are omitted in Psalm 70:2.

let them be driven backward &c.] Render, as in Psalms 35;

Let them be turned back and brought to dishonour

That delight in my hurt.

Contrast Psalm 35:27 with the last line.

Verse 14. - Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward, and put to shame, that wish me evil. The remainder of the psalm from this point is detached later on in the Psalter, and becomes a separate psalm - the seventieth. Whether the detachment was the work of David or another, is uncertain. The differences between the two versions are slight (see the comment on Psalm 70.). The present verse repeats almost exactly Psalm 35:4 and 26. It is again repeated, with slight variations, in Psalm 71:13. Psalm 40:14In the midst of such sufferings, which, the longer they last, discover him all the more to himself as a sinner, he prays for speedy help. The cry for help in Psalm 40:14 turns with רצה towards the will of God; for this is the root of all things. As to the rest, it resembles Psalm 22:20 (Psalm 38:23). The persecuted one wishes that the purpose of his deadly foes may as it were rebound against the protection of God and miserably miscarry. לספּותהּ, ad abripiendam eam (with Dagesh in the פ according to Ges. 45, 2, Ew. 245, a, and not as Gesenius, Thesaurus, p. 1235, states, aspirated),

(Note: After ל the aspirate usually disappears, as here and in Psalm 118:13; but there are exceptions, as לנתושׁ ולנתוץ, Jeremiah 1:10, and frequently, לשׁדוד, ib. Psalm 57:4. After ב and כ it usually remains, as in Psalm 87:6, Job 4:13; Job 33:15; 2 Samuel 3:34; 1 Kings 1:21; Ecclesiastes 5:10; but again there are exceptions, as בּשׁכּן, Genesis 35:22, בּזכּר, Jeremiah 17:2. In Genesis 23:2 it is pointed לבכּתהּ according to the rule, and in my Comment. S. 423 it is to be read "with a Dagesh.")

is added to מבקשׁי נפשׁי by way of explanation and definiteness. ישׁמּוּ, from שׁמם, to become torpid, here used of outward and inward paralysis, which is the result of overpowering and as it were bewitching surprise or fright, and is called by the Arabs ro‛b or ra‛b (paralysis through terror) cf. Job, note at Psalm 18:12. An על following upon ישׁמּוּ looks at first sight as though it introduced the object and reason of this fright; it is therefore not: as a reward, in consequence of their infamy, which would not be על־עקב, but merely the accusative עקב (Isaiah 5:23, Arabic ‛qîba), it is rather: on account of the reward (Psalm 19:12) of their disgrace (cf. as belonging to the same period, Psalm 109:29; Psalm 35:26), i.e., of the reward which consists in their being put to shame (Hitzig). לי as in Psalm 3:3; Psalm 41:6 : with reference to me. האח האח (Aquila, ἀὰ ἀὰ, αὐτῇ συγχρησάμενος, as Eusebius says, οὕτως ἐχούσῃ τῇ Ἑβραΐκῆ φωνῇ) is an exclamation of sarcastic delight, which finds its satisfaction in another's misfortune (Psalm 35:25).

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