Psalm 5:10
Destroy you them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against you.
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(10) Destroy.—Literally, make or count guilty.

Transgressions.—Literally, revolts, thus being in close synonymous parallelism with the next clause. Or else, as in margin and in ancient versions, LXX., Vulg., and Syriac, “Let them fall from their counsels:” i.e., “let their plots fail.”

On the imprecations in the Psalms see General Introduction, 6.

Psalm 5:10. Destroy thou them, O God — Hebrew, האשׁימם, haashimem, hold them guilty, that is, condemn and punish them; or, make them desolate, as the word is used Ezekiel 6:6; Joel 1:18. Let them fall by their own counsels — That is, make their counsels, not only unsuccessful against me, but also destructive to themselves. Or, from their counsels, that is, let them fall short of their aims and designs. Or, because of their counsels, which are ungodly and unjust, and so deserve destruction. Cast them out — Of thy land and from among the people, whom they either infect or molest by their wicked courses. For they have rebelled against thee — Against thy authority and declared will, concerning my advancement to the throne, and that of my seed the Messiah, and concerning the enlargement of thy church. It is justly observed by Dr. Horne, Dr. Dodd, and others, concerning these imprecatory passages of the Psalms, that they may all be rendered in the future tense, as indeed they ought to be to obviate objections, and cut off all occasion of offence from those who desire and seek it. “The verse before us would then run thus: ‘Thou wilt destroy them, O God; they shall perish by their own counsels: thou wilt cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against thee.’ Thus rendered, the words contain a prophecy of the infatuation, rejection, and destruction of such as should obstinately persevere in their opposition to the counsels of Heaven, whether relating to David, to Christ, or to the church. The fate of Ahithophel and Absalom, of Judas and the Jews, should warn others not to offend after the same example.”5:7-12 David prayed often alone, yet was very constant in attendance on public worship. The mercy of God should ever be the foundation both of our hope and of our joy, in every thing wherein we have to do with him. Let us learn to pray, not for ourselves only, but for others; grace be with all that love Christ in sincerity. The Divine blessing comes down upon us through Jesus Christ, the righteous or just One, as of old it did upon Israel through David, whom God protected, and placed upon the throne. Thou, O Christ, art the righteous Saviour, thou art the King of Israel, thou art the Fountain of blessing to all believers; thy favour is the defence and protection of thy church.Destroy thou them, O God - The word here rendered "destroy" is translated by Prof. Alexander "condemn" - "condemn them; literally, make them guilty; that is, recognize and treat them as such." The Hebrew word אשׁם 'âsham, means to fail in duty, to transgress, to be guilty; in the Hiphil, the form used here, according to Gesenius, to "punish; and hence, to destroy," (Lexicon) The idea in the mind of the psalmist seems to have been that he desired, since they were undoubtedly guilty, that God would regard and treat them "as such." It is not that he wished that God would make them guilty; or that, in itself considered, he desired that they should be found to be so, or that, in itself considered, he wished them to be punished or cut off; but it is that, as they were guilty, and as they were pursuing a course which tended to overthrow the government of the land, and as they were at war with God and with the best interests of the people, God would interpose and stay their progress - that he would show himself to be a righteous and just God. There is no evidence of any private malignity in this prayer, or of any spirit of private revenge. It is a prayer which corresponds with all the efforts, and consequently with all the wishes of every good person, that the violators of law may be arrested and punished. In this, assuredly, there is no wrong.

Let them fall by their own counsels - So as to show that they brought this judgment upon themselves. The wish is, that their plans, which were evil, might come to nought, and tend to their own overthrow. That is, the psalmist did not wish to imbrue his hands in their blood, or to be made the agent in their destruction; but he desired that God would himself interpose, so that their own plans might be made the means of quelling the rebellion. If men are so wicked that they must perish it is desirable that it should be "seen" that they perish by their own guilt and folly.

Cast them out - Expel them; drive them away; let them not be successful in taking possession of the throne, and in overturning the government.

In the multitude of their transgressions - In the abundance of their sins, or as a consequence of the number and the aggravation of their offences. The design of the psalmist is to fix the attention on the "great number" of their sins as a reason why they should not be successful. Such a prayer is not wrong, for it would not be right to pray that sinners "in" the abundance of their sins, or in consequence of the multitude of their sins, should be successful and prosperous. The fact that they are such sinners is, under a righteous administration, a reason why they should "not" be successful, not why they "should be."

For they have rebelled against thee - This is given as a reason why the psalmist prayed that they should be cut off. It was not that they had wronged him; it was because they had rebelled against God; and it was right, therefore, to hope and to pray that he would interpose and vindicate his government and law. There is no spirit of private revenge manifested here, and nothing said that would encourage or foster such a spirit. All that is said here is but carrying out what every magistrate must feel who executes the laws, and is what he endeavors himself to do; for it is desirable that the wicked - the violators of the law - the enemies of their country - should be arrested and prosecuted. See the general introduction, 6.

10. Destroy—or, "condemn" them to destruction as guilty.10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against, thee.

"Against thee:" not against me. If they were my enemies I would forgive them, but I cannot forgive thine. We are to forgive our enemies, but God's enemies it is not in our power to forgive. These expressions have often been noticed by men of over refinement as being harsh, and grating on the ear. "Oh!" say they, "they are vindictive and revengeful." Let us remember that they might be translated as prophecies, not as wishes; but we do not care to avail ourselves of this method of escape. We have never heard of a reader of the Bible who, after perusing these passages, was made revengeful by reading them, and it is but fair to test the nature of a writing by its effects. When we hear a judge condemning a murderer, however severe his sentence, we do not feet that we should be lust tried in condemning others for any private injury done to us. The Psalmist here speaks as a judge, ex officio; he speaks as God's mouth, and in condemning the wicked he gives us no excuse whatever for uttering anything in the way of malediction upon those who have caused us personal offence. The most shameful way of cursing another is by pretending to bless him. We were all somewhat amused by noticing the toothless malice of that wretched old priest of home when he foolishly cursed the Emperor of France with his blessing. He was blessing him in form and cursing him in reality. Now, in direct contrast we put this healthy commination of David, which is intended to be a blessing by warning the sinner of the impending curse. O impenitent man, be it known unto thee that all thy godly friends will give their solemn assent to the awful sentence of the Lord, which he shall pronounce upon thee in the day of doom! Our verdict shall applaud the condemning curse which the Judge of all the earth shall thunders against the godless.

In the following verse we once more find the contrast which has marked the preceding Psalms.

Destroy thou them, Heb. Hold them guilty, i.e. condemn and punish them. Or, make them to offend, to wit, in their counsels, as it follows; so as they may either be given up to bad and foolish counsels, or fail in the execution of their wise or crafty counsels. Or, make them desolate, as the word is used, Ezekiel 6:6 Joel 1:18.

Let them fall by their own counsels i.e. make their counsels not only unsuccessful against me, but also destructive to themselves. Or, from their &c., i.e. let them fall short of their aims and designs. Or, because of their counsels, which are ungodly and unjust, and so deserve destruction.

Cast them out; out of thy land, and from among thy people, whom they either infect or molest by their wicked courses. In, or for, or because of, as before.

Against thee; against thy authority and declared will concerning my advancement to the throne; which divers Israelites opposed against their own consciences. See 2 Samuel 3:8-10. Destroy thou them, O God,.... Or "make them guilty" (q); that is, make them appear to be guilty, either to themselves, that they may acknowledge their offences, confess their guilt, and ask for pardon; or to others, pronounce them guilty, pass the sentence of condemnation on them: and the Chaldee paraphrase and the Syriac version render it by "condemn them", or hold them guilty; and the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, "judge" them; treat them as guilty persons, punish them, destroy them, soul and body, with an everlasting destruction;

let them fall by their own counsels; into the pit they have dug for others; as Haman fell by his counsels, and was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai. And so sometimes a man's own counsel casts him down, and is the cause of his ruin, Job 18:7. Or, "because of their own counsels" (r); which they have taken against the Lord and his Anointed, against his cause and interest, and against his righteous ones, particularly David; meaning their wicked counsels, in which they walked; see Hosea 11:6. Or "from their counsels" (s); as the Targum and most versions render it: that is, let their counsels be turned into foolishness, become brutish, be carried headlong, and come to nought. Which had its accomplishment in Ahithophel;

cast them out; either out of their own country, and carry them into captivity; or from the presence of the Lord, from his tabernacle and worship; which David's enemies now enjoyed, and gloried in: or into outer darkness, into a furnace of fire, where there is weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth;

in the multitude of their transgressions: when God deals with men in a way of grace, he turns away ungodliness from them, or them from their ungodliness; but when in a way of judgment he suffers them to die in their sins, and so perish: or "for the multitude of their transgressions" (t). The sins of transgressors are many and because of them they are cast out of the sight o God, and will be bid to depart from him hereafter;

for they have rebelled against thee: all sin is a rebellion against God; hence sinners are called rebellious ones. The rebellion of David's subjects against him was a rebellion against God; because it was an attempt to dethrone him, whom God had made king of Israel. The word (u) signifies to embitter, exasperate, and provoke: and such is the nature of sin, it is a bitter thing in itself, and it provokes the eyes of God's glory. Now each of these expressions are to be considered, not so much petitions, as prophecies; and not as imprecations, but as predictions of what would be the portion of wicked men.

(q) "reos fac istos", Junius & Tremellius; so Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Kimchi, and Ainsworth. (r) "propter consilia sua", Piscater; so Tigurine version and Michaelis. (s) "propter consilia sua", Piscater; so Tigurine version and Michaelis. (t) "propter multitudinem", Musculus, Pagninus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth. (u) "irritaverunt", V. L. see Ainsworth.

Destroy thou them, O God; let them {g} fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

(g) Let their devices come to nothing.

10. Destroy thou them, O God] R.V., Hold them guilty; punish them; for it is by visible failure and disaster that their condemnation is to be made known.

let them fall by their own counsels] Let their own machinations recoil on their heads and bring them to ruin. Cp. 2 Samuel 15:31. Better so than as margin, fall from, i.e. fail in, their counsels. Cp. Psalm 64:8.

cast them out] As no longer worthy to dwell in the land: or, thrust them down from the position which they occupy. Cp. Psalm 62:4; Psalm 36:12.

for they have rebelled against thee] Rebellion against the king was in a special way rebellion against Jehovah, whose representative he was. But it may refer quite generally to their defiance of divine authority, and their persecution of God’s servant.

10–12. As he calls to mind their malice he can no longer refrain, but breaks out into urgent prayer that sentence may be passed upon them as guilty of high treason against God; that so, in the triumph of the right, the godly may rejoice in God’s favour and protection. On such prayers see Introduction, p. lxxxviii ff.Verse 10. - Destroy thou them, O God; rather, condemn them, or declare them guilty (Kay); κρῖνον αὐτούς (LXX.). Let them fall by their own counsels. No condemnation naturally follows punishment. David assumes that God will make his enemies fall; he prays that they may fall from the effect of their own counsels. The fate of Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) perhaps fulfilled this imprecation. Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; Thrust them out (Revised Version); "Thrust them down" (Kay). Punish them at once, in the midst of their many transgressions. For they have rebelled against thee. They have sinned, not against me only, but equally - nay, far more - against thee. (Heb.: 5:5-7) The basing of the prayer on God's holiness. The verbal adjective חפץ (coming from the primitive signification of adhering firmly which is still preserved in Arab. chfd, fut. i.) is in the sing. always (Psalm 34:13; Psalm 35:27) joined with the accusative. רע is conceived as a person, for although גּוּר may have a material object, it cannot well have a material subject. יגרך is used for brevity of expression instead of יגוּר עמּך (Ges. 121, 4). The verb גּוּר (to turn in, to take up one's abode with or near any one) frequently has an accusative object, Psalm 120:5, Judges 5:17, and Isaiah 33:14 according to which the light of the divine holiness is to sinners a consuming fire, which they cannot endure. Now there follow specific designations of the wicked. הוללים part. Kal equals hōlalim, or even Poal equals hôlalim ( equals מהוללים),

(Note: On the rule, according to which here, as in שׁוררי Psalm 5:9 and the like, a simple Sheb mobile goes over into Chateph pathach with Gaja preceding it, vid., the observations on giving a faithful representation of the O.T. text according to the Masora in the Luther Zeitschr. 1863. S. 411. The Babylonian Ben-Naphtali (about 940) prefers the simple Sheb in such cases, as also in others; Ben-Asher of the school of Tiberias, whom the Masora follows, and whom consequently our Masoretic text ought to follow, prefers the Chateph, vid., Psalter ii.-460-467.)

are the foolish, and more especially foolish boasters; the primary notion of the verb is not that of being hollow, but that of sounding, then of loud boisterous, non-sensical behaviour. Of such it is said, that they are not able to maintain their position when they become manifest before the eye of God (לנגד as in Psalm 101:7 manifest before any one, from נגד to come forward, be visible far off, be distinctly visible). פעלי און are those who work (οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι Matthew 7:23) iniquity; און breath (ἄνεμος) is sometimes trouble, in connection with which one pants, sometimes wickedness, in which there is not even a trace of any thing noble, true, or pure. Such men Jahve hates; for if He did not hate evil (Psalm 11:5), His love would not be a holy love. In דּברי כזב, דּברי is the usual form in combination when the plur. is used, instead of מדבּרי. It is the same in Psalm 58:4. The style of expression is also Davidic in other respects, viz., אישׁ דּמים וּמרמה as in Psalm 55:24, and אבּד as in Psalm 9:6, cf. Psalm 21:11. תּעב (in Amos, Amos 6:8 תּאב) appears to be a secondary formation from עוּב, like תּאב to desire, from אבה, and therefore to be of a cognate root with the Aram. עיּב to despise, treat with indignity, and the Arabic ‛aib a stain (cf. on Lamentations 2:1). The fact that, as Hengstenberg has observed, wickedness and the wicked are described in a sevenfold manner is perhaps merely accidental.

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