Psalm 52:5
God shall likewise destroy you for ever, he shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, and root you out of the land of the living. Selah.
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(5) Destroy.—Better, tear down, as if of a building.

Take thee away.—Better, lay hold of thee. The Hebrew word is always used of taking a live coal from the hearth. Notice, however, that the exactly opposite is intended of our “pluck a brand from the burning.” Here the idea is of pulling the house-fire to pieces, and so extinguishing domestic life.

52:1-5 Those that glory in sin, glory in their shame. The patience and forbearance of God are abused by sinners, to the hardening of their hearts in their wicked ways. But the enemies in vain boast in their mischief, while we have God's mercy to trust in. It will not save us from the guilt of lying, to be able to say, there was some truth in what we said, if we make it appear otherwise than it was. The more there is of craft and contrivance in any wickedness, the more there is of Satan in it. When good men die, they are transplanted from the land of the living on earth, to heaven, the garden of the Lord, where they shall take root for ever; but when wicked men die, they are rooted out, to perish for ever. The believer sees that God will destroy those who make not him their strength.God shall likewise destroy thee for ever - Margin, "beat thee down." The Hebrew word means to "tear, to break down, to destroy:" Leviticus 14:45; Judges 6:30. The reference here is not to the "tongue" alluded to in the previous verses, but to Doeg himself. The language in the verse is intensive and emphatic. The main idea is presented in a variety of forms, all designed to denote utter and absolute destruction - a complete and entire sweeping away, so that nothing should be left. The word "here" used would suggest the idea of "pulling down" - as a house, a fence, a wall; that is, the idea of completely "demolishing" it; and the meaning is, that destruction would come upon the informer and slanderer "like" the destruction which comes upon a house, or wall, or fence, when it is entirely pulled down.

He shall take thee away - An expression indicating in another form that he would be certainly destroyed. The verb used here - חתה châthâh - is elsewhere used only in the sense of taking up and carrying fire or coals: Isaiah 30:14; Proverbs 6:27; Proverbs 25:22. The idea here "may" be that he would be seized and carried away with haste, as when one takes up fire or coals, he does it as rapidly as possible, lest he should be burned.

And shall pluck thee out of thy dwelling-place - literally, "out of the tent." The reference is to his abode. The allusion here in the verb that is used - נסח nâsach - is to the act of pulling up plants; and the idea is, that he would be plucked up as a plant is torn from its roots.

And root thee out of the land of the living - As a tree is torn up from the roots and thus destroyed. He would be no more among the living. Compare Psalm 27:13. All these phrases are intended to denote that such a man would be utterly destroyed.

5. likewise—or, "so," "also," as you have done to others God will do to you (Ps 18:27). The following terms describe the most entire ruin. Likewise, i.e. totally and unavoidably, as thou didst destroy the priests.

Pluck thee, i.e. violently, and irresistibly, and suddenly remove thee, as the Hebrew word signifies.

Out of thy dwelling-place; from thy house and lands, and all the wages of thy unrighteousness. Or, out of his (i.e. the Lord’s) tabernacle; in which thou didst seek and take the matter of thy slanders, and from which thou didst cut off the Lord’s priests. Therefore God shall excommunicate thee from his presence, and from the society of the faithful.

Root thee out; though thou seemest to have taken very deep rooting, and to be the more firmly settled for this barbarous cruelty, yet God shall pluck thee up by the very roots, and destroy thee both root and branch.

Out of the land of the living; out of this world, as the phrase is taken, Isaiah 53:8 Ezekiel 32:32, and elsewhere; which was very terrible to him, who had all his portion in this world. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever,.... As a just retaliation for the mischief done to others; or, "therefore God shall destroy" (z), &c. even body and soul in hell, with an everlasting destruction, which will be the case of every wicked man, and particularly of the antichristian party, Revelation 14:10; the word is used of breaking down the house in which the leprosy was, Leviticus 14:45; and denotes the utter extinction of Doeg's family, and the irrecoverable ruin of antichrist, Revelation 18:21;

he shall take thee away; as fire from the hearth, Isaiah 30:14; or as burning coals from the altar: a word from the root here used signifies a censer: and the meaning is, that as his tongue was a fire, and set on fire of hell, and he was as a burning coal, he was fit for nothing but to be cast into everlasting burnings;

and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place; "tent", or "tabernacle" (a); referring to the tents of shepherds, he being the chief of Saul's shepherds, or to some stately palace he had built for himself to dwell in, upon his advancement at court; or rather to the tabernacle of the Lord, where he had been an hypocritical worshipper; but now should be cut off from the church of God, as a rotten member, and cast out of the tabernacle of Jacob, Malachi 2:12; while David flourished as an olive tree in the house of the Lord, Psalm 52:8;

and root thee out of the land of the living. In retaliation for his rooting out Ahimelech's family, and the inhabitants of Nob; so in like manner he and his should be destroyed root and branch, and not see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, nor enjoy eternal life in the world to come.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2. The Targum renders the word "Selah" here "for ever", as in Psalm 52:3.

(z) , Sept. "propterea", V. L. "idcirco etiam", Piscator; "ideo etiam", Michaelis. (a) "de tabernaculo", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; "e tentorio", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.

God shall likewise {c} destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and {d} root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.

(c) Though God forbear for a time, yet at length he will recompense your falsehood.

(d) Even though you seem to be never so sure settled.

5. likewise] We might have expected therefore, as P.B.V. following Vulg. loosely renders: but likewise is significant. There is a correspondence and equivalence between the sin and its punishment Cp. Micah 2:1-10, where the idea is worked out that the heartless oppressors who have driven the poor from their homes will be driven from the land into exile.

The doom of the wicked man is forcibly described by various figures. He fancies himself securely intrenched in the fortress of his wealth, but God will break him down (Jdg 8:9) and that for ever, so that there will be no restoration of the ruins. He is at ease in his home, but God will take him as a man takes a coal from the hearth with tongs or shovel, and plucking him out of his dwelling, drive him forth as a homeless wanderer (Deuteronomy 28:63; Proverbs 2:22; Job 18:14, R.V.). He is “spreading himself like a green tree in its native soil” (Psalm 37:35), but God will uproot him out of the land of the living. Cp. for the phrase Jeremiah 11:19; and note the contrast between the fate of the wicked and the future of the Psalmist (Psalm 52:8).

The verbs in this verse might be rendered as in the LXX, as a prayer, “May God destroy thee” &c.; but the rendering in the future is preferable. Sentence is pronounced in a tone of prophetic authority. Cp. Isaiah 22:17 ff.

Selah marks the conclusion of the first part of the Psalm.Verse 5. - God shall likewise destroy thee for ever. As thy "devouring words" have been the destruction of many, so shall God, in return, "destroy thee" (literally, pull thee down) "for ever" - destroy thee, i.e., with a complete and final destruction. He shall take thee away; rather, seize thee (Kay, Cheyne), and pluck thee out of thy dwelling-place; literally, out of thy tent (comp. Job 18:14; 1 Kings 12:16). And root thee out of the land of the living. Destroy thee, root and branch, as thou didst destroy the entire house of Ahimelech (1 Samuel 22:17-19). From this spiritual sacrifice, well-pleasing to God, the Psalm now, in vv. 20f., comes back to the material sacrifices that are offered in a right state of mind; and this is to be explained by the consideration that David's prayer for himself here passes over into an intercession on behalf of all Israel: Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion. את־ may be a sign of the accusative, for היטיב (הטיב) does take the accusative of the person (Job 24:21); but also a preposition, for as it is construed with ל and עם, so also with את in the same signification (Jeremiah 18:10; Jeremiah 32:41). זבח־צדק are here, as in Psalm 4:6; Deuteronomy 33:19, those sacrifices which not merely as regards their outward character, but also in respect of the inward character of him who causes them to be offered on his behalf, are exactly such as God the Lawgiver will have them to be. By כּליל beside עולה might be understood the priestly vegetable whole-offering, Leviticus 6:15. (מנחת חבתּין, Epistle to the Hebrews, ii. 8), since every עולה as such is also כּליל; but Psalm-poetry does not make any such special reference to the sacrificial tra. וכליל is, like כליל in 1 Samuel 7:9, an explicative addition, and the combination is like ימינך וזרועך, Psalm 44:4, ארץ ותבל, Psalm 90:2, and the like. A שׁלם כּליל (Hitzig, after the Phoenician sacrificial tables) is unknown to the Israelitish sacrificial worship. The prayer: Build Thou the walls of Jerusalem, is not inadmissible in the mouth of David; since בּנה signifies not merely to build up what has been thrown down, but also to go on and finish building what is in the act of being built (Psalm 89:3); and, moreover, the wall built round about Jerusalem by Solomon (1 Kings 3:1) can be regarded as a fulfilment of David's prayer.

Nevertheless what even Theodoret has felt cannot be denied: τοῖς ἐν Βαβυλῶνι...ἁρμόττει τὰ ῥήματα. Through penitence the way of the exiles led back to Jerusalem. The supposition is very natural that vv. 20f. may be a liturgical addition made by the church of the Exile. And if the origin of Isaiah 40:1 in the time of the Exile were as indisputable as the reasons against such a position are forcible, then it would give support not merely to the derivation of vv. 20f. (cf. Isaiah 60:5, Isaiah 60:7, Isaiah 60:10), but of the whole Psalm, from the time of the Exile; for the general impress of the Psalm is, according to the accurate observation of Hitzig, thoroughly deutero-Isaianic. But the writer of Isaiah 40:1 shows signs in other respects also of the most families acquaintance with the earlier literature of the Shı̂r and the Mashal; and that he is none other than Isaiah reveals itself in connection with this Psalm by the echoes of this very Psalm, which are to be found not only in the second but also in the first part of the Isaianic collection of prophecy (cf. on Psalm 51:9, Psalm 51:18). We are therefore driven to the inference, that Psalm 51 was a favourite Psalm of Isaiah's, and that, since the Isaianic echoes of it extend equally from the first verse to the last, it existed in the same complete form even in his day as in ours; and that consequently the close, just like the whole Psalm, so beautifully and touchingly expressed, is not the mere addition of a later age.

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