Psalm 57:6
They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) A net.—For this image, so common in Hebrew hymns, see Psalm 9:15, &c, and for that of the pit, Psalm 7:15, &c

My soul is bowed down.—The verb so rendered is everywhere else transitive. So LXX. and Vulg. here, “And have pressed down my soul.” Despite the grammar, Ewald alters “my soul” into “their soul.” But no conjecture of the kind restores the parallelism, which is here hopelessly lost. We expect,

They have prepared a net for my steps;

They are caught in it themselves.

Psalm 57:6. They have prepared a net for my steps — In which to take me, that I might not again escape out of their hands. My soul is bowed down — Hebrew, כפŠ נפשׁי, he hath bowed down my soul; referring to Saul at the head of his troops, pursuing David to his ruin. They have digged a pit before me — Hebrew, before my face: not in my sight, for that would have been in vain, Proverbs 1:17, but in my way, where they thought I would go; into the midst whereof they are fallen — This was fulfilled in Saul, who, by pursuing David, fell into his hands, 1 Samuel 24:3.

57:1-6 All David's dependence is upon God. The most eminent believers need often repeat the publican's prayer, God be merciful to me a sinner. But if our souls trust in the Lord, this may assure us, in our utmost dangers, that our calamities will at length be overpast, and in the mean time, by faith and prayer, we must make him our refuge. Though God be most high, yet he condescends so low, as to take care that all things are made to work for good to his people. This is a good reason why we should pray earnestly. Look which way we will on this earth, refuge fails, no help appears; but we may look for it from heaven. If we have fled from the wrath to come, unto Jesus Christ, he that performed all things needful to purchase the salvation of his people, will do for us and in us all things needful for our enjoyment of it. It made David droop to think there should be those that bore him so much ill-will. But the mischief they designed against him, returned on themselves. And when David was in the greatest distress and disgrace, he did not pray, Lord, exalt me, but, Lord, exalt thine own name. Our best encouragement in prayer, is taken from the glory of God, and to that, more than to our own comfort, we should have regard in all our petitions for mercy.They have prepared a net for my steps - A net for my goings; or, into which I may fall. See the notes at Psalm 9:15.

My soul is bowed down - The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and Luther render this in the plural, and in the active form: "They have bowed down my soul;" that is, they have caused my soul to be bowed down. The Hebrew may be correctly rendered, "he pressed down my soul," - referring to his enemies, and speaking of them in the singular number.

They have digged a pit before me ... - See Psalm 7:15-16, notes; Psalm 9:15, note; Job 5:13, note.

6. (Compare Ps 7:15; 9:15, 16). Is bowed down; or, was bowed down: I was even ready to fall and perish. Or, mine heart was oppressed, and almost overwhelmed.

Before me, Heb. before my face; not in my sight, for that would have been in vain, Proverbs 1:17; but in my way, where they thought I would go. They are fallen themselves: this was fulfilled in Saul, who by pursuing fell into his hands, 1 Samuel 24:4.

They have prepared a net for my steps,.... They laid snares for him, as the fowler does for the bird, in order to take him. It denotes the insidious ways used by Saul and his men to get David into their hands; so the Pharisees consulted together how they might entangle Christ in his talk, Matthew 22:15;

my soul is bowed down; dejected by reason of his numerous enemies, and the crafty methods they took to ensnare and ruin him; so the soul of Christ was bowed down with the sins of his people, and with a sense of divine wrath because of them; and so their souls are often bowed down; or they are dejected in their spirits, on account of sin, Satan's temptations, various afflictions, and divine desertions. The Targum renders it,

"he bowed down my soul;''

that is, the enemy; Saul in particular. The Septuagint, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, "they bowed down my soul"; the same that prepared a net for his steps; everyone of his enemies; they all were the cause of the dejection of his soul: the Syriac version leaves out the clause;

they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves; contriving and seeking to find out the places where David's haunt was, Saul got into the very cave where he and his men were; and had his skirt cut off, when his life might as easily have been taken away, 1 Samuel 23:22. See Psalm 7:15.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

They have prepared a net for my steps; {g} my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

(g) For fear, seeing the great dangers on all sides.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. The transposition of Psalm 57:5-6, proposed by Cheyne and others, simply ruins the sense, Psalm 57:6 is the fitting sequel of Psalm 57:5. Just as in Psalm 56:5 ff, he returns after the refrain to contemplate his present situation. But now Faith sees the prayer of Psalm 57:5 answered, and with the manifestation of God’s supreme authority all opposition is subdued, nay, his foes’ own schemes prove their ruin.

my soul is bowed down] Perhaps we should read with the LXX, they have bowed down my soul; i.e. (the perf. as in Psalm 56:1) they have made sure of capturing me. But it is tempting to go further and read (with Ewald), their soul is bowed down, thereby securing a double parallelism in the verse. Lines 1 and 3 then describe their plots: lines 2 and 4 describe how they are caught in their own trap. The metaphors are taken from the nets and pitfalls used by hunters. Cp. Psalm 7:15; Psalm 9:15 f.; Psalm 35:7; Ezekiel 19:4; Ecclesiastes 10:8.

into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves] Better, they are fallen into the midst of It.

6–11. Convinced that God will manifest His authority, the Psalmist sees the machinations of his enemies turning to their own defeat, and utters resolutions of joyous thanksgiving.

Verses 6-11. - The strophe of "triumphant confidence" now begins, but with an echo from the strophe of complaint. The enemy is still at work, still plotting against the psalmist, still seeking to do him a mischief; but the efforts made are in vain. They only bring the enemy himself into trouble (ver. 6), and cause the psalmist to pour forth a song of joy (vers. 7-11). Verse 6. - They have prepared a net for my steps (comp. Psalm 9:15; Psalm 10:10; Psalm 25:15; Psalm 31:4; Psalm 35:7). These metaphors from the chase are peculiarly appropriate at the time when Saul was "hunting David upon the mountains" (1 Samuel 26:20). My soul is bowed down; rather, they have bowed down my soul; literally, he has bowed down; but the alternate use of the singular and the plural, without any real change of subject, is very common. They have digged a pit before me (comp. Psalm 7:15; Psalm 119:85). Into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Here is the first note of triumph - a very familiar note (Psalm 7:15; Psalm 9:15; Psalm 39:8; Psalm 141:10), but one always sounded with marked satisfaction. Psalm 57:6In this second half of the Psalm the poet refreshes himself with the thought of seeing that for which he longs and prays realized even with the dawning of the morning after this night of wretchedness. The perfect in Psalm 57:7 is the perfect of certainty; the other perfects state what preceded and is now changed into the destruction of the crafty ones themselves. If the clause כּפף נפשׁי is rendered: my soul was bowed down (cf. חלל, Psalm 109:22), it forms no appropriate corollary to the crafty laying of snares. Hence kpp must be taken as transitive: he had bowed down my soul; the change of number in the mention of the enemies is very common in the Psalms relating to these trials, whether it be that the poet has one enemy κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν before his mind or comprehends them all in one. Even the lxx renders καὶ κατέκαμψαν τὴν ψυχὴν μου, it is true, as though it were וכפפו, but can scarcely have read it thus. This line is still remarkable; one would expect for Psalm 57:7 a thought parallel with Psalm 57:7, and perhaps the poet wrote כפף נפשׁו, his (the net-layer's) own soul bends (viz., in order to fall into the net). Then כפף like נפל would be praet. confidentiae. In this certainty, to express which the music here becomes triumphantly forte, David's heart is confident, cheerful (Symmachus ἐδραία), and a powerful inward impulse urges him to song and harp. Although נכון may signify ready, equipped (Exodus 34:2; Job 12:5), yet this meaning is to be rejected here in view of Psalm 51:12, Psalm 78:37, Psalm 112:7 : it is not appropriate to the emphatic repetition of the word. His evening mood which found expression in Psalm 57:4, was hope of victory; the morning mood into which David here transports himself, is certainty of victory. He calls upon his soul to awake (כּבודי as in Psalm 16:9; Psalm 30:13), he calls upon harp and cithern to awake (הנּבל וכנּור with one article that avails for both words, as in Jeremiah 29:3; Nehemiah 1:5; and עוּרה with the accent on the ultima on account of the coming together of two aspirates), from which he has not parted even though a fugitive; with the music of stringed instruments and with song he will awake the not yet risen dawn, the sun still slumbering in its chamber: אעירה, expergefaciam (not expergiscar), as e.g., in Sol 2:7, and as Ovid (Metam. xi. 597) says of the cock, evocat auroram.

(Note: With reference to the above passage in the Psalms, the Talmud, B. Berachoth 3b, says, "A cithern used to hang above David's bed; and when midnight came, the north wind blew among the strings, so that they sounded of themselves; and forthwith he arose and busied himself with the Tra until the pillar of the dawn (עמוד השׁחר) ascended." Rashi observes, "The dawn awakes the other kings; but I, said David, will awake the dawn (אני מעורר את השׁחר).")

His song of praise, however, shall not resound in a narrow space where it is scarcely heard; he will step forth as the evangelist of his deliverance and of his Deliverer in the world of nations (בעמּים; and the parallel word, as also in Psalm 108:4; Psalm 149:7, is to be written בּלעמּים with Lamed raphatum and Metheg before it); his vocation extends beyond Israel, and the events of his life are to be for the benefit of mankind. Here we perceive the self-consciousness of a comprehensive mission, which accompanied David from the beginning to the end of his royal career (vid., Psalm 18:50). What is expressed in v. 11 is both motive and theme of the discourse among the peoples, viz., God's mercy and truth which soar high as the heavens (Psalm 36:6). That they extend even to the heavens is only an earthly conception of their infinity (cf. Ephesians 3:18). In the refrain, v. 12, which only differs in one letter from Psalm 57:6, the Psalm comes back to the language of prayer. Heaven and earth have a mutually involved history, and the blessed, glorious end of this history is the sunrise of the divine doxa over both, here prayed for.

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