Psalm 58:6
Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
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(6) Break their teeth.—The change is abrupt from the image of obstinacy deaf to all charms, to that of violence that must be tamed by force.

Great teeth.—Literally, biters, grinders.

Psalm 58:6. Break their teeth, O God — Their power and instruments of doing mischief. “The mention of teeth here, with the relative their, most probably first refers to those of the adder or serpent, immediately foregoing, whose poison and noxious power are in their teeth; and the way to disarm serpents is to deprive them of their teeth. They who keep serpents tame usually do this by putting to them a piece of red cloth, in which they love to fix their teeth, and so draw them out. This mention of teeth fairly introduces that which follows concerning the lions, whose power of doing mischief with them is more violent; and so signifies the open and riotous offender; as the serpent’s teeth may imply the more secret and indiscernible wounds of the whisperer or backbiter: which yet are as dangerous and destructive as the former; by the smallest prick killing him on whom they fasten.” — Dodd.58:6-11 David prayed that the enemies of God's church and people might be disabled to do further mischief. We may, in faith, pray against the designs of the enemies of the church. He foretells their ruin. And who knows the power of God's anger? The victories of the Just One, in his own person and that of his servants, over the enemies of man's salvation, produce a joy which springs not from revenge, but from a view of the Divine mercy, justice, and truth, shown in the redemption of the elect, the punishment of the ungodly, and the fulfilment of the promises. Whoever duly considers these things, will diligently seek the reward of righteousness, and adore the Providence which orders all thing aright in heaven and in earth.Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth - The word here rendered "break" means properly "to tear out." The allusion is to his enemies, represented as wild beasts; and the prayer is, that God would deprive them of the means of doing harm - as wild animals are rendered harmless when their teeth are broken out.

Break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord - The word used here means properly "biters" or "grinders:" Job 29:17; Proverbs 30:14; Joel 1:6. Compare the notes at Psalm 3:7. The word rendered "young lions" here does not refer to mere whelps, but to full-grown though young lions in their vigor and strength, as contrasted with old lions, or those which are enfeebled by age. The meaning is, that his enemies were of the most fierce and violent kind.

6. He prays for their destruction, under the figure of ravenous beasts (Ps 3:7; 7:2).6 Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord.

7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

Psalm 58:6

"Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth." If they have no capacity for good, at least deprive them of their ability for evil. Treat them as the snake-charmers do their serpents, extract their fangs, break their teeth. The Lord can do this, and he will. He will not suffer the malice of the wicked to triumph, he will deal them such a blow as shall disable them from mischief. "Break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord." As if one brute creature had not enough of evil in it to complete the emblem of ungodly nature, another specimen of ferae naturae is fetched in. For fierce cruelty the wicked are likened to young lions, monsters in the prime of their vigour, and the fury of their lustiness; and It is asked that their grinders may be smashed in, broken off, or dashed out, that the creatures may henceforth be harmless. One can well understand how the banished son of Jesse, while poisoned by the venomous slander of his foes, and wowed by their cruel power, should appeal to heaven for a speedy and complete riddance from his enemies.

Psalm 58:7

"Let them melt away as waters which run continually." Like mountain torrents dried up by the summer heats let them disappear; or like running streams whose waters are swiftly gone, so let them pass away; or like water spilt which none can find again, so let them vanish out of existence. Be gone, ye foul streams, the sooner ye are forgotten the better for the universe. "When he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces." When the Lord goes forth to war, let his judgments so tell upon these persecutors that they may be utterly cut in pieces as a mark shattered by many shafts. Or perhaps the meaning is, when the ungodly man marches to the conflict, let his arrows and his bow drop into fragments, the string cut, the bow snapped, the arrows headless, the points blunted; so that the boastful warrior may not have wherewithal to hurt the object of his enmity. In either sense the prayer of the Psalm has often become fact, and will be again fulfilled as often as need arises.

Psalm 58:8

"As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away" As the snail makes its own way by its slime, and so dissolves as it goes, or as its shell is often found empty, as though the inhabitant had melted away, so shall the malicious eat out their own strength while they proceed upon their malevolent designs, and shall themselves disappear. To destroy himself by envy and chagrin is the portion of the ill-disposed. "Like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun." Solemn is this curse, but how surely does it fall on many graceless wretches! They are as if they had never been. Their character is shapeless, hideous, revolting. They are fitter to be hidden away in an unknown grave than to be reckoned among men. Their life comes never to ripeness, their aims are abortive, their only achievement is to have brought misery to others, and horror to themselves. Such men as Herod, Judas, Alva, Bonner, had it not been better for them if they had never been born? Better for the mothers who bore them? Better for the lands they cursed? Better for the earth in which their putrid carcasses are hidden from the sun? Every unregenerate man is an abortion. He misses the true form of God-made manhood; he corrupts in the darkness of sin; he never sees or shall see the light of God in purity, in heaven.

Their teeth; their power and instruments of doing mischief. He mentions teeth, partly because the adder’s poison lies in its teeth; and partly to make way for the following metaphor.

The great teeth, called the grinders; which are more sharp and strong than the rest, and more used in breaking and tearing what they are about to eat. Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth,.... From the description of the wicked, the psalmist passes to imprecations on his enemies; whom he represents as cruel and bloodthirsty, and as being stronger than he; and therefore he applies to God, who could, as he sometimes did, smite his enemies on the cheekbone, and break the teeth of the ungodly; which is done by taking the power and instruments of hurting from them: and it may be by "their teeth in their mouth" may be meant their malicious words, calumnies, and detractions; teeth being the instrument of speech; and by "breaking" them, preventing the mischief designed by them;

break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord: Saul was the old lion; his princes, nobles, and courtiers, the young ones; whose jaw teeth were as knives to devour David and his men, unless plucked out; or God in his providence should interpose, and hinder the performance of their mischievous and cruel designs; and who could easily destroy them by his blast, and by the breath of his nostrils, Job 4:9.

Break their {e} teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.

(e) Take away all opportunity and means by which they hurt.

6. The figure of the serpent, typical of insidious deadliness, is changed to that of the lion, typical of open ferocity.

Break … break out] Render them powerless for harm. Two strong words, properly used of breaking down and overthrowing walls. Cp. Psalm 3:7; Job 4:10 : Proverbs 30:14.

The LXX rendering of these verbs as perfects of certainty deserves consideration. It only requires a different vocalisation of the consonants, and gives an excellent sense: God shall surely break &c. The tenses in Psalm 58:7-8 must then be rendered as futures: They shall melt away &c. Such an authoritative declaration of the punishment in store for the wicked seems more in keeping with the prophetic tone of the Psalm than the prayer for their destruction.

6–9. Since they are thus obstinately and incurably evil, nothing remains but that they should be deprived of their power to hurt or altogether destroyed.Verses 6-9. - "Description passes into imprecation, with an 'Elohim' emphatically placed first" (Cheyne). Metaphors are accumulated. Menace follow menace. The wrath of God is first invoked upon the evil doers (vers. 6-8); then (ver. 9) coming judgment is announced. Verse 6. - Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth. Serpent charmers sometimes, when they have caught their snake, proceed to beat out the poison fangs with a stone or stick (Geike, 'The Holy Land and the Bible,' vol. 1, p. 245). The psalmist, in the first clause, seems to allude to this practice; in the second, he changes the metaphor, reverting to his favourite image of the young lion (kephir). Break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord. The "cheek teeth" (Joel 1:6), or principal fangs on either side, are intended. In 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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