Psalm 69:10
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
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(10) When I wept . . .—The expression I wept (or lamented) my soul with fasting is hardly intelligible, though perhaps we might say I wept out my soul with fasting. The LXX. and Psalm 35:13 suggest an emendation to “I humbled my soul with fasting.”

To my reproach.—Quite literally and better, a reproach to me. Those who made light of the covenant altogether, who were in heart apostates both to faith and patriotism, would naturally treat with contempt those outward signs by which an erring Israelite owned his offence and sought reconciliation.

Psalm 69:10-12. When I wept — For their impiety, and the reproaches they cast upon God and godliness; and chastened my soul with fasting — That is, either my body or myself; that was my reproach — They derided me for my piety and devotion, and for my faith in God’s promises and hopes of assistance from him. I made sackcloth also my garment — In token of my humiliation and hearty sorrow, as the manner then was in days of fasting. I became a proverb to them — They used my name proverbially of any person whom they thought to be vainly and foolishly religious. They that sit in the gate — That is, as it is generally interpreted, the judges and magistrates, the gates of cities being the places of judicature. But it seems better to agree with the design of the psalmist, and to suit with the next clause, to suppose that he rather meant vain and idle persons, that spent their time in the gates and markets; or such as begged at the gates of the city, as St. Hilary interprets it. And I was the song of the drunkards — Of the scum of the people; of all lewd and debauched persons.69:1-12 We should frequently consider the person of the Sufferer here spoken of, and ask why, as well as what he suffered, that, meditating thereon, we may be more humbled for sin, and more convinced of our danger, so that we may feel more gratitude and love, constraining us to live to His glory who died for our salvation. Hence we learn, when in affliction, to commit the keeping of our souls to God, that we may not be soured with discontent, or sink into despair. David was hated wrongfully, but the words far more fully apply to Christ. In a world where unrighteousness reigns so much, we must not wonder if we meet with those that are our enemies wrongfully. Let us take care that we never do wrong; then if we receive wrong, we may the better bear it. By the satisfaction Christ made to God for our sin by his blood, he restored that which he took not away, he paid our debt, suffered for our offences. Even when we can plead Not guilty, as to men's unjust accusations, yet before God we must acknowledge ourselves to deserve all that is brought upon us. All our sins take rise from our foolishness. They are all done in God's sight. David complains of the unkindness of friends and relations. This was fulfilled in Christ, whose brethren did not believe on him, and who was forsaken by his disciples. Christ made satisfaction for us, not only by putting off the honours due to God, but by submitting to the greatest dishonours that could be done to any man. We need not be discouraged if our zeal for the truths, precepts, and worship of God, should provoke some, and cause others to mock our godly sorrow and deadness to the world.When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting - The words "and chastened" are not in the original. The literal translation would be, "And I wept (away) my soul with fasting;" that is, I gave myself so much to fasting accompanied with weeping, that my strength was exhausted. This refers to his acts of devotion; to his endeavors to discipline his soul so as to lead a strictly religious life.

That was to my reproach - This may either mean that they accused him of hypocrisy and insincerity; or, that they charged him with folly for being so religious, so strict, so self-sacrificing, so serious - perhaps they would say, so superstitious, so gloomy, so fanatical. The latter best accords with the connection, since it was for his "religion" mainly that they reproached him, Psalm 69:7-9.

10. wept (and chastened) my soul—literally, "wept away my soul," a strongly figurative description of deep grief. Wept for their impiety and reproaches which they cast upon God and godliness.

Chastened; which word is here understood out of Psalm 35:13; as it is also in 2 Chronicles 10:11,14, out of 1 Kings 12:11, where it is expressed.

My soul; either my body, or myself; the soul being oft used both ways. That was to my reproach; they derided me for my piety and devotion, and for my faith in God’s promises, and hopes of assistance from him. When I wept,.... Because of the sins of his people imputed to him; the hardness and unbelief of the Jews that rejected him; their impiety and profaneness in polluting the temple with their merchandise: he wept at the grave of Lazarus, and over the city of Jerusalem, on account of the blindness of its inhabitants, and the ruin coming upon them; and in his prayers at different times, especially in the garden and on the cross, which were offered up with strong crying and tears; see John 11:35;

and chastened my soul with fasting; or "my soul being in fasting" (y). The Targum renders it, "in the fasting of my soul"; the word "chastened" is supplied from Psalm 35:13; and "soul" is put for the body, or for the whole person. Christ fasted forty days and nights in the wilderness; and often, through neglect of himself, and multiplicity of business, in preaching, and in healing diseases, was without food for some time: he seems to have been fasting the day that he suffered, when he made atonement for sin; and so answered the type on the day of atonement, when every man was to afflict his soul with fasting, Leviticus 16:29; hence the Jews taunting at him gave him gall for his meat, and vinegar for his drink, Psalm 69:21; and it follows,

that was to my reproach; if he ate and drank, he was charged with being a glutton and a winebibber; and if he wept and fasted, as John his forerunner did, they reproached him with madness, and having a devil, Matthew 11:18; and, as may be reasonably supposed, after this manner;

"can this poor creature, that weeps, and mourns, and fasts, be thought to be the Son of God, a divine Person, as he makes himself to be, and his followers believe he is?''

and so the blind Jews reason to this day.

(y) "cum esset in jejunio anima mea", Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, De Dieu.

When I {k} wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

(k) My zeal moved me to lament and pray for my salvation.

10, 11. When I wept, (and chastened) my soul with fasting,

It was turned to reproaches for me:

When I made sackcloth my clothing,

I became a byword unto them.

In shame and penitence for the dishonour done by his countrymen to God, he fasted and mourned; but they only mocked and derided him for doing what they ought to have done themselves (Jeremiah 4:8; Jeremiah 6:26).

The construction of the first line is anomalous. Probably the word for ‘wept’ is a corruption of some word for ‘humbled’ (Psalm 35:13) or ‘chastened.’ For byword cp. Psalm 44:14.Verse 10. - When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. David's practice of fasting appears both here and also in Psalm 35:13; Psalm 109:24; 2 Kings 12:16, 22. As fasting was not enjoined by the Law, he might be reproached for over-righteousness, and perhaps also for ostentation, on account of it. Out of deep distress, the work of his foes, the complaining one cries for help; he thinks upon his sins, which is sufferings bring to his remembrance, but he is also distinctly conscious that he is an object of scorn and hostility for God's sake, and from His mercy he looks for help in accordance with His promises. The waters are said to rush in unto the soul (עד־נפשׁ), when they so press upon the imperilled one that the soul, i.e., the life of the body, more especially the breath, is threatened; cf. Jonah 2:6; Jeremiah 4:10. Waters are also a figure of calamities that come on like a flood and drag one into their vortex, Psalm 18:17; Psalm 32:6; Psalm 124:5, cf. Psalm 66:12; Psalm 88:8, Psalm 88:18; here, however, the figure is cut off in such a way that it conveys the impression of reality expressed in a poetical form, as in Psalm 40, and much the same as in Jonah's psalm. The soft, yielding morass is called יון, and the eddying deep מצוּלה. The Nomen Hophal. מעמד signifies properly a being placed, then a standing-place, or firm standing (lxx ὑπόστασις), like מטּה, that which is stretched out, extension, Isaiah 8:8. שׁבּלת (Ephraimitish סבּלת) is a streaming, a flood, from שׁבל, Arab. sbl, to stream, flow (cf. note on Psalm 58:9). בּוא בּ, to fall into, as in Psalm 66:12, and שׁטף with an accusative, to overflow, as in Psalm 124:4. The complaining one is nearly drowned in consequence of his sinking down, for he has long cried in vain for help: he is wearied by continual crying (יגע בּ, as in Psalm 6:7, Jeremiah 45:3), his throat is parched (נחר from חרר; lxx and Jerome: it is become hoarse), his eyes have failed (Jeremiah 14:6) him, who waits upon his God. The participle מיחל, equal to a relative clause, is, as in 18:51, 1 Kings 14:6, attached to the suffix of the preceding noun (Hitzig). Distinct from this use of the participle without the article is the adverbially qualifying participle in Genesis 3:8; Sol 5:2, cf. חי, 2 Samuel 12:21; 2 Samuel 18:14. There is no necessity for the correction of the text מיּחל (lxx apo' τοῦ elpi'zein me). Concerning the accentuation of רבּוּ vid., on Psalm 38:20. Apart from the words "more than the hairs of my head" (Psalm 40:13), the complaint of the multitude of groundless enemies is just the same as in Psalm 38:20; Psalm 35:19, cf. Psalm 109:3, both in substance and expression. Instead of מצמיתי, my destroyers, the Syriac version has the reading מעצמותי (more numerous than my bones), which is approved by Hupfeld; but to reckon the multitude of the enemy by the number of one's own bones is both devoid of taste and unheard of. Moreover the reading of our text finds support, if it need any, in Lamentations 3:52. The words, "what I have not taken away, I must then restore," are intended by way of example, and perhaps, as also in Jeremiah 15:10, as a proverbial expression: that which I have not done wrong, I must suffer for (cf. Jeremiah 15:10, and the similar complaint in Psalm 35:11). One is tempted to take אז in the sense of "nevertheless" (Ewald), a meaning, however, which it is by no means intended to convey. In this passage it takes the place of זאת (cf. οὕτως for ταῦτα, Matthew 7:12), inasmuch as it gives prominence to the restitution desired, as an inference from a false assumption: then, although I took it not away, stole it not.

The transition from the bewailing of suffering to a confession of sin is like Psalm 40:13. In the undeserved persecution which he endures at the hand of man, he is obliged nevertheless to recognise well-merited chastisement from the side of God. And whilst by אתּה ידעתּ (cf. Psalm 40:10, Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:16; Jeremiah 18:23, and on ל as an exponent of the object, Jeremiah 16:16; Jeremiah 40:2) he does not acknowledge himself to be a sinner after the standard of his own shortsightedness, but of the divine omniscience, he at the same time commends his sinful need, which with self-accusing modesty he calls אוּלת (Psalm 38:6) and אשׁמות (2 Chronicles 28:10), to the mercy of the omniscient One. Should he, the sinner, be abandoned by God to destruction, then all those who are faithful in their intentions towards the Lord would be brought to shame and confusion in him, inasmuch as they would be taunted with this example. קויך designates the godly from the side of the πίστις, and מבקשׁיךa from the side of the ἀγάπη. The multiplied names of God are so many appeals to God's honour, to the truthfulness of His covenant relationship. The person praying here is, it is true, a sinner, but that is no justification of the conduct of men towards him; he is suffering for the Lord's sake, and it is the Lord Himself who is reviled in him. It is upon this he bases his prayer in Psalm 69:8. עליך, for thy sake, as in Psalm 44:23; Jeremiah 15:15. The reproach that he has to bear, and ignominy that has covered his face and made it quite unrecognisable (Psalm 44:16, cf. Psalm 83:17), have totally estranged (Psalm 38:12, cf. Psalm 88:9, Job 19:13-15; Jeremiah 12:6) from him even his own brethren (אחי, parallel word בּני אמּי, as in Psalm 50:20; cf. on the other hand, Genesis 49:8, where the interchange designedly takes another form of expression); for the glow of his zeal (קנאהּ from קנא, according to the Arabic, to be a deep or bright red) for the house of Jahve, viz., for the sanctity of the sanctuary and of the congregation gathered about it (which is never directly called "the house of Jahve" in the Old Testament, vid., Khler on Zechariah 9:8, but here, as in Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1, is so called in conjunction with the sanctuary), as also for the honour of His who sits enthroned therein, consumes him, like a fire burning in his bones which incessantly breaks forth and rages all through him (Jeremiah 20:9; Jeremiah 23:9), and therefore all the malice of those who are estranged from God is concentrated upon and against him.

He now goes on to describe how sorrow for the sad condition of the house of God has brought noting but reproach to him (cf. Psalm 109:24.). It is doubtful whether נפשׁי is an alternating subject to ואבכּה (fut. consec. without being apocopated), cf. Jeremiah 13:17, or a more minutely defining accusative as in Isaiah 26:9 (vid., on Psalm 3:5), or whether, together with בּצּום, it forms a circumstantial clause (et flevi dum in jejunio esset anima mea), or even whether it is intended to be taken as an accusative of the object in a pregnant construction ( equals בּכה ושׁפך נפשׁו, Psalm 42:5; 1 Samuel 1:15): I wept away my soul in fasting. Among all these possible renderings, the last is the least probable, and the first, according to Psalm 44:3; Psalm 83:19, by far the most probable, and also that which is assumed by the accentuation.

(Note: The Munach of בצום is a transformation of Dech (just as the Munach of לחרפות is a transformation of Mugrash), in connection with which נקשי might certainly be conceived of even as object (cf. Psalm 26:6); but this after ואבכּה (not ואבכּה), and as being without example, could hardly have entered the minds of the punctuists.)

The reading of the lxx ואענּה, καὶ συνέκαψα (Olshausen, Hupfeld, and Bttcher), is a very natural (Psalm 35:13) exchange of the poetically bold expression for one less choice and less expressive (since ענּה נפשׁ is a phrase of the Pentateuch equivalent to צוּם). The garb of mourning, like the fasting, is an expression of sorrow for public distresses, not, as in Psalm 35:13, of personal condolence; concerning ואתּנה, vid., on Psalm 3:6. On account of this mourning, reproach after reproach comes upon him, and they fling gibes and raillery at him; everywhere, both in the gate, the place where the judges sit and where business is transacted, and also at carousals, he is jeered at and traduced (Lamentations 3:14, cf. Lamentations 5:14; Job 30:9). שׂיח בּ signifies in itself fabulari de... without any bad secondary meaning (cf. Proverbs 6:22, confabulabitur tecum); here it is construed first with a personal and then a neuter subject (cf. Amos 8:3), for in Psalm 69:13 neither הייתי (Job 30:9; Lamentations 3:14) nor אני (Lamentations 3:63) is to be supplied. Psalm 69:14 tells us how he acts in the face of such hatred and scorn; ואני, as in Psalm 109:4, sarcasmis hostium suam opponit in precibus constantiam (Geier). As for himself, his prayer is directed towards Jahve at the present time, when his affliction as a witness for God gives him the assurance that He will be well-pleased to accept it (עת רצון equals בעת רצון, Isaiah 49:8). It is addressed to Him who is at the same time Jahve and Elohim, - the revealed One in connection with the history of redemption, and the absolute One in His exaltation above the world, - on the ground of the greatness and fulness of His mercy: may He then answer him with or in the truth of His salvation, i.e., the infallibility with which His purpose of mercy verifies itself in accordance with the promises given. Thus is Psalm 69:14 to be explained in accordance with the accentuation. According to Isaiah 49:8, it looks as though עת רצון must be drawn to ענני (Hitzig), but Psalm 32:6 sets us right on this point; and the fact that ברב־חסדך is joined to Psalm 69:14 also finds support from Psalm 5:8. But the repetition of the divine name perplexes one, and it may be asked whether or not the accent that divides the verse into its two parts might not more properly stand beside רצון, as in Psalm 32:6 beside מצא; so that Psalm 69:14 runs: Elohim, by virtue of the greatness of Thy mercy hear me, by virtue of the truth of Thy salvation.

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