Let not the flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth on me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Pit.—Properly, well. A stone usually covered the wells (Genesis 29:10), which explains the phrase, “shut her mouth.” Is this merely figurative; or have we here a reminiscence of some terrible crime, analogous to that of Cawnpore?
Neither let the deep swallow me up - The abyss; the deep waters.
And let not the pit shut her mouth upon me - In his anguish and distress he passes here from the idea of running streams, and deep waters, to that of a well, pit, or cavern - representing himself as "in" that pit, and praying that it might not be closed upon him, leaving him in darkness and in mire, from which he could not then escape. The general idea in all these expressions is the same - that of overwhelming calamities from which he prayed to be delivered.
neither let the deep swallow me up: as Jonah by the whale, and Dathan and Abiram in the earth:
and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me; either the pit of hell; so the Targum interprets it: for Christ, when he endured the curses of the law, and the wrath of God, suffered the same for kind as the damned in hell; only the mouth of this pit could not be shut upon him, or he be continued under such wrath and curse: or else the pit of the grave, where his divine Father left him not, or suffered him to be so long in it as to see corruption; this pit was not shut upon him, but he was delivered out of it, and will die no more.Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 15. - Let not the waterflood overflew me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. The reference is still to vers. 1, 2; and the prayer is for deliverance from the dangers and entanglements there spoken of. 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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