Psalm 69:22
Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
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(22) Let their table.—The form of this imprecation is, of course, suggested by the figurative language immediately preceding. Life had been made bitter by rancour and enmity, and the psalmist hurls back his curses, couched in the terms which had arisen to his lips to express his own misery.

And that which.—Rather, and to them in peace a noose. Seated at the banquet, amid every sign of peace, and every means of enjoyment, let their surroundings of security and pleasure become their snare and ruin. (Comp. 1Thessalonians 5:3. See St. Paul’s citation, Romans 11:9, New Testament Commentary.)

Psalm 69:22. Let their table, &c. — Dr. Waterland renders the verse, Their table shall be for a snare before them, and their peace-offerings for a trap. “This and the following verses are to be read in the future tense, and considered as predictions rather than as imprecations. The meaning of the whole verse seems to be, The oblations and prayers of those who have dealt thus barbarously with me, shall be so far from pacifying God, or being accepted of him, that, like the offerings made to false gods, styled the preparing a table, Isaiah 65:11, they shall provoke God, and turn to their mischief: see Romans 11:9.” — Dodd. The sacrifices, peace- offerings, and other oblations of the Jews, were, in a remarkable manner, a snare to them, in that their dependence on them, and their conceit of the everlastingness of the Mosaic dispensation, was one chief cause of their rejection of Christ.

69:22-29 These are prophecies of the destruction of Christ's persecutors. Verses 22,23, are applied to the judgments of God upon the unbelieving Jews, in Ro 11:9,10. When the supports of life and delights of sense, through the corruption of our nature, are made the food and fuel of sin, then our table is a snare. Their sin was, that they would not see, but shut their eyes against the light, loving darkness rather; their punishment was, that they should not see, but should be given up to their own hearts' lusts which hardened them. Those who reject God's great salvation proffered to them, may justly fear that his indignation will be poured out upon them. If men will sin, the Lord will reckon for it. But those that have multiplied to sin, may yet find mercy, through the righteousness of the Mediator. God shuts not out any from that righteousness; the gospel excludes none who do not, by unbelief, shut themselves out. But those who are proud and self-willed, so that they will not come in to God's righteousness, shall have their doom accordingly; they themselves decide it. Let those not expect any benefit thereby, who are not glad to be beholden to it. It is better to be poor and sorrowful, with the blessing of the Lord, than rich and jovial, and under his curse. This may be applied to Christ. He was, when on earth, a man of sorrows that had not where to lay his head; but God exalted him. Let us call upon the Lord, and though poor and sorrowful, guilty and defiled, his salvation will set us up on high.Let their table become a snare before them - These verses are quoted by Paul Romans 11:9-10 as descriptive of the character of persons in his time, or as "language" which would express what he desired to say. See the passage explained at length in the notes at Romans 11:9-10. The whole passage is a prayer that they might receive a proper recompense for what they had done. The word "table" here means the table at which they were accustomed to eat. As they refused food to a hungry man, the prayer is, that they might find the recompense for their conduct "in that very line;" or that, as they refused food to the hungry, they might find "their" food a "snare" to them. That is, Let it be the means of punishing them for their not giving wholesome food to the hungry, or for their offering poisonous herbs to a starving man. The word "snare" here means unexpected danger; danger sprung suddenly upon them - as a snare is upon a wild beast.

And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap - Much of this is supplied by the translators. The literal rendering would be, "And to those at peace (or secure) a trap." The word here rendered "welfare" is the plural form of the word meaning "peace," and may denote those who feel that they are at peace; that they are secure; that they are in no danger. The ancient versions give it the sense of "requitals," that is, a recompence for their transgressions; but the other signification best accords with the connection. The word "trap" is usually applied to the devices for capturing wild beasts, and the meaning is, "Let the recompence come suddenly upon them, while they think themselves at peace, or when they are surrounded by all the comforts and luxuries of life." This prayer is such as occurs frequently in the Psalms. It cannot be "proved" that it was uttered in a malignant spirit, or that anything more is intended by it than that the psalmist desired that justice might be done to all people - an object which all magistrates, and all good citizens, should pray for.

22, 23. With unimportant verbal changes, this language is used by Paul to describe the rejection of the Jews who refused to receive the Saviour (Ro 11:9, 10). The purport of the figures used is that blessings shall become curses, the "table" of joy (as one of food) a "snare," their

welfare—literally, "peaceful condition," or security, a "trap." Darkened eyes and failing strength complete the picture of the ruin falling on them under the invoked retribution.

22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.

27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

From this point David and our Lord for awhile part company, if we accept the rendering of our version. The severe spirit of the law breathes out imprecations, while the tender heart of Jesus offers prayers for his murderers. The whole of these verses, however, may be viewed as predictions, and then they certainly refer to our Lord, for we find portions of them quoted in that manner by the apostle in Matthew 11:9, Matthew 11:10, and by Christ himself in Matthew 23:38.

Psalm 69:22

"Let their table become a snare before them." There they laid snares, and there they shall find them. From their feasts they would afford nothing but wormwood for their innocent victim, and now their banquets shall be their ruin. It is very easy for the daily provisions of mercy to become temptations to sin. As birds and beasts are taken in a trap by means of baits for the appetite, so are men snared full often by their meats and drinks. Those who despise the upper springs of grace, shall find the nether springs of worldly comfort prove their poison. The table is used, however, not alone for feeding, but for conversation, transacting business, counsel, amusement, and religious observance: to those who are the enemies of the Lord Jesus the table may, in all these respects, become a snare. This first plague is terrible, and the second is like unto it. "And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap." This, if we follow the original closely, and the version of Paul in the Romans, is a repetition of the former phrase; but we shall not err if we say that, to the rejectors of Christ, even those things which are calculated to work their spiritual and eternal good, become occasions for yet greater sin. They reject Christ, and are condemned for not believing on him; they stumble on this stone, and are broken by it. Wretched are those men, who not only have a curse upon their common blessings, but also on the spiritual opportunities of salvation.

"Whom oils and balsams kill, what salve can cure?"

This second plague even exceeds the first.

Psalm 69:23

"Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not." They shall wander in a darkness that may be felt. They have loved darkness rather than light, and in darkness they shall abide. Judicial blindness fell upon Israel after our Lord's death and their persecution of his apostles; they were blinded by the light which they would not accept. Eyes which see no beauty in the Lord Jesus, but flash wrath upon him, may well grow yet more dim, till death spiritual leads to death eternal. "And make their loins continually to shake." Their conscience shall be so ill at ease that they shall continually quiver with fear; their backs shall bend to the earth (so some read it) with grovelling avarice, and their strength shall be utterly paralyzed, so that they cannot walk firmly, but shall totter at every step. See the terrifying, degrading, and enfeebling influence of unbelief. See also the retaliations of justice: those who will not see shall not see; those who would not walk in uprightness shall be unable to do so.


These and the following words, which are expressed in the form of imprecations, are thought by divers to be and that the imperatives are put for the as sometimes they are. And accordingly they translate the words thus, Their table shall become a snare, But if they be imprecations, here was sufficient cause for them. And besides, it is apparent that they were not the dictates of human passion, but of Divine inspiration, from a just zeal for God’s glory, as hath been before.

Their table, i.e. their food, and all their for necessity or delight, either for body or soul; curses here following are spiritual and eternal as temporal. And so this may comprehend their sacrifices and other legal ordinances, and the word of God; all to the Jews through their own default a great occasion of stumbling at Christ. And this punishment in their table exactly answers to their sin in giving Christ gall for his meat, Psalm 69:21. Become a snare before them, Heb. before them (i.e. their table or meat, which is set

before them, which is the usual expression in this case, as Genesis 18:8 2 Kings 6:22) become a snare, i.e. the occasion or instrument of their destruction. It is a metaphor taken from birds or fishes, that are commonly ensnared and taken with their baits.

And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap; Heb. and as for their great peace, (which the plural number seems to import, all that tranquillity and prosperity which they do or may enjoy,) let it be a trap; or, and their peace offerings (which sacrifices may be here mentioned, because the offerers did partake of them, and feast upon them; and so this agrees with the table expressed in the former clause) a trap. And so they were to the unbelieving Jews, whose false conceit of the everlastingness of the Mosaical dispensation was one cause of their rejection of Christ. Or thus, and for recompences, (i.e. an abundant compensation of all their injuries,) and for a trap. For thus it is rendered by divers, both ancient and modern, interpreters, and, which is more considerable, by the apostle, Romans 11:9.

Let their table become a snare before them,.... This and the following imprecations were not the effects of a spirit of private revenge; of which there was no appearance in Christ, but all the reverse who prayed for his enemies, while they were using him as above related: but they are prophecies of what should be, being delivered out under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Acts 1:16. Wherefore some versions render the words, "their table shall become a snare" (h); and therefore are not to be drawn into an example by us, to favour and encourage a revengeful spirit: and they are very just and righteous, according to "lex talionis", the law of retaliation; since, inasmuch as they gave Christ gall for his meat, and vinegar for his drink, it was but right that the same measure should be meted out to them again; and their table mercies and blessings be cursed; that they should have them not in love, but in bitter wrath. Or that they should be left to be overcharged with them, and surfeit upon them; and so the day of their destruction come upon them as a snare: or that they should want the common necessaries of life, and be tempted to eat what was not lawful; and even their own children, as some did; see Malachi 2:2, Lamentations 4:10. The Targum gives the sense of the words thus;

"let their table, which they prepared before me, that I might eat before them, be for a snare;''

meaning a table spread with vinegar and gall. Of the figurative sense of these words; see Gill on Romans 11:9; where apostle cites this passage, and applies it to the enemies of Christ;

and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap; the word translated, "for their welfare", comes from which signifies both "to be at peace", and "to recompense"; and so is differently interpreted. Some think the "shelamim", or peace offerings, are meant; see Exodus 24:5; and so the Targum,

"let their sacrifices be for a trap, or stumbling block;''

as they were, they trusting in them for the atonement of sin: and so neglected the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and his righteousness; which was the stumbling block at which they stumbled, and the trap into which they fell, and was their ruin. And it is observable, that while they were eating the sacrifice of the passover, they were surrounded by the Roman army, and taken as birds in a net, and as beasts in a trap. Others render the words, "to them that are at peace" (i), let their table be "for a trap"; while they are living in security, and crying, Peace, peace, let sudden, destruction come upon them; as it did. But the apostle has taught us how to render the word "for a recompence", Romans 11:9; as the word, differently pointed, is in Isaiah 34:8. The true rendering and meaning of the whole seem to be this, "let their table become a snare before them"; and let their table be "for recompences" unto them, or in just retaliation; let the same food, or the like unto it, be set upon their tables, they gave to Christ, and let their table "become a trap"; for all relate to their table.

(h) "erit", Pagninus, Montanus; "fiet vel fiat", Gejerus. (i) "tranquilli", Gejerus; so some in Michaelis.

Let their {r} table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

(r) He desires God to execute his judgments against the reprobate, which cannot by any means be turned, Rom 11:9.

22. Let their table before them become a snare;

Yea, when they are at peace, let it become a trap.

The language is suggested by the metaphors of the preceding verse. They had aggravated the sufferings of a joyless life: let their own enjoyments turn to their ruin. The idea of the transformation of their table into a snare becomes more intelligible if it is remembered that the table meant was probably a piece of leather unrolled and spread upon the ground, such as is still used in the East. The curse is intensified by the prayer that this fate may overtake them while they are in unsuspecting security. Cp. 1 Thessalonians 5:3. The rendering of the A.V., which is substantially the same as that of the P.B.V., is untenable. It was introduced into the ‘Great Bible’ from Münster’s Latin Version et quae in pacem (esse debuerant sint) in offendiculum, and was doubtless derived by him from the Jewish scholar Kimchi.

The quotation of this verse in Romans 11:9 is made freely from the LXX, supplemented probably by a reminiscence of Psalm 35:8 (34). The following verse is quoted exactly as it stands in the LXX.

22–28. At the thought of the intolerable inhumanity of his enemies he can no longer restrain himself, and breaks out into fierce imprecation. Some commentators, feeling the difficulty of such imprecations proceeding from the Psalmist, have regarded these verses as the utterance of the Psalmist’s enemies, invoking destruction upon him and his companions. But such an interpretation is unnatural: the pronouns ‘their’ and ‘they’ in Psalm 69:22 ff. cannot have a different reference from ‘they’ in Psalm 69:21.

Verses 22-29. - The imagination of the cruelties to be inflicted on his innocent Descendant works up the psalmist to a pitch of passionate resentment, which finds vent in a series of bitter imprecations, very distasteful to many. They are less startling, however, than some to be found elsewhere, as in Psalm 102. We may view them either as an outpouring of righteous indignation upon the enemies, not of David only, but of God; or as a series of prophetic denunciations, whereby the wicked of David's time were warned of the consequences of such wickedness as theirs, and stimulated to repentance. Verse 22. - Let their table become a snare before them. It is not very clear how their table was to ensnare them: perhaps by encouraging them to gluttony and sensuousness, and bringing upon them the diseases which those sins breed; perhaps by leading them to an ostentatious display of wealth and luxury (comp. Ezekiel 23:40, 41). And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let them be trapped by the good things of their table, like a wild beast by a bait. Psalm 69:22The description of the suffering has reached its climax in Psalm 69:22, at which the wrath of the persecuted one flames up and bursts forth in imprecations. The first imprecation joins itself upon Psalm 69:22. They have given the sufferer gall and vinegar; therefore their table, which was abundantly supplied, is to be turned into a snare to them, from which they shall not be able to escape, and that לפניהם, in the very midst of their banqueting, whilst the table stands spread out before them (Ezekiel 23:41). שׁלומים (collateral form of שׁלמים) is the name given to them as being carnally secure; the word signifies the peaceable or secure in a good (Psalm 55:21) and in a bad sense. Destruction is to overtake them suddenly, "when they say: Peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). The lxx erroneously renders: καὶ εἰς ἀνταπόδοσιν equals וּלשׁלּוּמים. The association of ideas in Psalm 69:24 is transparent. With their eyes they have feasted themselves upon the sufferer, and in the strength of their loins they have ill-treated him. These eyes with their bloodthirsty malignant looks are to grow blind. These loins full of defiant self-confidence are to shake (המעד, imperat. Hiph. like הרחק, Job 13:21, from המעיד, for which in Ezekiel 29:7, and perhaps also in Daniel 11:14, we find העמיד). Further: God is to pour out His wrath upon them (Psalm 79:6; Hosea 5:10; Jeremiah 10:25), i.e., let loose against them the cosmical forces of destruction existing originally in His nature. זעמּך has the Dagesh in order to distinguish it in pronunciation from זעמך. In Psalm 69:26 טירה (from טוּר, to encircle) is a designation of an encamping or dwelling-place (lxx ἔπαυλις) taken from the circular encampments (Arabic ṣı̂rât, ṣirât, and dwâr, duâr) of the nomads (Genesis 25:16). The laying waste and desolation of his own house is the most fearful of all misfortunes to the Semite (Job, note to Psalm 18:15). The poet derives the justification of such fearful imprecations from the fact that they persecute him, who is besides smitten of God. God has smitten him on account of his sins, and that by having placed him in the midst of a time in which he must be consumed with zeal and solicitude for the house of God. The suffering decreed for him by God is therefore at one and the same time suffering as a chastisement and as a witnessing for God; and they heighten this suffering by every means in their power, not manifesting any pity for him or any indulgence, but imputing to him sins that he has not committed, and requiting him with deadly hatred for benefits for which they owed him thanks.

There are also some others, although but few, who share this martyrdom with him. The psalmist calls them, as he looks up to Jahve, חלליך, Thy fatally smitten ones; they are those to whom God has appointed that they should bear within themselves a pierced or wounded heart (vid., Psalm 109:22, cf. Jeremiah 8:18) in the face of such a godless age. Of the deep grief (אל, as in Psalm 2:7) of these do they tell, viz., with self-righteous, self-blinded mockery (cf. the Talmudic phrase ספר בלשׁון הרע or ספר לשׁון הרע, of evil report or slander). The lxx and Syriac render יוסיפוּ (προσέθηκαν): they add to the anguish; the Targum, Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome follow the traditional text. Let God therefore, by the complete withdrawal of His grace, suffer them to fall from one sin into another - this is the meaning of the da culpam super culpam eorum - in order that accumulated judgment may correspond to the accumulated guilt (Jeremiah 16:18). Let the entrance into God's righteousness, i.e., His justifying and sanctifying grace, be denied to them for ever. Let them be blotted out of ספר חיּים (Exodus 32:32, cf. Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1), that is to say, struck out of the list of the living, and that of the living in this present world; for it is only in the New Testament that we meet with the Book of Life as a list of the names of the heirs of the ζωὴ αἰώνιος. According to the conception both of the Old and of the New Testament the צדיקים are the heirs of life. Therefore Psalm 69:29 wishes that they may not be written by the side of the righteous, who, according to Habakkuk 2:4, "live," i.e., are preserved, by their faith. With ואני the poet contrasts himself, as in Psalm 40:18, with those deserving of execration. They are now on high, but in order to be brought low; he is miserable and full of poignant pain, but in order to be exalted; God's salvation will remove him from his enemies on to a height that is too steep for them (Psalm 59:2; Psalm 91:14). Then will he praise (הלּל) and magnify (גּדּל) the Name of God with song and thankful confession. And such spiritual תּודה, such thank-offering of the heart, is more pleasing to God than an ox, a bullock, i.e., a young ox ( equals פּר השּׁור, an ox-bullock, Judges 6:25, according to Ges. 113), one having horns and a cloven hoof (Ges. 53, 2). The attributives do not denote the rough material animal nature (Hengstenberg), but their legal qualifications for being sacrificed. מקרין is the name for the young ox as not being under three years old (cf. 1 Samuel 1:24, lxx ἐν μόσχῳ τριετίζοντι); מפריס as belonging to the clean four-footed animals, viz., those that are cloven-footed and chew the cud, Leviticus 11. Even the most stately, full-grown, clean animal that may be offered as a sacrifice stands in the sight of Jahve very far below the sacrifice of grateful praise coming from the heart.

When now the patient sufferers (ענוים) united with the poet by community of affliction shall see how he offers the sacrifice of thankful confession, they will rejoice. ראוּ is a hypothetical preterite; it is neither וראוּ (perf. consec.), nor יראוּ (Psalm 40:4; Psalm 52:8; Psalm 107:42; Job 22:19). The declaration conveying information to be expected in Psalm 69:33 after the Waw apodoseos changes into an apostrophe of the "seekers of Elohim:" their heart shall revive, for, as they have suffered in company with him who is now delivered, they shall now also refresh themselves with him. We are at once reminded of Psalm 22:27, where this is as it were the exhortation of the entertainer at the thank-offering meal. It would be rash to read שׁמע in Psalm 69:23, after Psalm 22:25, instead of שׁמע (Olshausen); the one object in that passage is here generalized: Jahve is attentive to the needy, and doth not despise His bound ones (Psalm 107:10), but, on the contrary, He takes an interest in them and helps them. Starting from this proposition, which is the clear gain of that which has been experienced, the view of the poet widens into the prophetic prospect of the bringing back of Israel out of the Exile into the Land of Promise. In the face of this fact of redemption of the future he calls upon (cf. Isaiah 44:23) all created things to give praise to God, who will bring about the salvation of Zion, will build again the cities of Judah, and restore the land, freed from its desolation, to the young God-fearing generation, the children of the servants of God among the exiles. The feminine suffixes refer to ערי (cf. Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 22:6 Chethb). The tenor of Isaiah 65:9 is similar. If the Psalm were written by David, the closing turn from Psalm 69:23 onwards might be more difficult of comprehension than Psalm 14:7; Psalm 51: If, however, it is by Jeremiah, then we do not need to persuade ourselves that it is to be understood not of restoration and re-peopling, but of continuance and completion (Hofmann and Kurtz). Jeremiah 54ed to experience the catastrophe he foretold; but the nearer it came to the time, the more comforting were the words with which he predicted the termination of the Exile and the restoration of Israel. Jeremiah 34:7 shows us how natural to him, and to him in particular, was the distinction between Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. The predictions in Jeremiah 32:1, which sound so in accord with Psalm 69:36., belong to the time of the second siege. Jerusalem was not yet fallen; the strong places of the land, however, already lay in ruins.

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