Psalm 69:28
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
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(28) Book of the livingor life.—This image, which plays so great a part in Christian poetry (Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 21:27. Comp. Philippians 4:3; Luke 10:20), is derived from the civil lists or registers of the Jews. (Exodus 32:32; Jeremiah 22:30; Ezekiel 13:9.) At first erasure from this list only implied that a man was dead, or that a family was extinct (see references above); but as death was thought to deprive of all benefit of the covenant (see Note, Psalm 6:5), such erasure came to imply exclusion from all the rights and privileges of the Theocracy, and therefore from the glory of participating in the promised deliverance and restoration of the race, and so gradually, as eschatological ideas developed, from the resurrection to eternal life. Daniel 12:1 marks a stage in this development. In the psalmist’s mouth the words would correspond to the ideas current when he wrote. From the next clause, Let them not be written with the righteous, it might be argued that the idea had already appeared which limited the resurrection to the righteous—an idea current at the date of 2 Maccabees 7:14, but probably familiar to some minds much sooner.

Psalm 69:28. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living — “Let them be cut off before their time, and enjoy none of the blessings which thou hast promised to the righteous.” — Bishop Patrick. The psalmist is thought to allude to registers or catalogues, in which the names of living men used anciently to be recorded, and out of which the names of those who died were blotted. This was awfully fulfilled with respect to the unbelieving Jews, vast multitudes of whom fell by the sword and famine, while none of those who embraced the Christian faith perished among them. The nation, as a nation, was blotted out of the list of nations, and became not a people. The words may also be understood, as they are by many commentators, of their rejection from God’s covenant, and the privileges of it, which is the book of the truly living, or the book of life. “Let the commonwealth of Israel itself, Israel according to the flesh, now become alienated from that covenant of promise, of which it has hitherto had the monopoly.” —

Henry. This has long been the case with the degenerate and apostate Jews, who are no longer the peculiar people of God, nor have they any part or portion in the inheritance of his children. Thus Ezekiel, speaking of the false prophets, They shall not be in the assembly of my people, nor shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, Ezekiel 13:9. This accords well with the next clause, Let them not be written with the righteous — Let them not have, or, they shall not have, a place in the congregation of the saints, when they shall all be gathered in the general assembly of those whose names are written in heaven.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 them be blotted out of the book of the living - That is, Let them cease to live; let them not be numbered among living people; let them be cut off. This language is taken from the custom of registering the names of persons in a list, roll, or catalogue, Exodus 32:32. See the notes at Philippians 4:3. Compare Revelation 3:5. The language has no reference to the future world; it is "not" a prayer that they should not be saved.

And not be written with the righteous - Let them not be registered or numbered with the righteous. As they "are" wicked, so let them be numbered; so regarded. Let them be reckoned and treated as they are. They deserve to be punished; so let them be. All that this "necessarily" means is, that they should not be treated as righteous, when they were in fact "not" righteous. It cannot be shown that the author of the psalm would not have desired that they should "become" righteous, and that they should "then" be regarded and treated as such. All that the language here implies is, a desire that they should be regarded and treated as they were; that is, as they deserved. The language is evidently derived from the idea so common in the Old Testament that length of days would be the reward of a righteous life (see Job 5:26; Proverbs 3:2; Proverbs 9:11; Proverbs 10:27), and that the wicked would be cut off in the midst of their days. See the notes at Psalm 55:23.

28. book of the living—or "life," with the next clause, a figurative mode of representing those saved, as having their names in a register (compare Ex 32:32; Isa 4:3). Of the living; or, of life: either,

1. Of this life. Out of the number of living men; which anciently used to be written in catalogues, out of which the names of those who died were blotted. Or rather,

2. Of eternal life, as both Jewish and Christian interpreters commonly understand it; which agrees best,

1. To the use of this phrase in Scripture; for in this sense men are said to be written in the book, Daniel 12:1, or in God’s book, Exodus 32:32, or in the book of life, Philippians 4:3 Revelation 3:5 13:8 17:8 20:12 21:27.

2. To the last clause of the verse, which explains it of that book, wherein none but

the righteous are written; whereas this life, and that attended with health and prosperity, is promiscuously given to and taken from good and bad men.

3. To the quality of the persons of whom this is said; which are the malicious enemies of God, and of his people, and the murderers of the Lord of glory, who shall be punished with eternal death. In this book men may be said to be written, either,

1. In reality, by God’s election or predestination. Or,

2. In appearance, when a man is called by God to the profession and practice of the true religion, and into covenant with himself, and professeth to comply with it; and so is written in the writing of the house of Israel, which is said of all that are in the assembly of God’s people, Ezekiel 13:9, and so seems to others, and it may be to himself, to be really written in the book of life. And when a man renounceth this profession and religion, he may be said to be

blotted out of that book, because his apostacy makes it evident that he was not written in it, as he seemed to be. For this is a known and approved rule for the understanding of many texts of Scripture, that things are oft said to be done when they only seem to be done, and are not really done; as he is said to find his life, . Matthew 10:39, who falsely imagined that he did find it, when in truth he lost it; and to have, Matthew 13:12, who only seemed to have, as it is explained in the parallel place, Luke 8:18; and to live, Romans 7:9, when he vainly conceited himself to be alive. And in like manner men may be said to be written in or blotted out of this book, when they seem to be so by the course of their lives and actions. But that this blotting out is not meant properly and positively, is clear from the last branch of this verse; which, after the manner of these books, expounds the former, wherein this doubtful phrase is explained by one which is evident and unquestionable, even by his not being written in it; for it is impossible that a man’s name should be properly blotted out of that book in which it was never written. The sense of the verse seems to be this, Let their wickedness be so notorious, and the tokens of God’s wrath upon them so manifest, that all men may discern that they are blotted out; that is, that they never were written in the book of life, in which the righteous are written.

With the righteous, i.e. in the book of life, in which all righteous or holy persons, and only they, are written; whereby it may appear that whatsoever show or profession they once made, yet they neither are nor were truly righteous persons. Let them be blotted out of the book of life,.... Which some understand of this animal life, or of the catalogue of living saints; of their being not written among the living in Jerusalem, or in the writing of the house of Israel, Isaiah 4:3. The Targum is,

"let them he blotted out of the book of the memory of the living.''

Let their names rot and perish, being buried in everlasting oblivion. Aben Ezra interprets this book of the heavens; where, he says, all things that should come to pass were written, at the time they were created; see Luke 10:20. But this is the book of divine predestination or election, often in the New Testament called the book of life; in which the names of some persons are written, and others not, Philippians 4:3; so called, not with respect to the present life, and the affairs of it, which belong to the book of Providence; but with respect to the life of the world to come, or eternal life, as Kimchi explains it. It is no other than God's ordination or foreappointment of men to eternal life; which being called a book, and names written in it, show that election is personal or particular; the exact knowledge God has of his chosen ones; his great care of them, and value for them; his constant remembrance of them, and the certainty of their salvation; for such whose names are written here in reality can never be blotted out: this would be contrary to the unchangeableness of God, the firmness of his purposes, and the safety of his people. Wherefore the design of this imprecation is, that those persons who had, in their own conceits, and in the apprehensions of others, a name in this book; that it might appear, both to themselves and others, they had none, by the awful ruin and destruction that should be brought upon them;

and not be written with the righteous; neither in the book of life with them; by which it appears, that to be blotted out, and not be written, are the same: nor in a Gospel church state; so they were the branches broken off: nor be among them at the resurrection of the just, and in the judgment day. Kimchi observes, that it is the same thing in different words; to be blotted out is the same as not to be written.

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

(x) They who seemed by their profession to have been written in your book, yet by their fruits prove the contrary, let them be known as reprobates.

28. the book of the living] Or, as R.V., the book of life. The figure is borrowed from the lists or registers of citizens (Jeremiah 22:30; Ezekiel 13:9). God has a book in which the names of those who are to be preserved alive are inscribed. The righteous have their names recorded in it (cp. Habakkuk 2:4). May the names of these malefactors be struck out, or never inserted there! May they be deprived of their privileges as Israelites! May they perish and be utterly forgotten! Cp. Exodus 32:32; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1. But—and this mitigates what would otherwise be the awful character of the imprecation—‘the book of life’ is not here to be understood in the full N.T. sense as ‘the book of eternal life’ (Luke 10:20; Php 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12).Verse 28. - Let them be blotted out of the Book of the living. God is supposed to have a "book of the living" in his possession, which contains the names of all those on whom he looks with favour, and whom he will bless both in this world and beyond the grave (comp. Exodus 32:32; Psalm 86:6; Ezekiel 13:9; Daniel 12:1). From this list, as from any register of earthly citizenship, the names of the unworthy may be erased. David prays for the erasure of the names of those unworthy ones against whom his imprecations are uttered. And not be written with the righteous; i.e. not remain written in the book side by side with the names of the righteous. The New Testament, no less than the Old, tells of this book (see Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27). The 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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