Psalm 69:4
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: they that would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
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(4) They that would destroy me . . .—Properly, my exterminators. It seems a piece of hypercriticism to object to this as too strong a word. It is a very allowable prolepsis. At the same time the parallelism would be improved by adopting, as Ewald suggests, the Syriac reading “my enemies without are more numerous than my bones,” and the construction would be the same as in Psalm 40:12.

Wrongfully.—Better, without cause. Comp. Psalm 35:19.

Then I restored.—Rather, what I did not steal I must then restore, possibly a proverbial saying to express harsh and unjust treatment. Comp. Ps. Xxxv. 11; Jeremiah 15:10.

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.They that hate me without a cause - Without any just reason; without any provocation on my part. There were many such in the case of David, for to those who rose up against him in the time of Saul, and to Absalom also, he had given no real occasion of offence. An expression similar to the one used here occurs in Psalm 35:19. See the notes at that passage. The "language" is applied to the Saviour John 15:25, not as having had original reference to him, but as language which received its most perfect fulfillment in the treatment which he received from his enemies. See the notes at John 15:25.

Are more than the hairs of mine head - The number is so great that it cannot be estimated.

They that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty - literally, "More than the hairs of my head are my haters falsely (those who hate me falsely); strong are those destroying me; my enemies." The idea is, that those who were numbered among his foes without any just provocation on his part were so numerous and strong that he could not contend with them.

Then I restored that which I took not away - Prof. Alexander renders this, "What I did not rob, then must I restore." This seems to have a proverbial cast, and the idea is, that under this pressure of circumstances - borne down by numbers - he was compelled to give up what he had not taken away from others. They regarded and treated him as a bad man - as if he had been a robber; and they compelled him to give up what he possessed, "as if" he had no right to it, or "as if" he had obtained it by robbery. This does not seem to refer to anything that was "voluntary" on his part - as if, for the sake of peace, he had proposed to give up that to which they had no claim, or to surrender his just rights, but to the act of compulsion by which he was "forced" to surrender what he had, "as if" he had been a public offender. How far it is proper to yield to an unjust claim for the sake of peace, or to act "as if" we had done wrong, rather than to have controversy or strife, is a point which, if this interpretation is correct, is not settled by this passage. It seems here to have been merely a question of "power."

4. hate me, &c.—(Compare Joh 15:25). On the number and power of his enemies (compare Ps 40:12).

then I restored … away—that is, he suffered wrongfully under the imputation of robbery.

Without a cause; without any injury or occasion given them by me.

Restored that which I took not away; either because they unjustly and violently forced me to it, or because I was willing to do it to my own wrong for peace sake. By this one kind of wrong he understands all those injuries and violences which they practised against him. They that hate me without a cause,.... As the Jews did; see John 15:18; for he did no injury to the persons or properties of men; but went about continually doing good, both to their souls and bodies; so that he merited their highest esteem and love, and not their hatred; and yet they were his implacable enemies; see Luke 19:14;

are more than the hairs of mine head; they were a multitude that came to take him in the garden; and it was the multitude that the priests and Pharisees instigated to ask for the release of Barabbas, and the crucifixion of Jesus; and a vast number of people followed him to the cross, and insulted him on it; the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together against him;

they that would destroy me; as the Jews sought to do often before his time was come;

being mine enemies wrongfully; without cause, as before; or through lies and falsehoods told of him, and spread about concerning him:

are mighty; lively and strong, as David's enemies were, Psalm 38:19. The great men of the earth, kings and princes, as Herod and Pontius Pilate, and also the infernal principalities and powers, who were concerned in contriving those lies, and putting them into the minds of men; for Satan is the father of lies and falsehood;

then I restored that which I took not away; by rapine, force, and violence, as the word (w) signifies; and which was done by others. Thus, for instance, Christ restored the glory of God, of which he was robbed, and which was taken away by the sin of man; by veiling his own glory, not seeking that, but his Father's; and by working out the salvation of his people, in such a manner as that all the divine perfections were glorified by it; hence, "glory to God in the highest", Luke 2:14. He satisfied justice he had never injured, though others had; he fulfilled a law, and bore the penalty of it, which he never broke; and made satisfaction for sins he never committed; and brought in a righteousness he had not taken away; and provided a better inheritance than what was lost by Adam: and all this was done at the time of his sufferings and death, and by the means of them.

(w) "rapui", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies {e} wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I {f} took not away.

(e) Condemning me as guilty.

(f) They judged me a thief, though innocent, and gave my goods to others, as though I had stolen them.

4. The number and the virulence of his foes, and the groundlessness of their hostility. For the language comp. Psalm 40:12; Psalm 35:19; Psalm 38:19. The quotation in John 15:25 agrees with the LXX.

moe] This archaism for ‘more,’ which has disappeared from modern Bibles, is restored by Scrivener in accordance with the original edition of 1611.

they that would destroy me] R.V., they that would cut me off. Ewald and others follow the Syr. in reading this line, ‘More numerous than my bones are they that are mine enemies falsely.’ The parallelism of the first two lines of the verse is improved by the change, which involves only a slight alteration of the consonants; but the comparison is not a natural one, and the reading of the text is supported by the use of the same verb in Lamentations 3:53, in a closely similar context (note Lamentations 3:52; Lam 3:54).

wrongfully] Lit. falsely. Their hostility is based upon misconception and misrepresentation.

then I restored] Or, as R.V. marg., I had to restore. ‘Then’ may refer to some signal instance prominent in the Psalmist’s recollection.

that which I took not away] That which I had not plundered. Perhaps a proverbial expression for the extreme of injured innocence. He was accused of being an extortioner and oppressor of the poor who must be made to disgorge his ill-gotten gains (Ezekiel 33:15). Cp. Eliphaz’ charges against Job (Job 22:6 ff.), and Zophar’s picture of the wicked man compelled to make restitution (Job 20:18 ff.).Verse 4. - They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head (comp. Psalm 35:14; and for the simile. comp. Psalm 40:12; both of them Davidical compositions). They that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty. Joab and Abiathar, who supported the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:7), and were "mighty" men, certainly were David's enemies "wrongfully." And the same may be said of Absalom and Ahithophel. Then I restored that which I took not away. Dr. Kay supposes David's quasi-abdication of a crown which he had not placed on his own head (2 Samuel 15:14-17) to be alluded to. The poet stands so completely in the midst of this glory of the end, that soaring onwards in faith over all the kingdoms of the world, he calls upon them to render praise to the God of Israel. לרכב attaches itself to the dominating notion of שׁירוּ in Psalm 68:33. The heavens of heavens (Deuteronomy 10:14) are by קדם described as primeval (perhaps, following the order of their coming into existence, as extending back beyond the heavens that belong to our globe, of the second and fourth day of Creation). God is said to ride along in the primeval heavens of the heavens (Deuteronomy 33:26), when by means of the cherub (Psalm 18:11) He extends His operations to all parts of these infinite distances and heights. The epithet "who rideth along in the heavens of heavens of the first beginning" denotes the exalted majesty of the superterrestrial One, who on account of His immanency in history is called "He who rideth along through the steppes" (רכב בּערבות, Psalm 68:5). In יתּן בּקולו we have a repetition of the thought expressed above in Psalm 68:12 by יתּן אמר; what is intended is God's voice of power, which thunders down everything that contends against Him. Since in the expression נתן בּקול (Psalm 46:7; Jeremiah 12:8) the voice, according to Ges. 138, rem. 3, note, is conceived of as the medium of the giving, i.e., of the giving forth from one's self, of the making one's self heard, we must take קול עז not as the object (as in the Latin phrase sonitum dare), but as an apposition:

(Note: The accentuation does not decide; it admits of our taking it in both ways. Cf. Psalm 14:5; Psalm 41:2; Psalm 58:7; Psalm 68:28; Proverbs 13:22; Proverbs 27:1.)

behold, He maketh Himself heard with His voice, a powerful voice. Thus let them then give God עז, i.e., render back to Him in praise that acknowledges His omnipotence, the omnipotence which He hath, and of which He gives abundant proof. His glory (גּאוה) rules over Israel, more particularly as its guard and defence; His power (עז), however, embraces all created things, not the earth merely, but also the loftiest regions of the sky. The kingdom of grace reveals the majesty and glory of His redemptive work (cf. Ephesians 1:6), the kingdom of nature the universal dominion of His omnipotence. To this call to the kingdoms of the earth they respond in v. 36: "Awful is Elohim out of thy sanctuaries." The words are addressed to Israel, consequently מקדּשׁים is not the heavenly and earthly sanctuary (Hitzig), but the one sanctuary in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 21:72) in the manifold character of its holy places (Jeremiah 51:51, cf. Amos 7:9). Commanding reverence - such is the confession of the Gentile world - doth Elohim rule from thy most holy places, O Israel, the God who hath chosen thee as His mediatorial people. The second part of the confession runs: the God of Israel giveth power and abundant strength to the people, viz., whose God He is, equivalent to לעמּו, Psalm 29:11. Israel's might in the omnipotence of God it is which the Gentile world has experienced, and from which it has deduced the universal fact of experience, v. 36b. All peoples with their gods succumb at last to Israel and its God. This confession of the Gentile world closes with בּרוּך אלהים (which is preceded by Mugrash transformed out of Athnach). That which the psalmist said in the name of Israel in Psalm 68:20, "Blessed be the Lord," now re-echoes from all the world, "Blessed be Elohim." The world is overcome by the church of Jahve, and that not merely in outward form, but spiritually. The taking up of all the kingdoms of the world into the kingdom of God, this the great theme of the Apocalypse, is also after all the theme of this Psalm. The first half closed with Jahve's triumphant ascension, the second closes with the results of His victory and triumph, which embrace the world of peoples.

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