Psalm 7:13
He has also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordains his arrows against the persecutors.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Instruments of death.—That is, deadly weapons.

Against the persecutors.—Literally, for those burning; so LXX. and Vulg. The meaning appears to be, “His arrows he makes into fiery arrows”—i.e., tips them with fire, by wrapping them in burning tow. Latin, malleoli. (Comp. Ephesians 6:16, with Note, in New Testament Commentary.) Milton’s “rattling storm of arrows barb’d with fire,” refers to the same custom.

7:10-17 David is confident that he shall find God his powerful Saviour. The destruction of sinners may be prevented by their conversion; for it is threatened, If he turn not from his evil way, let him expect it will be his ruin. But amidst the threatenings of wrath, we have a gracious offer of mercy. God gives sinners warning of their danger, and space to repent, and prevent it. He is slow to punish, and long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish. The sinner is described, ver. 14-16, as taking more pains to ruin his soul than, if directed aright, would save it. This is true, in a sense, of all sinners. Let us look to the Saviour under all our trials. Blessed Lord, give us grace to look to thee in the path of tribulation, going before thy church and people, and marking the way by thine own spotless example. Under all the persecutions which in our lesser trials mark our way, let the looking to Jesus animate our minds and comfort our hearts.He hath also prepared for him - The instruments of punishment are already prepared, and God can use them when he pleases. They are not to be made ready, and, therefore, there is no necessity for delay when he shall have occasion to use them. The idea is, that arrangements are made for the destruction of the wicked, and that the destruction must come upon them. The world is full of these arrangements, and it is impossible that the sinner should escape.

The instruments of death - The means of putting them to death; that is, of punishing them. The particular means referred to here are arrows, as being what God has prepared for the wicked. "Death" here is designed simply to denote punishment, as death would be inflicted by arrows.

He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors - Or rather, as the Hebrew is, "He makes his arrows for burning," that is, "for burning arrows." Horsley renders it, "He putteth his arrows in action against those who are ready for burning." Prof. Alexander, "His arrows to (be) burning he will make." DeWette, "His arrows he makes burning." The Latin Vulgate and Septuagint, His arrows he has made for the burning: "that is, probably for those who are burning with rage, for persecutors. This seems to have been the idea of our translators. The Hebrew word - דלק dâlaq - means to burn, to flame; and hence, also, to burn with love, with anxiety, or with zeal or wrath - as persecutors do. But here the word seems properly to be connected with "arrows;" and the sense is, as rendered by Gesenius, "he maketh his arrows flaming;" that is, burning - alluding to the ancient custom of shooting ignited darts or arrows into besieged towns or camps, for the purpose of setting them on fire, as well as for the purpose of inflicting greater personal injury. The sense is, that God had prepared the means of certain destruction for the wicked. The reference here is not necessarily to persecutors, but what is said here pertains to all the wicked unless they repent.

13. against the persecutors—Some render "for burning," but the former is the best sense. Arrows for burning would be appropriate in besieging a town, not in warring against one man or a company in open fight. For him; either,

1. For or against the persecutor, as it follows. Or rather,

2. For himself, for his own use, to wit, to shoot against his enemies.

The instruments of death, i.e. arrows, or other deadly weapons.

He ordaineth, Heb. maketh or worketh, designeth or fitteth for his very use.

Against the persecutors; or, against furious and wry persecutors, as the word signifies, and as it is used, Genesis 31:36 Psalm 10:2 Lamentations 4:19. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death,.... The weapons of his indignation, Isaiah 13:5; which, will issue both in the first and second death, corporeal and eternal; the instruments of the former are diseases of various kinds, and judgments, as famine, pestilence, &c. and of the latter not only the law is an instrument of it, that being the letter which kills, and is the ministration of condemnation and death, but even the Gospel itself to wicked men is the savour of death unto death; and devils will be the executioners of it;

he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors: the word for persecutors signifies "hot" or "burning" (h), and designs such persons who burn in malice and wrath, In rage and fury, against the saints, and hotly pursue after them, as Laban did after Jacob, Genesis 31:36; for these more especially God has determined in his eternal purposes and decrees, and for these he has provided in his quiver, arrows of wrath and vengeance, fiery ones; and against these will he bring them forth, direct them, and shoot them at them, Psalm 64:7. Some (i) understand all this not of God, but of the wicked man, and read "if he turn not", but, on the contrary, instead of that, "will whet his sword, bend his bow", &c. against the righteous; yet he shall be disappointed, he shall not accomplish his designs, as appears by the following verses; these phrases are used of wicked men, Psalm 11:2, but the former sense seems best.

(h) "ardentibus", V. L. "in ardentes", Montanus; "hot persecutors", Ainsworth. (i) So Brentius & Glassius in Gejerus.

He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Render:

Tea at him hath he aimed deadly missiles;

Making his arrows fiery.

Or, Yea, for him hath he prepared &c.

The description of the warrior-judge is continued. God’s arrows are His lightnings (Psalm 18:14; Zechariah 9:14), which He aims at the impenitent sinner. There may be a reference to the fire-darts of ancient warfare (Lat. malleoli), arrows with tow, pitch, and other inflammable materials attached to them, lighted and discharged into a besieged town with the object of setting it on fire. Cp. ‘the fire-charged darts of the evil one,’ Ephesians 6:16.Verse 13. - He hath prepared for him the instruments of death. These are probably not the sword and the bow, but the "arrows" of the next clause. They are prepared "for him," i.e. for the wicked man. He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors; rather, he maketh his arrows to be fiery ones. Hengstenberg notes that "in sieges it was customary to wrap inflammable matter round arrows, and to shoot them after it had been kindled" (compare the, fiery darts" of St. Paul, Ephesians 6:16). (Heb.: 7:7-9) In the consciousness of his own innocence he calls upon Jahve to sit in judgment and to do justice to His own. His vision widens and extends from the enemies immediately around to the whole world in its hostility towards Jahve and His anointed one. In the very same way special judgments and the judgment of the world are portrayed side by side, as it were on one canvas, in the prophets. The truth of this combination lies in the fact of the final judgment being only the finale of that judgment which is in constant execution in the world itself. The language here takes the highest and most majestic flight conceivable. By קוּמה (Milra, ass in Psalm 3:8), which is one of David's words of prayer that he has taken from the lips of Moses (Psalm 9:20; Psalm 10:12), he calls upon Jahve to interpose. The parallel is הנּשׂא lift Thyself up, show thyself in Thy majesty, Psalm 94:2, Isaiah 33:10. The anger, in which He is to arise, is the principle of His judicial righteousness. With this His anger He is to gird Himself (Psalm 76:11) against the ragings of the oppressors of God's anointed one, i.e., taking vengeance on their many and manifold manifestations of hostility. עברות is a shorter form of the construct (instead of עברות Job 40:11, cf. Psalm 21:1-13 :31) of עברה which describes the anger as running over, breaking forth from within and passing over into words and deeds (cf. Arab. fšš, used of water: it overflows the dam, of wrath: it breaks forth). It is contrary to the usage of the language to make משׁפּט the object to עוּרה in opposition to the accents, and it is unnatural to regard it as the accus. of direction equals למּשׂפט (Psalm 35:23), as Hitzig does. The accents rightly unite עוּרה אלי: awake (stir thyself) for me i.e., to help me (אלי like לקלאתי, Psalm 59:5). The view, that צוּית is then precative and equivalent to צוּה: command judgment, is one that cannot be established according to syntax either here, or in Psalm 71:3. It ought at least to have been וצוּית with Waw consec. On the other hand the relative rendering: Thou who hast ordered judgment (Maurer, Hengst.), is admissible, but unnecessary. We take it by itself in a confirmatory sense, not as a circumstantial clause: having commanded judgment (Ewald), but as a co-ordinate clause: Thou hast indeed enjoined the maintaining of right (Hupfeld).

The psalmist now, so to speak, arranges the judgment scene: the assembly of the nations is to form a circle round about Jahve, in the midst of which He will sit in judgment, and after the judgment He is to soar away (Genesis 17:22) aloft over it and return to the heights of heaven like a victor after the battle (see Psalm 68:19). Although it strikes one as strange that the termination of the judgment itself is not definitely expressed, yet the rendering of Hupfeld and others: sit Thou again upon Thy heavenly judgment-seat to judge, is to be rejected on account of the שׁוּבה (cf. on the other hand 21:14) which is not suited to it; שׁוב למּרום can only mean Jahve's return to His rest after the execution of judgment. That which Psalm 7:7 and Psalm 7:8 in the boldness of faith desire, the beginning of Psalm 7:9 expresses as a prophetic hope, from which proceeds the prayer, that the Judge of the earth may also do justice to him (שׁפתני vindica me, as in Psalm 26:1; Psalm 35:24) according to his righteousness and the purity of which he is conscious, as dwelling in him. עלי is to be closely connected with תּמּי, just as one says נפשׁי עלי (Psychol. S. 152 [tr. p. 180]). That which the individual as ego, distinguishes from itself as being in it, as subject, it denotes by עלי. In explaining it elliptically: "come upon me" (Ew., Olsh., Hupf.) this psychologically intelligible usage of the language is not recognised. On תּם vid., on Psalm 25:21; Psalm 26:1.

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