Psalm 7:14
Behold, he travails with iniquity, and has conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
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(14) Behold, he travaileth.—The poet’s thought recurs to the calumniator, whose sin has deserved all this Divine wrath, and he sees the truth that God’s judgments are not arbitrary, but follow naturally on sin as its consequence. The verb “travaileth” gives the general figure, which is elaborated in the two clauses which describe the stages of conception and pregnancy. (For the image, comp. Job 15:35.)

Psalm 7:14. Behold, he — That is, the wicked, travaileth with iniquity, &c. — This metaphor denotes his deep design and vigorous endeavours for doing mischief; and his restlessness and pain till he have accomplished it. “When an evil thought,” says Dr. Horne, “is instilled into the heart of man, then the seed of the wicked one is sown; by admitting, retaining, and cherishing the diabolical suggestion in his mind he ‘conceiveth’ a purpose of mischief; when that purpose is gradually formed and matured for the birth, he ‘travaileth with iniquity;’ at length, by carrying it into action, he

‘bringeth forth falsehood.’ The purity of the soul, like that of the body, from whence the image is borrowed, must be preserved by keeping out of the way of temptation.” 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.Behold, he travaileth with iniquity - The wicked man does. The allusion here is to the pains and throes of child-birth; and the idea is, that the wicked man labors or struggles, even with great pain, to accomplish his purposes of iniquity. All his efforts, purposes, plans, are for the promotion of evil.

And hath conceived mischief - That is, he hath formed a scheme of mischief. The allusion here is common when speaking of forming a plan of evil.

And brought forth falsehood - The birth is falsehood; that is, self-deception, or disappointment. It does not mean that falsehood was his aim or purpose, or that he had merely accomplished a lie; but the idea is, that after all his efforts and pains, after having formed his scheme, and labored hard (as if in the pangs of child-birth) to bring it forth, it was abortive. He would be disappointed, and would fail at last. This idea is expressed more distinctly in the following verse, and the design of the whole is to say that any plan or purpose of wickedness must be in the end a failure, since God is a righteous Judge, and will vindicate His own cause.

14. The first clause expresses the general idea that wicked men labor to do evil, the others carry out the figure fully.14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.

15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.

16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

In three graphic pictures we see the slanderer's history. A woman in travail furnishes the first metaphor. "He travaileth with iniquity." He is full of it, pained until he can carry it out, he longs to work his will, he is full of pangs until his evil intent is executed. "He hath conceived mischief." This is the original of his base design. The devil has had doings with him, and the virus of evil is in him. And now behold the progeny of this unhallowed conception. The child is worthy of its father, his name of old was "the father of lies," and the birth doth not belie the parent, for he brought forth falsehood. Thus, one figure is carried out to perfection; the Psalmist now illustrates his meaning by another taken from the stratagems of the hunter. "He made a pit and digged it." He was cunning in his plans, and industrious in his labours. He stooped to the dirty work of digging. He did not fear to soil his own hands, he was willing to work in a ditch if others might fall therein. What mean things men will do to wreak revenge on the godly. They hunt for good men, as if they were brute beasts; nay, they will not give them the fair chase afforded to the hare or the fox, but must secretly entrap them, because they can neither run them down nor shoot them down. Our enemies will not meet us to the face, for they fear us as much as they pretend to despise us. But let us look on to the end of the scene. The verse says, he "is fallen into the ditch which he made." Ah! there he is, let us laugh at his disappointment. Lo! he is himself the beast, he has hunted his own soul, and the chase has brought him a goodly victim. Aha, aha, so should it ever be. Come hither and make merry with this entrapped hunter, this biter who has bitten himself. Give him no pity, for it will be wasted on such a wretch. He is but rightly and richly rewarded by being paid in his own coin. He cast forth evil from his mouth, and it has fallen into his bosom. He has set his own house on fire with the torch which he lit to burn a neighbour. He sent forth a foul bird, and it has come back to its nest. The rod which he lifted on high, has smitten his own back. He shot an arrow upward, and it has "returned upon his own head." He hurled a stone at another, and it has "come down upon his own pate." Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost. Ashes always fly back in the face of him that throws them. "As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him" (Psalm 109:17.) How often has this been the case in the histories of both ancient and modern times. Men have burned their own fingers when they were hoping to brand their neighbour. And if this does not happen now, it will hereafter. The Lord has caused dogs to lick the blood of Ahab in the midst of the vineyard of Naboth. Sooner or later the evil deeds of persecutors have always leaped back into their arms. So will it be in the last great day, when Satan's fiery darts shall all be quivered in his own heart, and all his followers shall reap the harvest which they themselves have sown.

He, i.e. the wicked, as is undeniably manifest from the matter and context.

Conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood: this metaphor noteth his deep design, and continued course, and vigorous endeavours for the doing of mischief, and his restlessness and pain till he have accomplished it. Behold, he travaileth with iniquity,.... Is full of it, and big with it, as a woman with child, and eagerly desires to bring it forth, and is in pain till he commits it;

and hath conceived mischief; that which is injurious to God and the perfections of his nature, a transgression of his law, and an affront to his justice and holiness, is doing wrong to fellow creatures, and harm to themselves, either to their name and credit, or to their substance and estates, or to their bodies and souls, and it may be to them all; and yet this they conceive, they devise it in their hearts, and form schemes how to bring it to pass, and which they do with great freedom, deliberation, and pleasure;

and brought forth falsehood; or "vanity" (k), or a vain thing, as the same word is rendered in Job 15:35; no fruit at all, but wind, or stubble, Isaiah 26:17; that which deceives does not answer the expectation, but the contrary to it; the sense is, that wicked men having devised mischievous things against the saints, they are big with expectations of success, and strive to bring their purposes to bear, but are miserably disappointed, for it all ends in vanity and vexation of spirit to themselves.

(k) "rem inanem", so some in Vatablus; "vanitatem", Gejerum.

Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood.
14. Render the second line,

Yea he conceiveth mischief and bringeth forth falsehood.

Words of studied ambiguity are chosen, ironically describing the action of the wicked man in its intention and its result. The ‘iniquity’ (lit. worthlessness: see on Psalm 5:5) which he laboriously plans is destined to prove vanity and failure: the ‘mischief’ which he conceives for others issues in calamity for himself: the resultant ‘falsehood’ deceives not others but himself. Cp. for the figure, Job 15:35; Isaiah 33:11; Isaiah 59:4.

14–16. The punishment of the wicked described from another point of view as the natural result of his own actions. He falls into the snare which he laid for others.Verse 14. - Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood (comp. Job 15:35; Isaiah 59:4). The "falsehood" intended is probably the bringing of false charges against David (see vers. 3-5). (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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