Psalm 7:4
If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)
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(4) Yea, I havei.e., on the contrary, so far from returning evil for good, I have returned good for evil. With allusion, there can be little doubt, to the incidents referred to in the last Note. From metrical reasons, and also to avoid the abruptness of the change of construction, Ewald conjectures that two clauses have dropped out of the text, and restores as follows—

“If I have rewarded evil unto him that dealt friendly with me

(And cunning unto him that was at peace with me,

Yea, if I have not rewarded his soul with good).

And delivered him that without cause is my enemy.”

Milton’s translation gives yet another colour to the passage—

“If I have wrought

Ill to him that meant me peace,

Or to him have rendered less,

And not freed my foe for nought.”

The conjecture of a corruption of the text is supported by the rendering of the LXX. and Vulg., and a very slight change gives the probable rendering: “If I have returned evil to him that dealt friendly with me, and injured my enemy without cause.”

Psalm 7:4. If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me — He probably means to Saul, when he was peaceable and friendly toward him; for David was charged with evil designs against Saul, before Saul broke out into open enmity against him. Yea — I have been so far from doing this that I have done the contrary; I have delivered him — When it was in my power to destroy him; that without cause — Without any provocation on my part, is mine enemy — It is probable that David alludes here to his preserving the life of Saul when he was pressed by his attendants to suffer them to take it away, 1 Samuel 24:6; 1 Samuel 26:8, &c.

7:1-9 David flees to God for succour. But Christ alone could call on Heaven to attest his uprightness in all things. All His works were wrought in righteousness; and the prince of this world found nothing whereof justly to accuse him. Yet for our sakes, submitting to be charged as guilty, he suffered all evils, but, being innocent, he triumphed over them all. The plea is, For the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins. He knows the secret wickedness of the wicked, and how to bring it to an end; he is witness to the secret sincerity of the just, and has ways of establishing it. When a man has made peace with God about all his sins, upon the terms of grace and mercy, through the sacrifice of the Mediator, he may, in comparison with his enemies, appeal to God's justice to decide.If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me - If I have done evil; or if I have requited him that was friendly by some unjust and evil conduct. If I have come upon him wantonly and unprovoked, and have done him wrong. This seems to have been the substance of the accusation; and, as remarked above, it is most probable that the accuser (Cush) referred to himself.

Yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy - So far is this from being true, that the very reverse is true. So far from taking advantage of another that was at peace with me, and depriving him of his just rights by fraud or force, it is a fact that I have rescued from impending danger the man that was at war with me, and that was an avowed enemy. It would seem probable that in this he refers to this very Cush, and means to say that there had been some occasion in which he, who was long hostile to him, was wholly in his power, and when he had not only declined to take advantage of him, but had actually interposed to rescue him from danger. An instance of this kind actually occurred in the life of David, in his treatment of Saul 1 Samuel 24:10-11; and it is "possible" that David referred to that case, and meant to say that that was an indication of his character, and of his manner of treating others. Those who suppose that the whole psalm refers to Saul (see the introduction, Section 2), of course regard this as the specific case referred to. There may have been other instances of the same kind in the life of David, and there is no improbability in supposing that on some occasion he had treated this very man, "Cush," in this way, and that he refers here to that fact.

4. If I have injured my friend.

yea, I have delivered, &c.—This makes a good sense, but interrupts the course of thought, and hence it is proposed to render, "if I have spoiled my enemy"—in either case (compare 1Sa 24:4-17; 31:8, 11).

Unto him that was at peace with me, i.e. to Saul, when he was peaceable and friendly towards me; for David was charged with evil designs against Saul before Saul broke out into open enmity against him.

Yea: this particle is here used by way of correction or opposition, as it is also Psalm 2:6 Proverbs 6:16. So far have I been from doing this, that I have done the contrary.

I have delivered him, when it was in my power to destroy him, as 1Sa 24 1 Samuel 26.

Without cause; without any provocation on my part.

If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me,.... That is, when Saul was at peace with him; when he lived at his court, and ate at his table his meaning is, that he did not conspire against him, nor form schemes to deprive him of his crown nor of his life: or, as it may be rendered, "if I have rewarded to him that rewarded me evil" (u); that is, as Jarchi explains it, if I rewarded him as he rewarded me, evil for evil. This David did not; and it is eminently true of Christ his antitype, 1 Peter 2:23; and in it he ought to be imitated by every believer, Romans 12:17;

yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy; meaning Saul, who persecuted David without any just reason, and whom David delivered without any obligation to do it; not for any benefit and kindness he had received from him; for the phrase "without cause" may be read in connection either with the word "delivered" (w); for the deliverance was wrought without any cause or merit on Saul's part, or profit to David; or with the word "enemy", for Saul was David's enemy without any just cause on David's part: and the deliverance referred to was when he cut off Saul's skirt, in the cave at Engedi, and spared his life; and when he took away his spear from him, as he was sleeping in the trench, and did not destroy him, nor suffer those that would to do it, 1 Samuel 24:4. The words may be rendered, "only I stripped him" (x). The sense is, that he cut off the skirt of his coat, and took away his spear, and so in part stripped him both of his clothes and armour, at two different times; not to do him any hurt, but to let him know, as Jarchi observes, that he was delivered into his hands, and he could have slain him, but did not. The same Jewish writer interprets the word used "of stripping of garments"; and Aben Ezra observes, from R. Moses, that the "vau", rendered "yea", signifies "only", as in Genesis 42:10.

(u) "Si malum malo rependi", Castalio. (w) "absque emolumento ullo ad me inde redeunte", Gussetius. (x) Verbum "proprie extrahere, &c. significat, et de vestibus quae alieui exuuntur et eripiuntur proprie dicitur", De Dieu.

{c} If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)

(c) If I did not reverence Saul for affinities sake, and preserved his life, 1Sa 26:8,9.

4. If I have rewarded evil &c.] If I have been guilty of unprovoked outrage, such, it is perhaps implied, as that of which Saul is guilty toward me (1 Samuel 24:17). This is probably right; but another possible rendering deserves mention: If I have requited him that rewarded me evil; i.e. taken revenge into my own hands. Cp. David’s solemn disclaimer of such conduct in 1 Samuel 24:12.

Yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy] R.V., him that without cause was mine adversary, as in Psalm 7:6. See on Psalm 6:7. The clause is a parenthesis, asserting that his conduct had been the very opposite of that which was attributed to him. Far from committing unprovoked outrages, he had saved the life of his enemy, and that though the enemy’s hostility to him was causeless. The words refer to the occasions in the cave and in the camp, when David prevented his followers from taking Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24:4 ff; 1 Samuel 26:8 ff.). The construction is bold, but it is thoroughly in keeping with the style of the Psalm, with its passionate protestations of innocence; and there is no need to adopt an unsupported meaning of the word for ‘deliver,’ and render, not as a parenthesis but in direct continuation of the preceding clause, and have spoiled him that without cause was mine adversary, with a supposed reference to 1 Samuel 24:4-5, or Psalm 26:11 : or to alter the text by transposing two letters, so as to mean: and oppressed mine adversary without cause.

Verse 4. - If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me. This is probably the true meaning. David denies that he has wantonly attacked and injured any one with whom he was on friendly and peaceable terms. No doubt he was accused of having estranged Saul by plotting to take the crown from him. (Yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy.) This translation, which is retained by our Revisers, has the support also of Ewald, Hupfeld, Mr. Aglen, and the 'Speaker's Commentary.' If accepted, it must be considered as a reference to 1 Samuel 24:7, or else to 1 Samuel 26:9, or both, and as a sort of parenthetic protest, "Nay, not only have I not injured a friend, but I have gone so far as to let my enemy escape me." A different meaning is, however, given to the passage by many critics, as Rosenmuller, Hengstenberg, Bishop Horsley, Cheyne, etc., who regard the sense as running on without any parenthesis, and translate, "If I have oppressed him who without cause is mine enemy." David, according to this view, denies that he has either injured a friend or requited evil to a foe. Psalm 7:4(Heb.: 7:4-6) According to the inscription זאת points to the substance of those slanderous sayings of the Benjamite. With בּכפּי אם־ישׁ־עול one may compare David's words to Saul אין בּידי רעה 1 Samuel 24:12; 1 Samuel 26:18; and from this comparison one will at once see in a small compass the difference between poetical and prose expression. שׁלמי (Targ. לבעל שׁלמי) is the name he gives (with reference to Saul) to him who stands on a peaceful, friendly footing with him, cf. the adject. שׁלום, Psalm 55:21, and אישׁ שׁלום, Psalm 41:10. The verb גּמל, cogn. גּמר, signifies originally to finish, complete, (root גם, כם ,גם t, cf. כּימה to be or to make full, to gather into a heap). One says טּוב גּמל and גּמל רע, and also without a material object גּמל עלי or גּמלני benefecit or malefecit mihi. But we join גּמלתּי with רע according to the Targum and contrary to the accentuation, and not with שׁלמי (Olsh., Bttch., Hitz.), although שׁלם beside משׁלּם, as e.g., דּבר beside מדבּר might mean "requiting." The poet would then have written: אם שׁלּמתּי גּמלי רע i.e., if I have retaliated upon him that hath done evil to me. In Psalm 7:5 we do not render it according the meaning to הלּץ which is usual elsewhere: but rather I rescued... (Louis de Dieu, Ewald 345, a, and Hupfeld). Why cannot הלּץ in accordance with its primary signification expedire, exuere (according to which even the signification of rescuing, taken exactly, does not proceed from the idea of drawing out, but of making loose, exuere vinclis) signify here exuere equals spoliare, as it does in Aramaic? And how extremely appropriate it is as an allusion to the incident in the cave, when David did not rescue Saul, but, without indeed designing to take חליצה, exuviae, cut off the hem of his garment! As Hengstenberg observes, "He affirms his innocence in the most general terms, thereby showing that his conduct towards Saul was not anything exceptional, but sprang from his whole disposition and mode of action." On the 1 pers. fut. conv. and ah, vid., on Psalm 3:6. ריקם belongs to צוררי, like Psalm 25:3; Psalm 69:5.

In the apodosis, Psalm 7:6, the fut. Kal of רדף is made into three syllables, in a way altogether without example, since, by first making the Sheb audible, from ירדּף it is become ירדף (like יצחק Genesis 21:6, תּהלך Psalm 73:9; Exodus 9:23, שׁמעה Psalm 39:13), and this is then sharpened by an euphonic Dag. forte.

(Note: The Dag. is of the same kind as the Dag. in גּמלּים among nouns; Arabic popular dialect farassı̂ (my horse), vid., Wetzstein's Inshriften S. 366.)

Other ways of explaining it, as that by Cahjg equals יתרדף, or by Kimchi as a mixed form from Kal and Piel,

(Note: Pinsker's view, that the pointing ירדף is designed to leave the reader at liberty to choose between the reading ירדּף and ירדּף, cannot be supported. There are no safe examples for the supposition that the variations of tradition found expression in this way.)

have been already refuted by Baer, Thorath Emeth, p. 33. This dactylic jussive form of Kal is followed by the regular jussives of Hiph. ישּׂג and ישׁכּן. The rhythm is similar so that in the primary passage Exodus 15:9, which also finds its echo in Psalm 18:38, - viz. iambic with anapaests inspersed. By its parallelism with נפשׁי and חיּי, כּבודי acquires the signification "my soul," as Saadia, Gecatilia and Aben-Ezra have rendered it - a signification which is secured to it by Psalm 16:9; Psalm 30:13; Psalm 57:9; Psalm 108:2, Genesis 49:6. Man's soul is his doxa, and this it is as being the copy of the divine doxa (Bibl. Psychol. S. 98, [tr. p. 119], and frequently). Moreover, "let him lay in the dust" is at least quite as favourable to this sense of כבודי as to the sense of personal and official dignity (Psalm 3:4; Psalm 4:3). To lay down in the dust is equivalent to: to lay in the dust of death, Psalm 22:16. שׁכני עפר, Isaiah 26:19, are the dead. According to the biblical conception the soul is capable of being killed (Numbers 35:11), and mortal (Numbers 23:10). It binds spirit and body together and this bond is cut asunder by death. David will submit willingly to death in case he has ever acted dishonourably.

Here the music is to strike up, in order to give intensity to the expression of this courageous confession. In the next strophe is affirmation of innocence rises to a challenging appeal to the judgment-seat of God and a prophetic certainty that that judgment is near at hand.

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