When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)When I thought . . .—i.e., when I reflected in order to know this—when I tried to think the matter out, get at the bottom of it. (For the sense of the verb, comp. Psalm 78:5; Proverbs 16:9.)
It was too painful.—See margin.Psalm 73:16. When I thought to know this — To find out the reason and meaning of this mysterious course of Divine Providence, it was too painful for me — I found it too hard a task to attain satisfaction, as to these points, by my own meditations and reasonings. Indeed, it is a problem not to be solved by the mere light of nature; for if there were not another life after this, we could not fully reconcile the prosperity of the wicked with the justice of God. Here, then, we have “a second reason why a man should not be too forward to arraign God’s dispensations of injustice, namely, the extreme difficulty of comprehending the whole of them, which, indeed, is not to be done by the human mind, unless God himself shall vouchsafe it the necessary information.” — Horne.
It was too painful for me - Margin, "It was labor in mine eyes." The Hebrew word rendered "painful," means properly labor, toil, a burden; and the idea is, that the question was a burden - was too weighty for his weak powers.
thought—literally, "studied," or, "pondered this riddle"; but in vain; it remained a toil (compare Margin), till he—To know this; to find out the reason of this mysterious course of thy providence.
It was too painful for me; I was gravelled with the difficulty.
it was too painful for me: too laborious and toilsome, a work he was not equal to; "hic labor, hoc opus"; see Ecclesiastes 8:17.When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16, 17. And I kept thinking how to understand this:
It was misery In mine eyes:
Until I went into the sanctuary of God,
And considered their latter end.
As he kept pondering how to reconcile the facts of experience with the revealed truth of God’s character and promises, the sight of the world’s disorder seemed intolerable, until in the Temple, the place of God’s Presence, where He reveals His power and glory (Psalm 63:2), he was enabled to realise the transitoriness of the prosperity of the wicked, and their nothingness in the sight of God. The sanctuary (lit. as in Psalm 68:35, sanctuaries) is to be understood literally: the explanation of it as “the sacred mysteries of God’s Providence” (cp. Wis 2:22) is attractive but too fanciful.Verse 16. - When I thought to know this; literally, and I meditated, that I might understand this. A process of careful thought and consideration is implied, during which the psalmist tried hard to understand the method of God's government, and to explain to himself its seeming anomalies. But he says, It was too painful for me. He did not succeed; he was baffled and perplexed, and the whole effort was a pain and a grief to him. Zechariah 5:6 the עינם, which is rendered by the lxx in exactly the same way), in favour of which Hitzig, Bצttcher, and Olshausen decide, "their iniquity presses forth out of a fat heart, out of a fat inward part," is favoured by Psalm 17:10, where חלב obtains just this signification by combination with סגר, which it would obtain here as being the place whence sin issues; cf. ἐξέρχεσθαι ἐκ τῆς καρδίας, Matthew 15:18.; and the parallelism decides its superiority. Nevertheless the traditional reading also gives a suitable sense; not (since the fat tends to make the eyes appear to be deeper in) "their eyes come forward prae adipe," but, "they stare forth ex adipe, out of the fat of their bloated visage," מחלב being equivalent to מחלב פּניהם, Job 15:27. This is a feature of the character faithfully drawn after nature. Further, just as in general τὸ περίσσευμα τῆς καρδίας wells over in the gestures and language (Matthew 12:34), so is it also with their "views or images of the heart" (from שׂכה, like שׂכוי, the cock with its gift of divination as speculator): the illusions of their unbounded self-confidence come forth outwardly, they overflow after the manner of a river,
(Note: On the other hand, Redslob (Deutsch. Morgenlהnd. Zeitschr. 1860, S. 675) interprets it thus: they run over the fencings of the heart, from שׂכה in the signification to put or stick through, to stick into (infigere), by comparing קירות לבּי, Jeremiah 4:19, and ἕρκος ὀδόντων. He regards משׂכית sdrag and mosaic as one word, just as the Italian ricamare (to stitch) and רקם is one word. Certainly the root זך, Arab. zk, ḏk, has the primary notion of piercing (cf. זכר), and also the notion of purity, which it obtains, proceeds from the idea of the brilliance which pierces into the eye; but the primary notion of שׂכה is that of cutting through (whence שׂכּין, like מחלף, a knife, from חלף, Judges 5:26).)
viz., as Psalm 73:8 says, in words that are proud beyond measure (Jeremiah 5:28). Luther: "they destroy everything" (synon. they make it as or into rottenness, from מקק). But חמיק is here equivalent to the Aramaic מיּק (μωκᾶσθαι): they mock and openly speak ברע (with ā in connection with Munach transformed from Dech), with evil disposition (cf. Exodus 32:12), oppression; i.e., they openly express their resolve which aims at oppression. Their fellow-man is the sport of their caprice; they speak or dictate ממּרום, down from an eminence, upon which they imagine themselves to be raised high above others. Even in the heavens above do they set (שׁתּוּ as in Psalm 49:15 instead of שׁתוּ, - there, in accordance with tradition, Milel; here at the commencement of the verse Milra) their mouth; even these do not remain untouched by their scandalous language (cf. Jde 1:16); the Most High and Holy One, too, is blasphemed by them, and their tongue runs officiously and imperiously through the earth below, everywhere disparaging that which exists and giving new laws. תּהלך, as in Exodus 9:23, a Kal sounding much like Hithpa., in the signification grassari. In Psalm 73:10 the Chethb ישׁיב (therefore he, this class of man, turns a people subject to him hither, i.e., to himself) is to be rejected, because הלם is not appropriate to it. עמּו is the subject, and the suffix refers not to God (Stier), whose name has not been previously mentioned, but to the kind of men hitherto described: what is meant is the people which, in order that it may turn itself hither (שׁוּב, not: to turn back, but to turn one's self towards, as e.g., in Jeremiah 15:19)
(Note: In general שׁוּב does not necessarily signify to turn back, but, like the Arabic ‛âda, Persic gashten, to enter into a new (active or passive) state.))
becomes his, i.e., this class's people (cf. for this sense of the suffix as describing the issue or event, Psalm 18:24; Psalm 49:6; Psalm 65:12). They gain adherents (Psalm 49:14) from those who leave the fear of God and turn to them; and מי מלא, water of fulness, i.e., of full measure (cf. Psalm 74:15, streams of duration equals that do not dry up), which is here an emblem of their corrupt principles (cf. Job 15:16), is quaffed or sucked in (מצה, root מץ, whence first of all מצץ, Arab. mṣṣ, to suck) by these befooled ones (למו, αὐτοῖς equals ὑπ ̓ αὐτῶν). This is what is meant to be further said, and not that this band of servile followers is in fulness absorbed by them (Sachs). Around the proud free-thinkers there gathers a rabble submissive to them, which eagerly drinks in everything that proceeds from them as though it were the true water of life. Even in David's time (Psalm 10:4; Psalm 14:1; Psalm 36:2) there were already such stout spirits (Isaiah 46:12) with a servûm imitatorum pecus. A still far more favourable soil for these לצים was the worldly age of Solomon.
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