Psalm 73:6
Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
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(6) Therefore.—Better,

“Therefore pride is their necklace,

And violence their mantle.”

The first metaphor might have been suggested either by the fact that the rich lavished large sums on jewellery, especially necklaces (see Note, Song of Solomon 1:10), or possibly from the usual description of the proud as “stiffnecked.”

73:1-14 The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan's temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain; while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings. Often the wicked are not frightened, either by the remembrance of their sins, or the prospect of their misery, but they die without terror. We cannot judge men's state beyond death, by what passes at their death. He looked abroad, and saw many of God's people greatly at a loss. Because the wicked are so very daring, therefore his people return hither; they know not what to say to it, and the rather, because they drink deep of the bitter cup of affliction. He spoke feelingly when he spoke of his own troubles; there is no disputing against sense, except by faith. From all this arose a strong temptation to cast off religion. But let us learn that the true course of sanctification consists in cleansing a man from all pollution both of soul and body. The heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ laid hold upon by faith; and by the begun works of the Lord's Spirit, manifested in the hearty resolution, purpose, and study of holiness, and a blameless course of life and actions, the hands are cleansed. It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances.Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain - Therefore they are proud, haughty, imperious. They put on the ornaments and trappings of pride; their clothing and their adorning all are indicative of a proud heart. They seem to imagine that they are better than others, and that they are treated in this manner "because" they are better than others. In the original it is a single word which is rendered "compasseth about as a chain." The word means "to adorn with a necklace or collar;" and the idea is, that pride surrounds them as with a neck-chain, or a collar for the neck. They wear it as an ornament. They make it conspicuous. It is apparent on a haughty neck - in an erect and stiff demeanour. Compare the notes at Isaiah 3:16 : "The daughters of Zion walk with stretched forth necks."

Violence covereth them as a garment - Injustice or cruelty seems to be their very clothing. It is manifest in their whole gait and demeanor that they are men of haughtiness and pride; that they are destitute of tenderness, sympathy, sensibility.

3-9. The prosperous wicked are insolently proud (compare Ps 5:5). They die, as well as live, free from perplexities: pride adorns them, and violence is their clothing; indeed they are inflated with unexpected success. With all this— Pride compasseth them about as a chain: this phrase notes both the extent of their pride, which appears on every side of them, in their countenances, discourses, gestures, &c, and their glorying in it. The like may be said of the next phrase.

Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain, Which was the sin of the devils, and of our first parents, and of Sodom, and is the sin of antichrist; and which, of all sins, is most hateful to God; this arises from, at least is increased by, outward prosperity. Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked; pride and fulness of bread went together in Sodom; and, where it is predominant, it binds as a chain; such who are under the power of it are slaves unto it, they are chained and fettered by it, and it possesses them wholly; it shows itself in the several members of their bodies, in their eyes and feet, their walk and gait, and in their conduct and behaviour, and in the several actions of their lives, and is rightly called "the pride of life"; or rather they bind it about themselves as a chain, fancying it to be an ornament to them, what sets them off, and makes them look great in the eyes of others; whereas the reverse is what is of great price, and in high esteem with God and good men; namely, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit:

violence covereth them as a garment; wicked men that are prosperous and proud are generally oppressive to others; and are very often open in their acts of violence, which are as openly done and to be seen of all men, as the clothes upon their backs; and frequently the clothes they wear are got by rapine and oppression, so that they may properly be called garments of violence; see Isaiah 59:6.

{c} Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

(c) They glory in their pride as some do in their chains, and in cruelty, as some do in apparel.

Verse 6. - Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; or, is as a chain about their neck (Revised Version) - makes them stiffen their neck, and hold their head aloft. Not being afflicted, they regard themselves as favourites of Heaven, and are therefore puffed up with pride, which they show in their gait and bearing. Violence covereth them as a garment. Pride and self-conceit naturally lead on to violence, which becomes so habitual to them that it seems like their ordinary apparel (comp. Psalm 109:18, 19). The violence of the great ones in Israel is continually denounced, both by psalmists and prophets (see Psalm 11:2; Psalm 55:9; Psalm 58:2; Psalm 72:14, etc.; Isaiah 1:15; Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 59:3-7; Hosea 4:1, 2; Amos 3:10, etc.). Psalm 73:6Now follows the occasion of the conflict of temptation: the good fortune of those who are estranged from God. In accordance with the gloominess of the theme, the style is also gloomy, and piles up the full-toned suffixes amo and emo (vid., Psalm 78:66; Psalm 80:7; Psalm 83:12, Psalm 83:14); both are after the example set by David. קנּא with Beth of the object ion which the zeal or warmth of feeling is kindled (Psalm 37:1; Proverbs 3:31) here refers to the warmth of envious ill-feeling. Concerning הולל vid., Psalm 5:6. Psalm 73:3 tells under what circumsntaces the envy was excited; cf. so far as the syntax is concerned, Psalm 49:6; Psalm 76:11. In Psalm 73:4 חרצצבּות (from חרצב equals חצּב from חצב, cognate עצב, whence עצב, pain, Arabic ‛aṣâbe, a snare, cf. חבל, ὠδίς, and חבל σχοινίον), in the same sense as the Latin tormenta (from torquere), is intended of pains that produce convulsive contractions. But in order to give the meaning "they have no pangs (to suffer) till their death," להם (למו) could not be omitted (that is, assuming also that ל, which is sometimes used for עד, vid., Psalm 59:14, could in such an exclusive sense signify the terminus ad quem). Also "there are no pangs for their death, i.e., that bring death to them," ought to be expressed by להם למּות. The clause as it stands affirms that their dying has no pangs, i.e., it is a painless death; but not merely does this assertion not harmonize with Psalm 73:18., but it is also introduced too early here, since the poet cannot surely begin the description of the good fortune of the ungodly with the painlessness of their death, and then for the first time come to speak of their healthy condition. We may therefore read, with Ewald, Hitzig, Bttcher, and Olshausen:

כי אין חרצבות למו

תּם ובריא אולם

i.e., they have (suffer) no pangs, vigorous (תּם like תּם, Job 21:23, תמים, Proverbs 1:12) and well-nourished is their belly; by which means the difficult למותם is got rid of, and the gloomy picture is enriched by another form ending with mo. אוּל, here in a derisive sense, signifies the body, like the Arabic allun, âlun (from âl, coaluit, cohaesit, to condense inwardly, to gain consistency).

(Note: Hitzig calls to mind οὖλος, "corporeal;" but this word is Ionic and equivalent to ὅλος, solidus, the ground-word of which is the Sanscrit sarvas, whole, complete.)

The observation of Psalm 73:4 is pursued further in Psalm 73:5 : whilst one would have thought that the godly formed an exception to the common wretchedness of mankind, it is just the wicked who are exempt from all trouble and calamity. It is also here to be written אינמו, as in Psalm 59:14, not אינימו. Therefore is haughtiness their neck-chain, and brutishness their mantle. ענק is a denominative from ענק equals αὐχήν: to hang round the neck; the neck is the seat of pride (αὐχεῖν): haughtiness hangs around their neck (like ענק, a neck-ornament). Accordingly in Psalm 73:6 המס is the subject, although the interpunction construes it differently, viz., "they wrap round as a garment the injustice belonging to them," in order, that is, to avoid the construction of יעטף (vid., Psalm 65:14) with למו; but active verbs can take a dative of the object (e.g., אהב ל ,, רפא ל) in the sense: to be or to grant to any one that which the primary notion of the verb asserts. It may therefore be rendered: they put on the garment of violence (שׁית חמס like בּגדי נקם, Isaiah 59:17), or even by avoiding every enallage numeri: violence covers them as a garment; so that שׁית is an apposition which is put forth in advance.

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