Psalm 83:13
O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
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(13) A wheel.—Heb., galgal. (See Note, Psalm 77:18, and comp. Isaiah 17:13, where the Authorised Ver sion has literally rolling thing, the margin “thistle down,” and the LXX., “dust of a wheel.”) Sir G. Grove (Smith’s Bibl. Dict., art. Oreb) says, “like the spherical masses of dry weeds which course over the plains of Esdraelon and Philistia.” He possibly refers to the wild artichoke, which struck Mr. Thomson so forcibly as the origin of the psalmist’s figure. He describes them as vegetable globes, light as a feather, which, when the parent stem breaks, become the sport of the wind. “At the proper season thousands of them come suddenly over the plain, rolling, leaping, bounding with vast racket, to the dismay both of the horse and rider.” To this day the Arabs, who call it ‘akhûb, employ it in the same figurative way:—

“May you be whirled like ‘akhûb before the wind!”

THOMSON: Land and Book, 563.

Psalm 83:13-14. O my God, make them like a wheel — Whereas they promise themselves a sure possession, let them be like a wheel, or a round ball, which is very unstable, and soon removed, and which, when once tumbled down from the top of a hill, runs with great force and swiftness, and stays not till it comes to the bottom. Bishop Patrick interprets the clause thus: “Let them not be able to stand their ground, but put them to flight, and make them run as swiftly as a ball down a hill.” As the stubble before the wind — “Disperse all their forces like the chaff when it is blown about with a furious wind.” Some think that in this and the following verse the psalmist alludes to the manner of thrashing in Judea; which was generally performed on a mountain, where the corn was thrashed by means of a wheel which run over the stalks. The chaff, on account of this situation, was easily blown about by the wind; and, it being customary likewise to burn what remained, it is with great propriety that the psalmist concludes the description with these words, As the flame setteth the mountains on fire, Psalm 83:14. Where Dr. Waterland, instead of a wood, reads a forest. And it must be observed, that the woods or forests upon the mountains, in those hot countries, when they have once taken fire, either by lightning, or by the design of men, or by any accident, are wont to burn with great swiftness and irresistible violence.83:9-18 All who oppose the kingdom of Christ may here read their doom. God is the same still that ever he was; the same to his people, and the same against his and their enemies. God would make their enemies like a wheel; unsettled in all their counsels and resolves. Not only let them be driven away as stubble, but burnt as stubble. And this will be the end of wicked men. Let them be made to fear thy name, and perhaps that will bring them to seek thy name. We should desire no confusion to our enemies and persecutors but what may forward their conversion. The stormy tempest of Divine vengeance will overtake them, unless they repent and seek the pardoning mercy of their offended Lord. God's triumphs over his enemies, clearly prove that he is, according to his name JEHOVAH, an almighty Being, who has all power and perfection in himself. May we fear his wrath, and yield ourselves to be his willing servants. And let us seek deliverance by the destruction of our fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.O my God, make them like a wheel ... - Or rather, like a rolling thing - something that the wind rolls along. The word גלגל galgal - means properly a wheel, as of a chariot, Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:6; or a wheel for drawing water from a well, Ecclesiastes 12:6; then, a whirlwind, Psalm 77:19; and then, anything driven before a whirlwind, as chaff, or stubble, Isaiah 17:13. Compare the notes at Isaiah 22:18. The prayer here is, that they might be utterly destroyed, or driven away. 13. like a wheel—or, whirling of any light thing (Isa 17:13), as stubble or chaff (Ps 1:4). Whereas they promise to themselves a sure and firm possession in our land, let them be like

a wheel, or a round ball, which being once tumbled down from the top of a hill, runs down with great force and swiftness, and stays not till it comes to the bottom, and there also is very unstable, and soon removed. O my God, make them like a wheel,.... Which, as the Targum adds, is rolled, and goes on, and rests not in a declivity; let them be as fickle and inconstant as a wheel; being in high, let them be in slippery places, and brought down to desolation in a moment; like a wheel set running down hill, so let them swiftly and suddenly come to ruin; or be in all kind of calamities, and continual troubles (k) as the wheel is always turning: some think there is an allusion to the wheel by which bread corn was bruised; see Isaiah 28:28, but the word (l) signifies a rolling thing before the wind, as a wisp of straw or stubble, which is easily carried away with it: Jarchi interprets it of the tops or down of thistles, which fly off from them, and roll up, and are scattered by the wind; see Isaiah 17:13, and which agrees with what follows:

as the stubble before the wind; which cannot stand before it, but is driven about by it here and there; and so wicked men are, as chaff and stubble, driven away in their wickedness, with the stormy wind of divine wrath and vengeance, and chased out of the world, which is here imprecated.

(k) "Vide Suidam in voce" (l) "rem in levem quae turbine circumagitur", some in Amama; "pappos", i.e. "lanuginem carduorum", so some in Grotius; "as a rolling thing", Ainsworth.

O my God, make them like a {l} wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

(l) Because the reprobate could by no means be amended, he prays that they may utterly be destroyed, be unstable and led by all winds.

13. make them like a wheel] Rather, like whirling dust or chaff. Anything whirled away before the wind may be meant. Thomson (Land and Book, p. 563) thinks that the globular heads of the wild artichoke may be meant. They are light as a feather, and in the autumn when they break off from the parent stem “thousands of them come scudding over the plain, rolling, leaping, bounding with vast racket, to the dismay both of the horse and rider.” The Arabs, who call it ’akkûb, “derive one of their many forms of cursing from this plant: ‘May you be whirled like the’ akkûb before the wind.’ ”

as the stubble] As stubble. Dry, light, broken straw, whirled away from the threshing floor, which was usually in an exposed situation to catch the wind, is meant. Cp. Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 29:5; Jeremiah 13:24; Psalm 1:4.

13–18. Renewed prayer for the dispersion and destruction of the enemy expressed by figures from nature. The final end and object of all is that they may acknowledge Jehovah to be supreme.Verse 13. - O my God, make them like a wheel; rather, like whirling dust - the dust that is caught up by an eddy of wind, and twisted round and round (see Isaiah 17:13). As the stubble before the wind. Both the "whirling dust" and the "stubble" are images of what is lightest, most shifting, and of least account (see Job 13:25; Job 15:7; Job 21:18; Job 41:29; Isaiah 40:24; Isaiah 41:2; Jeremiah 13:24; Malachi 4:1). Instead of לב אחד, 1 Chronicles 12:38, it is deliberant corde unâ, inasmuch as יחדּו on the one hand gives intensity to the reciprocal signification of the verb, and on the other lends the adjectival notion to לב. Of the confederate peoples the chronicler (2 Chronicles 20) mentions the Moabites, the Ammonites, the inhabitants of Mount Ser, and the Me(unim, instead of which Josephus, Antiq. ix. 1. 2, says: a great body of Arabians. This crowd of peoples comes from the other side of the Dead Sea, מאדם (as it is to be read in Psalm 83:2 in the chronicler instead of מארם, cf. on Psalm 60:2); the territory of Edom, which is mentioned first by the poet, was therefore the rendezvous. The tents of Edom and of the Ishmaelites are (cf. Arab. ahl, people) the people themselves who live in tents. Moreover, too, the poet ranges the hostile nations according to their geographical position. The seven first named from Edom to Amalek, which still existed at the time of the psalmist (for the final destruction of the Amalekites by the Simeonites, 1 Chronicles 4:42., falls at an indeterminate period prior to the Exile), are those out of the regions east and south-east of the Dead Sea. According to Genesis 25:18, the Ishmaelites had spread from Higz through the peninsula of Sinai beyond the eastern and southern deserts as far up as the countries under the dominion of Assyria. The Hagarenes dwelt in tents from the Persian Gulf as far as the east of Gilead (1 Chronicles 5:10) towards the Euphrates. גּבל, Arab. jbâl, is the name of the people inhabiting the mountains situated in the south of the Dead Sea, that is to say, the northern Seritish mountains. Both Gebl and also, as it appears, the Amalek intended here according to Genesis 36:12 (cf. Josephus, Antiq. ii. 1. 2: Ἀμαληκῖτις, a part of Idumaea), belong to the wide circuit of Edom. Then follow the Philistines and Phoenicians, the two nations of the coast of the Mediterranean, which also appear in Amos 1:1-15 (cf. Joel 3) as making common cause with the Edomites against Israel. Finally Asshur, the nation of the distant north-east, here not as yet appearing as a principal power, but strengthening (vid., concerning זרוע, an arm equals assistance, succour, Gesenius, Thesaurus, p. 433b) the sons of Lot, i.e., the Moabites and Ammonites, with whom the enterprise started, and forming a powerful reserve for them. The music bursts forth angrily at the close of this enumeration, and imprecations discharge themselves in the following strophe.
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