Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:…
I. THE ATTITUDE OF THE MAN OF FRAUD AND VIOLENCE DEPICTED. (Ver. 15.) He is like the prowling wild beast, seeking whom he may devour. God the Creator has not armed us with tooth or tusk or other means of defence, like the wild beasts which are formed for making war on others. We are strongly furnished for defence, not for attack. Ferocity is distinctly an unnatural vice in us.
II. HIS ACTIVITY IS DEVASTATING. Here, again, he resembles the wild beast in his blind fury, the boar that uproots and overturns in the cultivated garden.
III. THE SELF-RECOVERY OF THE RIGHTEOUS. (Ver. 16.) To fall into sin and to fall into trouble are two different things. Avoid the former, and God will not forsake thee in the latter. Seven falls stand for many - an indefinite number of falls. There is an elasticity in rectitude like that of the young sapling; bent to the earth, it rebounds with strong upspring. "It may calm the apprehension of calamity to see how quiet a bound nature has set to the utmost infliction of malice. We rapidly approach a brink over which no enemy can follow us." But evil, being purely negative, a zero, the absence of internal power and virtue, has but an illusory existence, and quickly passes sway.
IV. BASE JOY TURNED INTO SHAME. (Vers. 17, 19.) He who rejoices in the trouble of another, his own trouble stands behind the door. Why should he fear who takes his post with Omnipotence at his back?
"Souls that of God's own good life partake He loves as his own self: dear as his eye They are to him; he'll never them forsake. When they shall die, then God himself shall die; They live - they live in blest eternity." The tyrant and his victim are made to change sides. The "wrath" which seems expressed in the calamities of the latter is transformed into the revelation of an "everlasting kindness," while terror strikes the heart of him who sought to infuse it into his foe (compare R. Browning's striking poem, 'Instans Tyrannus'). - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: