Saying, Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
Touch not mine anointed ones (Revised Version). The reference is evidently to the patriarchs; and they are spoken of in the light of later associations, classified with those who received special Divine communications. "They were as kings and priests before God; therefore they are called 'his anointed;' they had the word, they knew the spirit of the Lord, therefore they are his 'prophets.'" (Illustrate the term "prophet" from Genesis 20:7.) The psalmist had some special instances in his mind, which he regarded as representative of the Divine defence that is always overshadowing God's faithful people. They are cases in which the three great patriarchs moved into the territory of alien or alienated people, and were preserved from all harm.
I. DIVINE DEFENCE OF ABRAHAM IN CANAAN, EGYPT, AND GERAR. Journeying into Canaan, which was then occupied by several nations, we might have expected his coming to have excited jealousy, it not fear. His tribe was large, his flocks and herds were abundant; he must have eaten up the land as he passed through it. But the Divine defence was over him, and his course was practically unhindered. He never had to fight for any position. God made his way. In Egypt, and again in Gerar, he was placed in much anxiety, and in some peril, by the licentious customs of the age. But the Divine defence was over him and his - no evil befell him; and even the seeming evil proved to be for his own moral good, and for other people's.
II. DIVINE DEFENCE OF ISAAC IN PHILISTIA. From a similar anxiety to that which Abraham had experienced, and from the strife which arose about the wells that Isaac digged. It is well to notice that, in the matter of the wells, the Divine defence worked along with Isaac's wise self-restraint, and refusal to make quarrels.
III. DIVINE DEFENCE OF JACOB IN SYRIA, AND IN ESAU'S COUNTRY. Laban of Syria was far more of an enemy than a friend to Jacob. How much the patriarch had to endure! But God ever watched over him. The supreme peril of Jacob's life was that return to Canaan which involved his meeting the justly offended Esau. Even then we find him within the Divine defence. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.