Lament of the Righteous Against Traitors and Enemies.
To the chief musician, for use in the liturgical part of worship, a psalm of David, in which he indeed may have reference to conditions of his own time, in his relation to Doeg, to Ahithophel, or to Shimei, but which at the same time is prophetical and typical of the relation in which Christ stood to the Jews and especially to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. This is evident from the remarks of Peter at the election of Matthias, Acts 1, 16. 20. V. 1. Hold not Thy peace, as if God’s silence were an indication of His indifference, O God of my praise, the object of his praise, of whose help he was so sure that he could proclaim His glory even in advance; v. 2. for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful, literally, “of deceit,” said in an emphatic statement, are opened, that is, have the enemies opened, against me, as though in an effort to discredit him in court; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue, literally, “with a tongue of lies or falsehood,” since their entire being was wrapped up in lying, since they knew nothing else. V. 3. They compassed me about also, coming against him from all sides, with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause, without his having given provocation to them. V. 4. For my love, that is, in return for all the love which he has shown them, they are my adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer, literally, “I am prayer,” that is, he gives forth his whole being in prayer, placing himself in the care of God in absolute trust. V. 5. And they have rewarded me evil for good, which he, on his part, showed toward them in all his dealings, and hatred for my love. Having thus set forth the wickedness of the adversaries, David singles out one of them, the type of Judas Iscariot, asking the Lord to punish him as he deserved. V. 6. Set Thou a wicked man over him, a power of punishment, an executioner, to drag him to judgment, and let Satan, in this case practically as the servant of God in carrying out the punishment fixed by Him, stand at his right hand, the usual position of the accusing witness. The court scene is further pictured. V. 7. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned, and let his prayer become sin, since it was not the crying of a penitent sinner, but of one in the depths of blasphemous despair. We are here reminded of the cry of Judas Iscariot: “I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” Matt. 27, 4. V. 8. Let his days be few, his life coming to an end before the time normally set for its length; and let another take his office, this statement being directly applied by Peter to the apostleship lost by Judas Iscariot, Acts 1,20. V. 9. Let his children be fatherless, orphaned by his violent death, and his wife a widow, his family sharing in the punishment of his guilt. V. 10. Let his children, who evidently followed their father in his wickedness, be continually vagabonds, wandering vagrants, and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places, prowling about at a distance from their ruined home. V. 11. Let the extortioner, the heartless creditor, catch all that he hath, as in a net or snare; and let the strangers spoil his labor, making that their plunder or booty over which he toiled with so much work. V. 12. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him, showing love to his children; neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children. V. 13. Let his posterity be cut off, by exterminating his family; and in the generation following, in the second generation, let their name be blotted out, so annihilated that not even a remembrance would be left. V. 14. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. V. 15. Let them be before the Lord continually, the iniquities of the father being unforgotten and unforgiven by the Lord, that He may cut off the memory of them from the earth, to the everlasting disgrace of the entire family, all of whose members, on account of their own wickedness, are burdened also with the guilt of their forbears, v. 16. because that he, the chief and representative enemy, remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, one who was already bowed down with suffering, that he might even slay the broken in heart. The Messianic character of this passage is seen from the corresponding section of Psalm 69, especially vv. 20-29. V. 17. As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him, it struck him with full force when he, in despair, took his own life; as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. His fate was the result of his own choice, made in spite of better knowledge and repeated warnings. V. 18. As he clothed himself with cursing, as one wrapping himself closely in it, happy in feeling it all about himself, like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, the curse penetrating into the innermost parts of his body, and like oil into his bones, saturating everything and bringing condemnation and punishment upon him. V. 19. Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. All these imprecations are now summarized. V. 20. Let this be the reward, the well-deserved punishment, of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul, in repaying the love shown them with enmity in word and deed. They have brought the curse and punishment upon themselves, they have chosen the evil. The inspired singer now turns to lament and prayer. V. 21. But do Thou for me, O God the Lord, taking his part, showing him blessings, for Thy name’s sake; because Thy mercy, the grace of Jehovah, the God of salvation, is good, the source and foundation of all true spiritual blessings, deliver Thou me. V. 22. For I am poor and needy, this being particularly descriptive of the Messiah in His suffering as our Substitute, and My heart is wounded within Me, as when He Himself complained that His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, Matt. 26, 38. V. 23. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth, toward evening, just before it is swallowed up by darkness; I am tossed up and down as the locust, driven away like grasshoppers before the wind, Ex. 10, 19. V. 24. My knees are weak through fasting, His deep grief causing Him to loath all food; and My flesh faileth of fatness, emaciation following deep and sustained sorrow. V. 25. I became also a reproach unto them, Ps. 69, 11. 12; Matt. 27, 39-44; when they looked upon Me, they shaked their heads. V. 26. Help Me, O Lord, My God, the Messiah’s own prayer being recorded here as in Ps. 22 and 69; O save Me according to Thy mercy, v. 27. that they, the enemies, may know that this is Thy hand, that Thou, Lord, hast done it, His deliverance thus resulting in the glorification of Jehovah. V. 28. Let them curse, in a vain attempt to bring evil upon the Lord’s servant, but bless Thou, since God’s blessing more than offsets any curse on the part of men; when they arise, in order to carry out their evil designs, let them be ashamed; but let Thy Servant rejoice, knowing that the end of His suffering is near. V. 29. Let Mine adversaries be clothed with shame, on account of the fact that their evil plans miscarried, and let then cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle, with the disgrace which their evil deeds brought upon them. V. 30. I will greatly praise the Lord with My mouth, for the deliverance which is bound to come; yea, I will praise Him among the multitude, in the midst of His congregation V. 31. For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to wage war in His behalf, to save Him from those that condemn His soul. Thus God, the righteous Judge, would eventually pronounce the sentence of justification upon His Servant. Cp. Is. 53, 8.