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Verson ; Set thou a wieked Man over him. Now this Verb must either have been, in some Degree, altered in transcribing; or, if it has now no other Form than it ever had; it must be understood as expressive of no malevolent With ton wards the Person to whom it refers; but only, like all the other succeeding Verbs, which are in the future Tense, as declaratory, or prophetieal of such Evils as were, on Account of his atrocious Wickedness, to befal him.
The Verb may have undergone fome Alteration, whether we suppose it to have been at first written with, or without Vowel Points : If with, the Vowel Points it had originally may have been different from those it has at present, and confequently its Meaning different. With different Points we find it in other Conjugations, and in various Moods and Tenses, and particularly in the preter Tense third Person of Hophal, the paffive' of Hiphil. And were we to suppofe that in the Text under Confideration it had originally the same Points. it now has there; the whole Difficulty would be very fufficiently removed, and the Sense be as follows. A Wicked Man was set for made to preside) over him ;-to rule his Conscience and direct his Actions-made foto preside over him by his own seeking, and
with his own Consent; Which was the real Cafe with Respect to Doeg, who of his own Accord lodged before Saul an ill founded Charge of Treason against Ahimileck the High Priest, and in Obedience to the cruel Command of a furious bloodthirsty Tyrant, after all his other Servants had absolutely refused, murdered him, and all his Relations and Attendants.
But if it be allowed that the Vowel Points are comparatively of a late Invention, and that the Hebrew Language Originally had none, we might either adopt the Construction now mentioned; or suppose, in transcribing, that the first Letter was changed, and that instead of a Jod, or a Tau, an He was inserted in its Room. Then the Verb like all the Rest will have a future Signification, and the Clause in which it stands will run thus; Either Thou shalt set a wicked Man over him; or a wicked Man shall be set over him.
But whether the Verb has undergone any Change or not, I am most firmly persuaded it has not, and cannot have any Meaning more unexceptionable than it has in the future Tense. As the future Tense is allowed on all Hands to "have sometimes the Force of the Imperative Mood; fo the imperative Mood when the Sense
'requires it and will admit of it, may (vice versa) have the very fame Construction with the future Tense. And this I apprehend to be really, and 'invariably the Case, whenever it is made use of under the Direction of Inspiration to express any Evils relative to wicked Men or Enemies.
And that the Clause under Consideration, fet thou a wicked Man over him, together with all that follows to Verse the 19th, expresses no kind of Malevolence, and is only declaratory or prophetical, we have a clear decisive Proof in Aets i. 15, 16, and 20th Verses, “ In thofe Days Peter stood up in the Midst of the Disciples, and said Men and Brethren, the Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost, by the Mouth of David, spake concerning Judas t, who was Guide to those who took Jesus ; 'for it is written in the Book of Psalms ; Let his Habitation be defolate, and let no Man dwell therein, and his Office let another take g.”
* « The true Rendering of this Verse feems plainly to be this; 'Tis fit that this Scripture should be fulfilled concerning Judasvuhich the Holy Gbost, by the Mourb of David, spake before; (viz. concerning other Persons, and now perfectly applicable to the Case of Judas.") vid. Pyle in Loc.
The 20th Verse is manifeftly quoted from the Greek Vera fion of the Septuagent, where all the Verbs are in the Imbuipe
Upon these Words we may first observe, that in the Judgment of the Apostle Peter, what the Psalmist said in Psalm lxix. and in Pfalm cix. was a Prophecy, and not any kind of Prayer ; a Prophecy concerning the Fate of Ahitophel and Doeg; but applicable to the Case of the Traytor Judas.- That the whole of what the Pfalmis spoke concerning those treacherous and wicked Men was prophetical, and in particular all he said concerning Doeg in Psalm cix. the the first Clause of Verse the 6th, as well as all that follows.
2dly. From what the Apostle has here declared, it is clear and obvious that the whole Passage, from Verse the 6th to Verse the 19th inclusive, contains no Words of the Pfalmift, much less of his Enemies, but only the Words of the Holy Ghost spoken by his Mouth; so that on the Account of them he was neither entitled to any Praise, nor justly liable to any Cenfure. He spoke as the Spirit gave him Utterance. He did not adopt the Language of his Enemies, neither did he express one Wish, 'or one Idea of his
".For no Prophecy of Scripture comes from the Prophet's own Suggestion, Wilh, or
tive Mood, but in the Hebrew Original they are all in the fio bure Tense.
Fancy. So this Prophecy was not the Effect of any private Impulse, or Incitation of the Psalmist's own Mind; he spoke nothing of himself, but God spoke by him ; agreeably to this, to speak of himself, or of his own Heart or Mind, is always made the Sign of a false Prophet, whom God had not fent *.” This Prophecy proceeded not from the Psalmist's own Will, he spoke it just as he was moved by the Holy Ghost: He spoke not by the Will of Man nor properly the Language of any Man.
It has indeed been conjectured, by some very able and learned Critics, that the whole Pargraph from Verse the 6th, to the 19th, has been introduced by the Psalmist as a Specimen of those horrid' Imprecations, those Words of Hatred, which his Enemies were accustomed to utter against him. The Conjecture is ingenious, and those who would see a fuller Account of it and fet out to the best Advantage, may consult the Discourse published not many Years since by the very candid and judicious Doctor Arnold, late Prebendary of Wells. But however ingenious we may deem it to be, it is manifestly ill founded, the Words, supposed to have been those of David's Enemies, having been en
pressly * Vid. Wbirby on 2. Pet, i, 20, 21,