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* Their “poison is "like the poison of a serpent: They are like the deaf ‘adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, ‘Charming never so wisely. * Break "their teeth, O God! in their mouth: Break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord! 7 Let “them melt away as waters which run continually: When he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, Let them be as cut in pieces. * As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: Like "the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. * Before your pots can feel the thorns, He shall take them away gas with a whirlwind, “Both living, and in his wrath. 19 The "righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. * Sok that a man shall say, Verily there is 'a reward for the righteous: Verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
e Psa 140. 3. Eccl. 10. 11. d Job 4, 10. Psa. 3. 7. i Psa. 68.23. * Heb. according to the • Josh. 7.5. Psa. 112.10. k Psa. 92.15.
likeness. f Job. 8, 16. Eccl. 6. 3. Heb. fruit qf the, doc. Isa. * Or, asp. Jer. 8. 17. g Prov. 10. 25. 3. 10. * Or, be the charmer never * Heb. as living as wrath, ! See Gen. 18, 26.
so cunning. h Psa. 52.6.
PS ALM LXIII.
A PRAYER OF DAVID WHEN HE WAS IN THE WILDERNESS OF EN-GEDI.
David's thirst for God, 1–3; his manner of blessing God, 4-8; his confidence of his enemies' destruction and of his own safety, 9–11.
T A Psalm of David, "when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
1 O God! thou art my God; early will I seek thee: My "soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee In a dry and 'thirsty land, 'where no water is; *To see "thy power and thy glory, So as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. * Because “thy loving-kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee " while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. * My soul shall be “satisfied as with ‘marrow and fatness; And my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips, * When "I remember thee upon my bed, And meditate on thee in the night-watches. * Because thou hast been my help, Therefore sin the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. * My soul followeth hard after thee: Thy right hand upholdeth me. * But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, Shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 “They shall fall by the sword: They shall be a portion for foxes: 11 But the king shall rejoice in God: Every "one that sweareth by him shall glory; But the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
1 1 Sam. 22. 5; 23. 14–16. c Psa. 30. 5. * Heb. 7hey shall make him a Psa, 42. 2. d Psa. 104, 33. run out like water by the 2 Heb. weary. e Psa. 36. 8. hands of the sword. Ezek. * Heb, without water. * Heb. fatness. 35. 5.
b See 1 Sam. 4. 21. 1 Chron. f Psa. 42. S. h Deut. 6. 13. Isa. 45.23. Zeph.
16. 11. Psa. 27, 4. & Psa. 61. 4. 1. 5.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALM CXX.
PSALM OF DAVID.
Not long after Saul's departure from En-gedi, the good prophet Samuel died, at the advanced age of ninety-two years. In his death David lost a faithful friend and a powerful patron; His great personal influence had long swayed public opinion, and his well-known favour to David had given a sacredness and solidity to the reputation of that exiled prince. Samuel had not, indeed, been able to tame the mad spirit of Saul; but he had, more than once, rendered important services to David, and his death enhanced the insecurity of David's abode in Judah. Besides, David had now attempted a residence at five different places within the tribe of Judah, and had, in almost every place, been exposed to imminent danger of being apprehended by Saul, mostly on account of the treachery of a class of the inhabitants. His removal beyond the boundaries of his native tribe, under these circumstances, appeared necessary. About three years had already passed in these vicissitudes and perils. Saul had become acquainted with his habits and his haunts, and David at last resolves to remove southward, beyond the Hebrew territory, and take up his abode in the “wilderness of Paran,” in Arabia.
Paran is a general name which the Hebrews applied to that part of northern Arabia known, in classical geography, as Arabia Petraea. It borders Palestine on the south, and extends southward to the Red Sea, and westward to Egypt. It is evident, from the remains of old foundations, fragments of walls, dilapidated tanks and cisterns, and other ruins which lie scattered over a large part of northern Arabia, that that region was formerly more habitable than now. Cities once stood there, and the tinkling bell of the camel, the lowing of herds, the bleating of flocks, and the busy hum of life once resounded, where now the cheerless desert holds its stern and unresisted sway. Other portions of the same great desert, though uninhabitable, afforded occasional green spots of delicious verdure, at certain seasons of the year, where, sometimes, the cool fountain, shadowed by the scanty palm or the dense foliage of the oleander, would invite the weary traveller to repose. These strips of pasturage were highly valuable to a nomadic people, whose country was overburdened with population, and allured the Hebrew shepherds thither, ten, twenty, and even thirty miles from home. But, on the other hand, these desert “sheep walks” were infested by bands of robbers, which made it necessary for the shepherds to go armed, and in company, or with an escort to protect them. (See Introduction to Psalm coli.) These marauding parties, also, would sometimes make sudden sallies upon the border inhabitants of Judah and Simeon, and, seizing upon whatever lay exposed to their rapacity in the threshing-floors, sheep-folds, vineyards, or even villages, would rapidly retreat again to the recesses of their native desert, before the arm of justice could arrest them. Such was the condition of life to which David now withdraws himself. The descendants of Ishmael, and of Esau, and, some of the children of Keturah, inhabited here, who, from immemorial ages, have subsisted by plunder. Genesis xxv, 1–18, xxxvi, 8–43. The difficulty of providing for his men would be somewhat increased, while the primitive Arab life would beset him on every hand with danger: but David would here be removed from the fear of Saul, and from the treachery and lying lips of Saul's flatterers; and he dreaded less to encounter “perils among robbers” than “perils among false brethren.” With these feelings he now departs from his native land. He felt that “lying lips” and a “false tongue” had exiled him from his own people, and, in the Psalm written on this occasion, he denounces upon them the severest penalties. The associations of this Psalm are such as naturally belong to the desert of Paran. Kedar (verse 5) is but another name for that section of Arabia where David now was, having been peopled, among others, by Kedar, the son of Ishmael. Genesis xxv, 13. Mesech, or Meshech, in the same verse, if understood as a proper name, is the name of the sixth son of Japheth, (Genesis x, 2;) who is supposed to have been the father of the people called Moschi, who inhabited between the Euxine and Caspian Seas, and from whom also the more modern names of Muscovite and Moscow are supposed to come. The word Mesech, in this Psalm, if understood patronymically, seems to be used prowerbially for a northern barbarian, while Kedar denotes Arabia, or the country of the southern barbarians. In Ezekiel xxxviii, 2, Mesech is represented as the chief vassal of Gog, the representative of the heathen barbarian world. Patrick understands it not of a place, but of the length of time David had sojourned abroad, as if it read, “Alas, for me! that I have sojourned [or been an alien] so long.” It is proper, however, to understand it in the former sense, as denoting a barbarian people; just as we, in English, use the words Turk, Tartar, Cossack, Wandal, &c., and as the Greeks used the work Scythian, as synonymous with barbarian.
“Coals of juniper” (verse 4) are most appositely alluded to. The juniper, (rothem of the Hebrews, and retem of the Arabs,) is a principal shrub of this part of the Arabian desert. Its branch affords a frail shelter from the sun by day and from the wind by night. (See Genesis xxi, 15; 1 Kings xix, 4.) Its root the Arab now, as anciently, chars, and its coal makes the hottest fire of any substance with which the Hebrews were acquainted. Burning “coals of juniper,” therefore, were the fittest punishment for the false tongue. The whole Psalm seems a lively picture of David's locality, his associations, and his feelings. 1 Samuel xxv, 1.
David prayeth against his enemies, 1, 2; he denounceth judgments against the false tongue, 3, 4; complaineth of his necessary abode with the wicked 5–7.
T A Song of Degrees.
* In “my distress I cried unto the LoRD, And he heard me.
* Deliver my soul, O Lord! from lying lips, And from a deceitful tongue.
* "What shall be given unto thee? Or what shall be 'done unto thee, thou false tongue?
* Psa. 118, 5. Jonah 2.2. tongue give unto theef or, 2 Heb, added. "Or, What shall the deceitful What shall it profit thee?