Thou shall be hid from the scourge of the tongue
Of Satan, as Jarchi, the accuser of the brethren; or rather from the evil tongue of wicked men, their slanders, calumnies, and reproaches; the tongue is a small weapon, but it is a cutting one; it is like a scourge or whip, with which wicked men strike hard: the enemies of Jeremiah encouraged one another to smite him with their tongue, ( Jeremiah 18:18 ) ; and a sad thing it is to be under the lash of some men's tongues, and a great mercy it is to be delivered from them: God does sometimes hide his people, and keeps them secretly, as in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues; ( Psalms 31:20 ) ; he either restrains the tongues of men, lays an embargo on them, and will not suffer them to say that evil of his people which Satan and their wicked hearts prompt them to; or, if they are suffered to defame and speak evil of good men, yet they do it in such a romantic way, and so overcharge and load it, that it is not credited by any what they say, even by those of their own party; so that the characters of God's people suffer not by their lies and calumnies: some render it, "when the tongue wanders about" F7; walks through the earth, and spares none, all ranks and degrees of men; God hides his people from being hurt by it, see ( Psalms 73:9 ) ; Aben Ezra interprets the word rendered "tongue" of a nation or people; and so it may be understood of one nation entering into another, passing through it, and making desolations in it; as the Scythians, Gauls, Goths, Huns, and Vandals, have done in different ages; and that, in such a time of calamity, God has his hiding places in Providence for the protection and safety of his people: but the Targum interprets it of an evil tongue, and particularly of the tongue of Balaam:
neither shall thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh:
meaning either of pestilence, which is the destruction that wastes at noonday, ( Psalms 91:6 Psalms 91:10 ) ; which, when it comes into a nation or neighbourhood, shall not come nigh the good man, and infect him; or if it does, shall not carry him off; and if it does that, it carries him home to heaven and happiness, and therefore he has no reason to be afraid of it: or of a general calamity; as when there is a complication of judgments in a nation, or in the world in general, as war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes as if all were just falling to pieces and into ruin; and yet even then the saints have no cause to fear; see ( Psalms 46:1-4 ) ; or the destruction of the whole world at the last day, when the heavens and earth, and all therein, shall be burnt up: for then good and righteous men will be safe with Christ, and dwell with him in the new heavens and the new earth, which shall be prepared for them; see ( 2 Peter 3:10-13 ) ; the Targum refers this to the destruction of the Midianites.
F7 (jwvb) "dum pervagabitur", Vatablus; "quum grassatur", Cocceius, Godurcus; "grassabitur", Grotius; so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom, and R. Jonah, in Ben Melech.