For the oppression of the poor
The servants and people of God, who, for the most part, are poor in a temporal sense, and are all of them, and always, so in a spiritual sense, standing continually in need of fresh supplies of grace; and being often afflicted, as the word signifies, are mean and despicable in the eyes of the men of this world, and so oppressed by them, as the poor generally are by the rich; and as the people of Israel were oppressed by the Egyptians, so are the people of God by antichrist, and by his tyrannical laws and edicts, and by such haughty and insolent persons as before described;
for the sighing of the needy;
who groan under their oppressions; being stripped of all good things, their friends, and worldly substance, they sigh inwardly, and cry unto the Lord, who sees their oppressions, hears their groans; and though he cannot be moved, as men are, by anything without himself, yet, according to his abundant mercy and sovereign will, he appears and exerts himself on the behalf of his people, and for their relief and assistance;
now will I arise, saith the Lord;
to have mercy on the poor and needy, and to avenge them on their oppressors, and free them from them. And this the Lord promises to do "now", speedily, immediately; God arises in the most seasonable time, when his people are in the greatest straits, and in the utmost distress and herein displays his wisdom, power, and goodness. This is an answer to the petition of the psalmist in ( Psalms 12:1 ) ;
I will set [him] in safety [from him that] puffeth at him;
or "in salvation" F9; in Christ the Saviour. All God's people are put into the hands of Christ, and are preserved in him; there they are in safety, for out of his hands none can pluck them; and being built on him, the Rock, they are safe, notwithstanding the waves and winds of temptation, persecution come with ever so much force upon them. Here it seems to signify, that God would deliver his poor and needy from their oppressions, and put them into a comfortable, prosperous, safe, and happy situation, in which they will be out of the reach of their enemies; as will be the witnesses, when they shall ascend to heaven, ( Revelation 11:11 Revelation 11:12 ) ; even out of the reach of him that "puffeth at" them, despises them, and treats them with the utmost scorn and contempt; see ( Psalms 10:5 ) . Or that "breathes", or "let him breathe" F11 threatenings and slaughters; as Saul did against the disciples of Christ, ( Acts 9:1 ) ; or that "lays snares for him" F12, as the wicked do for the righteous; or that "speaks unto him" in such haughty and insolent language as before expressed. Some make this clause a proposition of itself, "he puffeth at him"; meaning either that he that is secure, safety puffs at his enemy, despises him, as he has been despised by him; or God, who breathes upon him, and whose breath is as a stream of brimstone, which kindles in him a fire of divine wrath, which is unquenchable; or else the sense is, God will "speak to himself", or "to him" F13; in which sense the word is used ( Habakkuk 2:4 ) ; that is, good and comfortable words to the poor; or "he will give him refreshment", or "rest": which he will determine in himself to speak to him: or "he shall have breathing", or "let him breathe" F14: he shall have times of refreshing from the Lord, and rest from adversity, from the oppositions and persecutions of his enemies.
F9 (evyb) "in salute", Pagninus, Montanus, Mariana, Vatablus, Junius, & Tremeliius, Piscator; so Ainsworth.
F11 (wl xypy) "spiret vel spirabit sibi", De Dieu.
F12 "Qui ponit ei laqueum", Munster; "qui laqueum injicit illis", Heb. "illi", Muis; so Kimchi.
F13 "Loquetur sibi vel ei", Vatablus.
F14 "Respirationem dabit illi", Cloppenburgius; so Ainsworth, and some in Michaelis.