Verse 157. Many are my persecutors and mine enemies. Those who actually assail me, or who secretly abhor me, are many. He sets this over against the many tender mercies of God. It seems a strange thing that a truly godly man, as David was, should have many enemies; but it is inevitable. The disciple cannot be loved where his Master is hated. The seed of the serpent must oppose the seed of the woman: it is their nature.
Yet do I not decline from thy testimonies. He did not deviate from the truth of God, but proceeded in the straight way, however many adversaries might endeavour to block up his path. Some men have been led astray by one enemy, but here is a saint who held on his way in the teeth of many persecutors. There is enough in the testimonies of God to recompense us for pushing forward against all the hosts that may combine against us. So long as they cannot drive or draw us into a spiritual decline our foes have done us no great harm, and they have accomplished nothing by their malice. If we do not decline they are defeated. If they cannot make us sin they have missed their mark. Faithfulness to the truth is victory over our enemies.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 157. -- Persecutors. A participle from the verb rendered pursue, chase. "Enemies," as in verse 139, the authors of my distress. Until men are hunted and hounded by many enemies, who for the time have power, and are withal fierce and to some extent unscrupulous, they can have but a faint conception of the anguish of the prophet when he experienced the evils noted in this verse. Yet they did not move him from his constancy and integrity. --William S. Plurner.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 157. --
- A word of multitude: "many."
- A tendency of dread, viz., a tendency to decline.
- A note of consolation: "yet do I not decline,"