Verse 2. This verse records a past deliverance, and is an instance of the way in which experience should be employed to reassure our faith in times of trial. Each word is instructive. When the wicked. It is a hopeful sign for us when the wicked hate us; if our foes were godly men it would be a sore sorrow, but as for the wicked their hatred is better than their love. Even mine enemies and my foes. There were many of them, they were of different sorts, but they were unanimous in mischief and hearty in hatred. Came upon me -- advanced to the attack, leaping upon the victim like a lion upon its prey. To eat up my flesh, like cannibals they would make a full end of the man, tear him limb from limb, and make a feast for their malice. The enemies of our souls are not deficient in ferocity, they yield no quarter, and ought to have none in return. See in what danger David was; in the grip and grasp of numerous, powerful, and cruel enemies, and yet observe his perfect safety and their utter discomfiture! They stumbled and fell. God's breath blew them off their legs. There were stones in the way which they never reckoned upon, and over these they made an ignominious tumble. This was literally true in the case of our Lord in Gethsemane, when those who came to take him went backward and fell to the ground; and herein he was a prophetic representative of all wrestling believers who, rising from their knees shall, by the power of faith, throw their foes upon their faces.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. There is no such dainty dish to a malicious stomach, as the flesh of an enemy; it goes down without chewing, and they swallow it up whole like cormorants. But though malice have a ravenous stomach, yet she hath but slow digestion; though her teeth be sharp, yet her feet are lame, at least apt to stumble; and this made well for David, for when his enemies came upon him to eat up his flesh, because they came upon the feet of malice, they stumbled and fell. A man may stumble and yet not fall; but to stumble and fall withal, is the proper stumbling of the wicked, and especially of the maliciously wicked; and such, it seems, was the stumbling of David's enemies, because the enemies were such; and such I doubt not shall be the stumbling of mine enemies, because mine are such; and of what then, of whom now, should I be afraid? Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. He describes his enemies by their malice and by their ruin.
- His enemies were cruel enemies, blood suckers, eaters of flesh. We call them cannibals. As indeed men that have not grace, if they have greatness, and be opposed, their greatness is inaccessible, one man is a devil to another. The Scripture calls them "wolves, that leave nothing till morning." Zephaniah 3:3 . As the great fishes eat up the little ones, so great men they make no more conscience of eating up other men, than of eating bread; they make no more bones of overthrowing men and undoing them, than of eating bread. "They eat up my people as they eat bread." Psalms 14:4 .
- But not withstanding their cruelty, they were overthrown. Saith David, When my foes came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. For, indeed, God's children, when they are delivered, it is usually with the confusion of their enemies. God doth two things at once, because the special grievance of God's children it is from inward and outward enemies. He seldom or never delivers them but with the confusion of their enemies. This will be most apparent at the day of judgment when Satan, and all that are led by his spirit, all the malignant church, shall be sent to their own place, and the church shall be for ever free from all kind of enemies. When the church is most free, then the enemies of the church are nearest to destruction; like a pair of balances, when they are up at the one end, they are down at the other. So when it is up with the church, down go the enemies. Richard Sibbes.
Verse 2. The wicked, mine enemies. The wicked hate the godly; there is enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent. Genesis 3:15 . As in nature there is an antipathy between the vine and the bay tree, the elephant and the dragon. Vultures have an antipathy against sweet smells: so in the wicked there is an antipathy against the people of God; they hate the sweet perfumes of their graces. It is true the saints have their infirmities; but the wicked do not hate them for these, but for their holiness; and from this hatred ariseth open violence: the thief hates the light, therefore would blow it out. Thomas Watson.
Verse 2. There was great wisdom in the prayer of John Wesley: "Lord, if I must contend, let it not be with thy people." When we have for foes and enemies those who hate good men, we have at least this consolation, that God is not on their side, and therefore it is essentially weak. William S. Plumer.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. The character, number, power, and cruelty of the enemies of the church, and the mysterious way in which they have been defeated.