Verse 3. For strangers are risen up against me. Those who had no cause for ill will had gone against him; persons to whom he could have given no offence, for they were strangers to him. They were aliens to his God also, and should these be allowed to worry and destroy him. A child may well complain to his father when strangers come in to molest him. What right have they to interfere? Let them leave off meddling and mind their own concerns.
And oppressors seek after my soul. Saul, that persecuting tyrant, had stamped his own image on many more. Kings generally coin their own likeness. He led the way, and others followed seeking David's soul, his blood, his life, his very existence. Cruel and intense were they in their malice, they would utterly crush the good man; no half measure would content them.
They have not set God before them. They had no more regard for right and justice than if they knew no God, or cared for none. Had they regarded God they would not have betrayed the innocent to be hunted down like a poor harmless stag. David felt that atheism lay at the bottom of the enmity which pursued him. Good men are hated for God's sake, and this is a good plea for them to urge in prayer.
Selah. As if he said, "Enough of this, let us pause." He is out of breath with indignation. A sense of wrong bids him suspend the music awhile. It may also be observed, that more pauses would, as a rule, improve our devotions: we are usually too much in a hurry: a little more holy meditation would make our words more suitable and our emotions more fervent.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. Strangers: aliens to his truth, men who from unbelief have estranged themselves from all lot and portion in his covenants -- oppress and persecute. William Hill Tucker.
Verse 3. (first clause). The Chaldee interpreter reads, proud men, instead of strangers, a reading which also is found in eight of Kennicott's Codices. So also Psalms 86:14 . William Walford, in "The Book of Psalms. A New Translation," etc., 1837.
Verse 3. (first clause). There is a great mistake made by rendering the word syrz (zarim) strangers. The Ziphites surely were Israelites, and not strangers. The fact is this, that word is taken from hrz (zarah) the primary meaning of which is "to scatter," to "disperse," also "to sift," as grain. Hence it signifies, likewise figuratively, to sift a matter, to investigate, to search out, to trace out. So here, David complains of the new and dangerous enemies he had got in the Ziphites, who became Saul's spies. When he pleads, therefore, for deliverance, saying, "Save me, O God," etc., he describes the danger he was in: For spies have risen against me. Benjamin Weiss, in "New Translation, Exposition, and Chronological Arrangement of the Psalms," 1858.
Verse 3. Oppressors seek after my soul; i.e., my life at least; my soul also they would destroy, if it lay in their power, as the Papists delivered up John Huss to the devil. John Trapp, 1611-1662.
Verse 3. Selah. See "Treasury of David", Vol. 1, pp. 25,29,346,382; and Vol. 2, pp. 249- 252.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. Strange trials.
- They are not altogether strange.
- Not so to God.
- Not so in the history of the church.
- Not so to the provisions of grace wherein they are anticipated.
- Wherein they are strange.
- They reveal God anew.
- Endear forgotten promises.
- Train unused graces.
- Being new praises, etc.
Verse 3. (last clause). The root of sin: if they remembered his authority they dared not, if they tasted his love they would not, if they were conformed to his nature they could not.