Verse 12. The reader will do well to observe how accurately the psalmist described his own Psalm when he said, "I mourn in my complaint," or rather "give loose to my thoughts," for he proceeds from one point of his sorrow to another, wandering on like one in a maze, making few pauses, and giving no distinct intimations that he is changing the subject. Now from the turbulent city his mind turns to the false hearted councillor.
For is was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it. It was not an open foe, but a pretended friend; he went over to the other camp and tried to prove the reality of his treachery by calumniating his old friend. None are such real enemies as false friends. Reproaches from those who have been intimate with us, and trusted by us, cut us to the quick; and they are usually so well acquainted with our peculiar weaknesses that they know how to touch us where we are most sensitive, and to speak so as to do us most damage. The slanders of an avowed antagonist are seldom so mean and dastardly as those of a traitor, and the absence of the elements of ingratitude and treachery renders them less hard to bear. We can bear from Shimei what we cannot endure from Ahithophel.
Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. We can find a hiding place from open foes, but who can escape from treachery? If our enemies proudly boast over us we nerve our souls for resistance, but when those who pretended to love us leer at us with contempt, whither shall we go? Our blessed Lord had to endure at its worst the deceit and faithlessness of a favoured disciple; let us not marvel when we are called to tread the road which is marked by his pierced feet.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 12. Then I could have borne it. It is remarkable that the Lord, who endured the other unspeakable sorrows and agonies of his passion in perfect and marvellous silence, allowed his grief at this one alone to escape him, bewailing himself to his disciples that one of them should betray him, and addressing that one, when he was taken, in these words of reproach -- "Judas, betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" Frau Thome de Jesu,, 1582.
Verse 12. Then I would have hid myself from him. It is generally easy to get out of the way of an avowed enemy, but how can one be on his guard against a treacherous friend? A. R. Fausset, in "A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical," 1866.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS