Verse 9. Destroy, O Lord. Put mine enemies to the rout. Let them be devoured by the sword, since they have unsheathed it against me. How could we expect the exiled monarch to offer any other prayer than this against the rebellious bands of Absalom, and the crafty devices of Ahithophel?
Divide their tongues. Make another Babel in their debates and councils of war. Set them at cross purposes. Divide the pack that the hunted one may escape. The divisions of error are the hope of truth.
For I have seen violence and strife in the city. The rabble and their leaders were plotting and planning, raging and contending against their king, running wild with a thousand mad projects: anarchy had fermented among them, and the king hoped that now it might come to pass that the very lawlessness which had exiled him would create weakness among his foes. Revolution devours its own children. They who are strong through violence, will sooner or later find that their strength is their death. Absalom and Ahithophel may raise the mob, but they cannot so easily rule it, nor so readily settle their own policy as to remain firm friends. The prayer of David was heard, the rebels were soon divided in their councils; Ahithophel went his way to be hanged with a rope, and Absalom to be hanged without one.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues. In the first place, their tongues were truly destroyed and they themselves divided, when the testimony of the two false witnesses agreed not so together. Then secondly, by the contradictory account of the soldiers that kept watch at the sepulchre. Michael Ayguan (1416) in J. M. Neal's Commentary, 1860.
Verse 9. Divide their tongues: i.e., cause them to give conflicting opinions. French and Skinner, 1842
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9. (first clause). The Babel of heresies. Essential, for truth is one. Inevitable, for the motives of heretics clash. Providential, for so they weaken each other. Judicial, for so they torment each other.