Verse 3. For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul. They were in ambuscade for the good man's life. He knew their design and cried to God to be rescued from it. Like wild beasts they crouched, and waited to make the fatal spring; but their victim used effectual means to baffle them, for he laid the matter before the Lord. While the enemy lies waiting in the posture of a beast, we wait before God in the posture of prayer, for God waits to be gracious to us and terrible towards our foes.
The mighty are gathered against me. None of them were absent from the muster when a saint was to be murdered. They were too fond of such sport to be away. The men at arms who ought to have been fighting their country's battles, are instead thereof hunting a quiet citizen; the gigantic monarch is spending all his strength to slay a faithful follower.
Not for my transgression, not for my sin, O Lord. He appeals to Jehovah that he had done no ill. His only fault was, that he was too valiant and too gracious, and was, besides, the chosen of the Lord, therefore the envious king could not rest till he had washed his hands in the blood of his too popular rival. We shall always find it to be a great thing to be innocent; if it does not carry our cause before an earthly tribunal, it will ever prove the best of arguments in the court of conscience, and a standing consolation when we are under persecution. Note the repetition of his declaration of integrity. David is sure of his innocence. He dares repeat the plea.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. (first clause). On the expression, they lie in wait for my soul, compare 1 Samuel 19:11 , "And Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, If thou save not thy life soul tonight, tomorrow thou shalt be slain;" and Psalms 7:2 Psalms 7:5 . E. W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 3. The mighty are gathered against me, is rendered by Chandler, The mighty are turned aside to lay snares against me.
Verse 3. The mighty are gathered against me. As if he would say, "But I am weak, be thou, however, my strength, and vindicate my innocence." Arnd.
Verse 3-4. He pleads his own innocency, not as to God, but as to his persecutors. Note,
- The innocency of the godly will not secure them from the malignity of the wicked. Those that are harmless like doves, yet for Christ's sake are hated of all men, as if they were noxious like serpents, and obnoxious accordingly.
- Though our innocency will not secure us from troubles, yet it will greatly support and comfort us under our troubles. The testimony of our conscience for us, that we have behaved ourselves well toward those that have behaved themselves ill towards us, will be very much our rejoicing in the day of evil. If we are conscious to ourselves of our innocency, we may with humble confidence appeal to God, and beg of him to plead our injured cause which he will do in due time. Matthew Henry.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. (first clause). The subtleties of Satan. Watches for places, times, states, and ways in which to assail us. Errors in doctrine, practice, spirit, set forth to entrap us. "Ye are not ignorant of his devices." Or, the diabolical ambush, discovered by watchfulness, and defeated by faith.