Verse 10. They shall fall by the sword. So David's enemies did. They that take the sword shall perish with the sword; bloody men shall feel their own life gushing forth from them, when their evil day shall at last come, and they shall be given up to feel in their own persons the horrors of death.
They shall be a portion for foxes. Too mean to be fit food for the lions, the foxes shall sniff around their corpses, and the jackals shall hold carnival over their carcases. Unburied and unhonoured they shall be meat for the dogs of war. Frequently have malicious men met with a fate so dire as to be evidently the award of retributive justice. Although the great assize is reserved for another world, yet even here, at the common sessions of providence, justice often bares her avenging sword in the eyes of all the people.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9-10. See Psalms on "Psalms 63:9" for further information.
Verse 10. They shall fall. The word is ordinarily applied to water. 2 Samuel 14:14 La 3:49. But here, by the immediate mention of the sword, it is restrained to the effusion of blood, and being in the third person plural, in the active sense, it is after the Hebrew idiom to be interpreted in the passive sense, they shall pour out by the hand of the sword, i.e., they shall be poured out by the sword, the hand of the sword being no more than the edge of the sword. Henry Hammond.
Verse 10. They shall be a portion for foxes. Beasts were given to men for their food, but here men are given to beasts for a prey. A lamentable spectacle to see the vilest of all creatures ravenously feast themselves with the flesh of the noblest, and irrespectively hale and tear in pieces the caskets which whilome enclosed the richest jewel in the world. Is it not against the law of nature that men should become beasts' meat; yea, the meat of such beasts as are carrion, and not man's meat? Questionless it is, yet nature giveth her consent to this kind of punishment of unnatural crimes. For it is consonant to reason, that the law of nature should be broken in their punishment who brake it in their sin; that they who devoured men like beasts should be devoured of beasts like men, that they who with their hands offered unnatural violence to their sovereign should suffer the like by the claws and teeth of wild beasts, their slaves; that they who bear a fox in their breast in their life, should be entombed in the belly of a fox at their death. St. Austin, expounding this whole prophecy of Christ, yieldeth a special reason of this judgment of God by which the Jews were condemned to foxes. The Jews, saith he, therefore killed Christ that they might not lose their country; but, indeed, they therefore lost their country because they killed Christ; because they refused the Lamb, and chose Herod the fox before him, therefore by the just retribution of the Almighty, they were allotted to the foxes for their portion. Notwithstanding this allusion of St. Austin to foxes in special, Jansenius and other expositors extend this grant in my text to all wild beasts and fowls, which are, as it were, impatient with the fox, and have full power and liberty given them to seize upon the corpses of traitors to God and their country; but foxes bear the name because they abound in those parts where was such store of them, that Samson in a short time, with a wet finger, caught three hundred. Daniel Featley, D.D., in "Clavis Mystica," 1636.
Verse 10. They shall be a portion for foxes. If the body of a human being were to be left on the ground, the jackals would certainly leave but little traces of it; and in the olden times of warfare, they must have held high revelry in the battle fields after the armies had retired. It is to this propensity of the jackal that David refers -- himself a man of war, who had fought on many a battle field, and must have seen the carcases of the slain mangled by those nocturnal prowlers. J. G. Wood.
Verse 10. What a doom is that which David pronounces upon those who seek the soul of the righteous to destroy it: They shall be a portion for foxes; by which jackals are meant, as I suppose. These sinister, guilty, woebegone brutes, when pressed with hunger, gather in gangs among the graves, and yell in rage, and fight like fiends over their midnight orgies; but on the battle field is their great carnival. Oh! let me never even dream that any one dear to me has fallen by the sword, and lies there to be torn, and gnawed at, and dragged about by these hideous howlers. W. M. Thomson, D.D., in "The Land and the Book," 1861.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The enemies of the Christian. Evil spirits, evil
men, evil habits, etc., etc.
- Their intent. To destroy the soul.
- Their fall. Certain, shameful, destructive.
- Their future. Hell is reserved for them G. J. K.