From this point David and our Lord for awhile part company, if we accept the rendering of our version. The severe spirit of the law breathes out imprecations, while the tender heart of Jesus offers prayers for his murderers. The whole of these verses, however, may be viewed as predictions, and then they certainly refer to our Lord, for we find portions of them quoted in that manner by the apostle in Romans 11:9-10 , and by Christ himself in Matthew 23:38 .
Verse 22. Let their table become a snare before them. There they laid snares, and there they shall find them. From their feasts they would afford nothing but wormwood for their innocent victim, and now their banquets shall be their ruin. It is very easy for the daily provisions of mercy to become temptations to sin. As birds and beasts are taken in a trap by means of baits for the appetite, so are men snared full often by their meats and drinks. Those who despise the upper springs of grace, shall find the nether springs of worldly comfort prove their poison. The table is used, however, not alone for feeding, but for conversations, transacting business, counsel, amusement, and religious observance: to those who are the enemies of the Lord Jesus that table may, in all these respects, become a snare. This first plague is terrible, and the second is like unto it.
And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. This, if we follow the original closely, and the version of Paul in the Romans, is a repetition of the former phrase; but we shall not err if we say that, to the rejecters of Christ, even those things which are calculated to work their spiritual and eternal good, become occasions for yet greater sin. They reject Christ, and are condemned for not believing on him; they stumble on this stone, and are broken by it. Wretched are those men, who not only have a curse upon their common blessings, but also on the spiritual opportunities of salvation.
"Whom oils and balsams kill, what salve can cure?"
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 22. The imprecations in this verse and those following it are revolting only when considered as the expression of malignant selfishness. If uttered by God, they shock no reader's sensibilities, nor should they, when considered as the language of an ideal person, representing the whole class of righteous sufferers, and particularly him, who though he prayed for his murderers while dying ( Luke 23:34 ), had before applied the words of this very passage to the unbelieving Jews ( Matthew 23:38 ), as Paul did afterwards ( Romans 11:9 - 10). The general doctrine of providential retribution, far from being confined to the Old Testament, is distinctly taught in many of our Saviour's parables. See Matthew 21:41 22:7 24:51. Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 22. Let their table become a snare. Their table figuratively sets forth their prosperity, the abundance of all things. It represents peace and security, as in Ps 33:5 Job 26:16 . It likewise describes mutual friendship, a blending of minds and plans; the emblem and sign whereof convivia are accustomed to be. Psalms 41:10 Da 11:27. Hermann Venema.
Verse 22. Let their table, etc. One said well, Licitis perimus omnes, etc., "Ruin usually ariseth from the use of lawful things;" there being most danger where it is least suspected. In all our comforts, there is a forbidden fruit, which seemeth fair and tasteth sweet, but which must not be touched. Henry Wilkinson (1675), in "Morning Exercises."
Verse 22. Let their table become a snare. Many would have excused themselves from following Christ, in the parable of the feast: some had bought land, some had married wives, and others had bought yokes of oxen, and could not come ( Luke 14:18-20 ), that is, an immoderate love of the world hindered them: their lawful enjoyments, from servants, became their idols; they worshipped them more than God, and would not quit them to come to God. But this is recorded to their reproach; and we may herein see the power of self upon the worldly man, and the danger that comes to him by the abuse of lawful things. What, thy wife dearer to thee than thy Saviour! and thy land and oxen preferred to thy soul's salvation. O beware, that thy comforts prove not snares first, and then curses: to overrate them, is to provoke him that gave them to take them away again. Come, and follow him that giveth life eternal to the soul. William Penn (1644-1718), in "No Cross, No Crown."
Verse 22. Let their table become a snare. That is, for a recompense for their inhumanity and cruelty towards me. Michaelis shows how exactly these comminations were fulfilled in the history of the final siege of Jerusalem by the Romans. Many thousands of the Jews had assembled in the city to eat the paschal lamb, when Titus unexpectedly made an assault upon them. In this siege, the greater part of the inhabitants of Jerusalem miserably perished. William Walford.
Verse 22-23. Observe the Divine retribution of the Jews. They gave gall and vinegar as food and drink to Christ; and their own spiritual food and drink has become a snare to them. His eyes were blindfolded; their eyes were darkened. His loins were scourged; their loins were made to shake. Christopher Wordsworth.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 22. The table a snare. Excess in feasting; looseness in conversation; want of principal in confederate councils; superstition in religion.