Verse 14. In three graphic pictures we see the slanderer's history. A woman in travail furnishes the first metaphor.
He travaileth with iniquity. He is full of it, pained until he can carry it out, he longs to work his will, he is full of pangs until his evil intent is executed.
He hath conceived mischief. This is the original of his base design. The devil has had doings with him, and the virus of evil is in him. And now behold the progeny of this unhallowed conception. The child is worthy of its father, his name of old was, "the father of lies," and the birth doth not belie the parent, for he brought forth falsehood. Thus, one figure is carried out to perfection; the Psalmist now illustrates his meaning by another, taken from the stratagems of the hunter.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 14. Behold he travaileth with iniquity, etc. The words express the conception, birth, carriage and miscarriage, of a plot against David. In which you may consider: --
- What his enemies did.
- What God did.
- What we all should do: his enemies' intention, God's prevention, and our duty; his enemies' intention, he travails with iniquity, and conceives mischief; God's prevention, he brought forth a lie; our duty, Behold ... Observe the aggravation of the sin, he conceives. He was not put upon it, or forced into it: it was voluntary. The more liberty we have not to sin, makes our sin the greater. He did not this in passion, but in cold blood. The less will, less sin. Richard Sibbs.
Verse 14. He travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief. All note that conceiving is before travailing, but here travailing, as a woman in labour, goeth first; the reason whereof is, that the wicked are so hotly set upon the evil which they maliciously intend, that they would be immediately acting of it if they could tell how, even before they have conceived by what means; but in fine they bring forth but a lie, that is, they find that their own hearts lied to them, when they promised good success, but they had evil. For their haste to perpetrate mischief is intimated in the word rendered "persecutors" ( Psalms 7:13 ), which properly signifieth ardentes, burning; that is, with a desire to do mischief -- and this admits of no delay. A notable common place, both setting forth the evil case of the wicked, especially attempting anything against the righteous, to move them to repentance -- for thou hast God for thine enemy warring against thee, whose force thou canst not resist -- and the greedy desire of the wicked to be evil, but their conception shall all prove abortive. J. Mayer, in loc.
Verse 14. And hath brought forth falsehood. Every sin is a lie. Augustine.
Verse 14. "Earth's entertainments are like those of Jael. Her left hand brings me milk, her right, a nail." Thomas Fuller.
Verse 14-15. They have digged a pit for us -- and that low, unto hell -- and are fallen into it themselves.
"No juster law can be devised or made, Than that sin's agents fall by their own trade."
The order of hell proceeds with the same degrees; though it give a greater portion, yet still a just proportion, of torment. These wretched guests were too busy with the waters of sin; behold, now they are in the depth of a pit, "where no water is." Dives, that wasted so many tons of wine, cannot now procure water, not a pot of water, not a handful of water, not a drop of water, to cool his tongue. Desideravit guttam, qui non dedit micam. (Augustine Hom. 7) A just recompense! He would not give a crumb; he shall not have a drop. Bread hath no smaller fragment than a crumb, water no less fraction than a drop. As he denied the least comfort to Lazarus living, so Lazarus shall not bring him the least comfort dead. Thus the pain for sin answers the pleasure of sin ... Thus damnable sins shall have semblable punishments; and as Augustine of the tongue, so we may say of any member ... If it will not serve God in action, it shall serve him in passion. Thomas Adams.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 14-16. Illustrate by three figures the devices and defeat of persecutors.