David encourages himself in God. (1-7) He prays for, and prophesies the destruction of, his persecutors. (8-13)
Verses 1-7 The more danger appears, the more earnest we should be in prayer to God. All are safe whom the Lord protects. If he be for us, who can be against us? We should especially watch and pray, that the Lord would hold up our goings in his ways, that our footsteps slip not. God is as able to keep his people from secret fraud as from open force; and the experience we have had of his power and care, in dangers of one kind, may encourage us to depend upon him in other dangers.
Verses 8-13 Believers may pray that God would not grant the desires of the wicked, nor further their evil devices. False accusers will bring mischief upon themselves, even the burning coals of Divine vengeance. And surely the righteous shall dwell in God's presence, and give him thanks for evermore. This is true thanksgiving, even thanks-living: this use we should make of all our deliverances, we should serve God the more closely and cheerfully. Those who, though evil spoken of and ill-used by men, are righteous in the sight of God, being justified by the righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to them, and received by faith, as the effect of which, they live soberly and righteously; these give thanks to the Lord, for the righteousness whereby they are made righteous, and for every blessing of grace, and mercy of life.
Psalms 140:1-13 . The style of this Psalm resembles those of David in the former part of the book, presenting the usual complaint, prayer, and confident hope of relief.
1. evil man--Which of David's enemies is meant is not important.
2-5. This character of the wicked, and the devices planned against the pious, correspond to Psalms 10:7 , 31:13 , 58:4 , &c.
3. sharpened . . . like a serpent--not like a serpent does, but they are thus like a serpent in cunning and venom.
5. snare [and] net--for threatening dangers (compare Psalms 38:12 , 57:6 ).
6. (Compare Psalms 5:1-12 , 16:2 ).
7. day of battle--literally, "of armor," that is, when using it.
8. (Compare Psalms 37:12 , 66:7 ).
lest they exalt themselves--or, they will be exalted if permitted to prosper.
9. Contrasts his head covered by God ( Psalms 140:7 ) with theirs, or (as "head" may be used for "persons") with them, covered with the results of their wicked deeds ( Psalms 7:16 ).
10. (Compare Psalms 11:6 , 120:4 ).
cast into the fire; into deep pits--figures for utter destruction.
11. an evil speaker--or, "slanderer" will not be tolerated ( Psalms 101:7 ). The last clause may be translated: "an evil (man) He (God) shall hunt," &c.
12. (Compare Psalms 9:4 ).
13. After all changes, the righteous shall have cause for praise. Such
shall dwell--shall sit securely, under God's protection ( Psalms 21:6 , 41:12 ).