Verse 2. How forcibly the case is put! The bow is bent, the arrow is fitted to the string: "Flee, flee, thou defenceless bird, thy safety lies in flight; begone, for thine enemies will send their shafts into thy heart; haste, haste, for soon wilt thou be destroyed!" David seems to have felt the force of the advice, for it came home to his soul; but yet he would not yield, but would rather dare the danger than exhibit a distrust in the Lord his God. Doubtless the perils which encompassed David were great and imminent; it was quite true that his enemies were ready to shoot privily at him;
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, etc. This verse presents an unequal combat betwixt armed power, advantaged with policy, on the one side; and naked innocence on the other. First, armed power: "They bend their bows, and make ready their arrows," being all the artillery of that age; secondly, advantaged with policy: "that they may privily shoot," to surprise them with an ambush unawares, probably pretending amity and friendship unto them; thirdly, naked innocence: if innocence may be termed naked, which is its own armour; "at the upright in heart." Thomas Fuller.
Verse 2. For, lo, the ungodly bend their bow, and make ready their arrows within the quiver: that they may privily shoot at them which are true of heart. The plottings of the chief priests and Pharisees that they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill him. They bent their bow, when they hired Judas Iscariot for the betrayal of his Master; they made ready their arrows within the quiver when they sought "false witnesses against Jesus to put him to death." Matthew 26:59 . "Them which are true of heart." Not alone the Lord himself, the only true and righteous, but his apostles, and the long line of those who should faithfully cleave to him from that time to this. And as with the Master, so with the servants: witness the calumnies and the revilings that from the time of Joseph's accusation by his mistress till the present day, have been the lot of God's people. Michael Ayguan, 1416, in J. M. Neale's Commentary.
Verse 2. That they may secretly shoot at them which are upright in heart. They bear not their bows and arrows as scarecrows in a garden of cucumbers, to fray, but to shoot, not at stakes, but men; their arrows are jacula mortifera ( Psalms 7:2 ), deadly arrows, and lest they should fail to hit, they take advantage of the dark, of privacy and secrecy; they shoot privily. Now this is the covenant of hell itself. For what created power in the earth is able to dissolve that work which cruelty and subtlety, like Simeon and Levi, brothers in evil, are combined and confederate to bring to pass? Where subtlety is ingenious, insidious to invent, cruelty barbarous to execute, subtlety giveth counsel, cruelty giveth the stroke. Subtlety ordereth the time, the place, the means, accommodates, concinnates circumstances; cruelty undertakes the act: subtlety hideth the knife, cruelty cutteth the throat: subtlety with a cunning head layeth the ambush, plotteth the train, the stratagem; and cruelty with as savage a heart, sticketh not at the most dreadful, most direful objects, ready to wade up to the ankles, the neck, in a whole red sea of human, yea, country blood: how fearful is their plight that are thus assaulted! John King.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. The craftiness of our spiritual enemies.