Verse 110. The wicked have laid a snare for me. Spiritual life is the scene of constant danger: the believer lives with his life in his hand, and meanwhile all seem plotting to take it from him, by cunning if they cannot by violence. We shall not find it an easy thing to live the life of the faithful. Wicked spirits and wicked men will leave no stone unturned for our destruction. If all other devices fail, and even hidden pits do not succeed, the wicked still persevere in their treacherous endeavours, and, becoming craftier still, they set snares for the victim of their hate. The smaller species of game are usually taken by this method, by gin, or trap, or net, or noose. Wicked men are quite indifferent as to the manner in which they can destroy the good man -- they think no more of him than if he were a rabbit or a rat: cunning and treachery are always the allies of malice, and everything like a generous or chivalrous feeling is unknown among the graceless, who treat the godly as if they were vermin to be exterminated. When a man knows that he is thus assailed, he is too apt to become timorous, and rush upon some hasty device for deliverance, not without sin in the endeavour; but David calmly kept his way, and was able to write,
Yet I erred not from thy precepts. He was not snared, for he kept his eyes open, and kept near his God. He was not entrapped and robbed, for he followed the King's highway of holiness, where God secures safety to every traveller. He did not err from the right, and he was not deterred from following it, because he referred to the Lord for guidance, and obtained it. If we err from the precepts, we part with the promises; if we get away from God's presence, we wander into the wilds where the fowlers freely spread their nets. From this verse let us learn to be on our guard, for we, too, have enemies both crafty and wicked. Hunters set their traps in the animals usual runs, and our worst snares are laid in our own ways. By keeping to the ways of the Lord we shall escape the snares of our adversaries, for his ways are safe and free from treachery.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 110. -- The wicked. He calls them wicked men; which imports three things. First, they work wickedness. Secondly, they love it. Thirdly, they persevere in it. -- William Cowper.
Verse 110. -- A snare. One manner of catching wild animals, such as lions, bears, jackals, foxes, hart, roebuck, and fallow deer, was by a trap (paeh), which is the word used in this place; this was set under ground ( Job 18:10 ), in the run of the animal ( Proverbs 22:5 ), and caught it by the leg ( Job 18:9 ). --William Latham Bevan, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1863.
Verse 110. -- The wicked have laid a snare for me. In eating, he sets before us gluttony; in love he impels to lust; in labour, sluggishness; in conversing, envy; in governing, covetousness; in correcting, anger; in honour, pride; in the heart, he sets evil thoughts; in the mouth evil words; in actions, evil works; when awake, he moves us to evil actions; when asleep, to filthy dreams. --Girolamo Savonarola, 1452- 1498.
Verse 110. -- Laid a snare for me: yet I erred not, etc. It is not the laying the bait hurts the fish, if the fish do not bite. --Thomas Watson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 110. -- Various kinds of snares, and the one way of escaping them.
Verse 110. -- Consider, --
- Some of the snares set for saints by sinners.
(a) Doctrinal snares, by intellectual sinners.
(b) False accusations, by malignant sinners.
(c) False flatteries, by deceitful sinners.
(d) False charity, by a large number of sinners nowadays.
- The secure safeguard for a saint's safety: "I erred not from thy precepts." Obedience to God gives security, because --
- The snares are then suspected and watched against.
(b) The feet cannot become entangled by them.
(c) God keeps him who keeps his word. --J.F.