Verse 13. Consume them in wrath. As if he had changed his mind and would have them brought to a speedy end, or if spared would have them exist as ruins, he cries, consume them, and he redoubles his cry, consume them; nay, he gives a triple note, that they may not be. Revilers of God whose mouths pour forth such filth as David was on this occasion obliged to hear, are not to be tolerated by a holy soul; indignation must flame forth, and cry to God against them. When men curse the age and the place in which they live, common humanity leads the righteous to desire that they may be removed. If they could be reformed it would be infinitely better; but if they cannot, if they must and will continue to be like mad dogs in a city, then let them cease to be. Who can desire to see such a generation perpetuated?
And let them know; i.e., let all the nations know, that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. He whose government is universal fixes his headquarters among his chosen people, and there in special he punishes sin. So David would have all men see. Let even the most remote nations know that the great moral Governor has power to destroy ungodliness, and does not wink at iniquity in any, at any time, or in any place. When sin is manifestly punished it is a valuable lesson to all mankind. The overthrow of a Napoleon is a homily for all monarchs, the death of a Tom Paine a warning to all infidels, the siege of Paris a sermon to all cities.
Selah. Good cause there is for this rest, when a theme so wide and important is introduced. Solemn subjects ought not to be hurried over; nor should the condition of the heart while contemplating themes so high be a matter of indifference. Reader, bethink thee. Sit thou awhile and consider the ways of God with men.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. Consume them, emphatically, consume them in wrath, that they may not be; which at first sight seems contrary to his first desire, Slay them not; but it is not so, for he speaks not of their life, as if he would have them so consumed, that they should not remain alive; but he desires only a consumption of their power, royalty, command, etc. And so these words are a farther explication of his second desire, Bring them down. He would have them so brought down and consumed in their strength, dignity, command, wealth, riches, that made them proud, that they never be able any more to oppose God, hurt his people, trample upon religion and his church; he would have them live. William Nicholson.
Verse 13. Consume them. I hear of sad doings in Poland, of villages burnt down, of peaceable men deported to Siberia by hundreds, of woman flogged; and when I look away to that Warsaw market place where a woman, nearly naked, is being publicly beaten, and when I see cruel Mouravieff smile as the blood jets forth from the scourged shoulders, I will not deny that I feel very much tempted to say, "Happy man, whose bullet in fair flight should empty that saddle!" Am I bloodthirsty in this? Am I vindictive? Do you condemn me for this feeling? R. A. Bertram.
Verse 13. That they may not be. By the word wmgyaw, that they may not be, may be understood either a vile and wretched state in general, or even total destruction. The former must indeed here be admitted, as is plain from the context, yet not to the exclusion of the latter sense; since a miserable condition, such as in a disease, issues in destruction at length. Not to be is evidently by no means rarely taken for to be nobody, to be wretched, afflicted, despised. Compare Jeremiah 31:15 . Hermann Venema.
Verse 13. Selah. Though God be in all his words Yea and Amen, yet in setting this seal of Selah to this doctrine, he hath testified his will that he would have all these things the better understood and the deeper imprinted; that if the wicked go on to persecute the godly, Selah, assuredly God will have them in derision; Selah, assuredly God shall shiver their bones, shake their best actions, and discover their impurity; Selah, assuredly God's hand shall be heavy upon them, and they shall not discern it to be his hand till they are consumed. Selah, assuredly, verily, amen, this is a faithful, an infallible truth; as the Lord liveth it shall be so. Abraham Wright.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 13. (last clause). God as the God of the church, his government as such, known in all human history.