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12 The wicked plotteth against the just,

And gnasheth at him with his teeth.

13 The Lord will laugh at him;

For he seeth that his day is approaching.

14 The wicked draw out the sword, they bend their bow, To cast down the afflicted and the destitute,

To slay them that are upright in the way. 15 Their sword shall pierce their own heart; And their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little which a righteous man hath, Than the riches of many wicked:

17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken; But Jehovah sustaineth the just.

18 Jehovah understandeth the course of the righteous: And their inheritance will be perpetual.

19 They will not be ashamed in the time of calamity; But in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

20 For the wicked, even the enemies of Jehovah, will perish : As the fat of lambs they will be consumed;

As smoke they will vanish away.

21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again :

But the righteous is merciful, and giveth.

22 Surely those whom Jehovah blesseth will inherit the land: And those whom he curseth will be cut off.

23 The steps of a good man are supported by Jehovah ; He also delighteth in his way.

24 When he falleth, he will not be prostrated, For Jehovah taketh hold of his hand.

25 I have been young, and I am become old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his offspring begging bread.

20. As the fat of lambs.]—This similitude is taken from the sacrificial services of the Hebrews. Lambs were offered in large numbers as burnt-offerings, the fat of which was rapidly consumed, and the smoke arising from the flames quickly disappeared in the air.

25. Nor his offspring begging bread.]——

These words must be taken as a general observation, not absolutely verified in every case; yet the strict fact is, I apprehend, that the immediate descendants of truly pious persons are very seldom, if ever, reduced to such extremities, unless by their own great imprudence, or their abandoned practices.

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26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth,

And his offspring becometh a blessing.

27 Depart from evil, and do good;

And thou shalt dwell in the land perpetually.

28 For Jehovah loveth justice, and forsaketh not his saints;
They are preserved for ever:

But the offspring of the wicked will be cut off.

29 The righteous will inherit the land;

And dwell in it perpetually.

30 The mouth of the righteous uttereth wisdom;
And his tongue talketh of righteousness.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;

His steps shall not slip.

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous,

And seeketh to slay him:

33 Jehovah will not leave him in his hand,

Nor condemn him when he cometh into judgment.

34 Wait on Jehovah, and keep his way:

He will exalt thee to inherit the land:

When the wicked are cut off thou shalt see it.

35 I have seen the wicked very formidable,

And spreading his branches, like a flourishing native tree.

36 I passed by, and lo! he was not:

I sought him, but he was not to be found.

37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
For the end of that man is peace.

36. I passed by.]-The English Trans. has "he passed away," agreeably to the present reading of the Hebrew text; but the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, and Jerome, read the verb in the first person, which is more in consistency with the form of the sentence.

There is an additional observation that appears requisite to be made on the application of the assurances and promises that are contained in this Psalm. It cannot be denied, that these relate chiefly to temporal benefits and advantages; still we may with great probability

conclude, that the future and final felicity of good men, in another life, was not altogether out of the view of the inspired author. It was not agreeable to the spirit and genius of the dispensation under which he lived, to render this subject prominent; yet, as it is certain, from several passages in the Psalms, that David was not a stranger to the hope of blessings far superior to any that are earthly, we may, with entire satisfaction, conclude, that there is a tacit reference to them in several of the declarations of this Psalm. Vide Appendix, No. 2.

38 But the transgressors will together be destroyed:
The end of the wicked will be cut off.

39 The safety of the righteous is from Jehovah :

He is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And Jehovah will help them, he will deliver them; He will deliver them from the wicked, and preserve them; Because they trust in him.

PSALM XXXVIII.

THIS most mournful and penitential poem is supposed by some of the critics to relate to no individual, but to be significant of the grievous sufferings of the entire people of the Hebrews. No valid reason is, or can be, assigned for this improbable opinion, There is not a syllable in the Psalm which indicates any such application: nor can any authority, which is of the least value, be pleaded in support of it. It is granted that the title, like all the other titles of the Psalms, was not written by David; but it is undeniable that these superscriptions are of great antiquity, and may very fairly be received, except in the cases where there is a manifest incongruity between them and the compositions to which they are prefixed. Nothing of this kind is to be found in the Psalm that is before us; and the suggestion appears to me to be nothing more than the wantonness of fancy, which indulges itself in criticisms, that, as far as they are permitted to have any influence, effect nothing but the overthrow of commonlyreceived principles; and have a direct tendency to introduce an universal scepticism. The modern scholars who support this theory would be but ill-pleased to be placed in the rank of enthusiasts, who build their speculations on the merest reveries of a heated imagination and a distempered judgment; but we witness many instances of the existence of a literary enthusiasm, that is not a whit more reasonable than the uncurbed license which speculates upon the holy Scriptures, and the truths that are contained in them, as if it was the sole office of a critic to demonstrate the extent of his ingenuity, by the flimsy hypotheses which he employs his talents and his exertions to support. possibly be thought that this is a censure not called for, in a case like the present; nor would it have been delivered, but for the mischievous effects of such criticism, in matters of greater moment.

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We conclude, then, that David is the writer of this sacred poem; and that he evidently composed it, in relation to himself, when under the pressure of extreme affliction and great mental agony. It seems most likely to have been occasioned by Absalom's unnatural and rebellious proceedings: and that the pungent anguish of that period was aggravated by the vivid recollections of that great transgression which brought on David the tremendous denunciation, "the sword shall never depart from thy house." 2 Sam. xii. 10. The consciousness

of that sad fall seems to have returned to his bosom with increased force, and to have sunk him into an agony of fear and grief, little short of entire despair. Understood in this manner, the Psalm offers a most instructive caution to persons of professed piety, "to watch, and to be sober," lest they should be betrayed into the commission of offences, the guilt of which may abide near to them, and cause them to "go mourning to the grave." At the same time, it furnishes a consolatory instance for the encouragement of disconsolate and repentant transgressors, to induce them still to hope in God, and in the mercy which "there is with him, that he may be feared." No accumulation of suffering, no aggravated sins, ought to be permitted to stand in the way of any one who desires, even in the direst circumstances, to come to God for forgiveness and hope. "Pardon my iniquity, for it is great."

A PSALM OF DAVID, TO BRING TO REMEMBRANCE.

1 O JEHOVAH! rebuke me not in thy anger: Neither chastise me in thy hot displeasure.

2 For thy arrows stick fast in me;

And thy hand presseth upon me.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh, on account of thy displeasure; Neither is there health in my body, because of my sin.

4 For my iniquities have overwhelmed me;

Like a weighty burden, they are too heavy for me.

5 My wounds are offensive, and corrupt,

On account of my foolishness.

6 I am distorted, I am bowed down greatly;
I go mourning all the day long.

For my loins are filled with painful heat;
And there is no soundness in my flesh.

8 I am enfeebled, and bruised exceedingly :
I roar, through the disquietude of my heart.

TITLE. To bring to remembrance.]—As usual, there is great diversity of opinion relative to the sense of these words. The most likely interpretation is, that David designed this Psalm to commemorate his great troubles, and the merciful deliverance which God was pleased to effect for him. With this the most learned Grotius

agrees.

5. My wounds are offensive, &c.]-These

expressions seem to be in a great measure figurative, and significant rather of the diseased state of his mind than of his body; yet anguish so intense must have had a very injurious effect upon his health. Dathe is of opinion that he compares his afflicted and wretched condition with that of a leper infected by a loathsome disease, and from contact with which all men fled. This opinion is strengthened by ver. 11.

9 O Lord! all my desire is before thee;

And my groaning is not concealed from thee.
10 My heart palpitateth, my strength forsaketh me;
The light of my eyes also departeth from me.
11 My friends and associates stand aloof from my stroke;
And my kinsmen abide at a distance.

12 They also that seek my life are laying snares;
They that seek my hurt speak wickedly,

And talk of deceitful stratagems, all the day long.
13 But I, as a deaf man, hear not;

Even as a dumb man, who openeth not his mouth. 14 I resemble a man that heareth not,

And in whose mouth there are no reproofs.

15 For, for thee, O Jehovah! do I wait:
Thou wilt answer, O Lord! my God.

16 For I speak, lest they should rejoice over me;
When my foot slippeth, they talk proudly.

17 For I am ready to halt :

And my distress is continually before me. 18 Therefore, I declare my iniquity;

I am grieved for my sin.

19 But my enemies are vigorous; they are strong:

They also, who hate me wrongfully, are multiplied. 20 They, who render evil for good, are my adversaries, Because I am a follower of that which is good:

21 Forsake me not, O Jehovah !

O my God! be not far from me.

22 Make haste to help me : O Lord! my salvation.

13. But I, as a deaf man.]-The Psalmist thus expresses the helplessness of his condition. All remonstrance and exhortation was useless with his inveterate enemies; he, therefore, turns away from men as one who expects nothing from them, and commits all his sorrows to God, his Saviour and Redeemer.

16. For I speak.] — i. e. I speak in supplication to my great deliverer. He was silent in respect of men, yet his voice was addressed to God in accents of fervent prayer, accompanied by acknowledgments of his sin, and of the deep concern which he felt on account of it.

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