Psalms 17:11 MEANING

Psalm 17:11
(11) They have now . . .--Evidently the meaning is, Wherever we go they surround us like curs, i.e., they dog our footsteps. But the text is confused.

They have set.--Literally, they fix their eyes to cast on the earth, which may mean, "they fix their eyes on me, ready to strike me to the ground." Ewald, "they direct their eyes through the land to strike." But Mr. Burgess suggests a translation at once simple and convincing. He brings the first word back from the next verse, and points it our blood, instead of the awkward his likeness. He thus gets, "They have set their eyes to shed our blood on the earth." For the Hebrew verb in similar sense, comp. Isaiah 66:12.

Verse 11. - They have now compassed us in our steps; rather, [following] our steps, they now compass me (comp. ver. 9; and see 1 Samuel 23:26). They have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; rather, they have set their eyes, to east [me] down to the earth. The simile of the lion is already in the writer's mind. As the lion, before making his spring, fixes his eyes intently upon the prey - not to fascinate it, but to make sure of his distance - with intent, when he springs, to cast the prey down to the earth; so it is now with my enemies, who have set their eyes on me. (So Dr. Kay, the 'Speaker's Commentary,' and the Revised Version.)

17:8-15 Being compassed with enemies, David prays to God to keep him in safety. This prayer is a prediction that Christ would be preserved, through all the hardships and difficulties of his humiliation, to the glories and joys of his exalted state, and is a pattern to Christians to commit the keeping of their souls to God, trusting him to preserve them to his heavenly kingdom. Those are our worst enemies, that are enemies to our souls. They are God's sword, which cannot move without him, and which he will sheathe when he has done his work with it. They are his hand, by which he chastises his people. There is no fleeing from God's hand, but by fleeing to it. It is very comfortable, when we are in fear of the power of man, to see it dependent upon, and in subjection to the power of God. Most men look on the things of this world as the best things; and they look no further, nor show any care to provide for another life. The things of this world are called treasures, they are so accounted; but to the soul, and when compared with eternal blessings, they are trash. The most afflicted Christian need not envy the most prosperous men of the world, who have their portion in this life. Clothed with Christ's righteousness, having through his grace a good heart and a good life, may we by faith behold God's face, and set him always before us. When we awake every morning, may we be satisfied with his likeness set before us in his word, and with his likeness stamped upon us by his renewing grace. Happiness in the other world is prepared only for those that are justified and sanctified: they shall be put in possession of it when the soul awakes, at death, out of its slumber in the body, and when the body awakes, at the resurrection, out of its slumber in the grave. There is no satisfaction for a soul but in God, and in his good will towards us, and his good work in us; yet that satisfaction will not be perfect till we come to heaven.They have now compassed us in our steps,.... The sense is, they could not stir a step but they were at their heels, surrounding them on every side. This was true of David, when he was pursued by Saul, and followed by him to Keilah and the wilderness of Maon, 1 Samuel 23:8; according to the "Cetib", or textual writing, it should be rendered, "they have compassed me"; but, according to the "Keri", or marginal reading, and the points, it is as we have translated it, and which is followed by the Targum, and both are right, and design David as a principal person, and those that were with him, who were encompassed by Saul and his men. This also was verified in Christ, when Judas followed him into the garden with a band of men to betray him, and when he was enclosed by wicked men as he went to the cross, and hung upon it, John 18:2; and may likewise be accommodated to the case of all the saints, who are troubled on every side, are beset with the corruptions of their hearts, the temptations of Satan, and the reproaches and persecutions of the men of the world, 2 Corinthians 4:8;

they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; which posture either denotes fraudulence and hypocrisy, showing, by looking only upon the ground, as if they were harmless and inoffensive, and had no ill designs, and took no notice of anything; which, as it was true of David's enemies, so of the Jews and of Judas with respect to Christ, and of false teachers with respect to the church, Luke 20:20, Matthew 7:15; or else inhumanity and contempt, not caring to turn their eyes to look upon them in distress, but kept their eyes fixed upon the earth, so Christ was treated by the Jews, Isaiah 53:3; or rather their being intent upon mischief, their diligence and watchfulness to observe all motions, and take every opportunity "to strike", or "cast me down to the earth", as the Arabic and Syriac versions render it; or the sense is, as Kimchi gives it, their eyes are upon our ways, to spread nets for us in the earth to take us.

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