Psalms 56:2 MEANING

Psalm 56:2
(2) Swallow me up.--The root idea of the Hebrew word so rendered is by no means clear. In many passages where it is used the meaning given here by the LXX., "trample on," will suit the context quite as well as, or even better than, the meaning, "pant after," given in the Lexicons. (See Job 5:5; Isaiah 42:14; Ecclesiastes 1:5; Amos 2:7; Amos 8:4.) And this sense of bruising by trampling also suits the cognate verb, sh-ph, used only three times (Genesis 3:15; Job 9:17; Psalm 139:11). Symmachus also here has "bruise," or "grind." On the other hand in Psalm 119:131; Job 7:2, &c, we want the idea of "haste" or "desire." Possibly the original meaning of "trample" may have passed through the sense of physical haste to that of passion. Or we may even get the sense of "greedily devouring" by the exactly similar process by which we come to talk of devouring the road with speed. The same verb is used in the next verse with an object.

Fighting.--Better, devouring. (Comp. Psalm 35:1.)

O thou most High.--Heb., marom, which is here not a vocative, but an adverbial accusative, "proudly," in pride.

Verse 2. - Mine enemies; literally, my watchers - those who keep a continual guard over me. If David had been seized and made a prisoner by the Philistine lords, this expression would be very appropriate. Would daily swallow me up; rather, pant after me all day. For they be many that fight against me. The "lords of the Philistines" were, doubtless, "many;" they seem to have, all of them, opposed themselves to David (1 Samuel 29:2-9). O thou Most High. This rendering is now generally abandoned, since marom (מָרום), "height," is nowhere else used in this sense. Dr. Kay, Hengstenberg, and the Revised Version render "proudly;" Professor Cheyne, "with high looks."

56:1-7 Be merciful unto me, O God. This petition includes all the good for which we come to throne of grace. If we obtain mercy there, we need no more to make us happy. It implies likewise our best plea, not our merit, but God's mercy, his free, rich mercy. We may flee to, and trust the mercy of God, when surrounded on all sides by difficulties and dangers. His enemies were too hard for him, if God did not help him. He resolves to make God's promises the matter of his praises, and so we have reason to make them. As we must not trust an arm of flesh when engaged for us, so we must not be afraid of an arm of flesh when stretched out against us. The sin of sinners will never be their security. Who knows the power of God's anger; how high it can reach, how forcibly it can strike?Mine enemies would daily swallow me up,.... For not one man only, but many, were his enemies; who observed and watched him, and were eagerly desirous of his ruin. The believer has many enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, seeking to devour and destroy him, though they cannot;

for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High; he appeals to God, who dwells on high, and sees all things, for the truth of this, that he had many enemies both at Gath and in Israel; as well as applies to him for help, he being higher than they. Some render the words, "for they be many that fight against me from on high" (q), or "highly" (r), proudly and haughtily. Aben Ezra gives a very different sense,

"I have many angels on high that fight for me.''

But "marom", is an epithet of God, as in Psalm 92:8; and so it is interpreted by Jarchi and Kimchi; and also by the Targum, which renders it, O God most High; and adds,

"whose throne is on high;''

which is approved by Gussetius (s).

(q) "a sublimi", Junius & Tremellius; "ex alto", Cocceius; so Arab vers. and Michaelis. (r) "Elato animo", Musculus; so some in Vatablus; "superbe", Gejerus. (s) Ebr. Comment. p. 783.

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