Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 140:1-13. The style of this Psalm resembles those of David in the former part of the book, presenting the usual complaint, prayer, and confident hope of relief.
1. evil man—Which of David's enemies is meant is not important.
Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.
2-5. This character of the wicked, and the devices planned against the pious, correspond to Ps 10:7; 31:13; 58:4, &c.
They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah.
3. sharpened … like a serpent—not like a serpent does, but they are thus like a serpent in cunning and venom.
Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.
The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
5. snare [and] net—for threatening dangers (compare Ps 38:12; 57:6).
I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.
6. (Compare Ps 5:1-12; 16:2).
O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
7. day of battle—literally, "of armor," that is, when using it.
Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.
8. (Compare Ps 37:12; 66:7).
lest they exalt themselves—or, they will be exalted if permitted to prosper.
As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.
9. Contrasts his head covered by God (Ps 140:7) with theirs, or (as "head" may be used for "persons") with them, covered with the results of their wicked deeds (Ps 7:16).
Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
10. (Compare Ps 11:6; 120:4).
cast into the fire; into deep pits—figures for utter destruction.
Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.
11. an evil speaker—or, "slanderer" will not be tolerated (Ps 101:7). The last clause may be translated: "an evil (man) He (God) shall hunt," &c.
I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.
12. (Compare Ps 9:4).
Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
13. After all changes, the righteous shall have cause for praise. Such
shall dwell—shall sit securely, under God's protection (Ps 21:6; 41:12).