Let it be to him as the garment which covers him, and for a girdle with which he is girded continually.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
And for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually - The belt or girdle which he constantly wears. See the notes at Matthew 5:38.Isaiah 66:24.
And for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually; let him be in the utmost straits and distress, being encompassed about with the curse and wrath of God; and let that stick close unto him as a man's belt does; and let him not be able to get clear of it, or extricate himself out of it, as no man can on whom it is.Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. (So) let it be unto him as the garment in which he wraps himself,
And as the belt wherewith he girds himself continually.
As the text stands, the verbs in Psalm 109:17-18 cannot be rendered as optatives, let it come … let it be far … let it come. At first sight it is tempting to make the slight change in vocalisation which would give this sense (cp. LXX and Jer.); but the text admits of a good explanation. The past tenses it came … it was far … it came are not to be explained as ‘futures of certainty,’ water and oil (possibly with a reference to the water of jealousy, Numbers 5:22) being regarded as figures for what will inevitably penetrate his whole body. Water and oil naturally denote what is refreshing and strengthening (Job 15:16; Job 34:7; Proverbs 3:8). The wicked man deliberately chose the policy of cursing, and welcomed it to a home in his heart; he banished blessing from his thoughts and purposes. Cursing became the habit of mind, which he assumed each day as naturally as his garment: it was a positive refreshment and invigoration of his whole being. Therefore let it cleave inseparably to him and let him never be able to free himself from it Let it cling to him like a Nessus-shirt of venom.Verse 19. - Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him. Let it cling to him both outwardly and inwardly - inwardly, as the penetrating oil; outwardly, as the everyday dress. And for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. The "girdle" or "waistcloth" was even more inseparable from the wearer than his beged, his "cloak" or "wrap." Isaiah 24:2). In Psalm 109:12 משׁך חסד, to draw out mercy, is equivalent to causing it to continue and last, Psalm 36:11, cf. Jeremiah 31:3. אחריתו, Psalm 109:13, does not signify his future, but as Psalm 109:13 (cf. Psalm 37:38) shows: his posterity. יהי להכרית is not merely exscindatur, but exscindenda sit (Ezekiel 30:16, cf. Joshua 2:6), just as in other instances חיה ל corresponds to the active fut. periphrasticum, e.g., Genesis 15:12; Isaiah 37:26. With reference to ימּח instead of ימּח (contracted from ימּחה), vid., Ges. 75, rem. 8. A Jewish acrostic interpretation of the name ישׁוּ runs: ימּח שׁמו וזכרו. This curse shall overtake the family of the υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας. All the sins of his parents and ancestors shall remain indelible above before God the Judge, and here below the race, equally guilty, shall be rooted out even to its memory, i.e., to the last trace of it.
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