Psalm 140:4
Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.
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(4) Overthrow my goings.—Literally, thrust aside my steps. The verse is a repetition, with variation, of Psalm 140:1.

Psalm 140:4-5. Keep me from the hands of the wicked — Hebrew, רשׁע, the wicked man. Let him not prevail to take away my life, my reputation, my interest, or my comfort, or to prevent my coming to the throne. Preserve me from the violent man — Hebrew, מאישׁ חמסים, (as also in Psalm 140:1,) from the man of violences, injuries, or rapines; who hath purposed — Whose design and full resolution it is, if thou do not prevent it; to overthrow my goings — My feet, or footsteps; that is, to throw me down to the ground, to defeat all my hopes and counsels, and bring me to ruin. The proud — My insolent enemies, who despise me for my meanness, and exalt themselves against thee; have hid — Have secretly laid; a snare for me — That their designs, being undiscovered, might be the more likely to take effect, and I might fall into their hands ere I was aware. They have spread a net by the way — In which I used to walk. No hunter or fowler can be more industrious and cunning in spreading nets, or setting gins and traps for the beasts or birds which he wishes to insnare and catch, than they are to trace me in all my motions, (1 Samuel 23:23,) and to invent all manner of wiles and subtle arts to surprise me.140:1-7 The more danger appears, the more earnest we should be in prayer to God. All are safe whom the Lord protects. If he be for us, who can be against us? We should especially watch and pray, that the Lord would hold up our goings in his ways, that our footsteps slip not. God is as able to keep his people from secret fraud as from open force; and the experience we have had of his power and care, in dangers of one kind, may encourage us to depend upon him in other dangers.Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked ... - See the notes at Psalm 71:4. This is a repetition of the prayer in Psalm 140:1.

Who have purposed to overthrow my goings - To thrust me down as I go; to defeat my plans; to destroy me. They endeavor to prevent my accomplishing what I had designed to do.

3. sharpened … like a serpent—not like a serpent does, but they are thus like a serpent in cunning and venom. Whose design and full resolution it is, if thou dost not prevent it, to overthrow my goings, or my feet or footsteps, i.e. to throw me down to the ground, to defeat all my hopes and counsels, and bring me to ruin. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked,.... From falling into their hands, and the weight of them); and from their laying hands on him, being men of power and authority;

preserve me from the violent man: or men, everyone of them; See Gill on Psalm 140:1;

who have purposed to overthrow my goings: to supplant him; to cause him to stumble and fall, to his disgrace and reproach; and that they might take an advantage of him, and an occasion against him. Arama interprets it, to drive me out of the land of Israel; see 1 Samuel 26:1. So Christ's enemies thought to have supplanted him, and have found something against him, to accuse him of to Caesar, Matthew 22:15.

Keep {d} me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.

(d) He declares the remedy of the godly, when they are oppressed by the worldlings.

4. to overthrow my goings] To trip me up and overthrow me. Cp. Psalm 118:13. R.V. to thrust aside my steps.

4, 5. Repeated prayer for deliverance from their plots.Verse 4. - Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man. A repetition of ver. 1 in a modified form. The fact of iteration indicates the extremity of the psalmist's need. Who have purposed to overthrow my goings; i.e. to bring me to destruction (comp. Psalm 17:5). And this God is by many not only not believed in and loved, but even hated and blasphemed! The poet now turns towards these enemies of God in profound vexation of spirit. The אם, which is conditional in Psalm 139:8, here is an optative o si, as in Psalm 81:9; Psalm 95:7. The expression תּקטל אלוהּ reminds one of the Book of Job, for, with the exception of our Psalm, this is the only book that uses the verb קטל, which is more Aramaic than Hebrew, and the divine name Eloah occurs more frequently in it than anywhere else. The transition from the optative to the imperative סוּרוּ is difficult; it would have been less so if the Waw copul. had been left out: cf. the easier expression in Psalm 6:9; Psalm 119:115. But we may not on this account seek to read יסוּרוּ, as Olshausen does. Everything here is remarkable; the whole Psalm has a characteristic form in respect to the language. מנּי is the ground-form of the overloaded ממּנּי, and is also like the Book of Job, Job 21:16, cf. מנהוּ Job 4:12, Psalm 68:24. The mode of writing ימרוּך (instead of which, however, the Babylonian texts had יאמרוּך) is the same as in 2 Samuel 19:15, cf. in 2 Samuel 20:9 the same melting away of the Aleph into the preceding vowel in connection with אחז, in 2 Samuel 22:40 in connection with אזּר, and in Isaiah 13:20 with אהל. Construed with the accusative of the person, אמר here signifies to declare any one, profiteri, a meaning which, we confess, does not occur elsewhere. But למזמּה (cf. למרמה, Psalm 24:4; the Targum: who swear by Thy name for wantonness) and the parallel member of the verse, which as it runs is moulded after Exodus 20:7, show that it has not to be read ימרוּך (Quinta: παρεπικρανάν σε). The form נשׁוּא, with Aleph otians, is also remarkable; it ought at least to have been written נשׂאוּ (cf. נרפּוּא, Ezekiel 47:8) instead of the customary נשׂאוּ; yet the same mode of writing is found in the Niphal in Jeremiah 10:5, ינשׁוּא, it assumes a ground-form נשׂה (Psalm 32:1) equals נשׂא, and is to be judged of according to אבוּא in Isaiah 28:12 [Ges. 23, 3, rem. 3]. Also one feels the absence of the object to נשׁוּא לשּׁוא. It is meant to be supplied according to the decalogue, Exodus 20:7, which certainly makes the alteration שׁמך (Bttcher, Olsh.) or זכרך (Hitzig on Isaiah 26:13), instead of עריך, natural. But the text as we now have it is also intelligible: the object to נשׂוא is derived from ימרוך, and the following עריך is an explanation of the subject intended in נשׂוא that is introduced subsequently. Psalm 89:52 proves the possibility of this structure of a clause. It is correctly rendered by Aquila ἀντίζηλοί σου, and Symmachus οἱ ἐναντίοι σου. ער, an enemy, prop. one who is zealous, a zealot (from עוּר, or rather עיר, equals Arab. gâr, med. Je, ζηλοῦν, whence עיר, Arab. gayrat equals קנאה), is a word that is guaranteed by 1 Samuel 28:16; Daniel 4:16, and as being an Aramaism is appropriate to this Psalm. The form תּקומם for מתּקומם has cast away the preformative Mem (cf. שׁפתּים and משׁפּתים, מקּרה in Deuteronomy 23:11 for ממּקּרה); the suffix is to be understood according to Psalm 17:7. Pasek stands between יהוה and אשׂנה in order that the two words may not be read together (cf. Job 27:13, and above Psalm 10:3). התקוטט as in the recent Psalm 119:158. The emphasis in Psalm 139:22 lies on לי; the poet regards the adversaries of God as enemies of his own. תּכלית takes the place of the adjective: extremo (odio) odi eos. Such is the relation of the poet to the enemies of God, but without indulging any self-glorying.
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