Psalm 140:8
Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.
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(8) Desires.—The form of the Hebrew word is anomalous, but the meaning certain. The LXX. and Vulg. give the first clause thus: “Give me not over to the enemy, by reason of their own desire;” which may possibly have been in St. Paul’s mind in Romans 1:24.

Further not.—The text of this clause has undoubtedly suffered. The Authorised Version follows the LXX. and Vulg. in inserting a negative before the last word. These versions also take the word rendered “wicked devices” as a verb, not finding a noun of the form anywhere else: “They have plotted against me: desert me not, lest they exalt themselves.” So also Symmachus, and another Greek version quoted by Origen.

As the text at present stands, we must render: his plot do not furtherthey lift up. Looking on to the next verse, “the head of those surrounding me,” the suggestion at once arises that the verb lift up properly belongs to this clause:

“His plot do not further.

They lift the head, these surrounding me.”

This arrangement disregards the “selah.” and also obliges us to suspect that a clause has dropped cut after the first clause of Psalm 140:9—a suspicion confirmed by the rhythm.[20]

[20] Mr. Burgess amends to “Further not his plot to his exaltation.”

140:8-13 Believers may pray that God would not grant the desires of the wicked, nor further their evil devices. False accusers will bring mischief upon themselves, even the burning coals of Divine vengeance. And surely the righteous shall dwell in God's presence, and give him thanks for evermore. This is true thanksgiving, even thanks-living: this use we should make of all our deliverances, we should serve God the more closely and cheerfully. Those who, though evil spoken of and ill-used by men, are righteous in the sight of God, being justified by the righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to them, and received by faith, as the effect of which, they live soberly and righteously; these give thanks to the Lord, for the righteousness whereby they are made righteous, and for every blessing of grace, and mercy of life.Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked - That is, in the matter under consideration. Let them not accomplish their desire in my destruction. Let them not succeed in their designs against me. The prayer, however, "may" be used more generally. It is proper to pray that the desires of the wicked, as wicked people, may not be granted to them; that they may "not" be successful in their purposes. Success in such desires would be only an injury to themselves and to the world. It is proper to pray that the purposes of the wicked may be defeated, and that they may be led to abandon their designs and to seek better ends. For this, in fact, we always pray when we pray for their conversion.

Further not his wicked device - His purpose against me.

Lest they exalt themselves - Lest they attribute it to their own skill, wisdom, or valor, and lest they pride themselves on their success. To succeed in a righteous cause makes a man humble and grateful; in a bad cause, proud, and forgetful of God. The margin here is, "Let them not be exalted." The meaning is, that success would at the same time elate them in their own estimation, and increase their bad influence in the world. It is, on every account, a benevolent prayer that wicked people may "not" be successful in their plans of iniquity.

8. (Compare Ps 37:12; 66:7).

lest they exalt themselves—or, they will be exalted if permitted to prosper.

His wicked device; which is to destroy me.

Exalt themselves; not only against me, but against thee also, as if by their power and policy they had frustrated thy design and promise made to me. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked,.... Of Doeg, as the Targum, and of other wicked men, who were desirous both of taking him, and of taking away his life: but the desires of such men are under the restraints of the Lord; nor can they fulfil them unless they have leave from him, which is here deprecated. The psalmist entreats he might not be delivered up to their will, or they have their will of him; see Psalm 27:12. Jarchi interprets it of Esau, as in Psalm 140:1; and it is applicable enough to antichrist and his wicked followers; who, could they have their desires, would root the Gospel, and the interest of Christ and his people, out of the world;

further not his wicked device: or, "let not his wicked device come forth" (l), or proceed to execution, or be brought to perfection; let him be disappointed in it, that he may not be able to perform his enterprise, or execute his designs; which cannot be done without the divine permission. The Rabbins, as Jarchi and others, render it, "let not his bridle come out" (m); the bridle out of his jaws, with which he was held by the Lord, and restrained from doing his will; let him not be left to his liberty, and freed from the restraints of divine Providence; see Isaiah 37:29;

lest they exalt themselves. Grow proud, haughty, and insolent to God and man; see Deuteronomy 32:27. Or, "let them not be exalted" (n); upon the ruin of me and my friends.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(l) "ne facias prodire", Vatablus; "ne sinas exire", Cocceius, Michaelis. (m) "Vel frenum ejus ne sinas exire", Cocceius. (n) "ne exaltentur", Vatablus, Gejerus.

Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: {f} further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.

(f) For it is in God's hand to overthrow the counsels and enterprises of the wicked.

8. further not his evil device] Suffer it not to issue in success.

lest they exalt themselves] The construction is harsh, whether we render thus, or, ‘for then will they exalt themselves,’ and probably the word belongs to the next verse.Verse 8. - Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked. The "desires of the wicked" are hurtful both to themselves and others. It is in his mercy that God does not grant them. Further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. So the LXX., μήποτε ὑψωθῶσιν. Others translate, "Or how they will exalt themselves!" The third stanza here terminates. The assimilation of the Nun of the verb נצר is given up, as in Psalm 61:8; Psalm 78:7, and frequently, in order to make the form more full-toned. The relative clause shows that אישׁ חמסים is not intended to be understood exclusively of one person. בּלב strengthens the notion of that which is deeply concealed and premeditated. It is doubtful whether יגוּרוּ signifies to form into troops or to stir up. But from the fact that גּוּר in Psalm 56:7; Psalm 59:4, Isaiah 54:15, signifies not congregare but se congregare, it is to be inferred that גּוּר in the passage before us, like גּרה (or התגּרה in Deuteronomy 2:9, Deuteronomy 2:24), in Syriac and Targumic גּרג, signifies concitare, to excite (cf. שׂוּר together with שׂרה, Hosea 12:4.). In Psalm 140:4 the Psalm coincides with Psalm 64:4; Psalm 58:5. They sharpen their tongue, so that it inflicts a fatal sting like the tongue of a serpent, and under their lips, shooting out from thence, is the poison of the adder (cf. Sol 4:11). עכשׁוּב is a ἅπαξ λεγομ. not from כּשׁב (Jesurun, p. 207), but from עכשׁ, Arab. ‛ks and ‛kš, root ‛k (vid., Fleischer on Isaiah 59:5, עכּבישׁ), both of which have the significations of bending, turning, and coiling after the manner of a serpent; the Beth is an organic addition modifying the meaning of the root.

(Note: According to the original Lexicons Arab. ‛ks signifies to bend one's self, to wriggle, to creep sideways like the roots of the vine, in the V form to move one's self like an adder (according to the Ḳamûs) and to walk like a drunken man (according to Neshwn); but Arab. ‛kš signifies to be intertwined, knit or closely united together, said of hairs and of the branches of trees, in the V form to fight hand to hand and to get in among the crowd. The root is apparently expanded into עכשׁוב by an added Beth which serves as a notional speciality, as in Arab. ‛rqûb the convex bend of the steep side of a rock, or in the case of the knee of the hind-legs of animals, and in Arab. charnûb (in the dialect of the country along the coast of Palestine, where the tree is plentiful, in Neshwn churnûb), the horn-like curved pod of the carob-tree (Ceratonia Siliqua), syncopated Arab. charrûb, charrûb (not charûb), from Arab. charn, cogn. qarn, a horn, cf. Arab. chrnâyt, the beak of a bird of prey, Arab. chrnûq, the stork [vid. on Psalm 104:17], Arab. chrnı̂n, the rhinoceros [vid. on Psalm 29:6], Arab. chrnuı̂t, the unicorn [vid. ibid.]. - Wetzstein.)

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