Psalm 64:4
That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
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(4) And fear not.—These are utterly unscrupulous, fearing neither God nor man.

64:1-6 The psalmist earnestly begs of God to preserve him from disquieting fear. The tongue is a little member, but it boasts great things. The upright man is the mark at which the wicked aim, they cannot speak peaceably either of him or to him. There is no guard against a false tongue. It is bad to do wrong, but worse to encourage ourselves and one another in it. It is a sign that the heart is hardened to the greatest degree, when it is thus fully set to do evil. A practical disbelief of God's knowledge of all things, is at the bottom of every wickedness. The benefit of a good cause and a good conscience, appears most when nothing can help a man against his enemies, save God alone, who is always a present help.That they may shoot in secret - From an unobserved quarter; from a place where they are so concealed that it cannot be known where the arrows come from. There was a purpose to ruin him, and at the same time to conceal themselves, or not to let him know from what source the ruin came. It was not an open and manly fight, where he could see his enemy, but it was a warfare with a concealed foe.

At the perfect - At the upright; at one who is perfect so far as his treatment of them is concerned. Compare Psalm 18:20, note; Psalm 18:23, note.

Suddenly do they shoot at him - At an unexpected time, and from an unlooked-for quarter. They accomplish what they intended; they carry out their design.

And fear not - They feel confident that they are not known, and that they will not be detected. They have no fear of God or man. Compare Psalm 55:19.

4. the perfect—one innocent of the charges made (Ps 18:23).

fear not—(Ps 55:19), not regarding God.

In secret; lying in ambush, or hiding themselves in secret places, as fowlers commonly do.

The perfect; or, upright man; i.e. at me, who in spite of all their calumnies dare avow that my heart is perfect with God, and that I am blameless as to them, having given them no just provocation.

Suddenly; at the very first opportunity.

Fear not; neither men, because they conceal it from them, as appears from the foregoing and following words; nor God, whose judgments they despise. That they may shoot in secret at the perfect,.... Meaning himself, who though not without sin, and far from perfection in himself, in the sight of God and with respect to his righteous law, which was exceeding broad; and therefore he saw an end of all perfection, and desired that God would not enter into judgment with him; but yet, in the case of Saul, he was quite clear and innocent, and without fault. Likewise the Messiah, of whom David was a type, may be meant; who has all the perfections of the divine and human nature in him, and is without sin, holy, harmless, pure, and undefiled: and it may be applied to the church and people of God, who, though they are not perfect in themselves, far from it, sin being in them, and their graces weak; unless it be in a comparative sense; yet they are perfect in Christ Jesus, their souls being clothed with his righteousness, and so are the spirits of just men made perfect. And this character may also respect the truth and sincerity of grace in them, and the uprightness of their hearts and conversation; and such as these wicked men level their arrows at, and direct their spite and venom against, and that in the most private and secret manner;

suddenly do they shoot at him; as unseen by him, so unawares to him;

and fear not; neither God nor judgment to come. Though some understand this of the perfect who, though shot at in this manner are intrepid and courageous, and have no fear of their enemies; but the former sense seems best, which describes persons that neither fear God, nor regard man.

That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and {e} fear not.

(e) To be without fear of God and reverence of man, is a sign of reprobation.

4. That they may shoot] Cp. Psalm 11:2.

in secret] R.V., in secret places, as Psalm 10:8; Psalm 17:12.

the perfect] The upright, blameless man, an epithet often applied to Job (Job 1:1, &c.). Cp. Psalm 37:37; Proverbs 29:10, and see note on the cognate word in Psalm 15:2.

fear not] They neither fear God nor regard man. Cp. Psalm 55:19.Verse 4. - That they may shoot in secret at the perfect; or, in their hiding places. David does not scruple to call himself "perfect," using the word in the sense in which it is used of Job (Job 1:1; Job 2:3), meaning a sincere and upright man. Suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They are not afraid, though it is "the anointed of the Lord," whom to attack is not only rebellion, but sacrilege (see 2 Samuel 1:14). The closing strophe turns towards these foes. By והמּה he contrasts with his own person, as in Psalm 59:16., Psalm 56:7., the party of the enemy, before which he has retreated into the desert. It is open to question whether לשׁואה is intended to be referred, according to Psalm 35:17, to the persecuted one (to destroy my life), or, with Hupfeld, to the persecutors (to their own destruction, they themselves for destruction). If the former reference to the persecuted be adopted, we ought, in order to give prominence to the evidently designed antithesis to Psalm 63:9, to translate: those, however, who..., shall go down into the depths of the earth (Bttcher, and others); a rendering which is hazardous as regards the syntax, after המּה and in connection with this position of the words. Therefore translate: On the other hand, those, to (their own) ruin do they seek my soul. It is true this ought properly to be expressed by לשׁואתם, but the absence of the suffix is less hazardous than the above relative rendering of יבּקּשׁוּ. What follows in Psalm 63:10-11 is the expansion of לשׁואה. The futures from יבאוּ onwards are to be taken as predictive, not as imprecatory; the former accords better with the quiet, gentle character of the whole song. It shall be with them as with the company of Korah. תּחתּיּות הארץ is the interior of the earth down into its deepest bottom; this signification also holds good in Psalm 139:15; Isaiah 44:23.

(Note: In this passage in Isaiah are meant the depths of the earth (lxx θεμέλια τῆς γῆς), the earth down to its inmost part, with its caverns, abysses, and subterranean passages. The apostle, however, in Ephesians 4:9 by τὰ κατώτερα τῆς γῆς means exactly the same as what in our passage is called in the lxx τὰ κατώτατα τῆς γῆς: the interior of the earth equals the under world, just as it is understood by all the Greek fathers (so far as my knowledge extends); the comparative κατώτερος is used just like ἐνέρτερος.)

The phrase הגּיר על־ידי חרב here and in Jeremiah 18:21; Ezekiel 35:5 (Hiph., not of גּרר, to drag, tear away, but נגר, to draw towards, flow), signifies properly to pour upon equals into the hands (Job 16:11), i.e., to give over (הסגּיר) into the power of the sword; effundent eum is (much the same as in Job 4:19; Job 18:18, and frequently) equivalent to effundetur. The enallage is like Psalm 5:10; Psalm 7:2., and frequently: the singular refers to each individual of the homogeneous multitude, or to this multitude itself as a concrete persona moralis. The king, however, who is now banished from Jerusalem to the habitation of jackals, will, whilst they become a portion (מנת equals מנות), i.e., prey, of the jackals (vid., the fulfilment in 2 Samuel 18:7.), rejoice in Elohim. Every one who sweareth by Him shall boast himself. Theodoret understands this of swearing κατὰ τὴν τοῦ βασιλέως σωτηρίαν. Hengstenberg compares the oath חי פרעה, Genesis 42:15. Ewald also (217, f) assumes this explanation to be unquestionable. But the Israelite is to swear by the name of Jahve and by no other, Deuteronomy 6:13; Isaiah 65:16, cf. Amos 8:14. If the king were meant, why was it not rather expressed by הנשׁבּע לו, he who swears allegiance to him? The syntax does not help us to decide to what the בּו refers. Neinrich Moeller (1573) says of the בו as referred to the king: peregrinum est et coactum; and A. H. Franke in his Introductio in Psalterium says of it as referred to Elohim: coactum est. So far as the language is concerned, both references are admissible; but as regards the subject-matter, only the latter. The meaning, as everywhere else, is a searing by God. He who, without allowing himself to turn from it, swore by Elohim, the God of Israel, the God of David His anointed, and therefore acknowledged Him as the Being exalted above all things, shall boast himself or "glory," inasmuch as it shall be practically seen how well-founded and wise was this recognition. He shall glory, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped, forcibly closed, viz., those who, together with confidence in the Christ of God, have by falsehood also undermined the reverence which is due to God Himself. Psalm 64:1-10 closes very similarly, and hence is placed next in order.

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