Psalm 64:8
So they shall make their own tongue to fall on themselves: all that see them shall flee away.
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Psalm 64:8-9. They shall make their own tongue, &c. — The mischief of their hard speeches, and threats, and crafty counsels against me, shall be turned against themselves. All that see them shall flee away — Partly through abhorrence of them, and partly through fear of being involved in their destruction. Some think this was fulfilled in the death of Saul, when not only his army was dispersed, but the inhabitants of the neighbouring country were so terrified with his fall, and with that of his three sons, that they quitted their cities and fled, 1 Samuel 31:7. And all men shall fear — A great number of those who shall see this event shall be affected with a holy awe of God upon the consideration of it, and shall fear and tremble because of his judgments; shall fear being found persecutors of God’s people. And shall declare the work of God — His admirable work of divine wisdom, power, and faithfulness; they shall speak one to another, and to all about them, of the justice of God in punishing persecutors. For they shall wisely consider of his doing — Learning wisdom by the folly and misery of these persecutors, and avoiding those evil courses which brought ruin upon them. There is need of consideration and serious thought, rightly to take up such a matter of fact, and need of wisdom to put a true interpretation upon it. What God does is well worth our considering, Ecclesiastes 7:13. But it must be considered wisely, that we do not mistake the design of it, and the instruction it is intended to convey.64:7-10 When God brings upon men the mischiefs they have desired on others, it is weight enough to sink a man to the lowest hell. Those who love cursing, it shall come upon them. Those who behold this shall understand, and observe God's hand in all; unless we do so, we are not likely to profit by the dispensations of Providence. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord; not glad of the misery and ruin of their fellow-creatures, but glad that God is glorified, and his word fulfilled, and the cause of injured innocence pleaded effectually. They rejoice not in men, nor in themselves, nor in any creature, or creature enjoyments, nor in their wisdom, strength, riches, or righteousness; but in Christ, in whom all the seed of Israel are justified and glory, and in what he is to them, and has done for them.So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves - In Psalm 64:3, their tongue is represented as a sword; and here, keeping up the figure, the tongue, as a sword, is represented as falling on them, or as inflicting the wound on themselves which they had intended to inflict on others. This might be rendered, "And they have cast him down; upon them is their own tongue;" or, "Upon them their own tongue has come." That is, someone would cast them down, and they would fall as if smitten by their own tongue like a sword. It is not said who would do this, but the most natural interpretation is that it would be done by God. The idea is, that the instrument which they had employed to injure others would be the means of their own ruin.

All that see them shall flee away - Compare Psalm 31:11. That is, they shall flee in consternation from those who are so fearfully overthrown. They shall see that God is just, and that He will punish the wicked; and they will desire to escape from a ruin so dreadful as that which comes upon the ungodly. The idea is, that when God punishes sinners, the effect on others is, and should be, to lead them to wish not to be associated with such people, but to escape from a doom so fearful.

8. their … tongue to fall, &c.—that is, the consequences of their slanders, &c. (compare Ps 10:2; 31:16).

all that see … away—Their partners in evil shall be terrified.

The mischief of their hard speeches, and threats, and crafty counsels against me shall be turned against themselves.

Shall flee away; partly through abhorrency of them, and partly through fear of being involved in their destruction. So shall they make their own tongue to fall upon themselves,.... The evil things they have wished for, threatened unto, and imprecated on others, shall come upon themselves; the curses they have cursed others with shall come upon themselves; the pit they have dug for others, they fall into. So Haman, to whom some apply the psalm, was hanged on the gallows he made for Mordecai; and the accusers of Daniel, to whom others apply it, were cast into the same den of lions they procured for him; and Babylon, who has been drunk with the blood of the saints, shall have blood given her to drink.

all that see them shall flee away; not being able to help them, nor to bear the horrible sight, and fearing the same judgments should fall on themselves; see Numbers 16:34. Or, "they shall move themselves" (d); shake their heads in a way of derision, as Jarchi interprets it; or skip for joy, as the word is rendered in Jeremiah 48:27; and then it must be understood of the righteous; who, seeing the vengeance on the wicked, rejoice, as in Psalm 52:6; though, as they are afterwards particularly mentioned, others seem to be designed. The word is used for lamenting and bemoaning one's self, in Jeremiah 31:18; and so may be applied to the friends of the wicked lamenting and bemoaning their ruin, and their being bereaved of them, Revelation 18:9.

(d) "amovebunt se", Montanus; "commovebuntur", Vatablus.

So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall {h} flee away.

(h) To see God's heavy judgments against them, and how he has caught them in their own snares.

8. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves] An untenable rendering of an obscure sentence. It is best to render, substantially as R.V., And they are made to stumble, their own tongue being against them. Lit. they make him stumble: the plural subject to the verb suggesting, as in Psalm 63:10, the idea of mysterious agents in God’s service, and the singular object regarding ‘the enemy’ (as in Psalm 64:1 b) collectively as a body. For the sense cp. Psalm 140:9; Psalm 7:15 f (note that v. 12 f are parallel to v. 7 here); Psalm 57:6. Their tongue, the weapon with which they sought to destroy others, is turned against themselves. Ahithophel’s fate may serve for illustration. Possible, but less satisfactory, is the rendering of R.V. marg.: So shall they against whom their tongue was make them to stumble. The context does not hint that their victims become their executioners.

shall flee away] For fear of sharing their fate (Numbers 16:34). But the right rendering certainly is, All that see their desire upon them shall wag the head, in scornful triumph, as Jeremiah 48:27, R.V.; cp. Psalm 22:7. See Psalm 52:6 ff.; Psalm 54:7; Psalm 59:10, and for the light in which such expressions of satisfaction are to be regarded see note on Psalm 58:11.Verse 8. - So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves; rather, so shall they be made to stumble; their own tongue shall be against them. The tongue, which they "whetted like a sword," shall be the principal means of bringing them into trouble (see 2 Samuel 17:1-23). All that see them shall flee away; rather, shall wag the head (Cheyne, Revised Version) in derision. The Psalm opens with an octostich, and closes in the same way. The infinitive noun שׂיח signifies a complaint, expressed not by the tones of pain, but in words. The rendering of the lxx (here and in Psalm 55:3) is too general, ἐν τῷ θέεσθαί με. The "terror" of the enemy is that proceeding from him (gen. obj. as in Deuteronomy 2:15, and frequently). The generic singular אויב is at once particularized in a more detailed description with the use of the plural. סוד is a club or clique; רגשׁה (Targumic equals המון, e.g., Ezekiel 30:10) a noisy crowd. The perfects after אשׁר affirm that which they now do as they have before done; cf. Psalm 140:4 and Psalm 58:8, where, as in this passage, the treading or bending of the bow is transferred to the arrow. דּבר מר is the interpretation added to the figure, as in Psalm 144:7. That which is bitter is called מר, root מר, stringere, from the harsh astringent taste; here it is used tropically of speech that wounds and inflicts pain (after the manner of an arrow or a stiletto), πικροὶ λόγοι. With the Kal לירות (Psalm 11:2) alternates the Hiph. ירהוּ. With פּתאם the description takes a new start. ולא ייראוּ, forming an assonance with the preceding word, means that they do it without any fear whatever, and therefore also without fear of God (Psalm 55:20; Psalm 25:18).
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