Psalm 69:22
Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
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(22) Let their table.—The form of this imprecation is, of course, suggested by the figurative language immediately preceding. Life had been made bitter by rancour and enmity, and the psalmist hurls back his curses, couched in the terms which had arisen to his lips to express his own misery.

And that which.—Rather, and to them in peace a noose. Seated at the banquet, amid every sign of peace, and every means of enjoyment, let their surroundings of security and pleasure become their snare and ruin. (Comp. 1Thessalonians 5:3. See St. Paul’s citation, Romans 11:9, New Testament Commentary.)

Psalm 69:22. Let their table, &c. — Dr. Waterland renders the verse, Their table shall be for a snare before them, and their peace-offerings for a trap. “This and the following verses are to be read in the future tense, and considered as predictions rather than as imprecations. The meaning of the whole verse seems to be, The oblations and prayers of those who have dealt thus barbarously with me, shall be so far from pacifying God, or being accepted of him, that, like the offerings made to false gods, styled the preparing a table, Isaiah 65:11, they shall provoke God, and turn to their mischief: see Romans 11:9.” — Dodd. The sacrifices, peace- offerings, and other oblations of the Jews, were, in a remarkable manner, a snare to them, in that their dependence on them, and their conceit of the everlastingness of the Mosaic dispensation, was one chief cause of their rejection of Christ.69:22-29 These are prophecies of the destruction of Christ's persecutors. Verses 22,23, are applied to the judgments of God upon the unbelieving Jews, in Ro 11:9,10. When the supports of life and delights of sense, through the corruption of our nature, are made the food and fuel of sin, then our table is a snare. Their sin was, that they would not see, but shut their eyes against the light, loving darkness rather; their punishment was, that they should not see, but should be given up to their own hearts' lusts which hardened them. Those who reject God's great salvation proffered to them, may justly fear that his indignation will be poured out upon them. If men will sin, the Lord will reckon for it. But those that have multiplied to sin, may yet find mercy, through the righteousness of the Mediator. God shuts not out any from that righteousness; the gospel excludes none who do not, by unbelief, shut themselves out. But those who are proud and self-willed, so that they will not come in to God's righteousness, shall have their doom accordingly; they themselves decide it. Let those not expect any benefit thereby, who are not glad to be beholden to it. It is better to be poor and sorrowful, with the blessing of the Lord, than rich and jovial, and under his curse. This may be applied to Christ. He was, when on earth, a man of sorrows that had not where to lay his head; but God exalted him. Let us call upon the Lord, and though poor and sorrowful, guilty and defiled, his salvation will set us up on high.Let their table become a snare before them - These verses are quoted by Paul Romans 11:9-10 as descriptive of the character of persons in his time, or as "language" which would express what he desired to say. See the passage explained at length in the notes at Romans 11:9-10. The whole passage is a prayer that they might receive a proper recompense for what they had done. The word "table" here means the table at which they were accustomed to eat. As they refused food to a hungry man, the prayer is, that they might find the recompense for their conduct "in that very line;" or that, as they refused food to the hungry, they might find "their" food a "snare" to them. That is, Let it be the means of punishing them for their not giving wholesome food to the hungry, or for their offering poisonous herbs to a starving man. The word "snare" here means unexpected danger; danger sprung suddenly upon them - as a snare is upon a wild beast.

And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap - Much of this is supplied by the translators. The literal rendering would be, "And to those at peace (or secure) a trap." The word here rendered "welfare" is the plural form of the word meaning "peace," and may denote those who feel that they are at peace; that they are secure; that they are in no danger. The ancient versions give it the sense of "requitals," that is, a recompence for their transgressions; but the other signification best accords with the connection. The word "trap" is usually applied to the devices for capturing wild beasts, and the meaning is, "Let the recompence come suddenly upon them, while they think themselves at peace, or when they are surrounded by all the comforts and luxuries of life." This prayer is such as occurs frequently in the Psalms. It cannot be "proved" that it was uttered in a malignant spirit, or that anything more is intended by it than that the psalmist desired that justice might be done to all people - an object which all magistrates, and all good citizens, should pray for.

22, 23. With unimportant verbal changes, this language is used by Paul to describe the rejection of the Jews who refused to receive the Saviour (Ro 11:9, 10). The purport of the figures used is that blessings shall become curses, the "table" of joy (as one of food) a "snare," their

welfare—literally, "peaceful condition," or security, a "trap." Darkened eyes and failing strength complete the picture of the ruin falling on them under the invoked retribution.

22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.

24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.

25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.

27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

From this point David and our Lord for awhile part company, if we accept the rendering of our version. The severe spirit of the law breathes out imprecations, while the tender heart of Jesus offers prayers for his murderers. The whole of these verses, however, may be viewed as predictions, and then they certainly refer to our Lord, for we find portions of them quoted in that manner by the apostle in Matthew 11:9, Matthew 11:10, and by Christ himself in Matthew 23:38.

Psalm 69:22

"Let their table become a snare before them." There they laid snares, and there they shall find them. From their feasts they would afford nothing but wormwood for their innocent victim, and now their banquets shall be their ruin. It is very easy for the daily provisions of mercy to become temptations to sin. As birds and beasts are taken in a trap by means of baits for the appetite, so are men snared full often by their meats and drinks. Those who despise the upper springs of grace, shall find the nether springs of worldly comfort prove their poison. The table is used, however, not alone for feeding, but for conversation, transacting business, counsel, amusement, and religious observance: to those who are the enemies of the Lord Jesus the table may, in all these respects, become a snare. This first plague is terrible, and the second is like unto it. "And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap." This, if we follow the original closely, and the version of Paul in the Romans, is a repetition of the former phrase; but we shall not err if we say that, to the rejectors of Christ, even those things which are calculated to work their spiritual and eternal good, become occasions for yet greater sin. They reject Christ, and are condemned for not believing on him; they stumble on this stone, and are broken by it. Wretched are those men, who not only have a curse upon their common blessings, but also on the spiritual opportunities of salvation.

"Whom oils and balsams kill, what salve can cure?"

This second plague even exceeds the first.

Psalm 69:23

"Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not." They shall wander in a darkness that may be felt. They have loved darkness rather than light, and in darkness they shall abide. Judicial blindness fell upon Israel after our Lord's death and their persecution of his apostles; they were blinded by the light which they would not accept. Eyes which see no beauty in the Lord Jesus, but flash wrath upon him, may well grow yet more dim, till death spiritual leads to death eternal. "And make their loins continually to shake." Their conscience shall be so ill at ease that they shall continually quiver with fear; their backs shall bend to the earth (so some read it) with grovelling avarice, and their strength shall be utterly paralyzed, so that they cannot walk firmly, but shall totter at every step. See the terrifying, degrading, and enfeebling influence of unbelief. See also the retaliations of justice: those who will not see shall not see; those who would not walk in uprightness shall be unable to do so.


These and the following words, which are expressed in the form of imprecations, are thought by divers to be and that the imperatives are put for the as sometimes they are. And accordingly they translate the words thus, Their table shall become a snare, But if they be imprecations, here was sufficient cause for them. And besides, it is apparent that they were not the dictates of human passion, but of Divine inspiration, from a just zeal for God’s glory, as hath been before.

Their table, i.e. their food, and all their for necessity or delight, either for body or soul; curses here following are spiritual and eternal as temporal. And so this may comprehend their sacrifices and other legal ordinances, and the word of God; all to the Jews through their own default a great occasion of stumbling at Christ. And this punishment in their table exactly answers to their sin in giving Christ gall for his meat, Psalm 69:21. Become a snare before them, Heb. before them (i.e. their table or meat, which is set

before them, which is the usual expression in this case, as Genesis 18:8 2 Kings 6:22) become a snare, i.e. the occasion or instrument of their destruction. It is a metaphor taken from birds or fishes, that are commonly ensnared and taken with their baits.

And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap; Heb. and as for their great peace, (which the plural number seems to import, all that tranquillity and prosperity which they do or may enjoy,) let it be a trap; or, and their peace offerings (which sacrifices may be here mentioned, because the offerers did partake of them, and feast upon them; and so this agrees with the table expressed in the former clause) a trap. And so they were to the unbelieving Jews, whose false conceit of the everlastingness of the Mosaical dispensation was one cause of their rejection of Christ. Or thus, and for recompences, (i.e. an abundant compensation of all their injuries,) and for a trap. For thus it is rendered by divers, both ancient and modern, interpreters, and, which is more considerable, by the apostle, Romans 11:9. Let their table become a snare before them,.... This and the following imprecations were not the effects of a spirit of private revenge; of which there was no appearance in Christ, but all the reverse who prayed for his enemies, while they were using him as above related: but they are prophecies of what should be, being delivered out under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Acts 1:16. Wherefore some versions render the words, "their table shall become a snare" (h); and therefore are not to be drawn into an example by us, to favour and encourage a revengeful spirit: and they are very just and righteous, according to "lex talionis", the law of retaliation; since, inasmuch as they gave Christ gall for his meat, and vinegar for his drink, it was but right that the same measure should be meted out to them again; and their table mercies and blessings be cursed; that they should have them not in love, but in bitter wrath. Or that they should be left to be overcharged with them, and surfeit upon them; and so the day of their destruction come upon them as a snare: or that they should want the common necessaries of life, and be tempted to eat what was not lawful; and even their own children, as some did; see Malachi 2:2, Lamentations 4:10. The Targum gives the sense of the words thus;

"let their table, which they prepared before me, that I might eat before them, be for a snare;''

meaning a table spread with vinegar and gall. Of the figurative sense of these words; see Gill on Romans 11:9; where apostle cites this passage, and applies it to the enemies of Christ;

and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap; the word translated, "for their welfare", comes from which signifies both "to be at peace", and "to recompense"; and so is differently interpreted. Some think the "shelamim", or peace offerings, are meant; see Exodus 24:5; and so the Targum,

"let their sacrifices be for a trap, or stumbling block;''

as they were, they trusting in them for the atonement of sin: and so neglected the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and his righteousness; which was the stumbling block at which they stumbled, and the trap into which they fell, and was their ruin. And it is observable, that while they were eating the sacrifice of the passover, they were surrounded by the Roman army, and taken as birds in a net, and as beasts in a trap. Others render the words, "to them that are at peace" (i), let their table be "for a trap"; while they are living in security, and crying, Peace, peace, let sudden, destruction come upon them; as it did. But the apostle has taught us how to render the word "for a recompence", Romans 11:9; as the word, differently pointed, is in Isaiah 34:8. The true rendering and meaning of the whole seem to be this, "let their table become a snare before them"; and let their table be "for recompences" unto them, or in just retaliation; let the same food, or the like unto it, be set upon their tables, they gave to Christ, and let their table "become a trap"; for all relate to their table.

(h) "erit", Pagninus, Montanus; "fiet vel fiat", Gejerus. (i) "tranquilli", Gejerus; so some in Michaelis.

Let their {r} table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.

(r) He desires God to execute his judgments against the reprobate, which cannot by any means be turned, Rom 11:9.

22. Let their table before them become a snare;

Yea, when they are at peace, let it become a trap.

The language is suggested by the metaphors of the preceding verse. They had aggravated the sufferings of a joyless life: let their own enjoyments turn to their ruin. The idea of the transformation of their table into a snare becomes more intelligible if it is remembered that the table meant was probably a piece of leather unrolled and spread upon the ground, such as is still used in the East. The curse is intensified by the prayer that this fate may overtake them while they are in unsuspecting security. Cp. 1 Thessalonians 5:3. The rendering of the A.V., which is substantially the same as that of the P.B.V., is untenable. It was introduced into the ‘Great Bible’ from Münster’s Latin Version et quae in pacem (esse debuerant sint) in offendiculum, and was doubtless derived by him from the Jewish scholar Kimchi.

The quotation of this verse in Romans 11:9 is made freely from the LXX, supplemented probably by a reminiscence of Psalm 35:8 (34). The following verse is quoted exactly as it stands in the LXX.

22–28. At the thought of the intolerable inhumanity of his enemies he can no longer restrain himself, and breaks out into fierce imprecation. Some commentators, feeling the difficulty of such imprecations proceeding from the Psalmist, have regarded these verses as the utterance of the Psalmist’s enemies, invoking destruction upon him and his companions. But such an interpretation is unnatural: the pronouns ‘their’ and ‘they’ in Psalm 69:22 ff. cannot have a different reference from ‘they’ in Psalm 69:21.Verses 22-29. - The imagination of the cruelties to be inflicted on his innocent Descendant works up the psalmist to a pitch of passionate resentment, which finds vent in a series of bitter imprecations, very distasteful to many. They are less startling, however, than some to be found elsewhere, as in Psalm 102. We may view them either as an outpouring of righteous indignation upon the enemies, not of David only, but of God; or as a series of prophetic denunciations, whereby the wicked of David's time were warned of the consequences of such wickedness as theirs, and stimulated to repentance. Verse 22. - Let their table become a snare before them. It is not very clear how their table was to ensnare them: perhaps by encouraging them to gluttony and sensuousness, and bringing upon them the diseases which those sins breed; perhaps by leading them to an ostentatious display of wealth and luxury (comp. Ezekiel 23:40, 41). And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let them be trapped by the good things of their table, like a wild beast by a bait. In this second part the petition by which the first is as it were encircled, is continued; the peril grows greater the longer it lasts, and with it the importunity of the cry for help. The figure of sinking in the mire or mud and in the depths of the pit (בּאר, Psalm 55:24, cf. בור, Psalm 40:3) is again taken up, and so studiously wrought out, that the impression forces itself upon one that the poet is here describing something that has really taken place. The combination "from those who hate me and from the depths of the waters" shows that "the depths of the waters" is not a merely rhetorical figure; and the form of the prayer: let not the pit (the well-pit or covered tank) close (תּאטּר with Dagesh in the Teth, in order to guard against its being read תּאטר; cf. on the signification of אטּר, clausus equals claudus, scil. manu) its mouth (i.e., its upper opening) upon me, exceeds the limits of anything that can be allowed to mere rhetoric. "Let not the water-flood overflow me" is intended to say, since it has, according to Psalm 69:3, already happened, let it not go further to my entire destruction. The "answer me" in Psalm 69:17 is based upon the plea that God's loving-kindness is טּוב, i.e., good, absolutely good (as in the kindred passion-Psalm, Psalm 109:21), better than all besides (Psalm 63:4), the means of healing or salvation from all evil. On Psalm 69:17 cf. Psalm 51:3, Lamentations 3:32. In Psalm 69:18 the prayer is based upon the painful situation of the poet, which urgently calls for speedy help (מהר beside the imperative, Psalm 102:3; Psalm 143:7; Genesis 19:22; Esther 6:10, is certainly itself not an imperative like הרב, Psalm 51:4, but an adverbial infinitive as in Psalm 79:8). קרבה, or, in order to ensure the pronunciation ḳorbah in distinction from ḳārbah, Deuteronomy 15:9, קרבה (in Baer,

(Note: Originally - was the sign for every kind of o6, hence the Masora includes the חטוף also under the name קמץ חטף; vid., Luther. Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 412,f., cf. Wright, Genesis, p. xxix.))

is imperat. Kal; cf. the fulfilment in Lamentations 3:57. The reason assigned, "because of mine enemies," as in Psalm 5:9; Psalm 27:11, and frequently, is to be understood according to Psalm 13:5 : the honour of the all-holy One cannot suffer the enemies of the righteous to triumph over him.

(Note: Both נפשׁי and איבי, contrary to logical interpunction, are marked with Munach; the former ought properly to have Dech, and the latter Mugrash. But since neither the Athnach-word nor the Silluk-word has two syllables preceding the tone syllable, the accents are transformed according to Accentuationssystem, xviii. 2, 4.)

The accumulation of synonyms in Psalm 69:20 is Jeremiah's custom, Jeremiah 13:14; Jeremiah 21:5, Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 32:37, and is found also in Psalm 31 (Psalm 31:10) and Psalm 44 (Psalm 44:4, Psalm 44:17, Psalm 44:25). On הרפּה שׁברה לבּי, cf. Psalm 51:19, Jeremiah 23:9. The ἅπαξ γεγραμ, ואנוּשׁה (historical tense), from נוּשׁ, is explained by ענוּשׁ from אנשׁ, sickly, dangerously ill, evil-disposed, which is a favourite word in Jeremiah. Moreover נוּד in the signification of manifesting pity, not found elsewhere in the Psalter, is common in Jeremiah, e.g., Psalm 15:5; it signifies originally to nod to any one as a sign of a pity that sympathizes with him and recognises the magnitude of the evil. "To give wormwood for meat and מי־ראשׁ to drink" is a Jeremianic (Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23:15) designation for inflicting the extreme of pain and anguish upon one. ראשׁ (רושׁ) signifies first of all a poisonous plant with an umbellated head of flower or a capitate fruit; but then, since bitter and poisonous are interchangeable notions in the Semitic languages, it signifies gall as the bitterest of the bitter. The lxx renders: καὶ ἔδωκαν εἰς τὸ βρῶμά μου χολήν, καὶ εἰς τὴν δίψαν μου ἐπότισάν με ὄξος. Certainly נתן בּ can mean to put something into something, to mix something with it, but the parallel word לצמאי (for my thirst, i.e., for the quenching of it, Nehemiah 9:15, Nehemiah 9:20) favours the supposition that the בּ of בּברוּתי is Beth essentiae, after which Luther renders: "they give me gall to eat." The ἅπαξ γεγραμ. בּרוּת (Lamentations 4:10 בּרות) signifies βρῶσις, from בּרה, βιβρώσκειν (root βορ, Sanscrit gar, Latin vor-are).

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