Psalm 35:1-28

A Psalm of David.

1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.

Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help.

Also draw out the spear,
And stop those who pursue me.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”

Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.

Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.

Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.

For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.

Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.

10 All my bones shall say,
Lord, who is like You,
Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him,
Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?”

11 Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.

12 They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.

14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.

15 But in my adversity they rejoiced
And gathered together;
Attackers gathered against me,
And I did not know it;
They tore at me and did not cease;

16 With ungodly mockers at feasts
They gnashed at me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue me from their destructions,
My precious life from the lions.

18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly;
I will praise You among many people.

19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies;
Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.

20 For they do not speak peace,
But they devise deceitful matters
Against the quiet ones in the land.

21 They also opened their mouth wide against me,
And said, “Aha, aha!
Our eyes have seen it.”

22 This You have seen, O Lord;
Do not keep silence.
O Lord, do not be far from me.

23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication,
To my cause, my God and my Lord.

24 Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness;
And let them not rejoice over me.

25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Ah, so we would have it!”
Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who rejoice at my hurt;
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
Who exalt themselves against me.

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

28 And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
And of Your praise all the day long.

The occasion of this psalm is not given, but thematically it is similar to David’s plea in 1 Samuel 24:15, when Saul was seeking his death.

It would certainly be improper for David or any other sinful man, to present such petitions to God. But in such Psalms the petitioner is the sinless Man Christ Jesus, and He fittingly calls for the divine judgment upon those who hate Him; for in hating Him, they hate God and His people, and goodness, righteousness and truth. Hence, when judging the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-36) He used language of similar terrific import. — Williams, page 324.

Plead (v.1) = contend — a legal term, used of disputes at law

buckler (v.2) — thought to be a large shield, possibly carried by a shield-bearer (1 Samuel 17:7, 41)

angel of the Lord (vs. 5-6) — See Scofield quote in notes on Psalm 34:7.

It is the Son of God who will sit as the ultimate judge of mankind (see John 5:22) — as intimated here by the repeated (and hence emphatic) reference in verses 5 and 6 to the angel of the Lord (i.e., the Son of God), which in turn anticipates His only other appearance (by that designation) in a specifically legal/juridical context, in Zechariah 3, where it is He who judges the remnant of Israel (symbolized by Joshua the high priest), graciously acquitting them of the just accusation of unworthiness brought against them by “the accuser.” — Wechsler, page 106.

To underscore their wickedness he further refers to them (v.19) as “those who hate me without cause” (as again in Psalm 69:4), which description is cited by Jesus Himself with reference to those among the Jewish people of His day who, without cause, likewise despised and rejected Him as their Messiah (see John 15:25). — Wechsler, page 106.

Lord, who is like You (v.10) — Also part of the song Moses and the people of Israel sang after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:11).

fierce witnesses (v.11) = lit. “witnesses of wrong”

they ask me things that I do not know (v.11) — “They laid to my charge” — The idea being that his enemies sought to elicit by questions some grounds for accusation (Mark 14:55; Luke 11:53; John 18:19). — Meyer, page 48.

If Meyer is correct, this give credence to a Messianic theme in this psalm.

my prayer would return to my own heart (v.13) — Matthew 10:13; Luke 10:6 — The idea is that his prayer, while not accomplishing what he wished, would result in his own blessing

ungodly mockers (v.16) — These were paid jesters who were hired to amuse the guests at a banquet. — Scofield, page 616

Lord (v.17) = Adonai = Master

precious (v.17) — Psalm 22:20

wink (v.19) — Proverbs 6:12-14: A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; he winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Also, Proverbs 10:10: He who winks with the eye causes trouble, but a prating fool will fall.

the quiet ones in the land (v.20) — the law-abiding

my God and my Lord (v.23) = Elohim (God) and an emphatic form of Adon (Master)

David’s plea was not for his own vindication, but that God would be glorified (vs. 27-28).

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