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Psalms 35 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Relentless enemies are seeking the Psalmist’s life. Their hostility is groundless, and its maliciousness is aggravated by their ingratitude. He appeals to Jehovah to do him justice and deliver him.

Each of these points is strikingly illustrated by the narrative of David’s persecution by Saul.

(1) Saul was seeking David’s life. With Psa 35:4 ; Psa 35:7, cp. 1Sa 20:1; 1Sa 23:15; 1Sa 24:11 ; 1Sa 25:29.

(2) Saul’s enmity had been fomented by the malicious slanders of courtiers who were jealous of David; men with whom no doubt he had been on friendly terms at the court. Again and again he protests his innocence of the charges of disloyalty brought against him. With Psa 35:7 ; Psa 35:11 ff., Psa 35:19, cp. 1Sa 19:5; 1Sa 20:1 ; 1Sa 24:9; 1Sa 24:11; 1Sa 26:18-19; and Saul’s confession of ingratitude, 1Sa 24:17 ff.

(3) With the appeal to God as the judge, Psa 35:1 ; Psa 35:23-24, cp. 1Sa 24:12 ; 1Sa 24:15.

But it is not against Saul himself that the Psalm (if it is David’s) is directed, but against the men who fomented Saul’s insane jealousy. Envious of David’s sudden rise, they left no means untried to bring about his fall. Comp. Introd. to Psalms 7.

Attention has however been called to the points of contact with Jeremiah, and the Psalm has been attributed to him by some commentators. Thus Psa 35:6 finds a parallel in Jer 23:12; Psa 35:12 in Jer 18:20; Jer 18:22; Jer 18:21 b, Jer 18:25 in Lam 2:16; &c. But it may well be questioned whether Jeremiah is not merely borrowing the language of the Psalm; and it should be noted that the military figures of Psa 35:1-3, which would not be natural for him, find no parallel in his book.

The Psalm falls into three divisions, each ending with a vow of thanksgiving.

i. Psa 35:1-10 . Appeal to Jehovah to arm himself as the Psalmist’s champion (Psa 35:1-3): prayer for the repulse and rout of his enemies (Psa 35:4-6), and for the recoil of their groundless hostility upon themselves (Psa 35:7-8); with a concluding vow of thanksgiving (Psa 35:9-10).

ii. Psa 35:11-18 . The base ingratitude of his persecutors. They accuse him falsely, and return evil for good (Psa 35:11-12); for while in their trouble he shewed the most friendly sympathy (13, 14), they requite him with slander and hatred (Psa 35:15-16). Prayer for deliverance and vow of thanksgiving (Psa 35:17-18).

iii. Psa 35:19-28 . Renewed prayer that Jehovah will not allow such malignant and spiteful foes to triumph but will do him justice; that he and all who hold with him may rejoice in the manifestation of Jehovah’s favour.

The points of contact with Psalms 7; Psalms 22; Psalms 38-40; Psalms 69; should be noticed.

On prayer for the destruction of enemies, see Introd. p. lxxxviii ff.

Consult other comments:

Psalms 35:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 35:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 35:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 35:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 35:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 35:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 35:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 35:0 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Psalms 35:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 35:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges