Psalm 35

By David.
1 Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me. Fight against those who fight against me. 2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help. 3 Brandish the spear and block those who pursue me. Tell my soul, “I am your salvation.” 4 Let those who seek after my soul be disappointed and brought to dishonor. Let those who plot my ruin be turned back and confounded. 5 Let them be as chaff before the wind, the LORD’s angel driving them on. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery, the LORD’s angel pursuing them. 7 For without cause they have hidden their net in a pit for me. Without cause they have dug a pit for my soul. 8 Let destruction come on him unawares. Let his net that he has hidden catch himself. Let him fall into that destruction. 9 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, who delivers the poor from him who is too strong for him; yes, the poor and the needy from him who robs him?” 11 Unrighteous witnesses rise up. They ask me about things that I don’t know about. 12 They reward me evil for good, to the bereaving of my soul. 13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth. I afflicted my soul with fasting. My prayer returned into my own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though it had been my friend or my brother. I bowed down mourning, as one who mourns his mother. 15 But in my adversity, they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together. The attackers gathered themselves together against me, and I didn’t know it. They tore at me, and didn’t cease. 16 Like the profane mockers in feasts, they gnashed their teeth at me. 17 Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my soul from their destruction, my precious life from the lions. 18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly. I will praise you amongst many people. 19 Don’t let those who are my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me; neither let those who hate me without a cause wink their eyes. 20 For they don’t speak peace, but they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. 21 Yes, they opened their mouth wide against me. They said, “Aha! Aha! Our eye has seen it!” 22 You have seen it, LORD. Don’t keep silent. Lord, don’t be far from me. 23 Wake up! Rise up to defend me, my God! My Lord, contend for me! 24 Vindicate me, LORD my God, according to your righteousness. Don’t let them gloat over me. 25 Don’t let them say in their heart, “Aha! That’s the way we want it!” Don’t let them say, “We have swallowed him up!” 26 Let them be disappointed and confounded together who rejoice at my calamity. Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me. 27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause. Yes, let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant!” 28 My tongue shall talk about your righteousness and about your praise all day long.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–10

It is no new thing for the most righteous men, and the most righteous cause, to meet with enemies. This is a fruit of the old enmity in the seed of the serpent against the Seed of the woman. David in his afflictions, Christ in his sufferings, the church under persecution, and the Christian in the hour temptation, all beseech the Almighty to appear in their behalf, and to vindicate their cause. We are apt to justify uneasiness at the injuries men do us, by our never having given them cause to use us so ill; but this should make us easy, for then we may the more expect that God will plead our cause. David prayed to God to manifest himself in his trial. Let me have inward comfort under all outward troubles, to support my soul. If God, by his Spirit, witness to our spirits that he is our salvation, we need desire no more to make us happy. If God is our Friend, no matter who is our enemy. By the Spirit of prophecy, David foretells the just judgments of God that would come upon his enemies for their great wickedness. These are predictions, they look forward, and show the doom of the enemies of Christ and his kingdom. We must not desire or pray for the ruin of any enemies, except our lusts and the evil spirits that would compass our destruction. A traveller benighted in a bad road, is an expressive emblem of a sinner walking in the slippery and dangerous ways of temptation. But David having committed his cause to God, did not doubt of his own deliverance. The bones are the strongest parts of the body. The psalmist here proposes to serve and glorify God with all his strength. If such language may be applied to outward salvation, how much more will it apply to heavenly things in Christ Jesus!

Verses 11–16

Call a man ungrateful, and you can call him no worse: this was the character of David’s enemies. Herein he was a type of Christ. David shows how tenderly he had behaved towards them in afflictions. We ought to mourn for the sins of those who do not mourn for themselves. We shall not lose by the good offices we do to any, how ungrateful soever they may be. Let us learn to possess our souls in patience and meekness like David, or rather after Christ’s example.

Verses 17–28

Though the people of God are, and study to be, quiet, yet it has been common for their enemies to devise deceitful matters against them. David prays, My soul is in danger, Lord, rescue it; it belongs to thee the Father of spirits, therefore claim thine own; it is thine, save it! Lord, be not far from me, as if I were a stranger. He who exalted the once suffering Redeemer, will appear for all his people: the roaring lion shall not destroy their souls, any more than he could that of Christ, their Surety. They trust their souls in his hands, they are one with him by faith, are precious in his sight, and shall be rescued from destruction, that they may give thanks in heaven.

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