Psalms 139:20 MEANING

Psalm 139:20
(20) For they speak.--Better, Who rebel against thee. This is actually the reading of the fifth of the Greek translations preserved by Origen, and entails only a change of the vowel pointing.

And thine enemies.--The state of the text is unsatisfactory. The subject to the verb must be that of the last clause, and the rendering "enemies" of a word properly meaning cities is very doubtful, in spite of 1 Samuel 28:16 (but Aquila has "rivals," and Symmachus" adversaries"), where there is also a textual correction required.

Of the various proposed emendations, the simplest produces

"And rise up against them in vain."

Verse 20. - For they speak against thee wickedly; literally, who speak of thee for wickedness; i.e. use thy Name for the accomplishment of wicked ends. And thine enemies take thy Name in vain. The text must be altered to produce this meaning. As it stands, it can only be rendered, "Thine enemies lift up [their scull to vanity" (comp. Psalm 24:4).

139:17-24 God's counsels concerning us and our welfare are deep, such as cannot be known. We cannot think how many mercies we have received from him. It would help to keep us in the fear of the Lord all the day long, if, when we wake in the morning, our first thoughts were of him: and how shall we admire and bless our God for his precious salvation, when we awake in the world of glory! Surely we ought not to use our members and senses, which are so curiously fashioned, as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. But our immortal and rational souls are a still more noble work and gift of God. Yet if it were not for his precious thoughts of love to us, our reason and our living for ever would, through our sins, prove the occasion of our eternal misery. How should we then delight to meditate on God's love to sinners in Jesus Christ, the sum of which exceeds all reckoning! Sin is hated, and sinners lamented, by all who fear the Lord. Yet while we shun them we should pray for them; with God their conversion and salvation are possible. As the Lord knows us thoroughly, and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by his word and Spirit. if there be any wicked way in me, let me see it; and do thou root it out of me. The way of godliness is pleasing to God, and profitable to us; and will end in everlasting life. It is the good old way. All the saints desire to be kept and led in this way, that they may not miss it, turn out of it, or tire in it.For they speak against thee wickedly,.... Against his being, his perfections, his purposes, his providences, his doctrines, ordinances, ministers, and people; or "they speak of thee for wickedness" (b), they made mention of the name of God to cover their wickedness, pretending to fear God and love him, to have a reverence of him and serve him, putting on a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof;

and thine enemies take thy name in vain: either by profane swearing, or by false swearing. The Targum interprets both clauses of swearing deceitfully and vainly; or "he", that is, everyone that is "lifted up to vanity are thine enemies" (c), whose hearts are lifted up to vanity, idols, riches, self-righteousness, sensual lusts and pleasures; these are the enemies of God, are estranged from him, hold friendship with the world, harbour his enemies, love what he hates, hate what he loves, and commit acts of hostility against him. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, read, "they take thy cities in vain".

(b) Or "to a mischievous purpose"; so Ainsworth. (c) "qui elatus est ad vanitatem, hostes tui sunt", De Dieu.

Courtesy of Open Bible