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To him that presides: a Psalm of David.

  1. O god of my praise, be not you silent!
  2. For the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitful, are opened against me; they speak against me with a lying tongue.
  3. Yea, they encompass me with words of hatred, and fight against me without cause.
  4. For my love they are my adversaries, but I give myself to prayer.
  5. But they place upon me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
  6. Set you over him a wicked man, and let Satan stand at his right hand.
  7. When he shall be judged, let him go forth condemned, and let his prayer become sin.
  8. Let his days be few; let another take his office;
  9. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow;
  10. Yea, let his children be vagabonds and beggars; let them seek their bread out of their desolate places;
  11. Let the usurer take all that he has; and let strangers plunder his labour;
  12. Let there be no one extending mercy to him; let there be no one to pity his fatherless children;
  13. Let his posterity be cut off; in the generation following let their name be blotted out;
  14. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered by jehovah, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out;
  15. Let them be before jehovah continually, that he may cut off their memory from the earth.
  16. Because he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the afflicted and needy man, yea, the broken-hearted in order to put him to death.
  17. Since he loves cursing, let it come upon him; since he delights not in blessing, let it be far from him.
  18. Since he clothes himself with cursing as with his vest, let it come into the midst of him like water, and like oil into his bones;
  19. Let it be to him as the garment with which he is covered, and as the girdle with which he is continually girded.
  20. Let this be the reward of jehovah to mine adversary, and to those who speak evil against my soul.
  21. But do you, O jehovih, my lord, deal with me according to your name; deliver me, for good is your mercy.
  22. For I am afflicted and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
  23. I am gone like the shadow when it declines; I am driven away like a locust.
  24. My knees are weak through fasting, and my flesh fails of fatness.
  25. I am become a reproach to them; they who see me, shake their heads.
  26. Help me, O jehovah, my god, O save me according to your mercy.
  27. That they may know that this is your hand, and that you, O jehovah, have done it.
  28. Let them curse, but do you bless; when they rise up let them be ashamed; but let your servant rejoice.
  29. Let mine adversaries be clothed with disgrace, and let them be covered with their shame as with a mantle.
  30. I will greatly celebrate jehovah with my mouth; yea, I will praise him amongst the multitudes.
  31. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who condemn his soul.

The Internal Sense

Of the perverse Jewish church, that it rejected the lord, and despised and hated him, verses 1 to 6; that they will perish in the judgement, and that others will be received in their stead, among whom the church will be, verses 7 to 12; that it will be the same with their posterity, who will perish because they will be in the falses of evil, and will reject the lord, verses 13 to 20; to the father that he would succour him because he is esteemed as evil and of no account, verses 21 to 25; that they may be put to shame, verses 26 to 29; thanksgiving to the father for his assistance, 30, 31.


Verse 1. Be not you silent. That the lord appears absent and silent in temptations, see Psalm 88:1, Exposition.

Verse 2. For the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me, etc. Evils are done either from enmity, or from hatred, or from revenge, and either by deceit or without deceit; but evils by deceit are the worst because deceit is a poison which destroys with infernal venom, for it goes through the whole mind, even to its interiors; the reason is because he who is in deceit meditates evil, and thereby nourishes his understanding and delights it, and thus destroys every thing therein which is of man. AC 9013.

Verse 4. But I give myself to prayer. Prayer considered in itself is discourse with god, and at such time a certain internal contemplation of those things which are the objects of prayer, to which corresponds a certain similar principle of influx into the perception or thought of the mind of him who prays, so that there is a kind of opening of man's internals towards God; but this with a difference according to man's state, and according to the essence of the thing which is the object of prayer. If the prayer be grounded in love and faith, regarding only celestial and spiritual things as its object and ends, then in the prayer there exists somewhat resembling a revelation, which is manifested in the affection of the person praying, as to hope, consolation, or some internal joy; hence it is that to pray, in an internal sense, signifies to be revealed. In the present case this is more especially signified because it is said of a prophet, and a prophet is meant the lord, whose prayer was nothing else but internal discourse with the Divine [principle,] and at the same time revelation; that revelation attended the prayer of the lord, appears from Luke, "It came to pass, when jesus was baptized, and prayed, that heaven was opened," Luke 3:21: and again, "It came to pass, that jesus took Peter, James, and John, and went up into a mountain to pray; and as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was changed, and his clothing was white glistering," Luke 9:28, 29: So in John, "When He prayed, saying, father, glorify your name, then came there a voice from heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again;" John 12:27, 28; where it is evident, that the prayer of the lord was discourse with the Divine principle, and revelation at that time. AC 2535.

Worship does not consist in prayers and in external devotion, but in a life of charity, prayers are only the externals thereof, for they proceed from the man by his mouth, wherefore according to the quality of the man as to his life, such are his prayers; it matters not for a man to assume an humble deportment, to be upon his knees, and sigh when he prays, these are external things, and unless the externals proceed from internals, they are only gestures and sounds without life. In every thing which a man speaks there is affection, and every man, spirit and angel, is his own affection, for their affection is their life; it is the affection itself which speaks, and not the man without it, wherefore according to the quality of the affection, such is the praying. Spiritual affection is what is called charity towards our neighbour; to be in that affection is true worship; prayer is what thence proceeds; hence it may appear that the essential principle of worship is a life of charity, and the instrumental thereof is gesture and prayer, or that the primary [constituent] of worship is a life of charity, and its secondary is praying, from which it is evident that they who place all divine worship in oral piety, and not in actual piety, err exceedingly; actual piety is to act in every work and in every function from what is sincere and right, and from what is just and equitable, and this because it is commanded by the lord in the Word; for thus man in every work looks to heaven and to the lord, with whom he is thus conjoined; but to act according to sincerity and rectitude, justice and equity, solely from fear of the law, of the loss of fame, or of honour and gain, and to think nothing concerning the divine law, concerning the precepts of the Word, and concerning the lord, and notwithstanding to pray devoutly in temples, is external piety, which however holy it may appear, yet it is not piety, but is either hypocrisy, or somewhat feigned derived from habit, or somewhat persuasive from a false principle that therein alone consists divine worship; for such a one does not look from his heart to heaven and to the lord, but only with the eyes, the heart looking to self and to the world, and the mouth speaking from the habit of the body only and its memory; by such worship man is conjoined to the world and not to heaven, also to himself and not to the lord. AE 325.

Verse 6. Place you over him a wicked man, and let Satan stand at his right hand. This is prophetic respecting the lord, and concerning his temptations, which he sustained in a measure of severity exceeding those of all other persons; and whereas the lord in his temptations from Divine love fought against the hells which were most hostile to Him, it is said, they place upon me evil for good, and hatred for my love; and whereas infernal evil and false principles prevail amongst them, it is said, "Place you over him a wicked man, and let Satan stand at his right hand," when to stand at the right hand signifies to be altogether possessed, and Satan signifies the infernal false principle, with which he was to be possessed. AE 740.

Verse 10. Let his children be vagabonds. That to be a vagabond, denotes not to know what is true and good, AC 382.

Verse 14. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered by jehovah, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Whereas several expressions in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has the word father, and in this sense it signifies evil, and in like manner mother, which in the genuine sense signifies truth, in the opposite sense the false principle; that this is the case, may be evident from the following passage: "Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered by jehovah, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out." AC 3703.

Verses 18 to 20. Since he clothes himself with cursing as with his vest, let it come into the midst of him like water, and like oil into his bones, etc. These words in the spiritual sense, are to be understood concerning the lord; for where David speaks concerning himself in the Psalms, it is understood in that sense concerning the lord, for David, as a king, represents the lord, and thence signifies him as to the Divine spiritual [principle,] which is the royalty of the lord: the reward of them that are adversaries to the lord, and that speak evil against his soul, is described as hell originating in the love of the false and evil, namely by putting on cursing as his vest, and by its entering into the midst of him as waters, and as oil between his bones; hell is thus described as received in the externals and in the internals; as received in the externals by the cursing being put on as a vest, and as received in the internals by its entering into the midst of him like water, and as oil between his bones; it is said as water and as oil, because water signifies the falses of faith, and oil evils of the love, whence by both is understood the love or affection of the false and evil, which is hell; this may appear also from this consideration, that love imbibes all things which agree with it, altogether as a sponge does waters and oil; for the love of evil nourishes itself from falses, and the love of the false nourishes itself from evils; and whereas love is of such a nature, it is therefore said that cursing entered into the midst of him like water, and as oil between the bones. AE 695.

Verse 21. But do you, O jehovih! In the Word frequent mention is made of the lord jehovih, yea, wherever jehovah the lord is spoken of, he is called not lord jehovah but lord jehovih; and he is especially so called where the subject treated of is concerning temptations; as in Isaiah: "Behold the lord jehovih will come with strong hand and his arm shall rule for him; behold his recompense is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather his lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that give suck," Isaiah 40:10, 11; where the lord jehovih coming with strong hand denotes victory in temptation-combats, and his arm ruling for him denotes it to be derived from his own power: what the recompense is, which was spoken of in the foregoing verse is here declared, namely that it is the salvation of the whole human race; which is what is meant by his feeding his flock like a shepherd, gathering the lambs with his arm, carrying them in his bosom, and gently leading those that give suck; all which are operations of inmost or Divine love. AC 1793.

Verse 30. I will confess, or celebrate, jehovah with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. That to confess, in an external, or proximate interior sense, signifies doctrine derived from the Word, is evident, for confession is nothing else, even as the Word is applied in common discourse, but a man's declaration of his faith before the lord, thus it comprehends in it whatever the man believes, consequently whatever constitutes the doctrine which he maintains. AC 3880.

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