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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 64:3

 

 

Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow,

Adam Clarke Commentary

Who whet their tongue like a sword - They devise the evil they shall speak, and meditate on the most provoking, injurious, and defamatory words; as the soldier whets his sword that he may thereby the better cut down his enemies.

Their arrows - bitter words - Their defamatory sayings are here represented as deadly as poisoned arrows; for to such is the allusion here made.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-64.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Who whet their tongue like a sword - Who sharpen their tongue; that is, they utter words that will cut deep, or penetrate the soul. The idea is that of slander or reproach - the same idea which we have in Shakespeare (Cymbeline):

“‹Tis slander;

Whose edge is sharper than the sword.”

This comparison is a favorite one with David. Compare Psalm 52:2; Psalm 57:4; Psalm 59:7.

And bend their bows … - That is, they prepare for this - as they make ready to shoot who bend their bows, and fix their arrows on the string. The idea here is, that this was deliberate, or was the result of counsel and purpose. It was not an outbreak of mere passion and excitement; it was by fixed design and careful preparation. See Psalm 11:2, note; Psalm 58:7, note.

Even bitter words - We apply the same term bitter now to words of malice and reproach.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-64.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Who whet their tongue like a sword,.... Use cutting, wounding, killing, and devouring words; on which they set an edge, and make them keener and keener to hurt and ruin the characters and reputations of good men, and grieve and distress their minds;

and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words; such are the these doctrines of heretical men, which are roots of bitterness, that defile some and trouble others; such are the oaths and curses of profane sinners, whose mouths are full of cursing and bitterness; and such are the blasphemies of antichrist against God, against his tabernacle, and against them that dwell therein; and such are the hard speeches spoken by ungodly sinners against Christ and his people; these are like arrows shot from a bow, and full of deadly poison. The Targum is

"they stretch out their bows, they anoint their arrows with deadly and bitter poison.'

There seems to be an allusion to fixing letters in arrows, and so shooting or directing them where it was desired they should fall and be taken up; so Timoxenus and Artobazus sent letters to one another in this way, at the siege of PotidaeaF1Herodot. Urania, sive l. 8. c. 128. : and after the same manner, the Jews sayF2Derash R. Aba in Kimchi in Psal. xi. 2. , Shebna and Joab sent letters to Sennacherib, acquainting him that all Israel were willing to make peace with him; but Hezekiah and Isaiah would not allow them to.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-64.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Who whet their tongue like a sword, [and] bend [their bows to shoot] their arrows, [even] d bitter words:

(d) False reports and slanders.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-64.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3For they have whetted their tongue like a sword His enemies, in their rage, aimed at nothing less than his life, and yet what he complains of, more than all beside, is the poison with which their words were imbued. It is probable that he refers to the calumnious reports which he knew to be falsely spread to his discredit, and with a view of damaging his reputation with the people. Their tongues he likens to swords; their bitter and venomous words to arrows. (440) And when he adds, that, they shoot against the upright and innocent, he is to be considered as contrasting his integrity with their unprincipled conduct. It inspired him with confidence in his religious addresses, to know that he could exonerate his own conscience from guilt, and that he was the object of undeserved attack by worthless and abandoned men. In mentioning that they shoot secretly and suddenly, he refers to the craft which characterised them. They were not only eagerly bent upon mischief, and intent in watching their opportunities, but so expert and quick in their movements, as to smite their victim before he could suspect danger. When we hear that David, who was a man in every respect so much more holy and upright in his conduct than ourselves, suffered from groundless aspersions upon his character, we have no reason to be surprised that we should be exposed to a similar trial. This comfort, at least, we always have, that we can betake ourselves to God, and obtain his defense of the upright cause. He takes particular notice of another circumstance, that they shot their empoisoned arrows from their lips without fear, or shame. This self-secure spirit argued a degree of abandoned presumption, in so far as they could persist in obstinately pursuing the conduct in which they had been repeatedly detected, and renew their desperate attempts, to the disregard of all fear of God or worldly shame.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-64.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 64:3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, [and] bend [their bows to shoot] their arrows, [even] bitter words:

Ver. 3. Who whet their tongue like a sword] The tongue in its form resembleth a flaming sword, and being set on fire of hell, it woundeth deeply and dangerously. It is ordinary with David to compare aulicas criminationes cum armis castrensibus, court calumnies with warlike weapons, Psalms 5:6; Psalms 5:9-10, Psalms 11:5-6, Psalms 57:4. See there.

And bend their bows to shoot their arrows] Heb. bend their arrow, that is, as Psalms 11:2, "they bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string," &c. See a like phrase Jeremiah 9:3.

Even bitter words] Virulent and venomous, quae leviter volant, non leviter violant; for as Medius in Plutarch saith, though the wound they make be haply healed, yet there will be still a scar, ηη ουλη μενει της διαβολης (Plut.). An aspersion, though not fully believed, leaveth behind it a lower estimation of the party than before.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-64.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 64:3. Bend their bows, &c.— Direct their arrows, &c.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-64.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Bend their bows to shoot their arrows; of which phrase See Poole "Psalms 58:7". Bitter words; slanderous and pernicious speeches against me.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-64.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. Bend their bows—Hebrew, They have bent their arrows. Same as “bend the bow,” Psalms 7:13, or placing or aiming the arrow, Psalms 58:7.

Bitter words—Better, a bitter word. An evil tongue is sharper than a sword, and “bitter words” enter deeper into the soul than barbed arrows.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-64.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

O. Hebrew, "hearer of prayer," (Calmet) or "graciously hear my prayer, till all," &c. (St. Jerome) (Houbigant) --- Too thee. At the last judgment, or (Calmet) at the vocation of the Gentiles. (Berthier) (Menochius)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-64.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:

Who whet their tongue like a sword - (Psalms 57:4; Psalms 59:7.) Not mere common slanders; but those which aim at the destruction of the slandered person, as was the case in the slanders directed by Saul and his faction against the destruction of the slandered person, as was the case in the slanders directed by Saul and his faction against David.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-64.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) For the figure in this and the following verse, see Psalms 10:7; Psalms 11:2; Psalms 52:2; Psalms 57:4; Psalms 59:7.

“’Tis slander.

Whose edge is sharper than the sword.”

SHAKESPEARE.

For the ellipse in “they bend (literally, tread) their arrows,” see Psalms 58:7.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-64.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
whet
57:4; Proverbs 12:18; 30:14; Isaiah 54:17; Jeremiah 9:3; James 3:6-8
bend
11:2; 58:7

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 64:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-64.html.

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