8. My enemies have reviled me daily; and those who are mad against me have sworn by me. fd143 9. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, [or, with my tears,] 10. On account of thy indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. 11. My days are like a shadow which declineth; and I am dried up like the grass.
8. My enemies have reviled me daily. The faithful, to excite the compassion of God towards them, tell him that they are not only objects of mockery to their enemies, but also that they swore by them. The indignity complained of is, that the ungodly so shamefully triumphed over God’s chosen people, as even to borrow from their calamities a form of swearing and imprecation. This was to regard the fate of the Jews as a signal pattern in uttering the language of imprecation. When, therefore, at the present day the ungodly, in like manner, give themselves loose reins in pouring forth against us contumelious language, let us learn to fortify ourselves with this armor, by which such kind of temptation, however sharp, may be overcome. The Holy Spirit, in dictating to the faithful this form of prayer, meant to testify that God is moved by such revilings to succor his people; even as we find it stated in <233723>Isaiah 37:23,
“Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed, and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice? even against the Holy One of Israel;”
and in the verse immediately preceding the prophet had said, “He hath despised thee, O daughter of Zion! against thee hath he shaken the head, O daughter of Jerusalem!” It is surely an inestimable comfort that the more insolent our enemies are against us, the more is God incited to gird himself to aid us. In the second clause the inspired writer expresses more strongly the cruelty of his enemies, when he speaks of their being mad against him. As the verb llh, halal, which we have rendered mad, generally signifies to praise, it might here be understood as having, by the figure antiphrasis, a sense the very opposite — those who dispraised or reproached me. But it is better to follow the commonly received interpretation. Some maintain that they are called mad, because they manifested their own folly, making it evident from the manner in which they acted, that they were worthless persons; but this opinion does too much violence to the text. The more satisfactory sense is, that the people of God charge revilers with cruelty or furious hatred.