14 “I behaved as if grieving for my friend or my brother; I bowed down in sorrow, as one who bewails his mother.
15 But in my stumbling and limping they rejoiced and gathered together [against me]; the smiters (slanderers and revilers) gathered against me, and I knew them not; they ceased not to slander and revile me.
16 Like profane mockers at feasts [making sport for the price of a cake] they gnashed at me with their teeth.”
Psalm 35:14-16, Amplified
For today’s reading, I march out the Amplified Version (AMP.) It has a pretty dynamic history, and fills a niche of a translation that reveals shades and nuances of the original languages. (It can seem a “bit wordy” though for everyday reading.) It was built off the work of the ASV (1901) and its first edition came out in 1965. Since then, it has had over 30 printings.
The AMP handles these three verses quite adroitly and delivers much to strengthen our understanding.
David is a deeply troubled man. It seems he treats his enemies like dear friends. And his friends are sometimes overlooked. His love ‘kicks-off’ his vulnerabilities. I will use the term “idealistic” (but not ‘spacy’ or crazy.) You could say that he loves too much, and he refuses to call his old friends as the enemies they have become.
A love like this is truly astounding. It is called “agape” love in the New Testament. It is a special word that means that it loves its enemies in spite of being mistreated, ignored or slandered. It is a “Jesus style” of love, that His followers must share.
V. 14, “I behaved as if grieving for my friend or my brother; I bowed down in sorrow, as one who bewails his mother.”
I suppose it would be useful to read my previous post from PL, The Dark Pain of Slander: Psalm 35:11-13
David describes his painful grief over his enemies illness. This isn’t what people normally do. But David isn’t normal– he is supernatural as he grieves deep down. David taps into a vein of understanding that Jesus would declare centuries later. From Matthew 5,
“God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.” (v.4)
“God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.” (v.5)
“God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.” (v.7)
V. 15, “But in my stumbling and limping they rejoiced and gathered together [against me]; the smiters (slanderers and revilers) gathered against me, and I knew them not; they ceased not to slander and revile me.
David has now become a magnet for haters. They watch him stumble, and see him limp. They are drawn together to mock and slander. They have joy over seeing King David the Buffoon stumbling about.
Evil has its special way of organizing itself for evil purposes. Just as the Godly have special gifts and ministries, the evil ones have their specialties as well. Some will be liars, others will be murderers, adulterers, abusers and thieves. You could say that Satan has “gifted” them to do his work.
“These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.”
2 Timothy 3:8-9
Just as Paul had been gifted, he encountered others as gifted, but to do evil. This should make a young pastor or missionary aware and careful of these evil counterparts. But Paul tells Timothy that this charade will not last long.