Psalms – Chapter 35

With Friends Like These

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

David asks G-d to fight his enemies. He would like G-d to metaphorically take his armor and weapons and tell David, “I am your salvation.” David would like to see those who unjustly pursue him be ashamed of their hollow accusations and withdraw from him. They should disperse like chaff in the wind, pursued by agents of G-d. Their path should be dark and treacherous, but they should be forced to travel recklessly and in haste because of the aforementioned pursuit.

David feels so strongly about this because he really was persecuted without cause. They prepared traps for him and tried to kill him, so he hopes they meet the fates intended for him. When this happens, as David is sure it will, he will praise G-d for saving him. David says that his entire body will praise G-d, the One Who saves the oppressed from those stronger than they. (This refers not only to David, but to the nation of Israel.)

David says that his enemies tried to extort him, betraying kindness he had previously shown them. Given the opportunity, they would drive David to his grave. David was there for them in their times of trouble and this is how they repay him! David hopes that G-d will take the prayers he made for them before they betrayed him and apply them to David himself instead. He was a loyal friend to them and mourned their misfortunes, but they rejoice in his! And David has no idea why!

These former friends flattered David’s enemies and pursuers, not the least of all Saul, in order to get on their good sides. How long will G-d watch this before He acts? David would like to have his life back from these antagonists. When he is saved from them, he will praise G-d publicly. His pursuers do not deserve victory because their grudges against David are baseless. They don’t seek peace, no matter what they may claim. They make up charges against David, but G-d has seen the truth. David hopes that G-d will soon draw near and speak up on his behalf.

David hopes his enemies will never have the opportunity to gloat over his defeat. Instead, they should know disgrace and humiliation for their unjust persecution of him. On the other hand, David hopes that those rooting for him will know joy and song, praising G-d for helping David achieve peace. When their king is at peace, the people will be able to praise G-d to the fullest.

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