Tuesday, March 11, 2014

And He Sought an Opportunity to Betray Him

My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
        he violated his covenant.
His speech was smooth as butter,
        yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
        yet they were drawn swords.  (Psalm 55:20-21)

They were bent on punishing us.  By the analogy with those paying back what they owe on every score and stretching out their hand in repayment, he wanted to bring out that with great relish and haste they treated him with insult and injustice.… They demeaned and insulted God’s law.  Symmachus says in similar terms, “They did violence to the covenant.”  In other words:

  • They transgressed it on every side, either by wanting to hand over the money in the sanctuary to foreigners, or by inflicting foreigners on the nation and completely neglecting the remaining observance of the laws.  For that sin and the transgression of the laws, they cut themselves off and separated from me, emphasizing their anger and hatred for me by their expression and gaze.… Those previously pretending to be close to me and on my side with full heart and affection manifested such anger for me, the pretense being proved by what happened later.
They pressed hard as though from the heart, as from their whole soul and mind.  They applied sweet and pleasing words as though anointing the listener with the fine oil of their words.  But their words were instruments of war.  The word that seemed full of kindness was a pretense, inflicting wounds on the unsuspecting.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, Commentary on Psalms 1-81

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