Verse

Psalm 35:8

ESV Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it! And let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it—to his destruction!
NIV may ruin overtake them by surprise-- may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
NASB Let destruction come upon him when he is unaware, And let the net which he hid catch him; Let him fall into that very destruction.
CSB Let ruin come on him unexpectedly, and let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it--to his ruin.
NLT So let sudden ruin come upon them! Let them be caught in the trap they set for me! Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me.
KJV Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

What does Psalm 35:8 mean?

David prays that his enemy—perhaps Saul and his men (1 Samuel 19:1–2; 23:15)—will meet surprising destruction by suffering the fate they attempted to bring to David. This would be not only surprising but a complete reversal of the destruction Saul hoped to inflict. A common tactic used by hunters and soldiers is a "pitfall:" a narrow, deep hole covered by a thin disguised layer of leaves and branches. When the target steps on this, they fall into the hole and are trapped. In some variations, a net is used over top the hole so the victim is also tangled and unable to escape. Symbolically, David asks that his enemies fall into their own trap.

Sometimes the evil which a person plans inflicts itself on them, instead. In modern English, this is described using terms such as "backfire" or "boomerang." In the book of Esther, the jealous government official Haman schemed to destroy the Jewish people. In the end, he was executed on the gallows he had built to kill his enemies (Esther 7—9). Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He was, therefore, a willing participant in Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. However, remorse overtook Judas. He tried to return the money, then committed suicide (Matthew 27:3–5). Jesus, on the other hand, arose from the dead and lives forevermore (Matthew 28:5–10).
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