What does Psalm 35:19 mean?
ESV: Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause.
NIV: Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.
NASB: Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me for no reason wink maliciously.
CSB: Do not let my deceitful enemies rejoice over me; do not let those who hate me without cause wink at me maliciously.
NLT: Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
KJV: Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
NKJV: Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies; Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.
Verse Commentary:
Those who hated David often worked against him, plotting for his death (1 Samuel 19:1–2; 2 Samuel 15:13–14). He prays the Lord would deny them an opportunity to celebrate his demise. In earlier verses, David pointed out that his enemies had no valid reason to oppose him (Psalm 35:11–16). He had been kind to them, and they repaid his goodness with betrayal and evil.

In the context of David's culture, "to wink the eye" meant signals between criminals up to no good. This imagery is used several times in the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 6:13; 10:10; 16:30). This is a figure of speech implying people using secretive methods to plot another person's misery. Apparently, David's enemies were confident he would fall to their slander and attacks (Psalm 35:4, 7). These enemies failed to see that the Lord was on David's side and would not let him suffer defeat or disgrace.

Jesus predicted undeserved persecution for His followers. He said, "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19). Furthermore, He said, "But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause'" (John 15:25). Most interpreters believe Jesus was citing this very verse when making His remarks.
Verse Context:
Psalm 35:19–28 is the last of three phases of this psalm, each expressing variations of the same basic themes. David pleads with the Lord for vindication. He prays for deliverance from his enemies, asking God to put them to shame. The psalm concludes with a call for those who support David to rejoice, and to worship God. David promises to constantly praise and honor the Lord.
Chapter Summary:
This is one of the "imprecatory psalms," which call on God to immediately judge or destroy His enemies. David echoes the same ideas in three phases. Each segment includes a plea for rescue, a request for God to conquer David's foes, and a promise to praise the Lord. David makes a point of noting that his enemies have no good reason for their hatred, since he was kind to them. With faith, David looks ahead, trusting he will have the opportunity to worship the Lord for His rescue and vindication.
Chapter Context:
David pleads with the Lord to destroy his enemies and vindicate him. As such, Psalm 35 is labeled an "imprecatory psalm." Other examples include psalms 5, 69, 109, and 140. This song might have been written when King Saul was seeking David's life (1 Samuel 19:1–2), or when Absalom was spreading rebellion in Israel (2 Samuel 15:13–14). David' notes three basic ideas in this psalm: vindication, defeat of enemies, and praise of God. Each is repeated in a series of three variations.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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