“And David says, ‘LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM. LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER. ‘ ” Romans 11:9-10 (NAS)
This quote from the Septuagint by the apostle Paul dictated to his faithful scribe Tertius in his letter to the Roman church is found in Psalm chapter sixty-nine. One could say this is a “perfect” Messianic psalm since portions of it are quoted seven times in the New Testament.
Paul’s citation is lifted from verses twenty-two and twenty-three. Here’s how it reads as translated from the Hebrew: “May their table before them become a snare; and when they are in peace, may it become a trap. May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, and make their loins shake continually.” (NAS) These two verses begin a section of the Psalm describing God’s retribution upon those unbelieving Jews who had rejected the Messiah, those who hated Him “without a cause” and were wrongfully His enemies. (Ps. 69:4) From verses twenty-two through twenty-eight, a latter day Decalogue (10) of plagues is predicted upon the doubters and men of little faith according to Restoration movement commentator James Smith. In verses 22 & 23 we have four. They are: 1) Their way of life, the Mosaic system, (their table) will be as a curse (a snare); 2) where they think they have security (peace) they will have torment (a trap); 3) They will not understand God’s purposes and intent through the Messiah being blinded by their own agenda, and 4) they will be weighted down with fear and terror (their loins shake continually). Verses 24 & 25 “Pour out Thine indignation on them, and may Thy burning anger overtake them. May their camp be desolate; may none dwell in their tents.” contain two more: 5) The wrath of God is poured out upon and overtakes them and 6) there shall be a curse upon their land, homes and posterity (their seed). Verse twenty-six helps to confirms for us that this Psalm is about the Messiah, “For they have persecuted him whom Thou Thyself hast smitten, and they tell of the pain of those whom Thou hast wounded.” (lit., pierced). Verses 27 & 28 hold the last four: “Do Thou add iniquity to their iniquity, and may they not come into Thy righteousness. May they be blotted out of the book of life, and may they not be recorded with the righteous.” They are 7) The adversaries descend deeper into sin (add iniquity to their iniquity); 8) They become so hardened they cannot “come into Thy righteousness” ; 9) They meet an unexpected and complete end (“be blotted out of the book of life”) and 10) These curses upon the wicked unrepentant souls will not allow them to be recorded (lit. written) with the righteous, their end is the outer darkness. In these verses we can see the prophesied destruction of the unrepentant Jews, their city, their land, and their system. So acclimated to the law and sacrifices as well as their self-perceived position of favor and special blessings through the LORD, the gospel when preached to them incited contempt, further hardening their consciences. What we have here is another picture from the Scripture of an earthly-minded sensual people not interested in spiritual truths. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish system by God was a foreshadow intended for all mankind to heed. You want to make earth your “oyster”, the table from which you choose to eat, you can expect it to become a trap and a snare. Where it offers peace and security, there is none. Just as happened to the Jews falsely believing all was well, suddenly terror and destruction will spring upon you. Take a look at the lands that have rejected the gospel. Deeper and deeper they descend into declivity, so hardened by iniquity they cannot come into righteousness even though called to it by those who preach the gospel. What about the religious who refuse to see the spiritual blessings and truths revealed in the New Testament, who seek for an earthly health, wealth and happiness gospel? Hasn’t the god of this world blinded their (spiritual) eyes, keeping them earthbound because they’ve “set their minds on earthly things” and “whose end is destruction” (Phil. 3:19)? There will always be unbelievers among us, but praise God that there are still those that desire to be grafted into the family tree of Jesus Christ. Let’s focus on our purpose, bringing in “the fullness of the Gentiles” those who want to be seated at a heavenly table. Amen?