“Whoever digs a pit
Will fall into it.
Whoever breaks through a wall,
Will be bitten by a snake.
Whoever quarries stones
Will be hurt by them.
Whoever splits logs
Will be endangered by them.
If the iron is blunt,
If one does not whet the edge,
Then more strength must be exerted.
But wisdom helps one to succeed.
If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
There is no advantage in a charmer.”
Here Qoheleth offers more wise advice. If you dig a pit, you probably will fall into it. If you break through a wall, you might find a snake ready to bite you on the other side. If you dig out stones, you might be hurt by them. If you split logs, they could hurt you. If you have a blunt edge and you do not sharpen it, you will have to use more force. Wisdom can help you to succeed. What is the advantage of being a snake charmer if the snake bites you before you can charm it?
“Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
Are smooth lips with an evil heart.
An enemy dissembles in speaking,
While harboring deceit within.
When an enemy speaks graciously,
Do not believe it.
There are seven abominations concealed within.
Their hatred is covered with guile.
Their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Whoever digs a pit
Will fall into it.
A stone will come back
On the one who starts it rolling.
A lying tongue hates its victims.
A flattering mouth works ruin.”
Watch your lips and the smooth lips of your enemies. Watch what they say. Smooth lips with an evil heart are the glaze that makes a glossy vessel shiny. Watch out for the enemy who has deceit in his heart while speaking to you. When an enemy speaks graciously, do not believe them since they are concealing 7 abominations. They cover their hatred with guile, but it will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever starts to dig a pit, will fall into it. If you start to roll a stone, it will come back on you. Lying tongues hate their victims. Flattery will only bring you to ruin.
“They set a net for my steps.
My soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my path.
However, they have fallen into it themselves.”
These enemies or lions have set a net to catch David. His soul was bowed down. After his enemies built a pit to trap him on his path, they and not David fell into the pit that they had built for him. This then has a musical interlude meditative pause at this point in the psalm, Selah..
They hid their net for me.
They dug a pit for my life.
Let ruin come upon them unawares!
Let the net that they hid
Let them fall in!
Let it be to their ruin!”
David noted that these things were done to him without a good cause. They hid a net to trap him. They dug a pit to put an end to his life. David wanted them to get caught in their own nets. He wanted them to fall into the pits that they had dug out to get him. This was to be their ruin. Clearly David was vindictive here because he believed that he was right because they did not have a good cause against him.