Exposition - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher - Works Upon This Psalm
TITLE. A Psalm of David. This is just such a psalm as the
man after God's own heart would compose when he was about to become king in
Israel. It is David all over, straight forward, resolute, devout; there is no
trace of policy or vacillation, the Lord has appointed him to be king, and he
knows it, therefore he purposes in all things to behave as becomes a monarch who
me the Lord himself has chosen. If we call this THE PSALM or PIOUS RESOLUTIONS,
we shall perhaps remember it all the more readily. After songs of praise a psalm
of practice not only makes variety, but comes in most fittingly. We never praise
the Lord better than when we do those things which are pleasing in his sight.
Verse 1. I will sing of mercy and judgment. He would extol
both the love and the severity, the sweets and the bitters, which the Lord had
mingled in Iris experience; he would admire the justice and the goodness of the
Lord. Such a song would fitly lead up to godly resolutions as to his own
conduct, for that which we admire in our superiors we naturally endeavour to
imitate. Mercy and judgment would temper the administration of David, because he
had adoringly perceived them in the dispensations of his God. Everything in
God's dealings with us may fittingly become the theme of song, and we have not
viewed it aright until we feel we can sing about it. We ought as much to bless
the Lord for the judgment with which he chastens our sin, as for the mercy with
which he forgives it; there is as much love in the blows of his hand as in the
kisses of his mouth. Upon a retrospect of their lives instructed saints scarcely
know which to be most grateful for--the comforts which have, or the afflictions
which nave purged them. Unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. Jehovah shall have all our
praise. The secondary agents of either the mercy or the judgment must hold a
very subordinate place in oue memory, and the Lord alone must be hymned by our
heart. Our soul's sole worship must be the lauding of the Lord. The psalmist
forsakes the minor key, which was soon to rule him in the one hundred and second
psalm, and resolves that, come what may, he will sing, and sing to the Lord too,
whatever others might do.
Verse 2. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. To be
holy is to be wise; a perfect way is a wise way. David's resolve was excellent,
but his practice did not fully tally with it. Alas! he was not always wise or
perfect, but it was well that it was in his heart. A king had need be both sage
and pure, and, if he be not so in intent, when he comes to the throne, his after
conduct will be a sad example to his people. He who does not even resolve to do
well is likely to do very ill. Householders, employers, and especially
ministers, should pray for both wisdom and holiness, for they will need them
both. O when wilt thou come unto me? --an ejaculation, but not an
interruption. He feels the need not merely of divine help, but also of the
divine presence, that so he may be instructed, and sanctified, and made fit for
the discharge of his high vocation. David longed for a more special and
effectual visitation from the Lord before he began his reign. If God be with us
we shall neither err in judgment nor transgress in character; his presence
brings us both wisdom and holiness; away from God we are away from safety. Good
men are so sensible of infirmity that they cry for help from God, so full of
prayer that they cry at all seasons, so intense in their desires that they cry
with sighs and groanings which cannot be uttered, saying, "O when wilt thou come
unto me?" I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. Piety
must begin at home. Our first duties are those within our own abode. We must
have a perfect heart at home, or we cannot keep a perfect way abroad. Notice
that these words are a part of a song, and that there is no music like the
harmony of a gracious life, no psalm so sweet as the daily practice of holiness.
Reader, how fares it with your family? Do you sing in the choir and sin in the
chamber Are you a saint abroad and a devil at home? For shame! What we are at
home, that we are indeed. He cannot be a good king whose palace is the haunt of
vice, nor he a true saint whose habitation is a scene of strife, nor he a
faithful minister whose household dreads his appearance at the fireside.
Verse 3. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes. I will
neither delight in it, aim at it or endure it. If I have wickedness brought
before me by others I will turn away from it, I will not gaze upon it with
pleasure. The psalmist is very sweeping in his resolve, he declines the least,
the most reputable, the most customary form of evil--no wicked thing; not only
shall it not dwell in his heart, but not even before his eyes, for what
fascinates the eye is very apt to gain admission into the heart, even as Eve's
apple first pleased her sight and then prevailed over her mind and hand. I hate the work of them that turn aside. He was warmly
against it; he did not view it with indifference, but with utter scorn and
abhorrence. Hatred of sin is a good sentinel for the door of virtue. There are
persons in courts who walk in a very crooked way, leaving the high road of
integrity; and these, by short cuts, and twists, and turns, are often supposed
to accomplish work for their masters which simple honest hearts are not
competent to undertake; but David would not employ such, he would pay no secret
service money, he loathed the practices of men who deviate from righteousness.
He was of the same mind as the dying statesman who said, "Corruption wins not
more than honesty." It is greatly to be deplored that in after years he did not
keep himself clear in this matter in every case, though, in the main he did; but
what would he have been if he had not commenced with this resolve, but had
followed the usual crooked Policy of Oriental princes? How much do we all need
divine keeping! We are no more perfect than David, nay, we fall far short of him
in many things; and, like him, we shall find need to write a psalm of penitence
very soon after our psalm of good resolution. It shall not cleave to me. I will disown their ways, I will
not imitate their policy: like dirt it may fall upon me, but I will wash it off,
and never rest till I am rid of it. Sin, like pitch, is very apt to stick. In
the course of our family history crooked things will turn up, for we are all
imperfect, and some of those around us are far from being what they should be;
it must, therefore, be one great object of our care to disentangle ourselves, to
keep clear of transgression, and of all that comes of it: this cannot be done
unless the Lord both comes to us, and abides with us evermore.
Verse 4. A froward heart shall depart from me. He refers
both to himself and to those round about him; he would neither be crooked in
heart himself, nor employ persons of evil character in his house; if he found
such in his court he would chase them away. He who begins with his own heart
begins at the fountain head, and is not likely to tolerate evil compamons. We
cannot turn out of our family all whose hearts are evil, but we can keep them
out of our confidence, and let them see that we do not approve of their ways. I will not know a wicked person. He shall not be my
intimate, my bosom friend. I must know him as a man or I could not discern his
character, but if I know him to be wicked, I will not know him any further, and
with his evil I will have no communion. "To know" in Scripture means more than
mere perception, it includes fellowship, and in that sense it is here used.
Princes must disown those who disown righteousness; if they know the wicked they
will soon be known as wicked themselves.
Verse 5. Whose privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut
off. He had known so bitterly the miseries caused by slanderers that he
intended to deal severely with such vipers when he came into power, not to
revenge his own ills, but to prevent others from suffering as he had done. To
give one's neighbour a stab in the dark is one of the most atrocious of crimes,
and cannot be too heartily reprobated, yet such as are guilty of it often find
patronage in high places, and are considered to be men of penetration, trusty
ones who have a keen eye, and take care to keep their lords well posted up. King
David would lop the goodly tree of his state of all such superfluous boughs, Him that hath an high look and a proud heart him will not I
suffer. Proud, domineering, supercilious gentlemen, who look down upon
the poor as though they were so many worms crawling in the earth beneath their
feet, the psalmist could not bear. The sight of them made him suffer, and
therefore he would not suffer them. Great men often affect aristocratic airs and
haughty manners, David therefore resolved that none should be great in his
palace but those who had more grace and more sense than to indulge in such
abominable vanity, Proud men are generally hard, and therefore very unfit for
office; persons of high looks provoke enmity and discontent, and the fewer of
such eople about a court the better for the stability of a throne. If all
slanderers were now cut off, and all the proud banished, it is to be feared that
the next census would declare a very sensible diminution of the population.
Verse 6. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me. He would seek them out, engage their
services, take care of them, and promote them to honour: this is a noble
occupation for a king, and one which will repay him infinitely better than
listening to the soft nothings of flatterers. It would be greatly for the profit
of us all if we chose our servants rather by their piety than by their
cleverness; he who gets a faithful servant gets a treasure, and he ought to do
anything sooner than part with him. Those who are not faithful to God will not
be likely to be faithful to men; if we are faithful ourselves, we shall not care
to have those about us who cannot speak the truth or fulfil their promises; we
shall not be satisfied until all the members of our family are upright in
character. He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. What I
wish myself to be, that I desire my servant to be. Employers are to a great
degree responsible for their servants, and it is customary to blame a master if
he retains in his service persons of notorious character; therefore, lest we
become partakers of other men's sins, we shall do well to decline the services
of bad characters. A good master does well to choose a good servant; he may take
a prodigal into his house for the sinner's good, but if he consults his own he
will look in another quarter. Wicked nurses have great influence for evil over
the minds of little children, and ungodly servants often injure the morals of
the older members of the family, and therefore great care should be exercised
that godly servants should be employed as far as possible. Even irreligious men
have the sense to perceive the value of Christian servants, and surely their own
Christian brethren ought not to have a lower appreciation of them.
Verse 7. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my
house. He had power to choose his courtiers, and he meant to exercise it.
Deceit among most orientals is reckoned to be a virtue, and is only censured
when it is not sufficiently cunning, and therefore comes to be found out; it was
therefore all the more remarkable that David should have so determinedly set his
face against it. He could not tell what a deceitful man might be doing, what
plots he might be contriving, what mischief he might be brewing, and therefore
he resolved that he would at any rate keep him out of his house, that his palace
might not become a den of villainy. Cheats in the market are bad enough, but
deceivers at our own table we cannot bear. He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight. He would
not have a liar within sight or hearing; lie loathed the mention of him. Grace
makes men truthful, and creates in them an utter horror of everything
approaching to falsehood. If David would not have a liar in his sight, much less
will the Lord; neither he that loves nor he who makes a lie shall be admitted
into heaven. Liars are obnoxious enough on earth; the saints shall not be
worried with them in another world.
Verse 8. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land. At
the very outset of his government he would promptly deal out justice to the
worthless, he would leave them no rest, but make them leave their wickedness or
feel the lash of the law. The righteous magistrate "beareth not the sword in
vain." To favour sin is to discourage virtue; undue leniency to the bad is
unkindness to the good. When our Lord comes in judgment, this verse will be
fulfilled on a large scale; till then he sinks the judge in the Saviour, and
bids men leave their sins and find pardon. Under the gospel we also are bidden
to suffer long, and to be kind, even to the unthankful and the evil; but the
office of the magistrate is of another kind, and he must have a sterner eye to
justice than would be proper in private persons. Is he not to be a terror to
evil doers? That I may cut off all the wicked doers from the city of the
Lord. Jerusalem was to be a holy city, and the psalmist meant to be doubly
careful in purging it from ungodly men. Judgment must begin at the house of God.
Jesus reserves his scourge of small cords for sinners inside the temple. How
pure ought the church to be, and how diligently should all those who hold office
therein labour to keep out and chase out men of unclean lives. Honourable
offices involve serious responsibilities; to trifle with them will bring our own
souls into guilt, and injure beyond calculation the souls of others. Lord, come
to us, that we, in our several positions in life, may walk before thee with
Verse 8. That I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of
the LORD. As the kingdom of David was only a faint image of the
kingdom of Christ, we ought to set Christ before our view; who, although he may
bear with many hypocrites, yet as he will be the judge of the world, will at
length call them all to on account, and separate the sheep from the goats. And
if it seems to us that he tarries too long, we should think of that morning
which will suddenly dawn, that all filthiness being purged away, true purity may
shine forth. --John Calvin.
Verse 8. Early. From some incidental notices of Scripture
(2Sa 15:2 Ps 101:8 Je 21:12), it has been inferred that judges ordinarily held
their sessions in the morning. In a climate like that of Palestine, such a
custom would be natural and convenient. It is doubtful, however, whether this
passage expresses anything more than the promptness and zeal which a righteous
judge exercises in the discharge of his duty. --E.P. Barrows, in
"Biblical Geography and Antiquities".
Verse 8. The holy vow "to destroy all the wicked of the
lands": and to "cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord, "must begin
at our own hearts as his sanctuary, the temple of the Holy Ghost. --Alfred
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. The contents of this psalm show that it was
written at some remarkable period of David's life. Three different times have
been fixed upon as respectively giving occasion for the solemn resolutions which
are announced in it. The first is supposed to be when David, immediately after
the death of Saul, succeeded to the government of a part of the kingdom; the
second, when the whole kingdom was united under the dominion of David; and the
third, when he removed the ark from the house of Obededom to Zion, and placed it
in the vicinity of his own abode. It is certainly of little importance which of
these periods we select, but the second verse of the psalm has some appearance
of relating to the last mentioned. The psalmist here says, When wilt thou come to me? which seems to intimate that
when he was to have the symbols of God's presence so near to him, he experienced
a solemn sentiment respecting the holiness that was now more than ever incumbent
upon him--a sentiment which induced him to form the sacred purposes and
resolutions which he has specified. These purposes relate to the character of
the persons whom he would select for his household, and those whom he would
employ in carrying on his government, which appeared to be more firmly
established by the divine condescension that was manifested to him, in having
the earthly residence of God placed so near to himself. It was quite in
agreement with David's character to form purposes of more fervent and steadfast
obedience, in proportion to the advantages and favours which the divine goodness
bestowed upon him. --William Walford.
Whole Psalm. This psalm has been appropriately called
"The House-holder's Psalm"; and assuredly if every master of a
family would regulate his household by these rules of the conscientious
psalmist, there would be a far greater amount, not merely of domestic happiness
and comfort, but of fulfilment of the serious and responsible duties which
devolve on the respective members of a household. David in some measure may be
supposed to speak of the regulation of a royal court and household; and of
course with such we in our humbler sphere can have but little in common; yet
though there may not be the same duties and the same requirements, yet the same
principles should actuate all alike, and the same virtues that adorn the lowlier
station may shed a radiance even on the highest. --Barton Bouchier.
Whole Psalm. This is the psalm which the old expositors
used to designate "The Mirror for Magistrates"; and an excellent mirror
it is. It would mightily accelerate the coming of the time when every nation
shall be Christ's possession, and every capital a "City of the Lord", if all
magistrates could be persuaded to dress themselves by it every time they go
forth to perform the functions of their godlike office. When Sir George Villiers
became the favourite and prime minister of King James, Lord Bacon, in a
beautiful Letter of Advice, counselled him to take this psalm for his rule in
the promotion of courtiers. "In those the choice had need be of holiest and
faithful servants, as well as of comely outsides who can bow the knee and kiss
the hand. King David (Ps 101:6-7) propounded a rule to himself for the choice of
his courtiers. He was a wise and a good king; and a wise and a good king shall
do well to follow such a good example; and if he find any to be faulty, which
perhaps cannot suddenly be discovered, let him take on him this resolution as
King David did, `There shall no deceitful person dwell in my house.'"It
would have been well both for the Philosopher and the Favourite if they had been
careful to walk by this rule. --William Binnie.
Whole Psalm. Eyring, in his "Life of Ernest the Pious"
(Duke of Saxe Gotha), relates that he sent an unfaithful minister a copy of Ps
101:1-8, and that it became a proverb in the country when an official had done
anything wrong: He will certainly soon receive the prince's psalm to read.
Whole Psalm. Ps 101:1-8 was one beloved by the noblest of
Russian princes, Vladimir Monomachos; and by the gentlest of English reformers,
Nicholas Ridley. But it was its first leap into life that has carried it so far
into the future. It is full of a stern exclusiveness, of a noble intolerance,
not against theological error, not against uncourtly manners, not against
political insubordination, but against the proud heart, the high look, the
secret slanderer, the deceitful worker, the teller of lies. These are the
outlaws from king David's court; these are the rebels and heretics whom he would
not suffer to dwell in his house or tarry in his sight. --Arthur Penrhyn
Stanley, in "Lectures on the History the Jewish Church", 1870.
Whole Psalm. Such a hymn of praise as the grand doxology of
Ps 99:1-9 could not die away without an echo. Accordingly Ps 100:1-5 may be
regarded as forming the chorus of the church, and this as taking up and applying
that part of the doxology which celebrated the present manifestation of
the "King in his beauty." --Alfred Edersheim.
Whole Psalm. Mr. Fox reports that Bishop Ridley often read
and expounded this psalm to his household, hiring them with money to get it by
heart. --Thomas Lye, in "The Morning Exercises."
Verse 1. I will sing. If thou bestowest mercies upon me; or
if thou bringest any judgment upon me; before thee, O Lord, will I sing my hymn
for all. --Chaldee Paraphrase.
Verse 1. I will sing. The manner of expression imports a
cordial resolution; heart and will are engaged in it; there is twice I
will in the text. The manner of expression imports a humble
resolution; I cannot sing of merit; but I will sing of mercy, and through mercy
I will sing of mercy. To sing of mercy must be a humble song, for mercy towards
a miserable sinner is a melting word; and to sing of judgment must be a humble
song, for judgment in every sense is an awful word. The manner of the expression
imports a skilful harper, a dexterous musician, even in a spiritual
sense; he knew what should be the subject of the song, and he says, "I will sing
of mercy and judgment"; and he knew what should be the object of the song, or to
whom it should be sung, and therefore says, "To thee, O Lord, I will sing"; he
knew who should be the singer, and therefore says, "I will" do it; he knew what
should be the manner; and therefore says, "I will sing of mercy and judgment; to
thee, O Lord, will I sing." It is before the Lord he resolves to sing, as
he did before the ark, which was a type of Christ; and so is it s song to the
praise of God in Christ. The manner of the expression imports a firm,
fixed, and constant resolution; so the redoubling of it seems to
import; "I will sing, I will sing." He had a mind this exercise of singing
should not go down, but be his continual trade, "I will sing, I will sing"; I
will sing on earth and I will sing in heaven; I will sing in time and I will
sing in eternity. And, indeed, all on whom the spirit of praise and gratitude is
poured out resolve never to give over singing... David had heard once, yea,
twice, that mercy as well as power belongs to the Lord; and therefore not only
once, but twice in a breath he resolves to sing unto the Lord. The word hath a
great deal of elegancy and emphasis in it; I will sing of mercy, I will sing of
judgment; O, I will sing, O Lord, I will sing; and I will sing unto thee.
Verse 1. This song of the sweet singer of Israel is peculiar
to earth; they do not sing of judgment in heaven, for there is no sin
there; they do not sing of mercy in hell, for there is no propitiation
for sin there. Time was when the song was not heard even on earth; for in
Paradise man walked in innocence, and walking in innocence he walked in the
light of his Father's face. --Hugh Stowell, 1856.
Verse 1. I will sing of mercy and judgment. It comes all to
this, as if the psalmist should say, "I will sing of merciful
judgements"; for judgment is mercy, as it is the matter of the song: or,
to take them separately, "I will sing of mercy in mercies, and, I will
sing of mercy in judgment"; and so I will sing of my blinks and of my
showers; I will sing both of my cloudy and my clear day; both of my ups and
downs. --Ralph Erskine.
Verse 1. Mercy and judgment. As the pedge of the ship S.Paul
sailed in was Castor and Pollux, twin brothers, so the badge of this
Psalm is Mercy and Judgment, inseparable companions; of whom it may be
said, as our prophet sometimes spake of Saul and Jonathan, "They were lovely and
pleasant in their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided." These are
the two brightest stars in the firmament of majesty; the two fairest flowers,
and choicest jewels in the imperial crown; like the carnation and the lily, the
ruby and the sapphire, or the carbuncle and the diamond, yielding a mutual and
interchangeable lustre each to other. They resemble not unfitly the two
supporters of the king's arms, or the two seraphim stretching out their golden
wings over the propitiatory, or the white and red rose in the same escutcheon.
We read that Solomon set up two goodly pillars in the porch of
the temple, the one called Jachin, the other Boaz, which signify
stability and strength; such pillars of the state are mercy and
judgment. The throne of the King is borne up by them, as Solomen's was
with lions of ivory on each side. Therefore I as in one place it is said that
"the throne is established by justice" (Pr 16:12); so in another
that it is "upheld by mercy" (Pr 20:28); justice being as the bones and
sinews in the body politic, and mercy as the veins and arteries. They are the
two hands of action, the two eyes of virtue, and the two wings of honour. And as
the eyes, if they be rightly set, do both look one way; so do mercy and
judgment, however in the apprehension of the vulgar they seem to look contrary
ways. And as the treble and the bass accord best music; so do they in managing
the commonwealth. Wherefore David promiseth to make them both sound tunable in
his song without jar or discord: "I will sing of mercy and
As mercy is here set in the first place; so shall the sentence
of mercy and absolution be first pronounced at the last day. And it is a
laudable custom of princes, at their first entrance to their kingdoms, to shew
mercy, by hearing the mourning of the prisoner, and delivering the children of
death, by loosing the bands of wickedness, by taking off the heavy burdens, by
letting the oppressed go free, and by breaking every yoke of former extortions.
Thus, our prophet himself, as soon as the crown was settled on his head, made
inquiry if there remained yet alive any of the house of Saul, on whom he might
shew mercy (2Sa 9:1). O how fair a thing is this mercy in the time of anguish
and trouble! It is like a cloud of rain that cometh in the time of drought. But
this mercy, here spoken of in the first part of our prophet's song,
stretcheth further; unfolding itself in clemency, in courtesy, and
in compassion. In clemency, by pardoning malefactors; in
compassion, by relieving the afflicted; in courtesy, towards all.
--George Hakewill, or Hakewell, 1579-1649.
Verse 1. Mercy and judgment. What is the history of every
poor sinner, plucked as a brand from the fire and brought to heaven in peace at
last, but a history of "mercy and judgment"? Judgment first awakes to terror and
to fear; mercy meets the poor, trembling, returning prodigal, and falls on his
neck, and kisses, and forgives. Then, through all his chequered course, God hems
up his way with judgment, that he may not wander, and yet brightens his path
with mercy, that he may not faint. Is there a child of God that can look into
the varied record of his heart or of his outward history, and not see goodness
and severity, severity and goodness, tracking him all his journey through? Has
he ever had a cup so bitter that he could say, "There is no mercy here"? Has he
ever had a lot so bright that he could say, "There is no chastisement or
correction here"? Has he ever had any bad tidings, and there have been no good
tidings set over against them to relieve them? Has he ever had a sky so dark
that he could see in it no star, or a cloud so unchequered that he could trace
no rainbow of promise there? . . . What a beautifully woven web of judgment and mercy does every
man's secret history, in his way through the wilderness of life to the land of
promise, present! and how good, and how wholesome, and how kindly, and how
gracious is this blessed intermingling of both! How do we need the judgment, to
keep us humble and watchful and pure! and how do we need the mercy to keep us
hopeful, and to nerve our efforts, and to stir our hearts, and to sustain us in
patience, amid life's battle and struggle, and disappointment and vexation! Oh,
how good it is for us, that we should thus, therefore, have the rod and staff
together--the rod to chasten, and the staff to solace and sustain! How good it is
for us, that we should have to "sing of mercy and judgment!" And
yet, what is judgment itself, but mercy with a sterner aspect? And what are the
chidings of judgment, but the sterner tones of the voice of a Father's love? For
even judgment is one of the "all things" that "work together for good to them
that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose." --Hugh
Verse 1. Mercy and judgment. God intermixeth mercy with
affliction: he steeps his sword of justice in the oil of mercy; there was no
night so dark, but Israel had a pillar of fire in it; there is no condition so
dismal, but we may see a pillar of fire to give light. If the body be in pain,
conscience is in peace, --there is mercy: affliction is for the prevention of
sin, --there is mercy. In the ark there was a rod and a pot of manna, the emblem
of a Christian's condition, mercy interlined with judgment. --Thomas
Verse 2. I will behave myself wisely. The first thing he
vows touching himself, is wise behaviour; prudence, not sapience; not wise
contemplation, but wise action. It is not wise thoughts, or wise speaking, or
wise writing, or wise gesture and countenance, will serve the turn, but wise
behaviour: the former are graceful, but the other needful. For as the apostle
saith of godliness, "Having a show of godliness, but denying the power thereof";
so certainly there are those who in point of wisdom and sufficiency that do
little or nothing thoroughly, but magno conatu nugas, they make much ado
about small matters; using all the perspectives of shifting they can devise to
make an empty superficies seem a body that hath depth and bulk.
Verse 2. I will walk. Walking is a word often used in Holy
Scripture, and especially by our prophet in this book of the Psalms; yet more
often figuratively than properly. It shall not be amiss, then, out of the
property and nature of it, to consider the duties included and implied in it.
The natural acts of it, then, are three; motion, progress, and
moderations. As it includes motion, so is it opposed to lying, or
standing, or sitting; as it includes progress in motion, so is it opposed
to jumping or capering up and down in the same place; as it includes
moderation, in a progressive motion, so is it opposed to violent
running. --George Hakewill.
Verse 2. I will walk within my house. Much, though not all
of the power of godliness, lies within doors. It is in vain to talk of holiness
if we can bring no letters testimonial from our holy walking with our relations.
Oh, it is sad when they that have reason to know us best, by their daily
converse with us, do speak least for our godliness! Few so impudent as to come
naked into the streets: if men have anything to cover their haughtiness they
will put it on when they come abroad. But witat art thou within doors? What care
and conscience to discharge thy duty to thy near relations? He is a bad husband
that hath money to spend among company abroad, but none to lay in provisions to
keep his family at home. And can he be a good Christian that spends all his
religion abroad, and leaves none for his nearest relations at home? That is, a
great zealot among strangers, and little or nothing of God comes from him in his
family? Yea, it were well if some that gain the reputation of Christians abroad,
did not fall short of others that pretend not to profession in those moral
duties which they should perform to their relations. There are some who are
great strangers to profession, who yet are loving and kind in their way to their
wives. What kind of professors then are they who are dogged and currish to the
wife of their bosom? Who by their tyrannical lording it over them embitter their
spirit, and make them cover the Lord's altar with tears and weeping? There are
wives to be found that are not clamorous, peevish, and froward to their
husbands, who yet are far from a true work of grace in their hearts; do they
then walk as becomes holiness who trouble the whole house with their violent
passions? There are servants who from the authority of a natural conscience, are
kept from railing and reviling language, when reproved by their masters, and
shall not grace keep pace with nature? Holy David knew very well how near this
part of a saint's duty lies to the very heart of godliness; and therefore, when
he makes his solemn vow to walk holily before God, he instanceth this, as one
stage wherein he might eminently discover the graciousness of his spirit; "I
will walk within my house with a perfect heart." --William
Verse 2. Within my house. It is easier for most men to walk
with a perfect heart in the church, or even in the world, than in
their own families. How many are as meek as lambs among others, when at home they
are wasps or tigers. --Adam Clarke.
Verse 2. Within my house with a perfect heart. Even in our
best directed establishments, as well as in private families, cultivation is
still in a great measure confined to intellect alone; and the direct exercise
and training of the moral and religious sentiments and affections are rarely
thought of as essential to their full and vigorous development. Moral precepts
are, no doubt, offered in abundance; but these address thelnselves chiefly to
the intellect. We must not be satisfied with merely exclaiming, "Be kind, just,
and affectionate", when perhaps at the very moment we are counteracting the
effect of the advice by our own opposite conduct. "She told me not to lie", said
Guy Rivers in speaking of his mother, "and she set me the example herself by
frequently deceiving my father, and teaching me to disobey and deceive him."
Conduct like this is more common in real life than is supposed, although
generally less flagrant in degree. Parents and teachers indeed too often forget
that the sentiments feel and do not reason, and that,
consequently, even a stupid child may, by the instinctive operation of its moral
nature at once detect and revolt at the immorality of practices, the true
character of which its reason is unable to penetrate or expose. It is one
of the most effectual methods of cultivating and exciting the moral sentiments
in children, to set before them the manifestations of these in our habitual
conduct. . . . What kind of moral duties does the parent encourage, who,
recommending kindness, openness, and justice, tricks the child into the
confession of a fault, and then basely punishes it, having previously promised
forgiveness? And how is openness best encouraged --by practising it in conduct,
or by neglecting it in practice, and prescribing in words. Is it to be
cultivated by thrusting suspicions in the face of honest intentions? And how is
justice to be cultivated by a guardian who speaks about it, recommends
it, and in practice charges each of four pupils the whole fare of
a hackney-coach? Or what kind of moral education is that which says, "Do as I
bid you, and I will give you sweet-meats or money, or I will tell your mama how
good you were", holding out the lowest and most selfish propensities as the
motives to moral conduct? Did space permit, I might indeed pursue the whole
round of moral and religious duties, and ask similar questions at each. But it
is needless. These examples will suffice; and I give them, not as applicable
generally either to parents or teachers, but simply as individual instances from
among both, which have come within the sphere of my own knowledge, and which
bear directly upon the principle under discussion. --Andrew Combe, in "The
Principles of Physiology", 1836.
Verse 3. Wicked thing. The original hath it, if we will
render it word for word, "I will set no word of Belial before mine eyes."
But word is figuratively there put for thing; as likewise Ps 41:8;
and so is it rendered both by Montanus in the margin, and in the text by
Junius; howbeit, in his comment upon this psalm, he precisely follows the
original, applying it against sycophants and flatterers, the mice and moths of
court. --George Hakewill.
Verse 3. I hate the work of them that turn aside. Mr.
Schultens hath shown in his commentary on Pr 7:25 that hjv hath a much stronger and more significant meaning than that of
mere turning aside; and that it is used of an unruly horse, that
champs upon the bit through his fiery impatience; and when applied to a bad man,
denotes one impatient of all restraint, of unbridled passions, and that is
headstrong and ungovernable in the gratification of them, trampling on all the
obligations of religion and virtue. Such as these are the deserved objects of
the hatred of all good men, whose criminal deviations and presumptuous crimes
they detest; none of which shall cleave to them; they will not
harbour the love of, or inclination to them, nor habitually commit them, or
encourage the practice of them. Persons of this character are too frequently
about the courts of princes, but it is their honour and interest, as far as ever
they can, to discountenance them. --Samuel Chandler.
Verse 3. It shall not cleave to me. A bird may light upon a
man's house; but he may choose whether she shall nestle or breed there, or no:
and the devil or his instruments may represent a wicked object to a man's sight;
but he may choose whether he will entertain or embrace it or no. For a man to
set wicked things before his eyes is nothing else but to sin of set purpose, to
set himself to sin, or to sell himself to sin, as Ahab did, 1Ki 21:1-29.
Verse 3. It shall not cleave to me. A wicked plan or purpose
is thus represented as having a tendency to fasten itself on a man, or to
"stick to him" --as pitch, or wax, or a burr does. --Albert
Verse 4. A froward heart. The original sense of vqe is torsit, contorsit, to twist together,
and denotes, when applied to men, persons of a perverse, subtle disposition,
that can twist and twine themselves into all manner of shapes, and who have no
truth and honour to be depended on. --Samuel Chandler.
Verse 4. A froward heart. By which I understand
"from-wardness" --giving way to sudden impulses of anger, or quick
conception, and casting it forth in words or deeds of impetuous violence.
Verse 5. Privily slandereth --literally, he that
tongueth his neighbour secretly. Will I not suffer, is properly,
"him I cannot", i.e., cannot live with, cannot bear about me, as the same
verb is used in Isa 1:13. --Henry Cowles.
Verse 5. Him that hath an high look. Pride will sit and show
itself in the eyes as soon as anywhere. A man is seen what he is in
oculis, in poculis, in loculis (in his eyes, his cups, and his resorts)
say the Rabbins. See Pr 6:17. --John Trapp.
Verse 5. Proud heart. From bxr latus or dilatatus est, is the noun bxr, here, broad, or wide, or large;
and being applied to the heart or soul, it notes largeness
of desires. --Henry Hammond.
Verse 5. Detraction, ambition, and avarice are three weeds
which spring and flourish in the rich soil of a court. The psalmist declareth
his resolution to undertake the difficult task of eradicating them for the
benefit of his people, that Israelites might not be harassed by informers, or
repressed by insolent and rapacious ministers. Shall we imagine these vices less
odious in the eyes of that King whose character was composed of humilty and
charity; or will Christ admit those tempers into the court of heaven, which
David determined to exclude from his court upon earth? --George Horne.
Verses 5-10. Perfect, as prophetic of Christ, is the
delineation of his associates and disciples. The perverse; the evil-doers; the
slanderers, and the proud found no fellowship with him. There were no common
principles; no bond of union between them. There was "a gulph" interposed, as in
the parable, which they could not pass; and what they saw of Christ, they beheld
only from a distance. Nor even now, as then, can "the deceitful" dwell in
Christ's "house" --his holy temple; nor the man of "lies be established" by his
love and favour. They must renounce their vices before they can be admitted to
his covenant; or, however they may claim communion with Him, he in return
can have no sympathy with them. --William Hill Tucker.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
Whole Psalm. This is a psalm of wills and shalls. There
are nine wills and five shalls. Resolutions should be made,
1. With deliberation; not, therefore, upon trifling matters.
2. With reservation. "If the Lord will, "etc.
3. With dependence upon divine strength for their fulfilment.
Verse 1. --
1. The sweet work that is resolved upon is to "sing."
2. The sweet singer that thus resolves, namely, David, "l will
3. The sweet subject of the song, "mercy and judgment."
4. The sweet object of this praise, and the manner in which he
would sing it--"Unto three, 0 Lord, will I sing."
Verse 1. What there is in mercy that affords ground of
1. The freeness and undeservedhess of mercy.
2. The unexpectedness of mercy. When I was expecting a frown I
got a smile; when I was expecting nothing but wrath, I got a glance of love;
instead of a stroke of vengeance, I got a view of glory.
3. The seasonablehess of mercy is a ground of singing-- grace to
help in time of need.
4. The greatness and riches of mercy make the recipiants there
5. The sweetness of mercy makes them sing.
6. The sureness and firmness of mercy make them sing-- "The sure
mercies of David."
--From Ralph Erskine's Sermon, entitled "The
Verse 1. --
1. The different conditions of the righteous man in this life.
Not all mercy, nor all judgment, but mercy and judgment.
2. His one duty and privilege in reference to them: "I will
(a) Because they are both from God.
(b) Because they are both from love.
(c) Because they are both for present good.
(d) Because they are both preparative for the heavenly rest.
Verse 1. The blending of song with holy living. The bell of
praise and the pomegranate of holy fruitfulness should both adorn the Lord's
1. The end desired: "To behave wisely, "etc.; consistency of
2. The means employed: "When wilt thou come, "etc.; only when
God is with us we walk in a perfect way.
3. The test proposed: "Within my house, "where I am most myself
and am best known.
Verse 2. --The wisdom of holiness.
1. In selecting our sphere of duty.
2. In timing, :arranging, and balancing duties.
3. In managing others according to their tempers.
4. In avoiding disputes with adversaries.
5. In administering rebuke, giving alms, rendering advice,
etc.; the blending of the serpent with the dove.
Verse 2. --O when wilt thou come unto me? A devout
1. Revealing the psalmist's need of the divine presence in
order to holiness.
2. His intense longing.
3. His full expectation.
4. His the rough appreciation of the condescending visit.
Verse 2 (last clause). Home piety. Its duty, excellence,
influence, sphere, and reward. Note also the change of heart and firmness of
purpose necessary to it.
1. The sight of wickedness is to be avoided: "I will set no
wicked thing, "etc.
2. When seen it is to be loathed: "I Hate, "etc.
3. When felt it is to be repudiated. It may touch me, but "it
shall not cleave to me."
Verse 4. The need of extreme care in the choice of our
Verse 5. The detestable nature of slander, hurting three
persons at once--the speaker, hearer, and person slandered.
Verse 6. The duty of believers who are wealthy to encourage
and employ persons of pious character.
Verse 8. The work of the great King when he comes in
WORKS UPON THE HUNDRED AND FIRST PSALM
In CHANDLER's "Life of David", Vol. II, pp. 16-20, there
is an Exposition of this Psalm. "King David's Vow for Reformation of Himselfe,
his Family, his Kingdome. Delivered in twelve sermons before the Prince his
Highhesse vpon Psalme 101. By GEORGE HAKEWlLL, Dr. in Diuinity. London 1622."