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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Psalms 26

Verses 1-12

Psalms 26:0

Theme The theme of Psalms 26:0 declares that God shows mercy towards those who walk upright before Him. We must keep in mind that the Old Testament Scriptures are delivered and written as prophecy. No man has walked perfectly upright before the Lord all of His days. Therefore, only the man Jesus Christ has fulfilled the prophecy of Psalms 26:0. We have failed to fulfill Psalms 26:0 in our own goodness. Yet, there is hope; for in Christ Jesus we can now partake of the same upright before God described by the psalmist. We can rejoice in God’s mercy towards us. We can shout with thanksgiving for all His is doing for us, knowing that we are secure in God’s love because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on Calvary. Therefore, the psalmist was speaking prophetically both of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the believers put their trust in Him. We can walk upright before God because of Christ’s Atonement and Exaltation at the right hand of God the Father.

Literary Structure The psalmist opens this psalm with a cry for the Lord to be the judge of his right standing before God (Psalms 26:1-2) based on God’s mercy and truth (Psalms 26:3). He has separated himself from the lifestyle of the wicked (Psalms 26:4-5). The sacrifice has been paid that atones for his sins and renders him innocent because his sins are no more (Psalms 26:6). With his guilt washed away by the blood of the sacrifice, he rejoices with thanksgiving (Psalms 26:7). His desire is in God’s presence (Psalms 26:8). Still having a sense of his mortal frailty, the psalmist cries out to God to help him in his walk of integrity and deliver him from wickedness (Psalms 26:9-10). His soul cries out for eternal redemption (Psalms 26:11), which will be partially fulfilled for mankind as Calvary, when man is born again and his inner man made new; but complete redemption of man’s soul and body will not take place until the resurrection of the saints. However, in expectation of eternal redemption, his life is secure in God’s hands while he worships God with the congregation of saints (Psalms 26:12).

Psalms 26:1 (A Psalm of David.) Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.

Psalms 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Psalms 26:1-2 Comments A Prayer for God to Justify (or Save) Him - The cry for God to judge him (Psalms 26:1) is parallel in thought to the next verse where he asks God to examine him and prove him (Psalms 26:2). It is a cry for God to justify him based upon his faith in God. In the Church age, we would consider this a cry for God to save us, resulting in the born again experience.

Psalms 26:3 For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.

Psalms 26:3 Comments The psalmist understands that his right standing with God is based on His mercy and His truth (His Word). [41]

[41] Carl Bernard Moll, The Psalms, trans. Charles A. Briggs, John Forsyth, James B. Hammond, and J. Fred McCurdy, in Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, vol. 9, ed. Philip Schaff (New York: Scribner, Armstrong and Co., 1892), 195.

Psalms 26:4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

Psalms 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Psalms 26:6 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:

Psalms 26:6 “I will wash mine hands in innocency” Comments We read in Matthew 27:24 that Pilate washed his hands before the multitude as a testimony of his innocence in the decision to crucify Jesus Christ. Perhaps this behaviour was Pilate’s effort to follow a Jewish custom that clearly communicated a message to the crowd.

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Deuteronomy 21:6-7, “And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it.”

Psalms 73:13, “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency .”

Matthew 27:24, “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”

Psalms 26:12 My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.

Psalms 26:12 Comments As with much Hebrew poetry, chiasm forms a part of the literary structure of Psalms 26:0. Perhaps Psalms 26:1 and Psalms 26:12 offer parallel thoughts regarding the psalmist walking without stumbling, and his praise to God for His divine mercy towards him.

“My foot standeth in an even place” The psalmist had walked the hills of Palestine while tending his sheep and he knew how unstable and slippery were these rocky slopes. He makes an analogy of his carefulness to physically walk in this unstable, hilly land to the carefulness of his spiritual walk with God. The opening and closing verses of Psalms 26:0 offer poetic chiasm with parallel thoughts. He opened the psalm saying that he had walked in integrity and his feet will not slide (Psalms 26:1), a walk that is comparable to walking on even, level soil. He will not stumble or fall if he walks with integrity, because the Lord will keep him from falling (Psalms 26:12).

“in the congregations will I bless the LORD” - The parallel thoughts in Psalms 26:1 and Psalms 26:12 allow us to conclude that the Lord has vindicated the psalmist as a man of righteousness (Psalms 26:1); therefore, he will bless the Lord in the congregations of other believers (Psalms 26:12). He will testify with thanksgiving of God’s goodness towards him for walking upright (Psalms 26:7).

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Psalms 26". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/psalms-26.html. 2013.