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Thursday, June 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 26

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.

Psalms 26:1-12.-David's appeal to God for deliverance on the ground of on the ground of his integrity and trust (Psalms 26:1); his heart, if examined, will prove this; his walk in God's truth, shunning the bad; his love to God's house, where he goes in innocency (Psalms 26:2-8); prayer that his soul may not be gathered with sinners in down, as his walk and theirs are so diverse (Psalms 26:9-11); confident that his standing is sure, he blesses Yahweh (Psalms 26:12) As in Psalms 25:1-22 he pleaded the Lord's mercy, so in Psalms 26:1-12 his judicial righteousness, which must distinguish the godly from the ungodly in their respective lots.

Judge me, O Lord ... therefore I shall not slide. As the second and third clauses the verse correspond, so the first and fourth. As, then, the first clause is a prayer, "Judge me," resting on the petitioner's "integrity" toward his fellow-men (the second table of the law), so the fourth clause ought to be translated, 'let me not slide,' resting on the petitioner's 'trust in the Lord' (the first table) (Psalms 18:36; Psalms 37:31): "Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in mine (habitual) integrity." 'Let me not slide,' for "I have trusted in the Lord." The latter prayer is answered at Psalms 26:12, "My foot standeth in an even place" - i:e., hath a sure footing. The former is answered virtually in the thanksgiving, "in the congregations will I bless the Lord." "Judge me" is, in the case of one of blameless "integrity," equivalent to "vindicate my cause." "Redeem me" from my troubles and foes (Psalms 26:11). Only Messiah could use such a prayer in the full sense: in a limited sense His people can use it, as sincere in their trust toward God, and in their endeavours to walk blamelessly toward men.

Verse 2

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Development (Psalms 26:2-8) of "I have walked in mine integrity," and "I have trusted in the Lord." Psalms 26:1. His ability to stand the Lord's testing examination (Psalms 26:2); his morality and avoidance of contact with sin and sinners (Psalms 26:3-5); his piety (Psalms 26:6-8). The name of Yahweh ("Lord") occurs THREE times.

Prove me - (Psalms 17:3.)

Try my reins. Hengstenberg translates, 'My heart and my reins have been purified.' [So the Hebrew text, tsaaruwpaah (H6884), the participle. The Hebrew margin reads as the English version, tsaarªpaah (H6884)]. The image is from trying metal by fire (Psalms 66:10). The "reins" here express the feeling; the "heart," the thoughts.

Verse 3

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

Before mine eyes - rather understand, '(has been) before mine eyes,' as the spring of my outward aversion from sin and sinners (Psalms 26:4-5).

Walked in thy truth - I have, in my whole walk, rested in THY truth - i:e., thy faithfulness to thy promise (Psalms 25:5, note).

Verse 4

I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

Vain persons - i:e., deceitful persons. He who keeps before his eyes the "truth" of God (Psalms 26:3) cannot have pleasure in untruth.

Neither will I go - into the same meeting or association (Genesis 49:6).

Verse 5

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

Congregation of evil-doers - i:e., their meetings for mischief. What God forbids is not all intercourse with them, which is unavoidable, but association with them in evil (1 Corinthians 5:9-10; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Verse 6

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

Wash ... hands - in allusion to Deuteronomy 21:6, where is described the custom of washing the hands over a slain heifer, with a protestation of innocence in the case of an uncertain murder. So Pilate used this symbolical action to clear himself of guilt of murder in the case of Christ (Matthew 27:24). The "hands" are specified as being the instruments of action (cf. Psalms 73:13; Job 9:30). When Aaron and the priests went, into the tabernacle to minister, they washed their hands and their feet. So the Jews, in later times, washed their hands before praying (cf. Isaiah 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 2:8).

Compass thine altar - alluding to the procession of the choristers, singing as they moved round the altar: so in Psalms 26:7 there follows, "that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving." Compare Septuagint, Psalms 27:6, 'I went round and sacrificed' [ekukloosa kai ethusa]. Thus David's associating with the sacred procession circling round the altar is a beautiful contrast to those sitting in the same circle "with vain persons" (Psalms 26:4). Hengstenberg explains "encompass" in the sense of being strongly attached to. So Cocceius, 'I am constantly about thy altar; I never leave it' in heart' if not in person. Our altar is Christ (Hebrews 13:10). The former is the more common meaning [ caabab (H5437)]. It is not so much the outward worship as the inward trust and gratitude (Psalms 26:7) which he resolves ever to continue, and to express before the Church in God's appointed way, through the blood of atonement.

Verse 7

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

That I may ... wondrous works - in having so marvelously delivered me. So Israel made known God's wonders performed in her deliverance at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-31; Exodus 15:1-27), and shall again do so on the occasion of a still greater and a final deliverance (Isaiah 63:7). He whose heart is so full of God's goodness that his lips cannot but proclaim it, is in the fittest frame for fresh manifestations of God's grace being vouchsafed, which in turn shall call forth fresh praises.

Verse 8

LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.

I have loved. He ends this first part (Psalms 26:2-8) with love to God, as he began it (Psalms 26:3; Psalms 27:4).

The place ... honour dwelleth - the tabernacle where the Shechinah cloud of 'glory' was manifested (Exodus 40:34-35; Numbers 9:15-16). The place of the ark of the covenant, which recently David had brought to Zion was spiritually the center of devotion to all godly Israelites. Compare 2 Samuel 15:25.

Verse 9

Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:

Second part of the main body. As the former part expanded, 'I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted in the Lord,' so this second part expands. 'Judge me, O Lord ... let me not slide (Psalms 26:1).

Gather ... sinners - involve me not in one common destruction with them [ 'aacap (H622), to collect, with a view of taking away], (Jeremiah 8:13, margin) As "I have hated the congregation of evil-doers" (Psalms 26:5), and have sought the society of thy true worshippers (Psalms 26:6-7), do not "gather" me in the doomed company of the wicked (Psalms 28:3), but 'let my soul be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord my God' (1 Samuel 25:29). There is a reference to, Genesis 18:23.

Verse 10

In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.

In whose hands, [ zimaah (H2154)] - literally, 'thought (of evil)'; scheming evil (Psalms 7:3).

Bribes - (Psalms 15:5.)

Verse 11

But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

Walk in mine integrity - resuming the theme, Psalms 26:1. His rectitude stands in contrast to the "mischief" and "bribes" of the "sinners" (Psalms 26:9-10).

Redeem ... merciful. Prayer for redemption and mercy must be offered with a sincere desire to act in "integrity," or else it is rejected.

Verse 12

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

My foot ... even place - not in a slippery place. By faith he already sees the answer to his prayer (Psalms 26:1), 'let me not slide,' note (Isaiah 40:4; Isaiah 42:16; Psalms 27:11, margin, 'a way of plainness; 143:10).

In the congregations - in the public assemblies of the Church met for worship [ maqheeliym (H4721)].

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-26.html. 1871-8.
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