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David resorteth unto God, in confidence of his integrity.
A Psalm of David.
Title.— לדוד ledavid, in this psalm David asserts his innocence so strongly, that we may conclude it was made before the preceding psalm, agreeably to the observation made on the title of that psalm. Theodoret supposes that David wrote it while he was among the Philistines, or in some other strange country, into which he was for some time forced by the persecution of Saul.
Psalms 26:1. Judge me, O Lord— Plead for me, O Lord.
Psalms 26:6. I will wash mine hands in innocency— It was a common custom among all the Jews to wash before prayers; but the priests in particular were not to perform any sacred office in the sanctuary till they had poured water out of the laver, and washed their hands in it. David alludes to this custom. But because those outward ablutions might still leave impurities within, which all the water in the world could not wash away, he here declares that he would wash his hands in innocency itself, which he elsewhere calls, the cleanness of his hands, Psalms 18:24. See note on Psalms 7:7.
Psalms 26:8. The habitation of thy house— This certainly means the tabernacle, wherein the ark of God was kept, and where he manifested his peculiar presence by a visible and glorious appearance. Dr. Hammond says, that the habitation of thy house may, by apposition, be, thy habitation-house; as we say in English a mansion-house, i.e. a place for daily habitation; such as the tabernacle was to God; he having promised to be continually present there. See Exodus 29:42; Exodus 29:45. We may render the verse, Lord, I have loved thy mansion-house, and the place of the tabernacle of thy glory.
Psalms 26:9. Gather not— Unite not.
Psalms 26:12. My foot standeth in an even place— Mudge observes, that this is an answer to the first verse: he had said there, Let me not slide, for so it should be rendered: here he says, my foot standeth firm on plain ground.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, The greatest innocence is no protection from the envenomed tongue of slander. It is well that there is a day coming which, shall confute the calumnies of the wicked, and turn them with confusion on their own heads.
David here appeals to God for his integrity: not as upright in the sight of God, for there he pretended not to be justified; but as innocent of the charges laid against him by Saul; respecting which, he desires to submit to the heart-searching scrutiny of God, and to abide by his judgment, conscious that there was no just occasion of offence to be found in him; and therefore trusting that God would espouse his righteous quarrel, and preserve him that he should not slide: neither fall before the malignity of his persecutors, nor be ensnared by the power of evil. Note; Under the basest misrepresentations, it is an unspeakable comfort to possess conscious innocence.
2nd, As in the former part of the psalm we are told what company David avoided, in the latter we are informed what company he delighted in,—the worshippers of God.
He declares how he approached the courts of the Lord's house. He washed his hands in innocency, washed in the blessed fountain, open for sin and for uncleanness; and he kept back no allowed sin; but, with a conscience void of offence, compassed God's altar; alluding to the priests who went round the altar, sprinkling the atoning blood on the four corners; so would he wait continually upon God, pleading the blood of sprinkling, and offering the grateful sacrifice of praise. That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wonderous works, works of mercy and grace so astonishing, that they deserve to be proclaimed for the comfort of his brethren and the glory of God. And this was not a mere slavish duty to satisfy conscience, or support a Pharisaical righteousness, no; it was the very joy of his heart. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house; there could I with pleasure ever abide, and the place where thine honour dwelleth, where in the divine Shechinah thy glory visibly appears.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 26". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30