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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 101

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-8

Psalms 101:1-8. Title. ’ The title tells us who made this psalm : and the matter of it is so plain, that any body may see, that it is a pious resolution of David, to govern first himself, and then his court, and then his kingdom, with so much care, that the good might expect all favour from him; but no wicked man, of any sort, have the least countenance.’ Bp. Patrick.

(Notes,Psalms 75:2-4. Genesis 18:17-19.) ’ In the person of David advanced to the throne of Israel, we hear King Messiah declaring how he intended to walk, and to govern his household the church ; and also describing the qualifications, which he should ’ require in his ministers and servants.’ Bp. Home.

V. 1 . The mercy of God shewn towards him, and his righteous judgments upon his persecutors, were not only the subjects of David’s grateful praise, but the pattern which he proposed to imitate in his administration. (Notes,Psalms 89:14. Psalms 136:10-22. Romans 11:22-24.) ’ David ’ considereth what manner of king he would be, when ’ God should place him in the throne, promising openly ’ that he would be merciful and just.’ (Marg. Ref. Notes, 2 Samuel 23:3-4.)

V. 2. ’ Though as yet thou deferrest to place me in ’ the kingly dignity ; yet I will give myself to wisdom and ’ uprightness, being a private man.’ Some, however, think that the psalm was composed while David ruled over Judah, but not over Israel. David purposed to unite wisdom and piety with justice and mercy, in his behaviour before his family and court, as well as in his publick administration. He fully determined to walk uprightly in the ordinances and commandments of God, as an example to his people.

(Notes, title. Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Joshua 24:15. 2 Samuel 6:20. 1 Timothy 3:4-5.) But knowing that his ability to perform his vow would depend upon the Lord’s presence with him ; he prayed with earnest desires, and as impatient of delay, that the Lord would speedily come and dwell with him, and bless him. (Marg. Ref. Note, Exodus 3:12.) ’ O when wilt thou perfect what thou ’ hast begun for me ; and settle me peaceably in my kingdom : then I shall be able to live more regularly than now ’ in this state of war and confusion.’ Bp. Patrick.

V. 3. ’I will not propose to myself, or think of carrying into execution, any iniquitous scheme of politics, 4 however advantageous and tempting it may appear; I ’ will ...reject it at once : " I hate the work of them that ’ " turn aside," of them who, in their counsels and their ’ actions, deviate from the divine law, to serve their own ’ interest. ... No such corrupt principle shall adhere to my soul, or find a place in my affections. How noble a ’ resolution for a king to make ; but how difficult an one ’ for a king to keep ! ’ Bp. Home. ’ He sheweth that magistrates do not their duty, except they be enemies to all ’ vice.’ (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 36:1-4. Psalms 125:4-5.)

V. 4. ’I will turn him instantly out of my service, who ’ shall dare to suggest to me any crooked counsels : I will ’ have no familiarity with him, much less make him my ’ favourite, who makes no conscience how he compasses ’ his ends.’ Bp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref. Notes, 2 Samuel 13:3-4; 2 Samuel 16:20-23; 2 Samuel 17:14. 1 Kings 21:4-16. Proverbs 29:12.)

V. 5. ’In promising to punish these vices, which are ’ most pernicious in them that are about kings, he declareth that he will punish all.’ ’ Detraction, ambition, ’ and avarice, are three weeds, which spring and flourish ’ in the rich soil of a court. ...Shall we imagine these ’ vices less odious in the eyes of that king, whose character was composed of humility and charity ? Or will ’ Christ admit those tempers into heaven, which David determined to exclude from his court upon earth?’ Bp. Home.

(Marg. Ref. Notes,Psalms 50:16-21; Psalms 52:3-4. 2 Samuel 16:11.Proverbs 6:12-19; Proverbs 25:23.)

V. 6. One great improvement of power or authority, as a talent, either in church or state, consists in carefully and wisely selecting fit persons for all the different services required, in order to the prosperity and good order of both : though alas ! this is very rarely indeed attended to, and men with David’s spirit in this respect are every where exceedingly wanted. (Marg. Ref.) ’ I will look out for ’ trusty persons, men fearing God, and of clear integrity; ’and. ..make them of my privy council; and no man ’ shall bear any other office in my court, but he that lives ’ unblameably.’ Bp. Patrick. David found it much easier to resolve and purjxtse, though sincerely, and in the sight of God, than to accomplish his purposes : as many things in his subsequent administration proved ; especially his sparing Joab, and continuing him in authority, after his murder of Abner ; and also his conduct respecting Absaom ; not to speak of his more awful transgressions. ( Notes, 2 Samuel 3:28-29; 2 Samuel 3:38-39; 2 Samuel 14:13-22. Romans 7:15-17.)

V. 7. No subtle knave, ... that devises cunning ’ cheats to oppress my subjects, shall remain in my service. Though he have craftily got into it under a guise of simplicity ; yet no false informer, flatterer, or any other sort ’ of liar, shall continue in my favour.’ Bp. Patrick. (Notes, 2 Samuel 4:9-12. 2 Kings 5:20-27. Proverbs 20:8; Proverbs 29:12. Acts 5:1-11.)

V. 8. Early.] Or, " in the mornings," that is, every morning. (Note, Jeremiah 21:11-12.) ’ In the very beginning of my reign, and as the first concern of every day. I will thus endeavour to crush and cut off the wicked, and to reform the city of God.’ Promptitude, activity, and perseverance are alike necessary to suppress vice in the state; and to keep the visible church, and even its most sacred offices, pure from the pollution of ambitious and covetous hypocrites. The latter is called " the city of " the LORD : " but it has too often been made a city of merchandise, and even " a den of thieves " or robbers.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, Matthew 21:12-13. John 2:13-17.)

In all this, David was an evident type of Christ, our righteous King, who alone fully accomplishes these most excellent purposes. (Note, Psalms 14:6-7.)


When we celebrate the praises of the divine perfections, we should, in many cases, consider them a patterns for our imitation : but we never can so clearly understand in what respect this example is imitable by us, as when we view it exhibited in the person of the incarnate Son of God. (Notes, John 1:14-17. Ephesians 5:1-2. Philippians 2:5-6. 1 Peter 2:18-25.) His compassionate and condescending love to sinners harmonizes with the most perfect abhorrence of sin : and his conduct, as our exalted King, is conformable to his holy life on earth. He does not connive at any wickedness, or bear it in his presence; he abhors " the work of them that turn aside " from his righteous ways ; and can no more allow his disciples to cleave to sin, than he can commit it himself. Those who continue of a perverse disposition must depart from him ; and at the day of judgment he will reject all the workers of iniquity, as those whom he " never knew." He will as certainly punish the subtle, undermining slanderer, as the murderer : pride and covetousness will no more escape, than adultery or drunkenness : and hypocrites, and liars of every kind, will be doomed to the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. (Notes, Revelation 21:5-8; Revelation 22:14-15.) In short, he will destroy all impenitent sinners ; and those with peculiar detestation, who form a part of his visible church, and are a scandal to it. Such are often removed from the earth, to prevent further mischief; but at length a final and eternal separation shall be made, and no wicked person shall ever enter the city of the Lord, in the world to come. (Note, Revelation 21:22-27.) But he will search out the faithful, who repent and renounce their sins, trusting in his mercy; watching over them, and shewing them all favour : and they, by his grace, learn to walk before him in truth and righteousness. These are his servants on earth, and they shall dwell with him for ever in heaven. This is hisdetermination, and invariable conduct ; nor will he treat any as his people, whom he does not " redeem " from all iniquity, and " progressively " purify unto " himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works." This example should be copied by rulers and magistrates especially: justice, truth, goodness, and piety should be visible in their whole conduct : and then their patronage and influence would unite with the impartial and vigorous exercise of their authority, in discountenancing all vice and impiety, in protecting the righteous, and in promoting the cause of God. By a resolute and steady adherence to such a plan, wicked doers might be reclaimed or restrained; and we might appear like a part of the city of God, by the prevalence of equity and piety. Ministers, heads of families, and all others, in the superior relations or stations of life especially, have also an important duty in this matter. Their example and influence, and the exercise of their authority; their refusal to be at all acquainted with notorious sinners, or to shew favour to them, or even to employ them ; their decided disapprobation of slanderers, flatterers, and all dissemblers ; and the encouragement of the faithful, humble, and upright, would have an extensive good effect; if they would adopt David’s resolutions, or rather imitate Christ’s example. It is true this would require much wisdom and courage ; and of ourselves we are not sufficient for such services : but the Lord would come to us, and even abide with us, if we earnestly and cordially intreated him ; and then his grace would be sufficient for us, his favour would render any station comfortable, and his blessing would crown our endeavours with success. But let us recollect, that if we refuse to obey his command and copy his example, while we call him our Lord and Master, he will treat us as hypocrites and liars, exclude us from his family, and drive us with indignation from his presence, as workers of iniquity, whom he never acknowledged or approved. (Notes, Matthew 7:21-27.)

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 101". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-101.html. 1804.
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