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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 101

 

 

Verse 1

I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.

Psalms 101:1-8.-Resolution to sing of Yahweh's mercy and justice (Psalms 101:1); also to behave in a perfect way (Psalms 101:2-4); to choose believing servants, and to cut off the wicked doers from the city of the Lord (Psalms 101:5-8). This psalm is the first of the trilogy, Psalms 101:1-8; Psalms 102:1-28; Psalms 103:1-22. The thanksgiving song here resolved upon (Psalms 101:1) is given in Psalms 103:1-22 (cf. there Ps. 101:1-2,6,8,11,17-18 ). The hint of distress and the prayer for deliverance (Psalms 101:2) is developed in Psalms 102:1-28. The substance of the triple whole is, David saith, If only my children (and so all believers) remain in Yahweh's ways (Psalms 101:2-8), they may call upon Him in trouble (Ps

102) and they shall have reason given them to bless Him (Psalms 103:1-22.) Psalms 103:17-18 embodies the main thought of Psalms 101:1-8 (cf. Psalms 18:20-27; Psalms 21:1-13.)

I will sing of mercy and judgment - namely, the mercy and just faithfulness of Yahweh to His promises, (given to me and my family through Nathan, 2 Samuel 7:1-29.) The Psalmist carries into effect his purpose of singing of them, not in this psalm, but in Psalms 103:1-22, the last of the trilogy (Psalms 89:1; Judges 5:3).

Will I sing - a different Hebrew word [ zaamar (Hebrew #2167)] from "I will sing" [ shiyr (Hebrew #7892)]. Translate, 'will I chant a psalm of praise.'


Verse 2

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. The history (1 Samuel 18:14-15), by an undesigned coincidence which verifies the genuineness of both passages, uses almost the same words of David's behaviour - "David behaved himself wisely in all his ways." To 'behave wisely' is the result of meditating upon the testimonies of the Lord (Psalms 119:99), and stands in contrast to the sinful stupidity of the godless (Psalms 14:1-2). David sets forth his own practice, or at least aim. [The Hebrew letter he (h), in the future, implies effort]. "Perfect" or "upright" is a favourite word of David's (Psalms 18:23; Psalms 18:25; Psalms 15:2; Psalms 37:37; Psalms 64:4). God's words to Abraham are before his mind hero (Genesis 17:1).

O when wilt thou come unto me? - to bless and deliver me in my trouble, according to thy promise in Exodus 20:24, "In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee;" for in Zion, which has now become "the city of the Lord" (Psalms 101:8) by the presence of the ark of thy covenant, thou hast erected a 'record of thy name.' This abruptly-inserted prayer is the prelude of Psalms 102:1-28, which expands it. "Let my cry come unto thee" (Psalms 102:1) answers to "when wilt thou come unto me?" here. The coming of the Lord to the sufferer is inseparably joined with the coming of the sufferer's cry to Him. The ark had already come, as the phrase (Psalms 101:8), "the city of the Lord," proves; therefore the prayer here cannot be for its coming.

I will walk within my house with a perfect heart - with an upright or blameless heart (Psalms 78:72; 1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 9:4; 1 Kings 11:4; Proverbs 20:7).

Within my house - in my private life, as distinguished from David's public conduct in "the city of the Lord" (Psalms 101:8).


Verse 3

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes - literally, 'no thing of Belial' (Psalms 41:1-13, note).

I hate the work of them that turn aside - apostates [meeTiym, the same as seeTiym, Hosea 5:2, "revolters"], (Psalms 40:4, end).

It shall not cleave to me - (Deuteronomy 13:17.)


Verse 4

A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

A froward heart shall depart from me - (Psalms 18:26.) So Solomon, David's son, writes in Proverbs 11:20; Proverbs 17:20.

I will not know a wicked (person) - rather as the parallel clause requires, 'I will not know a wicked thing' (Psalms 34:16; Psalms 52:3) So far he has spoken only of sin: not until the second part of the strophe does he pass on to sinners.


Verses 5-8

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

-How the king will act in his public capacity. He will not endure slander or pride. He will take only the faithful to dwell with him as servants, and will banish the deceitful from his presence and will cut off the wicked doers. Verse 5. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off. David knew by bitter experience in Saul's days, the cruel effects of slander. In Proverbs 30:10 the same Hebrew occurs.

Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer - (Proverbs 21:4.) Pride and slander go together; because the depreciating of others is with a view to exalt self.

Verse 6. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me - as servants and counselors.

He that walketh in a perfect way he shall serve me - even as I myself make it my aim to "walk in a perfect (upright, sincere) way" (Psalms 101:2).

Verse 7. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house - even as "I walk within my house with a perfect heart." "Within the king's house," his private life, stands in contrast to "the city of the Lord" (Psalms 101:8), the public administration.

He that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight - Hebrew, 'shall not be established,' etc.: cf. Proverbs 12:3. Should a lying servant get into my employment, he shall not be let to stay in it (1 Kings 2:5).

Verse 8. I will early destroy all the wicked of land. "Early" - literally, 'every morning' (Psalms 73:14). It refers to the never-flagged zeal of the king, renewed every morning, in extirpating the wicked (Jeremiah 21:12). The morning was the customary time of trials and judgment.

That I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord. It is because the city in which I rule is the city of the Lord, Zion (Psalms 102:13; Psalms 46:4; Psalms 48:1; Psalms 48:8; Psalms 87:3), that I am under a solemn obligation to cut off all who are unworthy of such a citizenship.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 101:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-101.html. 1871-8.

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Thursday, December 5th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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