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23

Even though princes sit plotting against me,

your servant will meditate on your statutes.


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22. Remove from me reproach This verse may admit of two senses: Let the children of God walk as circumspectly as it is possible for them to do, they will not escape being liable to many slanders, and therefore they have good reason to petition God to protect the unfeigned godliness which they practice against poisonous tongues. The following meaning may not inappropriately be given to the passage: O Lord, since I am conscious to myself, and thou art a witness of my unfeigned integrity, do not permit the unrighteous to sully my reputation, by laying unfounded accusations to my charge. But the meaning will be more complete if we read it as forming one continued sentence: O God, permit not the ungodly to mock me for endeavoring to keep thy law. For this impiety has been rampant in the world even from the beginning, that the sincerity of God’s worshippers has been matter of reproach and derision; even as, at this day, the same reproaches are still cast upon God’s children, as if not satisfied with the common mode of living, they aspired being wiser than others. That which was spoken by Isaiah must now be accomplished, “Behold I and my children, whom thou hast given me to be for a sign;” so that God’s children, with Christ their head, are, among the profane, as persons to be wondered at. Accordingly, Peter testifies that they charge us with madness for not following their ways, (1 Peter 4:4;) and as this reproach — the becoming the subjects of ridicule on account of their unfeigned affection for God’s law — tends to the dishonor of his name, the prophet very justly demands the suppression of all these taunts; and Isaiah also, by his own example, directs us to flee to this refuge, because, although the wicked may arrogantly pour out their blasphemies on the earth, yet God sitteth in heaven as our judge.

In the following verse, he states more plainly that it was not in vain he besought God to vindicate him from such calumnies; for he was held in derision, not only by the common people, and by the most abandoned of mankind, but also by the chief men, who sat as judges. The term, to sit, imports that they had spoken injuriously and unjustly of him, not merely in their houses and at their tables, but publicly and on the very judgment-seat, where it behooved them to execute justice, and render to every one his due. The particle גם, gam, which he employs, and which signifies also or even, contains an implied contrast between the secret whisperings of the common people, and the imperious decisions of these imperious men, enhancing still more the baseness of their conduct. Nevertheless, in the midst of all this he steadfastly persevered in following after godliness. Satan was assailing him with this device in order to drive him to despair, but he tells us that he sought a remedy from it in meditation on the law of God. We are here taught, that it is not unusual for earthly judges to oppress God’s servants, and make a mock of their piety. If David could not escape this reproach, why should we, in these times, expect to do so? Let us further learn, that there is nothing more perverse than to place dependence upon the judgments of men, because, in doing so, we must, of necessity, constantly be in a state of vacillation. Let us therefore rest satisfied with the approbation of God, though men causelessly defame us — not only men of low degree, but also the very judges themselves, from whom the utmost impartiality might be expected.




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