World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
98. Thou hast made me wiser than my adversaries He here declares, that he was more learned than his adversaries, his instructors, and the aged, because he was a scholar of God’s law. It is in a different sense that he describes himself as endued with understanding above his adversaries, from that in which he describes himself as wiser than his teachers. He surpassed his enemies, because their cunning and artifices availed them nothing when they employed these to the utmost to effect his destruction. The malice of the wicked is always goading them to do mischief; and as they are often artful and deceitful, we are afraid lest our simplicity should be imposed upon by their deceits, unless we use the same crafts and underhand dealings which they practice. Accordingly, the prophet glories, that he found in God’s law enough to enable him to escape all their snares. When he claims the credit of being superior in knowledge to his instructors, he does not mean to deny that they also had learned from the word of God what was useful to be known. But he gives God thanks for enabling him to surpass, in proficiency, those from whom he had learned the first elements of knowledge. 432432 "As he had entered into the spiritual nature of the law of God, and saw into the exceeding breadth of the commandment, he soon became wiser than any of the priests, or even prophets who instructed him.” — Dr. Adam Clarke Nor is it any new thing for the scholar to excel his master, according as God distributes to each man the measure of understanding. The faithful, it is true, are instructed by the pains and labor of men, but it is in such a way, as that God is still to be regarded as enlightening them. And it is owing to this that the scholar surpasses the master; for God means to show as it were, with the finger, that he uses the service of men in such a way as that he himself continues still the chief teacher. Let us therefore learn to commit ourselves to his tuition, that we may glory with David, that by his guidance we have proceeded farther than man’s instruction could lead us. He adds the same thing respecting the aged, for the more abundant confirmation of his statement. Age is of great avail in polishing, by long experience and practice, men who, by nature, are dull and rude. Now the prophet asserts, that he had acquired, by the Divine Law, more discretion than belongs to aged men. 433433 “I understand more than the ancients. God had revealed to him more of that hidden wisdom, which was in his law, than he had done to any of his predecessors. And this was most literally true of David, who spoke more fully about Christ than any who had gone before him; or, indeed, followed after him. His compositions are, I had almost said, a sublime gospel.” — Ibid. In short, he means to affirm, that whoever yields himself with docility to God, keeps his thoughts in subjection to his word, and exercises himself diligently in meditating upon the Law, will thence derive wisdom sufficient for enabling him to consult his own safety in opposition to the stratagems of his enemies, to exercise circumspection requisite for escaping their deceits; and, finally, to match with the most eminent masters through the whole course of his life. David, however, does not adduce his wisdom, that he may boast of it before the world; but, by his own example, he warns us, that nothing is better for us than to learn at God’s mouth, since those only are perfectly wise who are taught in his school. At the same time, sobriety is here enjoined upon the faithful, that they may not seek for wisdom elsewhere than from God’s word, and that ambition or curiosity may not incite them to vain boasting. In short, all are here recommended to behave themselves with modesty and humility, that no man may claim to himself such knowledge as elevates him above the Divine Law; but that all men, however intelligent, may willingly yield themselves to the lessons of heavenly wisdom revealed in the Divine Word. When he says, that he kept God’s statutes, he teaches us what kind of meditation it is of which we have spoken, to let us know that he did not coldly philosophies upon God’s precepts, but devoted himself to them with earnest affection.