World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
17. Also thou hatest correction Here hypocrites are challenged with treacherous duplicity in denying, by their life and their works, that godliness which they have professed with the lip. Their contempt of God he proves from their want of reverential deference to his Word; subjection to the Word of God, and cordial submission to his precepts and instructions, being the surest test of religious principle. One way in which hypocrisy usually displays itself is, by the ingenious excuses it invents for evading the duty of obedience. The Psalmist points to this as the mainspring of their ungodliness, that they had cast the Word of God behind their back, while he insinuates that the principle from which all true worship flows is the obedience of faith. He adverts also to the cause of their perversity, which lies in the unwillingness of their corrupt heart to suffer the yoke of God. They have no hesitation in granting that whatever proceeds from the mouth of God is both true and right; this honor they are willing to concede to his Word; but in so far as it proposes to regulate their conduct, and restrain their sinful affections, they dislike and detest it. Our corruption, indisposing us to receive correction, exasperates us against the Word of God; nor is it possible that we can ever listen to it with true docility and meekness of mind, till we have been brought to give ourselves up to be ruled and disciplined by its precepts. The Psalmist next proceeds to specify some of those works of ungodliness, informing us that hypocrites, who were addicted to theft and adultery, mixed up and polluted the holy name of God with their wickedness. By adverting only to some species of vices, he would intimate, in general, that those who have despised correction, and hardened themselves against instruction, are prepared to launch into every excess which corrupt desire or evil example may suggests. He makes mention, first, of thefts; then of adulteries; and, thirdly, of calumnies or false reproaches. Most interpreters render תרף, tirets, to run, although others derive it from רצה, ratsah, rendering it to consent. Either translation agrees sufficiently with the scope of the Psalmist, and the preference may be left to the reader’s own choice. The charge here brought against hypocrites, that they put forth their mouth to evil, may include not merely slander, but all the different kinds of speaking which injure their neighbors, for it immediately follows, my tongue frameth deceit It is well known in what a variety of ways the lying and deceitful tongue may inflict injury and pain. When it is added, Thou sittest, etc., the allusion may be to one who sits for the passing of a formal judgment; as if it had been said, Thou defamest thy brethren under pretext of issuing a just sentence. 253253 תשכ. Gejerus and others suppose that this word alludes to the mode of sitting in judgment. See Psalm 119:23.” — Dimock’s Notes on the Book of Psalms Or there may be a reference to petty calumny; such as men maliciously indulge in, and in which they pass their time as they sit at ease in their houses. 254254 When you are sitting still, and have nothing else to do, you are ever injuring your neighbor with your slanderous speech. Your table-talk is abuse of your nearest friends.” — Horsley. The meaning, according to others, is, Thou sittest in the most public places of resort, which were usually the gates of the city, and spendest thy time in calumniating thy brother. See Psalm 69:12; and 119:23. It seems more probable, however, that he refers to the higher crime of accusing the innocent and righteous in open court, and bringing false charges against them. Brethren, and the children of their mother, 255255 “Thine own mother’s son. To understand the force of this expression, it is necessary to bear in mind that polygamy was allowed amongst the Israelites. Those who were born to the same father were all brethren, but a yet more intimate relationship subsisted between those who had the same mother as well as the same father.” — French and Skinner. Compare Genesis 20:12. It was a high aggravation of the wickedness and malignity of the persons here spoken or; that they indulged in abusing with their tongues those to whom they were most nearly related, their brother, yea, the son of their mother. are mentioned, the more emphatically to express the cruelty of their calumnies, when they are represented as violating the ties of nature, and not even sparing the nearest relations.