Psalms 26

PSALM XXVI

The psalmist appeals to God for his integrity, and desires to

be brought to the Divine test in order to have his innocence

proved, 1-3;

shows that he had avoided all fellowship with the wicked, and

associated with the upright, 4-8;

prays that he may not have his final lot with the workers of

iniquity, 9, 10;

purposes to walk uprightly before God, 11, 12.

NOTES ON PSALM XXVI

This Psalm, and the two following, are supposed by Calmet to be

all parts of one ode, and to relate to the time of the captivity,

containing the prayers, supplications, complaints, and resolutions

of the Israelites in Babylon. This is probable; but we have not

evidence enough to authorize us to be nice on such points. See on

the following verse.

Verse 1. Judge me, O Lord] There are so many strong assertions

in this Psalm concerning the innocence and uprightness of its

author, that many suppose he wrote it to vindicate himself from

some severe reflections on his conduct, or accusations relative to

plots, conspiracies, &c. This seems to render the opinion probable

that attributes it to David during his exile, when all manner of

false accusations were brought against him at the court of Saul.

I have walked in mine integrity] I have never plotted against

the life nor property of any man; I have neither coveted nor

endeavoured to possess myself of Saul's crown.

I have trusted] Had I acted otherwise, I could not have been

prosperous; for thou wouldst not have worked miracles for the

preservation of a wicked man.

I shall not slide.] I shall be preserved from swerving from the

paths of righteousness and truth.

Verse 2. Examine me, O Lord] To thee I appeal; and feel no

hesitation in wishing to have all the motives of my heart

dissected and exposed to thy view, and to that of the world.

Verse 3. For thy loving-kindness] A sense of thy favour and

approbation was more to my heart than thrones and sceptres; and in

order to retain this blessing, I have walked in thy truth.

Verse 4. I have not sat with vain persons] methey shav,

men of lies, dissemblers, backbiters, &c.

Neither will I go in with dissemblers] naalamim, the

hidden ones, the dark designers, the secret plotters and

conspirators in the state.

Verse 5. I have hated the congregation of evil doers] I have

never made one in the crowds of discontented persons; persons who,

under pretense of rectifying what was wrong in the state, strove

to subvert it, to breed general confusion, to overturn the laws,

seize on private property, and enrich themselves by the spoils of

the country.

Verse 6. I will wash mine hands in innocency] Washing the hands

was frequent among the Jews, and was sometimes an action by which

a man declared his innocence of any base or wicked transaction.

This Pilate did, to protest his innocence of the mal-treatment and

death of Christ. I will maintain that innocence of life in which I

have hitherto walked; and take care that nothing shall be found in

my heart or life that would prevent me from using the most holy

ordinance, or worshipping thee in spirit and truth.

So will I compass thine altar] It is a mark of respect among the

Hindoos to walk several times round a superior, and round a

temple.

Verse 7. That I may publish] I have endeavoured to act so as

always to keep a conscience void of offence towards thee and

towards man. I have made a profession of faith in thee, and

salvation from thee, and my practice gives no lie to my

profession.

Verse 8. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house] I have

carefully used thine ordinances, that I might obtain more grace to

help me to persevere. And I have not been attentive to those

duties, merely because they were incumbent on me; but I have loved

the place where thine honour dwelleth; and my delight in thy

ordinances has made my attendance as pleasant as it was

profitable. This verse would be better translated, Jehovah, I have

loved the habitation of thy house, and the place of the tabernacle

of thy glory. The habitation must mean the holy of holies, where

the Divine Presence was manifest; and the place of the tabernacle

must refer to the mercy-seat, or the place where the glory of the

Lord appeared between the cherubim, upon the lid or cover of the

ark of the covenant. From his dwelling there, mishcan, the

place and the appearance were called shechinah; the

dwelling of Jehovah, or that glorious appearance which was the

symbol of the Divine Presence.

Verse 9. Gather not my soul with sinners] As I have never loved

their company, nor followed their practice, let not my eternal lot

be cast with them! I neither love them nor their ways; may I never

be doomed to spend an eternity with them!

Verse 10. Their right hand is full of bribes] He speaks of

persons in office, who took bribes to pervert judgment and

justice.

Verse 11. But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity] Whatever

I may have to do with public affairs, shall be done with the

strictest attention to truth, justice, and mercy.

Redeem me] From all snares and plots laid against my life and my

soul.

And be merciful unto me.] I deserve no good, but thou art

merciful; deal with me ever in thy mercy.

Verse 12. My foot standeth in an even place] On the above

principles I have taken my stand: to abhor evil; to cleave to that

which is good; to avoid the company of wicked men; to frequent the

ordinances of God; to be true and just in all my dealings with

men; and to depend for my support and final salvation on the mere

mercy of God. He who acts in this way, his feet stand in an even

place.

I will bless the Lord.] In all my transactions with men, and in

all my assemblings with holy people, I will speak good of the name

of the Lord, having nothing but good to speak of that name.

ANALYSIS OF THE TWENTY-SIXTH PSALM

There are four general parts in this Psalm:-

I. An appeal of David to God to be his Judge, Ps 26:1, 2.

II. The causes that induced him to make the appeal. His

conscious innocence, integrity, &c.

III. A petition, Ps 26:9, 11.

IV. His gratitude, Ps 26:12.

I. He begins with his appeal to God, whom he knew to be a just

Judge; and therefore desires to be dealt with according to law:

"Judge me; examine me; prove me; try me; even my reins and my

heart."

II. Then he assigns two causes of it; his integrity and his

faith.

1. His faith and confidence in God were such that he knew that

the Judge of all the world would do him right. "I have trusted in

the Lord, therefore, I shall not slide." I will not change my

religion, though powerfully tempted to do so.

2. His integrity: "I have walked in my integrity." For which he

assigns the cause: "Thy loving-kindness is before my eyes; I have

walked in thy truth." I follow thy word, and the principle it lays

down.

Next he sets down his integrity by an injunction of parts, which

were two: 1. How he carried himself to men; 2. How he conducted

himself towards God.

1. He abstained from all society, confederacy, counsels, and

intimacy with wicked men; he did hate and abominate their ways: "I

have not sat in counsel with vain persons, neither will I go in

with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers, and

will not sit with the wicked."

2. The other degree of his integrity was, his piety: "I will

wash my hands in innocence," i.e., I will worship thee; and for

this end he would keep his hands from blood, oppression, &c., in

order that he "might publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and

tell of all the wondrous works of the Lord."

3. He mentions a second act of his piety, his love to God's

house, and the service done in it: "O Lord, I have loved the

habitation of thy house, and the place where thy honour dwelleth."

III. Upon which conscientiousness of his integrity he falls to

prayer, that God would not suffer him to be polluted with the

conversation of wicked men, nor involved in their punishment:

"Gather not my soul with sinners."

Observe the many titles he gives to wicked men:-

1. They are vain persons; void of the fear of God; irreligious,

Ps 26:4.

2. Deep, dark men; saying one thing with their mouth, and

another with their heart, Ps 26:4.

3. Malignant; doing all for their own ends, Ps 26:5.

4. Impious; regardless of God and religion, Ps 26:5.

5. Sinners; traders in wickedness, Ps 26:9.

6. Blood-thirsty men; cruel and revengeful. Ps 26:9.

7. Mischievous; ready to execute with their hands what they had

plotted in their heart, Ps 26:10.

8. Lovers of bribes; perverting judgment for the sake of money,

Ps 26:10.

With such David will have nothing to do: "But as for me, I will

walk in my integrity." Redeem me from such people, and be merciful

to me.

IV. Lastly. He shows his gratitude. "My foot stands in an even

place;" hitherto I am sure I am in the good way. I will therefore

praise the Lord in the congregation; not only privately, but

publicly.

My foot hath hitherto been kept right by thy grace and mercy;

therefore, when thou shalt bring me back again to thy temple, I

will not be ungrateful, but will sing praises to thy name in and

with the great congregation. Amen.

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