|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
101:1-8 David's vow and profession of godliness. - In this psalm we have David declaring how he intended to regulate his household, and to govern his kingdom, that he might stop wickedness, and encourage godliness. It is also applicable to private families, and is the householder's psalm. It teaches all that have any power, whether more or less, to use it so as to be a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well. The chosen subject of the psalm is God's mercy and judgment. The Lord's providences concerning his people are commonly mixed; mercy and judgment. God has set the one over against the other, both to do good, like showers and sunshine. When, in his providence, he exercises us with the mixture of mercy and judgment, we must make suitable acknowledgments to him for both. Family mercies and family afflictions are both calls to family religion. Those who are in public stations are not thereby excused from care in governing their families; they are the more concerned to set a good example of ruling their own houses well. Whenever a man has a house of his own, let him seek to have God to dwell with him; and those may expect his presence, who walk with a perfect heart, in a perfect way. David resolves to practise no evil himself. He further resolves not to keep bad servants, nor to employ those about him that are wicked. He will not admit them into his family, lest they spread the infection of sin. A froward heart, one that delights to be cross and perverse, is not fit for society, the bond of which is Christian love. Nor will he countenance slanderers, those who take pleasure in wounding their neighbour's reputation. Also, God resists the proud, and false, deceitful people, who scruple not to tell lies, or commit frauds. Let every one be zealous and diligent to reform his own heart and ways, and to do this early; ever mindful of that future, most awful morning, when the King of righteousness shall cut off all wicked doers from the heavenly Jerusalem.
Verse 1. - I will sing of mercy and judgment. The writer does not mean that he is about, in this present psalm, to sing of God's mercy and justice, but that he will make it one of the rules of his life to do so. Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing; or, "will I make melody" (Cheyne, Kay).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will sing of mercy and judgment,.... Either of mercy and justice, exercised by him towards his people, which he resolved to do, and did, 2 Samuel 8:15 which are two very principal points in government, are the glory of a reign, the support of the throne, and the happiness of a people, Proverbs 20:28, or rather of the mercy of God to himself, in delivering him from his enemies, and raising him to the throne; and of the judgment of God in maintaining his cause, and avenging him on those that hated him: every good man has reason to sing of the "mercy" of God; not only of his providential mercy, but of his special mercy, prepared in council and covenant for him, displayed in regeneration, in the pardon of sin, and in his everlasting salvation: or of "grace" and goodness, as the word (f) signifies; of the grace and goodness of God laid up in Christ, shown forth through him, and to which the whole of salvation is owing; singing of this shows a sense of it, thankfulness for it, and a cheerful disposition of soul, in a view of interest in it: and he may also sing of "judgment": of righteous punishment inflicted upon his enemies, and the enemies of God, and Christ, and true religion; not as taking delight in the misery of fellow creatures, but as rejoicing in the glory of divine justice displayed therein, and in a deliverance from them; as Israel did at the Red sea; and as the church will, when Babylon is destroyed: moreover, a good man may sing of mercy and judgment together, with respect to himself; there being, in the course of his life, a mixture of prosperity and adversity, of merciful and afflictive dispensations, which work together for his good; and he has reason to be thankful for the one as for the other, as Job was, Job 1:21, so the Targum,
"if thou renderest mercy to me; if thou exercisest judgment on me; for all I will praise thee:''
judgment sometimes signifies chastisement, Jeremiah 10:24, it may be understood of Christ, who sung of the mercy of God, as shown in the mission of him into the world to save men, and which was glorified in their redemption by him; and of the justice of God exercised on him, as their surety, on whom judgment came unto condemnation for their sins; and when the sword of justice was awaked against him, the hand of mercy was turned on the little ones, Zechariah 13:7,
unto thee, O Lord, will I sing; on the above subjects.
(f) "gratiam", Gejerus, Michaelis.
The Treasury of David
1 I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto thee, O Lord, will Ising.
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.
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.
4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.
5 Whose privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not Isuffer.
6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord.
"I will sing of mercy and judgment." He would extol both the love and the severity, the sweets and the bitters, which the Lord had mingled in his experience; he would admire the justice and the goodness of the Lord. Such a song would fitly lead up to godly resolutions as to his own conduct, for that which we admire in our superiors we naturally endeavour to imitate. Mercy and judgment would temper the administration of David, because he had adoringly perceived them in the dispensations of his God. Everything in God's dealings with us may fittingly become the theme of song, and we have not viewed it aright until we feel we can sing about it. We ought as much to bless the Lord for the judgment with which he chastens our sin, as for the mercy with which he forgives it; there is as much love in the blows of his hand as in the kisses of his mouth. Upon a retrospect of their lives instructed saints scarcely know which to be most grateful for - the comforts which have cheered them, or the afflictions which have purged them. "Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing." Jehovah shall have all our praise. The secondary agents of either the mercy or the judgment must hold a very subordinate place in our memory, and the Lord alone must be hymned by our heart. Our soul's sole worship must be the lauding of the Lord. The Psalmist forsakes the minor key, which was soon to rule him in the one hundred and second Psalm, and resolves that, come what may, he will sing, and sing to the Lord too, whatever others might do.
"I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way." To be holy is to be wise; a perfect way is a wise way. David's resolve was excellent, but his practice did not fully tally with it. Alas! he was not always wise or perfect, but it was well that it was in his heart. A king had need be both sage and pure, and, if he be not so in intent, when he comes to the throne, his after conduct will be a sad example to his people. He who does not even resolve to do well is likely to do very ill. Householders, employers, and especially ministers, should pray for both wisdom and holiness, for they will need them both. "O when wilt thou come unto me?" - an ejaculation, but not an interruption. He feels the need not merely of divine help, but also of the divine presence, that so he may be instructed, and sanctified, and made fit for the discharge of his high vocation. David longed for a more special and effectual visitation from the Lord before he began his reign. If God be with us we shall neither err in judgment nor transgress in character; his presence brings us both wisdom and holiness: away from God we are away from safety. Good men are so sensible of infirmity that they cry for help from God, so full of prayer that they cry at all seasons, so intense in their desires that they cry with sighs and groanings which cannot be uttered, saying, "O when wilt thou come unto me?" "I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." Piety must begin at home. Our first duties are those within our own abode. We must have a perfect heart at home, or we cannot keep a perfect way abroad. Notice that these words are a part of a song, and that there is no music like the harmony of a gracious life, no Psalm so sweet as the daily practice of holiness. Reader, how fares it with your family? Do you sing in the choir and sin in the chamber? Are you a saint abroad and a devil at home? For shame! What we are at home, that we are indeed. He cannot be a good king whose palace is the haunt of vice, nor he a true saint whose habitation is a scene of strife, nor he a faithful minister whose household dreads his appearance at the fireside.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 101:1-8. In this Psalm the profession of the principles of his domestic and political government testifies, as well as actions in accordance with it, David's appreciation of God's mercy to him, and His judgment on his enemies: and thus he sings or celebrates God's dealings.
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