|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-8 The psalmist begs help of God, because there were none among men whom he durst trust. - This psalm furnishes good thoughts for bad times; a man may comfort himself with such meditations and prayers. Let us see what makes the times bad, and when they may be said to be so. Ask the children of this world, What makes the times bad? they will tell you, Scarcity of money, decay of trade, and the desolations of war, make the times bad: but the Scripture lays the badness of the times on causes of another nature, 2Ti 3:1, c.: perilous times shall come, for sin shall abound; and of this David complains. When piety decays times really are bad. He who made man's mouth will call him to an account for his proud, profane, dissembling, or even useless words. When the poor and needy are oppressed, then the times are very bad. God himself takes notice of the oppression of the poor, and the sighing of the needy. When wickedness abounds, and is countenanced by those in authority, then the times are very bad. See with what good things we are here furnished for such bad times; and we cannot tell what times we may be reserved for. 1. We have a God to go to, from whom we may ask and expect the redress of all our grievances. 2. God will certainly punish and restrain false and proud men. 3. God will work deliverance for his oppressed people. His help is given in the fittest time. Though men are false, God is faithful; though they are not to be trusted, God is. The preciousness of God's word is compared to silver refined to the highest degree. How many proofs have been given of its power and truth! God will secure his chosen remnant, however bad the times are. As long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men. But all God's people are put into the hands of Christ our Saviour; there they are in safety, for none can pluck them thence; being built on Him, the Rock, they are safe, notwithstanding temptation or persecution come with ever so much force upon them.
Verse 8. - The wicked walk on every side. This can scarcely have been intended as an independent clause, though grammatically it stands alone. It is best to supply "while" or "though" before "the wicked," as Dr. Kay does, and to translate, Though (or, while) wicked men march to and fro on all sides; i.e. while they have their way, and control all other men's incomings and out-goings, being free themselves. When the vilest men are exalted; rather, and though villainy (זֻלּות) exalteth itself among the sons of men.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The wicked walk on every side,.... Of the poor and needy, of the righteous ones, to watch them, lay snares for them, and hurt them; therefore, Lord, keep and preserve them: the wicked are everywhere in great numbers, the whole world lies in wickedness; and the men of it are like their father the devil, they go about to do all the mischief they can to the saints; wherefore they stand in need continually of divine preservation;
when the vilest men are exalted: either to great dignities and high offices, to be magistrates and rulers; see Proverbs 29:2; or are highly esteemed and caressed; which shows the sad degeneracy and badness of the times, and the unsafe and dangerous condition the people of God are in, unless kept by him; see Malachi 3:15; or else these words may be considered as expressive of the judgment of God upon wicked men, and so confirm what the psalmist had said of God's regard to and preservation of his own people; and the sense be, that the wicked shall walk up and down here and there, as outcasts and vagabonds, in a most desolate, destitute, and miserable condition; and as the latter clause may be rendered, "according to their exaltation shall be the vileness", depression, or humiliation "of the children of men" (r); they shall be brought as low as they have been made high; by how much the more highly they have been exalted, by so much the more deeply they shall be humbled: or else the meaning is, they shall walk about here and there fretting and vexing, when they shall see such who in their opinion are the meanest and basest of men, of low degree, and of a mean extract, exalted to the highest posts of honour and dignity; as David, who was taken from the sheepfold, and placed on the throne of Israel; so Jarchi, who observes that the Haggadah explains it of the Israelites, who will be exalted in time to come.
(r) "secundum superelevationem, vilitas (erit vel est)", Cocceius.
The Treasury of David
8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
Here we return to the fount of bitterness, which first made the Psalmist run to the wells of salvation, namely, the prevalence of wickedness. When those in power are vile, their underlings will be no better. As a warm sun brings out noxious flies, so does a sinner in honour foster vice everywhere. Our turf would not so swarm with abominables if those who are styled honourables did not give their countenance to the craft. Would to God that the glory and triumph of our Lord Jesus would encourage us to walk and work on every side; as like acts upon like, since an exalted sinner encourages sinners, our exalted Redeemer must surely excite, cheer, and stimulate his saints. Nerved by a sight of his reigning power we shall meet the evils of the times in the spirit of holy resolution, and shall the more hopefully pray, "Help, Lord."
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. The wicked roam undisturbed doing evil, when vileness and vile men are exalted.
Psalm 12:8 Parallel Commentaries
Psalm 12:8 NIV
Psalm 12:8 NLT
Psalm 12:8 ESV
Psalm 12:8 NASB
Psalm 12:8 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible