|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-5 Hear me for thy mercy-sake, is our best plea. He who will not ask such blessings as pardon, and justifying righteousness, and eternal life, must perish for the want of them. Alas! that so many should make so fearful a choice. The psalmist warns against sin. Keep up holy reverence of the glory and majesty of God. You have a great deal to say to your hearts, they may be spoken with, let it not be unsaid. Examine them by serious self-reflection; let your thoughts fasten upon that which is good, and keep close to it. Consider your ways, and before you turn to sleep at night, examine your consciences with respect to what you have done in the day; particularly what you have done amiss, that you may repent of it. when you awake in the night, meditate upon God, and the things that belong to your peace. Upon a sick-bed, particularly, we should consider our ways. Be still. when you have asked conscience a question, be serious, be silent, wait for an answer. Open not the mouth to excuse sin. All confidence must be pan answer. Open not the mouth to excuse sin. All confidence only: therefore, after commanding the sacrifices of righteousness, the psalmist says, Put your trust in the Lord.
Verse 4. - Stand in awe, and sin not. The LXX. render, Ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἀμαρτάνετε, "Be ye angry, and sin not;" and this meaning is preferred by Dr. Kay, Hengstenberg, and ethers. It may also seem to have the sanction of St. Paul in Ephesians 4:26. If we adopt it, we must suppose the exhortation to be addressed mainly to David's own followers, who are warned against excessive anger and its natural result, undue violence (comp. 2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Samuel 18:11, 14; 2 Samuel 19:21, etc.). Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still (compare St. Paul's injunction, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath"). Anger cools if a little time be suffered to pass - if a night be allowed for reflection, and no action be taken till the morrow, Παύει γὰρ ὀργὴγ ὁ χρόνος (Aristotle). Selah. The second strophe being ended, another "pause" is to take place, during which the psalmist's exhortation may be made the subject of consideration.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Stand in awe, and sin not,.... That is, stand in awe of God, and his righteous, judgments; be afraid of him, and tremble before him; make him your fear and your dread, and go on no longer and proceed no further in sinning against him. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it, "be ye angry, and sin not": which are the words of the apostle, Ephesians 4:26; referring to this place; and which doubtless is the reason of these versions. There is an anger that is sinful, when it is without a cause, or exceeds due bounds, and is not directed to a good end, and is productive of bad effects, by words or deeds; and when it is soon raised, or long continued; and there is an anger that is not sinful; when it arises from a true zeal for God and religion; when it is kindled, not against the persons, but sins, of men; and when it is continued to answer good purposes; as the good of those with whom we are angry, and the glory of God, and the promoting of the kingdom and interest of Christ;
commune with your own heart upon your bed: when retired from men and business, and you are at leisure to think and meditate then reflect upon your actions, seriously consider them; ask your heart some proper and close questions; examine narrowly and thoroughly the principles on which, and the views with which, you act;
and be still; cease from all your rage and fury against me, against the Lord, and against his people; or "say in your own hearts" (q), as follows.
Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.
(q) "dicite in corde vestro", Montanus, Cocceius, Gussetius; "loquimini", Pagninus, Piscator.
The Treasury of David
4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
"Tremble and sin not." How many reverse this counsel and sin but tremble not. O that men would take the advice of this verse and commune with their own hearts. Surely a want, of thought must be one reason why men are so mad as to despite Christ and hate their own mercies. O that for once their passions would be quiet and let them be still, that so in solemn silence they might review the past, and meditate upon their inevitable doom. Surely a thinking man might have enough sense to discover the vanity of sin and the worthlessness of the world. Stay, rash sinner, stay ere thou take the last leap. Go to thy bed and think-upon thy ways. Ask counsel of thy pillow, and let the quietude of night instruct thee! Throw not away thy soul for nought! Let reason speak! Let the clamorous world be still awhile, and let thy poor soul plead with thee to bethink thyself before thou seal its fate, and ruin it for ever! Selah. O sinner! pause while I question thee awhile in the words of a sacred poet, -
"Sinner, is thy heart at rest?
Is thy bosom void of fear?
Art thou not by guilt oppress'd?
Speaks hot conscience in thine ear?
Can this world afford thee bliss?
Can it chase away thy gloom?
Flattering, false, and vain it is;
Tremble at the worldling's doom!
Think, O sinner, on thy end,
See the judgment-day appear,
Thither must thy spirit wend,
There thy righteous sentence hear.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. Stand in awe—(Eph 4:26), from Septuagint, "be angry." Both clauses are qualified by "not."
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