|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:7-12 David prayed often alone, yet was very constant in attendance on public worship. The mercy of God should ever be the foundation both of our hope and of our joy, in every thing wherein we have to do with him. Let us learn to pray, not for ourselves only, but for others; grace be with all that love Christ in sincerity. The Divine blessing comes down upon us through Jesus Christ, the righteous or just One, as of old it did upon Israel through David, whom God protected, and placed upon the throne. Thou, O Christ, art the righteous Saviour, thou art the King of Israel, thou art the Fountain of blessing to all believers; thy favour is the defence and protection of thy church.
Verse 9. - For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; or, no steadfastness - "no sincerity" (Kay, Cheyne); see the comment on ver. 6. Their inward part is very wickedness; literally, wickednesses; i.e. nothing but wickedness. Their throat is an open sepulchre. "Emitting the noisome exhalations of a putrid heart" (Bishop Horns). They flatter with their tongue; literally, they make smooth their tongues, which may, perhaps, include flattery, but points rather to smooth arguments, specious reasonings, and the habit of making the worse appear the better cause (see the comment of Bishop Horsley, 'Book of Psalms,' vol. 1. pp. 154, 155). The last two clauses of this verse are quoted by St. Paul (Romans 3:13), and applied generally to the character of the ungodly.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth,.... In the mouth of the ungodly, as the Chaldee paraphrase; in the mouth of every one of them, as Aben Ezra interprets it: that is, in the mouth of every wicked, bloody, and deceitful man; of everyone of David's enemies, as Saul, or the conspirators with Absalom his son. There was no steadfastness in them; nothing right, sure, or firm said by them; nothing that could be depended upon; there was "no truth" in them, as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it. And as this was true of David's, so of Christ's enemies; of Herod, and of the Herodians, and of the Scribes and Pharisees; see Matthew 2:8; and of the enemies of Christ's Gospel; of all false teachers, who speak not the word faithfully; tell dreams, use the hidden things of dishonesty, walk in craftiness, handle the word of God deceitfully, and speak lies in hypocrisy: there is no certainty in them, nor is any thing they say to be trusted to. And this is the character of wicked men in common: they are an assembly of treacherous men; there is none upright among them; nor is any confidence to be placed in them: the people of God are in danger of being imposed upon and misled by them to their hurt; and therefore the psalmist prays, that the Lord would lead him in his righteousness;
their inward part is very wickedness; their heart, which is desperately wicked, exceeding sinful; not only wicked, and very wicked, but wickedness itself. This is the root and fountain of all wickedness, and the reason why there is no faithfulness in their mouth: the word (m) is sometimes rendered, "their inward thought", Psalm 49:11; which is the inmost of man, the nearest to him; and which, and even the imagination of it, is evil, and that continually: the word (n) translated "wickedness" signifies woes, calamities, and mischiefs; and such the wicked hearts of men are full of, and are continually devising against the people of God, and his righteous cause. And this is the just character of ungodly men, even though they may profess to know God, have a form of godliness, and be outwardly righteous before men; as these were David was concerned with;
their throat is an open sepulchre; or as one, as the Targum paraphrases it; to which the throat of wicked men may be compared for its voracity and insatiableness; the grave being one of those three or four things, which never has enough or is satisfied. And this is true of the throat, whether it be considered as an instrument of speech, and throws out devouring words to the prejudice of the characters and reputations of others; or as an instrument of swallowing meat and drink, and where the pleasure of appetite is; and so may be expressive of the eager desire of the wicked after sin, who drink up iniquity like water; and of their delight in it, and their fulness of it, and yet still greedy, insatiable, and not to be satisfied: and their throat may be compared to an open grave for the nauseous stench it emits; corrupt communication, filthiness, and foolish talking, proceeding out of it; and horrible oaths, curses, imprecations, and blasphemies, being belched out through it; and for the danger which is by it, since into it men may fall unawares; and so the evil communications of wicked men corrupt good manners, and do great mischief to those who fall into company with them;
they flatter with their tongue; or, "make it smooth" (o); use oily expressions, soft language: or, "part" or "divide" (p) their tongue; are double tongued and double hearted; and so deceive persons, as the apostle interprets it in Romans 3:13. They flatter God himself, drawing nigh to him in an hypocritical way; they flatter men, their neighbours, and impose upon them; they flatter princes, and such parasitic people were about David. And such are false teachers, who prophesy smooth things, and with good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple; or, which account there is great reason to pray to be led and directed by the Lord.
(m) , Sept. "cor", V. L. i.e. "cogitatio", Muis. (n) "aerumuae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; "calamitates", Cocceius; so Ainsworth. (o) "levigant, seu emolliunt", Piscator, Gejerus. (p) "Divident vel dispertient", Mariana.
The Treasury of David
9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
This description of depraved man has been copied by the Apostle Paul, and, together with some other quotations, he has placed it in the second chapter of Romans, as being an accurate description of the whole human race, not of David's enemies only, but of all men by nature. Note that remarkable figure, "Their throat is an open sepulchre," a sepulchre full of loathsomeness, of miasma, of pestilence and death. But, worse than that, it is an open sepulchre, with all its evil gases issuing forth, to spread death and destruction all around. So, with the throat of the wicked, it would be a great mercy if it could always be closed. If we could seal in continual silence the mouth of the wicked it would be like a sepulchre shut up, and would not produce much mischief. But "their throat is an open sepulchre," consequently all the wickedness of their heart exhales, and comes forth. How dangerous is an open sepulchre; men in their journeys might easily stumble therein, and find themselves among the dead. Ah! take heed of the wicked man, for there is nothing that he will not say to ruin you; he will long to destroy your character, and bury you in the hideous sepulchre of his own wicked throat. One sweet thought here, however. At the resurrection there will be a resurrection not only of bodies, but characters. This should be a great comfort to a man who has been abused and slandered. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun." The world may think you vile, and bury your character; but if you have been upright, in the day when the graves shall give up their dead, tills open sepulchre of the sinner's throat shall be compelled to give up your heavenly character, and you shall come forth and be honoured in the sight of men. "They flatter with their tongue." Or, as we might read it, "They have an oily tongue, a smooth tongue." A smooth tongue is a great evil; many have been bewitched by it. There be many human ant-eaters that with their long tongues covered with oily words entice and entrap the unwary and make their gain thereby. When the wolf licks the lamb, he is preparing to wet his teeth in its blood.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. The wicked are not reliable because by nature they are full of wickedness, or literally, "wickednesses," of every kind (Ro 8:7).
sepulchre—a dwelling-place of corruption, emitting moral putridness.
flatter—or, "make smooth."
their tongue—speaks deceitfully.
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