Psalm 50:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But to the wicked person, God says: "What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?

New Living Translation
But God says to the wicked: "Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant?

English Standard Version
But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to recite my statutes or take my covenant on your lips?

New American Standard Bible
But to the wicked God says, "What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth?

King James Bible
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But God says to the wicked:" What right do you have to recite My statutes and to take My covenant on your lips?

International Standard Version
As for the wicked, God says, "How dare you recite my statutes or speak about my covenant with your lips!

NET Bible
God says this to the evildoer: "How can you declare my commands, and talk about my covenant?

New Heart English Bible
But to the wicked God says, "What right do you have to declare my statutes, that you have taken my covenant on your lips,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
God says to the sinner, “What business do you have with The Books of my Commandments, that you have taken my Covenant in your mouth?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But God says to wicked people, "How dare you quote my decrees and mouth my promises!

JPS Tanakh 1917
But unto the wicked God saith: 'What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, And that thou hast taken My covenant in thy mouth?

New American Standard 1977
But to the wicked God says,
            “What right have you to tell of My statutes,
            And to take My covenant in your mouth?

Jubilee Bible 2000
But unto the wicked God saith, What part hast thou to declare my statutes or that thou should take my covenant in thy mouth?

King James 2000 Bible
But unto the wicked God says, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth?

American King James Version
But to the wicked God said, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth?

American Standard Version
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, And that thou hast taken my covenant in thy mouth,

Douay-Rheims Bible
But to the sinner God hath said: Why dost thou declare my justices, and take my covenant in thy mouth ?

Darby Bible Translation
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy mouth,

English Revised Version
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes; and that thou hast taken my covenant in thy mouth?

Webster's Bible Translation
But to the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?

World English Bible
But to the wicked God says, "What right do you have to declare my statutes, that you have taken my covenant on your lips,

Young's Literal Translation
And to the wicked hath God said: What to thee -- to recount My statutes? That thou liftest up My covenant on thy mouth?
Study Bible
The Mighty One Calls
15Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." 16But to the wicked God says, "What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth? 17"For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you.…
Cross References
Psalm 94:20
Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, One which devises mischief by decree?

Isaiah 29:13
Then the Lord said, "Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,

Jeremiah 44:26
"Nevertheless hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who are living in the land of Egypt, 'Behold, I have sworn by My great name,' says the LORD, 'never shall My name be invoked again by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, "As the Lord GOD lives."
Treasury of Scripture

But to the wicked God said, What have you to do to declare my statutes, or that you should take my covenant in your mouth?

wicked

Isaiah 48:22 There is no peace, said the LORD, to the wicked.

Isaiah 55:6,7 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near…

Ezekiel 18:27 Again, when the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he …

What

Proverbs 26:7 The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

Isaiah 1:11-15 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? said the …

Isaiah 48:1,2 Hear you this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of …

Isaiah 58:1-7 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show …

Jeremiah 7:4-7 Trust you not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The …

Matthew 7:3-5,22,23 And why behold you the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider …

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit …

Acts 19:13-16 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took on them to call …

Romans 2:17-24 Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God…

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that …

2 Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following …

thou shouldest

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show …

Psalm 78:36-38 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied …

Ezekiel 20:37,38 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you …

Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the …

(16) But.--The psalm here turns to address a worse class, those who, while undisguisedly wicked, shelter themselves under the name of the covenant.

What hast thou to do?--i.e., how darest thou?

Verses 16-21. - While even the more godly among the Israelites have been thus, to a certain extent, reproved (vers. 8-14), the psalmist now addresses to the ungodly, the open and wilful transgressors, a far sterner rebuke. They claim the privileges of God's covenanted servants (ver. 16), but perform none of the duties (vers. 17-20), thus bringing down upon themselves a terrible menace. Verse 16. - But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? The wicked assumed that they were true Israelites. They were familiar with the words of God's statutes, and with the terms of the covenant. They claimed the right of enforcing them against others (Romans 2:18-20), while in their own persons they set them at nought (vers. 18-20). God declares that they have no right to assume to be teachers of others until they have taught themselves - they are unfit even to "take his covenant in their mouth." But unto the wicked God saith,.... By whom are meant, not openly profane sinners; but men under a profession of religion, and indeed who were teachers of others, as appears from the following expostulation with them: the Scribes, Pharisees, and doctors among the Jews, are designed; and so Kimchi interprets it of their wise men, who learnt and taught the law, but did not act according to it. It seems as if the preceding verses respected the truly godly among the Jews, who believed in Christ, and yet were zealous of the law; and retained legal sacrifices; as such there were, Acts 21:20; and that these words, and what follow, are spoken to hypocrites among them, who sat in Moses's chair, and said, and did not; were outwardly righteous before men, but inwardly full of wickedness, destitute of the grace of God and righteousness of Christ;

what hast thou to do to declare my statutes; the laws of God, which were given to the people of Israel; some of which were of a moral, others of a ceremonial, and others of a judicial nature; and there were persons appointed to teach and explain these to the people, as the priests and Levites: now some of these were abrogated, and not to be declared at all in the times this psalm refers to; and as for others, those persons were very improper to teach and urge the observance of them, when they themselves did not keep them; and especially it was wrong in them to declare them to the people, for such purposes as they did, namely, to obtain life and righteousness by them;

or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? which is to be understood, not of the covenant of works made with Adam, and now broke; nor of the pure covenant of grace, as administered under the Gospel dispensation, of which Christ is the Mediator, and the Gospel a transcript, since both were rejected by these persons; but the covenant at Mount Sinai, which was a typical one; and being in some sense faulty, was now antiquated, and ought to have ceased; and therefore these men are blamed for taking it in their mouths, and urging it on the people: and besides, they had no true sight of and faith in the thing exhibited by it; and moreover were not steadfast, nor did they continue in it, like their fathers before them, Psalm 78:37, Hebrews 8:7. 16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?

17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.

18 When thou sawest a thief then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.

19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.

20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.

21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

Here the Lord turns to the manifestly wicked among his people; and such there were even in the highest places of his sanctuary. If moral formalists had been rebuked, how much more these immoral pretenders to fellowship with heaven? If the lack of heart spoiled the worship of the more decent and virtuous, how much more would violations of the law, committed with a high hand, corrupt the sacrifices of the wicked?

Psalm 50:16

"But unto the wicked God saith." To the breakers of the second table he now addresses himself; he had previously spoken to the neglecters of the first. "What hast thou to do to declare my statutes?" You violate openly my moral law, and yet are great sticklers for my ceremonial commands! What have you to do with them? What interest can you have in them? Do you dare to teach my law to others, and profane it yourselves? What impudence, what blasphemy is this! Even if you claim to be sons of Levi, what of that? Your wickedness disqualifies you, disinherits you, puts you out of the succession. It should silence you, and would if my people were as spiritual as I would have them, for they would refuse to hear you, and to pay you the portion of temporal things which is due to my true servants. You count up your holy days, you contend for rituals, you fight for externals, and yet the weightier matters of the law ye despise! Ye blind guides, ye strain out gnats and swallow camels; your hypocrisy is written on your foreheads and manifest to all. "Or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth." Ye talk of being in covenant with me, and yet trample my holiness beneath your feet as swine trample upon pearls; think ye that I can brook this? Your mouths are full of lying and slander, and yet ye mouth my words as if they were fit morsels for such as you! How horrible an evil it is, that to this day we see men explaining doctrines who despise precepts! They make grace a coverlet for sin, and even judge themselves to be sound in the faith, while they are rotten in life. We need the grace of the doctrines as much as the doctrines of grace, and without it an apostle is but a Judas, and a fair-spoken professor is an arrant enemy of the cross of Christ.

Psalm 50:17

"Seeing thou hatest instruction." Profane professors are often too wise to learn, too besotted with conceit to be taught of God. What a monstrosity that men should declare those statutes which with their hearts they do not know, and which in their lives they openly disavow! Woe unto the men who hate the instruction which they take upon themselves to give. "And castest my words behind thee." Despising them, throwing them away as worthless, putting them out of sight as obnoxious. Many boasters of the law did this practically; and in these last days there are pickers and choosers of God's words who cannot endure the practical part of Scripture; they are disgusted at duty, they abhor responsibility, they disembowel texts of their plain meanings, they wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. It is an ill sign when a man dares not look a Scripture in the face, and an evidence of brazen impudence when he tries to make it mean something less condemnatory of his sins, and endeavours to prove it to be less sweeping in its demands. How powerful is the argument that such men have no right to take the covenant of God into their mouths, seeing that its spirit does not regulate their lives!

Psalm 50:18

"When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him." Moral honesty cannot be absent where true grace is present. Those who excuse others in trickery are guilty themselves; those who use others to do unjust actions for them are doubly so. If a man be ever so religious, if his own actions do not rebuke dishonesty, he is an accomplice with thieves. If we can acquiesce in anything which is not upright, we are not upright ourselves, and our religion is a lie. "And hast been partaker with adulterers." One by one the moral precepts are thus broken by the sinners in Zion. Under the cloak of piety, unclean livers conceal themselves. We may do this by smiling at unchaste jests, listening to indelicate expressions, and conniving at licentious behaviour in our presence; and if we thus act, how dare we preach, or lead public prayer, or wear the Christian name? See how the Lord lays righteousness to the plummet! How plainly all this declares that without holiness no man shall see the Lord! No amount of ceremonial or theological accuracy can cover dishonesty and fornication; these filthy things must be either purged from us by the blood of Jesus, or they will kindle a fire in God's anger which will burn even to the lowest hell.

Psalm 50:19

continued...16-20. the wicked—that is, the formalists, as now exposed, and who lead vicious lives (compare Ro 2:21, 23). They are unworthy to use even the words of God's law. Their hypocrisy and vice are exposed by illustrations from sins against the seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments.50:16-23 Hypocrisy is wickedness, which God will judge. And it is too common, for those who declare the Lord's statutes to others, to live in disobedience to them themselves. This delusion arises from the abuse of God's long-suffering, and a wilful mistake of his character and the intention of his gospel. The sins of sinners will be fully proved on them in the judgment of the great day. The day is coming when God will set their sins in order, sins of childhood and youth, of riper age and old age, to their everlasting shame and terror. Let those hitherto forgetful of God, given up to wickedness, or in any way negligent of salvation, consider their urgent danger. The patience of the Lord is very great. It is the more wonderful, because sinners make such ill use of it; but if they turn not, they shall be made to see their error when it is too late. Those that forget God, forget themselves; and it will never be right with them till they consider. Man's chief end is to glorify God: whoso offers praise, glorifies him, and his spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted. We must praise God, sacrifice praise, put it into the hands of the Priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar: we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. Let us thankfully accept God's mercy, and endeavour to glorify him in word and deed.
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