|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
78:9-39. Sin dispirits men, and takes away the heart. Forgetfulness of God's works is the cause of disobedience to his laws. This narrative relates a struggle between God's goodness and man's badness. The Lord hears all our murmurings and distrusts, and is much displeased. Those that will not believe the power of God's mercy, shall feel the fire of his indignation. Those cannot be said to trust in God's salvation as their happiness at last, who can not trust his providence in the way to it. To all that by faith and prayer, ask, seek, and knock, these doors of heaven shall at any time be opened; and our distrust of God is a great aggravation of our sins. He expressed his resentment of their provocation; not in denying what they sinfully lusted after, but in granting it to them. Lust is contented with nothing. Those that indulge their lust, will never be estranged from it. Those hearts are hard indeed, that will neither be melted by the mercies of the Lord, nor broken by his judgments. Those that sin still, must expect to be in trouble still. And the reason why we live with so little comfort, and to so little purpose, is, because we do not live by faith. Under these rebukes they professed repentance, but they were not sincere, for they were not constant. In Israel's history we have a picture of our own hearts and lives. God's patience, and warnings, and mercies, imbolden them to harden their hearts against his word. And the history of kingdoms is much the same. Judgments and mercies have been little attended to, until the measure of their sins has been full. And higher advantages have not kept churches from declining from the commandments of God. Even true believers recollect, that for many a year they abused the kindness of Providence. When they come to heaven, how will they admire the Lord's patience and mercy in bringing them to his kingdom!
Verse 36. - Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth. The Revised Version is simpler and better, But they flattered him with their mouth. All that they said or did when alarmed by some judgment of God's was a mere pretence - an attempt to "flatter" and cozen God, and so win his favour. And they lied unto him with their tongues. They offered him a lip service, which was a "lie," a mere semblance of real religion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth,.... In prayer to him, they only drew nigh to him with their mouths, and honoured him with their lips; they showed much love to him and his ways and ordinances hereby; but their hearts were not with him, but after their lusts; they made fine speeches and fair promises, but their hearts and mouths did not agree; they spoke with a double heart, thinking and endeavouring to "deceive" the Lord, as the word (b) here used signifies; but he is not to be deceived, nor will he be mocked; the Targum is,
"they allured (or persuaded) him, with their mouth;''
they attempted to do so; the Syriac and Arabic versions are, "they loved him with their mouth"; professed great love and sincere affection to him, when they had none:
and they lied unto him with their tongues; to lie unto men is bad, but to God is worse; and it is a most vain and foolish thing, since there is not a word in the tongue of any but is known to him.
(b) "quamvis conarentur eum decipere", Junius & Tremellius; "attamen decipiebant eum", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
36. lied … tongues—a feigned obedience (Ps 18:44).
Psalm 78:36 Parallel Commentaries
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