Matthew Poole's Commentary
A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.THE ARGUMENT
This Psalm was composed by David between times of God’s promising the kingdom to him and his actual and plenary possession of it, as appears both from Psalm 101:2, and from the contexture of the Psalm, wherein he speaks not of his present practice, but of his purpose for the future, and solemnly declares his resolution, and obligeth himself to these things when he shall be in a capacity to put them in execution.
David maketh a vow to praise the Lord, Psalm 101:1; to walk perfectly for an example, Psalm 101:2 to destroy all the wicked, Psalm 101:3-5; and to delight in the faithful of the land, Psalm 101:6-8.
Of mercy and judgment; either,
1. Of God towards me: of God’s mercy towards me, and of his just judgments upon mine enemies. Or,
2. Of mine towards my people; I will in my song declare my obligation and full purpose to execute mercy and judgment in my dominion; which are the two pillars of government; of which he speaks in the, following verses. Interpreters are much divided which to choose. Possibly both may be joined together, and the sense may be this, I will praise thee, O Lord, as for all other excellencies, so particularly for those two royal perfections of mercy and justice, or judgment, which thou hast so eminently discovered in the government of the world and of thy people Israel; and I will make it my care and business to imitate and follow thee, as in other things, so especially in those virtues which are so necessary for discharge of my trust and the good government of thy and my people.
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way; I will manage all my affairs with wisdom and integrity; which are two chief qualifications requisite for all men, Matthew 10:16 and most necessary in princes.
O when wilt thou come unto me? O when wilt thou give me the kingdom which hast promised me, that so I may be capable of executing these good purposes, both for my own comfort, and for the benefit of thy people? Or without an interrogative, as this particle is used, Exodus 20:24, when thou shalt come to me, to wit, in the performance of that promise to me. He speaks not exclusively, as if he would not walk wisely and righteously in the mean time, but emphatically, that he would continue to do so when he was advanced to the kingdom, and that he would not suffer himself to be corrupted by his royal power and dignity, as the princes of the world commonly were. Withal, he may intimate now he could not do as he desired, and that by the necessity of his affairs he was forced to make use of such men as he did not like, and to wink at those miscarriages which it was not now in his power to reform. God is oft said in Scripture to come to men when he fulfils a promise to them or confers a favour or blessing upon them, as Genesis 10:3:10 Exodus 20:24 Psalm 80:2 Isaiah 35:4, &c.
Within my house; in my own court and family, as well as in my public administrations; knowing how great an influence the example of my private conversation will have upon my people, either to reform or corrupt them.
With a perfect heart: this clause adds weight to the former; I will not only walk in a perfect or right way, (which a man may do for politic reasons, or with evil design,) but I will do so with an upright and honest heart, which is most acceptable to God.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.Before mine eyes, to wit, to look upon it with deliberation and design, or with desire and delight, as this phrase here and elsewhere implies. If any ungodly or unjust thing shall be suggested to me, whatsoever specious pretences it may be covered with, as reason of state or worldly advantage, I will cast it out of my mind and thoughts, it, horrency; so far will I be from putting it in execution.
That turn aside from God, and from his laws.
It shall cleave to me, to wit, such work, or the contagion of such examples. I will neither imitate nor endure such works, nor such workers.
A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.A froward heart; a man of a corrupt mind and wicked life, such as other princes choose and prefer, as being suitable to themselves, and to their wicked designs.
Shall depart from me; shall be turned out of my court, lest they should tempt me, or infect the rest of my family, or be injurious or scandalous to my people. I will not know, i.e. not own nor countenance.
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour; such as by secret and false informations and accusations of others seek to gain my favour, and to advance themselves by the ruin of others; which are the common pests of courts and kingdoms.
An high look and a proud heart: these he mentions, because pride is the common plague of courts, and the fountain of many enormities in courtiers; it makes them imperious and insolent towards the poor oppressed subjects that resort to them for relief; it inclines them to those counsels and courses, not which are best for the public good, but which are most for their own honour and advantage; it makes them oppressive and injurious to others, that they may have wherewith to satisfy their own lusts.
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful; either,
1. To find them out. Or,
2. To favour or encourage them, as this phrase is oft used, as Psalm 34:15 Jeremiah 39:12 40:4. The faithful; men of truth, justice, and integrity, who will be faithful, first to God, and then to me and to my people.
Dwell with me; or, to sit, or abide, or converse with me, in my house, and counsels, and public administrations.
In a perfect way; in the way of God’s precepts, which are pure and perfect.
He shall serve me in domestic and public employments.
He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.He that worketh deceit; he who shall use any frauds, or cheats, or subtle artifices to abuse or wrong any of my people; which David’s courtiers were more likely to endeavour, because he would not permit any open violence.
He that telleth lies; he that shall abuse me with lies, as courtiers usually do their princes, either to defend and excuse the guilty, or to betray the innocent.
Shall not tarry in my sight; I will certainly and immediately banish him from my presence.
I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.Early; speedily, and without delay, as soon as I arise in the morning, or as soon as I am seated in the throne, that so I may both prevent all that mischief which otherwise they might do, and hinder the infection of others by their evil example, and discourage and deter all my subjects from the like practices. Heb. in the mornings, i.e. every morning, as the same phrase is used also, Job 7:18 Psalm 73:14 Isaiah 33:2. The morning was the time allotted for the exercise of judgment. See Jeremiah 21:12.
From the city of the Lord; either,
1. From Jerusalem, which, though now in the hands of the Jebusites, he looks upon by an eye of faith as if he had it in possession; which he designed for the chief and royal city of his kingdom, and for the seat of the ark and worship of God. And therefore this place above all others was to be purged and preserved from wickedness and wicked men. Or,
2. From the whole nation or commonwealth of Israel; for David did intend and was obliged to reform, not only that one city, but his whole kingdom, which also may come under the name of a city, as being combined and united under one government; for which reason the name of city is given both to the whole church of Christ, Isaiah 26:1 Hebrews 12:22 Revelation 20:9 and to the great anti-church, the kingdom of mystical Babylon, Revelation 11:8,17:18.