Psalm 101:2
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
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(2) Behave myself wisely.—Literally, I will look to a guileless way. The root “to look” is that from which maskîl (Psalms 32, title) comes; hence some here see a reference to music, or song. But the Authorised Version is probably right, since the analogy of such words as “provident,” “circumspect,” shows how the idea of caution and then wisdom arises from that of looking. The English idiom, “look to your ways,” illustrates the Hebrew here.

O when wilt thou come unto me?—This clause is so awkward, however translated, that some critics go the length of pronouncing it spurious. In the Old Testament, with the exception of Exodus 20:24, the coming of God to a person is associated with the idea of punishment or inquisition (Psalm 17:3); and to see a reminiscence of 2Samuel 6:9 (“ How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?”) seems far-fetched. It is better, therefore, to take the verb as the third person feminine instead of second masculine, with “perfect way” as its subject. The only difficulty in the way of this rendering is the interrogative; but, as in Proverbs 23:22, it becomes a simple adverb of time, we may treat it so here: “I will give heed to a guileless way when it comes to me,” i.e., whenever a course of action arises, presenting an alternative of a right and wrong, or a better and worse, I will choose the better.

I will walk within my house.—This vow of an Eastern monarch should be read with the thought of the palace of a caliph at Bagdad, or a sultan at Constantinople, before the mind. But it is a reflection of universal application, that piety should begin at home, and religion show itself in the household as much as at church.

Psalm 101:2. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way — I will manage my affairs with wisdom and integrity; which are the two chief qualifications requisite for all men, and peculiarly necessary in princes, whose example is wont to have great influence on the morals of their people, and who can with no dignity nor consistency punish the crimes of others, if they be guilty of the same crimes themselves. O, when wilt thou come to me? —

And be with me to assist me to execute this my purpose. God is often said, in Scripture, to come to men when he fulfils a promise to them, confers a favour upon them, peculiarly assists them, or is, in an especial manner, present with them. David, having declared it to be his resolution to set his court and kingdom an example of true wisdom and unshaken integrity, shows, in these words, the sense he had of his need of a peculiar visitation of divine grace, to enable him to put his resolution in practice, and accordingly expresses the passionate desire which he had for it in these words. I will walk within my house — I will conduct myself in my family and court, as well as in my public administration of the affairs of my kingdom, with a perfect heart — Sincerely intending and desiring to please and glorify God, and to set before the members of my family, and all my subjects, an example worthy of their imitation. This clause adds weight to the former. He determines not only to walk in a perfect or right way, which a man might do for politic reasons, or with an evil design; but to do so with an upright, honest heart, which is most acceptable to God.101:1-8 David's vow and profession of godliness. - In this psalm we have David declaring how he intended to regulate his household, and to govern his kingdom, that he might stop wickedness, and encourage godliness. It is also applicable to private families, and is the householder's psalm. It teaches all that have any power, whether more or less, to use it so as to be a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well. The chosen subject of the psalm is God's mercy and judgment. The Lord's providences concerning his people are commonly mixed; mercy and judgment. God has set the one over against the other, both to do good, like showers and sunshine. When, in his providence, he exercises us with the mixture of mercy and judgment, we must make suitable acknowledgments to him for both. Family mercies and family afflictions are both calls to family religion. Those who are in public stations are not thereby excused from care in governing their families; they are the more concerned to set a good example of ruling their own houses well. Whenever a man has a house of his own, let him seek to have God to dwell with him; and those may expect his presence, who walk with a perfect heart, in a perfect way. David resolves to practise no evil himself. He further resolves not to keep bad servants, nor to employ those about him that are wicked. He will not admit them into his family, lest they spread the infection of sin. A froward heart, one that delights to be cross and perverse, is not fit for society, the bond of which is Christian love. Nor will he countenance slanderers, those who take pleasure in wounding their neighbour's reputation. Also, God resists the proud, and false, deceitful people, who scruple not to tell lies, or commit frauds. Let every one be zealous and diligent to reform his own heart and ways, and to do this early; ever mindful of that future, most awful morning, when the King of righteousness shall cut off all wicked doers from the heavenly Jerusalem.I will behave myself wisely - In the choice of principles to guide me; in my conduct in my family; in my official relations. This expresses a "desire" to act wisely, and a "purpose" to do it.

In a perfect way - In accordance with the perfect rules of right. I will make these my guide. I will "aim" to be perfect; I will have before me a perfect standard.

O when wilt thou come unto me? - Perhaps this would be better rendered, "When thou dost come unto me;" that is, When then dost visit me and my dwelling, thou shalt find that these are the principles which regulate and govern me in my house. The idea is that God would come to visit his habitation, and inspect his conduct; and that whenever this should occur, however often it might be, or however unexpectedly he might come, he should "always" find these principles governing him in his family. A man should so live that "whenever" God comes into his dwelling, or when anyone comes, or however narrow and searching may be the inspection, these principles shal be found to regulate his conduct.

I will walk within my house - Before my family; in the principles which shall govern me there.

With a perfect heart - Always aiming to do exactly that which is right: in my general conduct; in the rules by which I live; in my treatment of all under my charge and in my employ. The great principles of "right," in everything - in the smallest matters - shall guide and govern me.

2. He avows his sincere purpose, by God's aid, to act uprightly (Ge 17:1; Ps 18:30). 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 behave myself wisely in a perfect way, So David did before he came to the throne, which made Saul fear him, and the people love him, 1 Samuel 18:14 and so he resolved to do, and did afterwards; and thus it becomes all good men, in every station of life, to do: and then do they behave wisely, when they walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time; when they make the perfect law of liberty, the word of God, the rule of their faith; take Christ for their pattern and example, and the Spirit for their guide; when they walk as becomes the Gospel of Christ; seek the glory of God, and the good of others; behave inoffensively to all, and live as pilgrims and strangers here; attending closely to their duty, walking in all the commandments of the Lord blameless: and yet it is certain that no man lives without sin, or does or can behave himself wisely in so "perfect a way" and manner as to have no fault in him; wherefore this seems most applicable to Christ, who, as it was prophesied he should, so he did "deal prudently", or behave wisely, Isaiah 52:13, where the same word is used as here; and this is true of Christ throughout the whole of his life; in his infancy, when but twelve years of age; in his public ministry, in his conduct towards all men; in his answers to the ensnaring questions of his enemies; in his behaviour at his apprehension, arraignment, condemnation and crucifixion; and this to perfection, so as that the least fault could not be found in him:

O when wilt thou come unto me? and perform thy promise in bringing me to rule over all the tribes of Israel: or it may be read without an interrogation, "when thou wilt come unto me" (g); that is, when thou wilt grant me thy gracious presence, and divine assistance, then I will behave myself wisely, in a perfect way; or "in the way of perfect" (h) and upright men, and will walk with them, and do as they do; without the grace of God, and strength of Christ, and the assistance of the Spirit, nothing is to be done that is wise and good: if it is applied to Christ, it respects the time of his sufferings and death, when he was without the divine Presence and help:

I will walk within my house with a perfect heart; or "in the integrity of my heart" (i); in a sincere and upright manner, ruling my own house well, and setting a good example to all in the family; and so should all good men do, performing all duties of religion in the family; be a pattern of good works, bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and neglect nothing that may contribute to their real good and the glory of God: the house of Christ is his church and people: here he walks and manifests himself, giving proofs of his sincere love and affection to them: the Targum paraphrases it,

"the house of my doctrine;''

such is the church of Christ, Isaiah 2:3.

(g) So V. L. Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Tigurine version. (h) "in via integri"; so some in Michaelis. (i) "in integritate cordis mei", Tigurine version, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus.

I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. {b} O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.

(b) Though as yet you deferred to place me in the kingly dignity, yet I will give myself to wisdom and uprightness being a private man.

2. I will behave myself wisely &c.] This is a possible rendering: but the words may mean, I will give heed unto the way of integrity, deliberately and of set purpose make whole-hearted devotion to God and perfect uprightness towards men the rule of my conduct. Cp. Psalm 101:6; Psalm 15:2.

O when &c.] The appeal of earnest longing, eager for closer fellowship with God. It recalls David’s words in 2 Samuel 6:9, and may possibly be an allusion to the promise of Exodus 20:24. Obedience to God’s commandments is the condition of such a fellowship (John 14:23).

within my house] Even in the privacy of my own palace, I will order my conduct in the integrity of my heart. Cp. Psalm 18:23; Psalm 78:72; Proverbs 20:7. “The recesses of an Eastern palace were often foul with lust, and hid extravagances of caprice and self-indulgence; but this ruler will behave there as one who has Jehovah for a guest” (Maclaren).Verse 2. - I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way (comp. Psalm 18:22; Isaiah 26:7). The psalmist aspires after "perfectness." Then feeling his inability to walk in the perfect way by his own strength, he cries to God for aid - O when wilt thou come unto me? "Unless," i.e., "thou come unto me, I cannot keep one of these resolutions. O Lord, come quickly." I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. It is not only the "way," or conduct, that requires to be "perfect," but the "heart" also, or the motives from which the conduct springs. The call in Psalm 100:1 sounds like Psalm 98:4; Psalm 66:1. כּל־הארץ are all lands, or rather all men belonging to the earth's population. The first verse, without any parallelism and in so far monostichic, is like the signal for a blowing of the trumpets. Instead of "serve Jahve with gladness (בּשׂמחה)," it is expressed in Psalm 2:11, "serve Jahve with fear (בּיראה)." Fear and joy do not exclude one another. Fear becomes the exalted Lord, and the holy gravity of His requirements; joy becomes the gracious Lord, and His blessed service. The summons to manifest this joy in a religious, festive manner springs up out of an all-hopeful, world-embracing love, and this love is the spontaneous result of living faith in the promise that all tribes of the earth shall be blessed in the seed of Abraham, and in the prophecies in which this promise is unfolded. דּעוּ (as in Psalm 4:4) Theodoret well interprets δι ̓ αὐτῶν μάθετε τῶν πραγμάτων. They are to know from facts of outward and inward experience that Jahve is God: He hath made us, and not we ourselves. Thus runs the Chethξb, which the lxx follows, αὐτὸς ἔποήσεν ἡμᾶς καὶ οὐχ ἡμεῖς (as also the Syriac and Vulgate); but Symmachus (like Rashi), contrary to all possibilities of language, renders αὐτὸς ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς οὐκ ὄντας. Even the Midrash (Bereshith Rabba, ch. c. init.) finds in this confession the reverse of the arrogant words in the mouth of Pharaoh: "I myself have made myself" (Ezekiel 29:3). The Ker, on the other hand, reads לו,

(Note: According to the reckoning of the Masora, there are fifteen passages in the Old Testament in which לא is written and לו is read, viz., Exodus 21:8; Leviticus 11:21; Leviticus 25:30; 1 Samuel 2:3; 2 Samuel 16:18; 2 Kings 8:10; Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 63:9; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 139:16; Job 13:15 cf. the note there, Psalm 41:4; Proverbs 19:7; Proverbs 26:2; Ezra 4:2. Because doubtful, Isaiah 49:5; 1 Chronicles 11:20 are not reckoned with these.)

which the Targum, Jerome, and Saadia follow and render: et ipsius nos sumus. Hengstenberg calls this Ker quite unsuitable and bad; and Hupfeld, on the other hand, calls the Chethb an "unspeakable insipidity." But in reality both readings accord with the context, and it is clear that they are both in harmony with Scripture. Many a one has drawn balsamic consolation from the words ipse fecit nos et non ipsi nos; e.g., Melancthon when disconsolately sorrowful over the body of his son in Dresden on the 12th July 1559. But in ipse fecit nos et ipsius nos sumus there is also a rich mine of comfort and of admonition, for the Creator of also the Owner, His heart clings to His creature, and the creature owes itself entirely to Him, without whom it would not have had a being, and would not continue in being. Since, however, the parallel passage, Psalm 95:7, favours ולו rather than ולא; since, further, ולא ,reh is the easier reading, inasmuch as הוּא leads one to expect that an antithesis will follow (Hitzig); and since the "His people and the sheep of His pasture" that follows is a more natural continuation of a preceding ולו אנחנו than that it should be attached as a predicative object to עשׂנוּ over a parenthetical ולא אנחנו: the Ker decidedly maintains the preference. In connection with both readings, עשׂה has a sense related to the history of redemption, as in 1 Samuel 12:6. Israel is Jahve's work (מעשׂה), Isaiah 29:23; Isaiah 60:21, cf. Deuteronomy 32:6, Deuteronomy 32:15, not merely as a people, but as the people of God, who were kept in view even in the calling of Abram.

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