Psalm 101:5
Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) Whoso . . .—The “informer” and the “haughty favourite” are no unknown characters in an Oriental court.

Proud heart.—Literally, broad, that is, extended with pride. (Comp. Proverbs 21:4.) But LXX. and Vulg., “insatiable.”

Will not I suffer.—In Hebrew a simple and expressive “I cannot,” to which we can supply “bear,” from Jeremiah 44:22. (Comp. Isaiah 1:13 : “I cannot away with.”)

Psalm 101:5-6. 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; him will I cut off — From my family and court. Him that hath a high look, &c. — Those who think highly of themselves, and look down with contempt upon others, or treat them with insolence; or, whose insatiable covetousness and ambition make them study their own advancement more than the public good; will not I suffer — In my house nor among my servants. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful — I will endeavour to find out, and will favour and encourage, men of truth, justice, and integrity, men of religion and virtue, who will be faithful, first to God, and then to me and to my people; that they may dwell with me — Hebrew, לשׁבת, lashebeth,, to sit, abide, or converse with me, in my house, and counsels, and public administrations. These he would use as his familiars and friends, employ them in the domestic services of his palace, and advance them to public offices and stations in his kingdom. He that walketh 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.

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.Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour - literally, "One who speaks concerning his neighbor in secret." If a man has any good to say of another, he will be likely to say it openly; if he has any evil to say, it will be likely to be said in secret. Hence, to speak in secret of anyone comes to mean the same thing as to slander him.

Him will I cut off - That is, I will cut him off from me; I will not employ him. He would not have one in his house, or in his service, who did injustice to the character of others; who stabbed their reputation in the dark. This was alike indicative of the personal character of the author of the psalm, and of his purpose as the head of a family. It is hardly necessary to say that no one should employ another who is in the habit of slandering his neighbor.

Him that hath an high look - That is proud - as a proud man commonly carries his head high.

And a proud heart - The Hebrew word here rendered "proud" commonly means wide, broad, large, as of the sea, or of an extended country, Job 11:9; Exodus 3:8. It is applied also to the law of God as comprehensive, and without limit, Psalm 119:96. Then it comes to mean swelled up - made large - inflated Proverbs 28:25; and hence, proud and arrogant.

Will not I suffer - I will not tolerate such a person near me. No one can have peace in his house who has such a class of servants or domestics; no one should countenance such persons. Humility is the very foundation of all virtue.

5, 6. The slanderers and haughty persons, so mischievous in society, I will disown; but— 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.

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off,.... That raises and spreads a false report of him; that insinuates evil things of him; that brings false charges and accusations against him, in a private manner, when he has no opportunity to defend himself: such an one David threatens to cut off from his presence, as Kimchi interprets it; from all communion and conversation with him; and yet he listened to the slanders of Ziba against Mephibosheth: but Christ, who knows the hearts and the secret actions of men, will reject and cut off all persons of such a character: the Targum is,

"he that speaketh with a triple tongue against his neighbour, him will I destroy, and he shall be smitten with the leprosy:''

a slandering tongue is called a triple tongue with the Jews (m), because, as they say, it kills three persons; him that carries the slander, him that receives it, and him of whom it is related; see the Apocrypha:

"Whoso hearkeneth unto it shall never find rest, and never dwell quietly.'' (Sirach 28:16)

him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer; or, "I cannot" (n); that is, cannot bear him in my presence and company; cannot look upon him with any pleasure and delight: the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and the Oriental versions, render it, "with him I will not eat": have no familiarity or acquaintance with him; see 1 Corinthians 5:11, such who looked above others, and with contempt upon them, whose hearts were large, as the word (o) signifies, were ambitious and insatiable, and never had enough of riches and honour; such were very contrary to David's character, and could never be agreeable to him, Psalm 121:1, as the proud and haughty Pharisees were not to Christ, Luke 18:9, and the man of sin that exalts himself above all that is called God, that little horn, whose look is more stout than his fellows, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

(m) T. Bab. Erahin, fol. 15. 2. Vide Targum Jon. in Deuteronomy 27. 4. (n) "non potero", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "ferre", Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Michaelis. (o) "vastum corde", Montanus; "latum corde", Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.

Whoso privily {d} slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

(d) In promising to punish these vices, which are most pernicious in them that are about Kings, he declares that he will punish all.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. him will I cut off] Or, destroy, as in Psalm 101:8 a, as in himself evil and moreover an evil counsellor for a king.

a high look] The visible token of a haughty heart within (Psalm 18:27; Proverbs 21:4).

5–8. He will not tolerate falsehood and pride and injustice around him, but will seek to fill his court with faithful ministers.

Verse 5. - Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I out off. (On the heinousness of slander, see Psalm 15:3; Psalm 31:13; Psalm 50:20, etc.) It is probably not meant that the slanderer will be put to death, but only that he will be banished, at any rate from the court, and, so far as possible, put down. Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. "Lofty looks" and a "proud heart" are again conjoined in Proverbs 21:4, Solomon showing that he paid attention to his father's lessons. David himself disclaims both in Psalm 131:1. Psalm 101:5This is the "prince's Psalm,"

(Note: Eyring, in his Vita of Ernest the Pious Duke of Saxe-Gotha, v. 1601, d. 1675, relates that he sent an unfaithful minister a copy of the 101st Psalm, and that it became a proverb in the country, when an official had done anything wrong: He will certainty soon receive the prince's Psalm to read.)

or as it is inscribed in Luther's version, "David's mirror of a monarch." Can there be any more appropriate motto for it than what is said of Jahve's government in Psalm 99:4? In respect of this passage of Psalm 99:1-9, to which Psalm 100:1-5 is the finale, Psalm 101:1-8 seems to be appended as an echo out of the heart of David. The appropriateness of the words לדוד מזמור (the position of the words is as in Psalm 24:1-10; 40; 109:1-110:7; 139) is corroborated by the form and contents. Probably the great historical work from which the chronicler has taken excerpts furnished the post-exilic collector with a further gleaning of Davidic songs, or at least songs that were ascribed to David. The Psalm before us belongs to the time during which the Ark was in the house of Obed-Edom, where David had left it behind through terror at the misfortune of Uzzah. David said at that time: "How shall the Ark of Jahve come to me (the unholy one)?" 2 Samuel 6:8. He did not venture to bring the Ark of the Fearful and Holy One within the range of his own house. In our Psalm, however, he gives utterance to his determination as king to give earnest heed to the sanctity of his walk, of his rule, and of his house; and this resolve he brings before Jahve as a vow, to whom, in regard to the rich blessing which the Ark of God diffuses around it (2 Samuel 6:11.), he longingly sighs: "When wilt Thou come to me?!" This contemporaneous reference has been recognised by Hammond and Venema. From the fact that Jahve comes to David, Jerusalem becomes "the city of Jahve," Psalm 101:8; and to defend the holiness of this the city of His habitation in all faithfulness, and with all his might, is the thing to which David here pledges himself.

The contents of the first verse refer not merely to the Psalm that follows as an announcement of its theme, but to David's whole life: graciousness and right, the self-manifestations united ideally and, for the king who governs His people, typically in Jahve, shall be the subject of his song. Jahve, the primal source of graciousness and of right, it shall be, to whom he consecrates his poetic talent, as also his playing upon the harp. חסד is condescension which flows from the principle of free love, and משׁפּט legality which binds itself impartially and uncapriciously to the rule (norm) of that which is right and good. They are two modes of conduct, mutually tempering each other, which God requires of every man (Micah 6:8, cf. Matthew 23:23 : τὴν κρίσιν καὶ τὸν ἔλεον), and more especially of a king. Further, he has resolved to give heed, thoughtfully and with an endeavour to pursue it (השׂכּיל בּ as in Daniel 9:13), unto the way of that which is perfect, i.e., blameless. What is further said might now be rendered as a relative clause: when Thou comest to me. But not until then?! Hitzig renders it differently: I will take up the lot of the just when it comes to me, i.e., as often as it is brought to my knowledge. But if this had been the meaning, בּדבר would have been said instead of בּדרך (Exodus 18:16, Exodus 18:19; 2 Samuel 19:12 [11]); for, according to both its parts, the expression דוך תמים is an ethical notion, and is therefore not used in a different sense from that in Psalm 101:6. Moreover, the relative use of the interrogative מתי in Hebrew cannot be supported, with the exception, perhaps, of Proverbs 23:35. Athanasius correctly interprets: ποθῶ σου τὴν παρουσίαν, ὦ δέσποτα, ἱμείρομαί σου τῆς ἐπιφανείας, ἀλλὰ δὸς τὸ ποθούμενον. It is a question of strong yearning: when wilt Thou come to me? is the time near at hand when Thou wilt erect Thy throne near to me? If his longing should be fulfilled, David is resolved to, and will then, behave himself as he further sets forth in the vows he makes. He pledges himself to walk within his house, i.e., his palace, in the innocence or simplicity of his heart (Psalm 78:72; Proverbs 20:7), without allowing himself to be led away from this frame of mind which has become his through grace. He will not set before his eyes, viz., as a proposition or purpose (Deuteronomy 15:9; Exodus 10:10; 1 Samuel 29:10, lxx), any morally worthless or vile matter whatsoever (Psalm 41:8, cf. concerning בליּעל, Psalm 18:5). The commission of excesses he hates: עשׂה is infin. constr. instead of עשׂות as in Genesis 31:28; Genesis 50:20; Proverbs 21:3, cf. ראה Genesis 48:11, שׁתו Proverbs 31:4. סטים (like שׂטים in Hosea 5:2), as the object of עשׂה, has not a personal (Kimchi, Ewald) signification (cf. on the other hand Psalm 40:5), but material signification: (facta) declinantia (like זדים, Psalm 19:13, insolentia; הבלים, Zechariah 11:7, vincientia); all temptations and incitements of this sort he shakes off from himself, so that nothing of the kind cleaves to him. The confessions in Psalm 101:4 refer to his own inward nature: לב עקּשׁ (not עקּשׁ־לב, Proverbs 17:20), a false heart that is not faithful in its intentions either to God or to men, shall remain far from him; wickedness (רע as in Psalm 36:5) he does not wish to know, i.e., does not wish to foster and nurture within him. Whoso secretly slanders his neighbour, him will he destroy; it will therefore be so little possible for any to curry favour with him by uncharitable perfidious tale-bearing, of the wiliness of which David himself had had abundant experience in his relation to Saul, that it will rather call forth his anger upon him (Proverbs 30:10). Instead of the regularly pointed מלושׁני the Ker reads מלשׁני, melŏshnı̂, a Poel (לשׁן linguâ petere, like עין oculo petere, elsewhere הלשׁין, Proverbs 30:10) with ŏ instead of ō (vid., on Psalm 109:10; Psalm 62:4) and with Chirek compaginis (vid., on Psalm 113:1-9). The "lofty of eyes," i.e., supercilious, haughty, and the "broad of heart," i.e., boastful, puffed up, self-conceited (Proverbs 28:25, cf. Psalm 21:4), him he cannot endure (אוּכל, properly fut. Hoph., I am incapable of, viz., לשׂאת, which is to be supplied as in Isaiah 1:13, after Proverbs 30:21; Jeremiah 44:22).

(Note: In both instances the Masora writes אותו (plene), but the Talmud, B. Erachin 15b, had אתו before it when it says: "Of the slanderer God says: I and he cannot dwell together in the world, I cannot bear it any longer with him (אתּו).")

On the other hand, his eyes rest upon the faithful of the land, with the view, viz., of drawing them into his vicinity. Whoso walks in the way of uprightness, he shall serve him (שׁרת, θεραπεύειν, akin to עבד, δουλεύειν). He who practises deceit shall not stay within his house; he who speaks lies shall have no continuance (יכּון is more than equivalent to נכון) before (under) his eyes. Every morning (לבּקרים as in Psalm 73:14; Isaiah 33:2; Lamentations 3:23, and לבקרים, Job 7:18), when Jahve shall have taken up His abode in Jerusalem, will he destroy all evil-doers (רשׁעי as in Psalm 119:119), i.e., incorrigibly wicked ones, wherever he may meet them upon the earth, in order that all workers of evil may be rooted out of the royal city, which is now become the city of Jahve.

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