Psalm 101:5
Whoever privately slanders his neighbor, him will I cut off: him that has an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.
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(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.

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. Therefore shall the men of all nations enter with thanksgiving into the gates of His Temple and into the courts of His Temple with praise (Psalm 96:8), in order to join themselves in worship to His church, which - a creation of Jahve for the good of the whole earth - is congregated about this Temple and has it as the place of its worship. The pilgrimage of all peoples to the holy mountain is an Old Testament dress of the hope for the conversion of all peoples to the God of revelation, and the close union of all with the people of this God. His Temple is open to them all. They may enter, and when they enter they have to look for great things. For the God of revelation (52:11; 54:8) is "good" (Psalm 25:8; Psalm 34:9), and His loving-kindness and faithfulness endure for ever - the thought that recurs frequently in the later Hallelujah and Hodu Psalms and is become a liturgical formula (Jeremiah 33:11). The mercy of loving-kindness of God is the generosity, and His faithfulness the constancy, of His love.
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