Psalm 12:6
The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) As silver.—This solemn promise of Jehovah may be relied on, for His words are not like those of deceitful men—alloyed with self and falsehood—but are pure as silver seven times smelted.

In a furnace.—Either a “workshop” or a “crucible,” according as derived.

Of earth.—These words are difficult; they must mean either in earth, referring to the ashes in which the smelted silver falls, or as to earth, i.e., as to the alloy, or as we say, purified of the alloy.

But erets is never else used for the material, earth, and Hitzig’s emendation, rats = bar, or piece (Psalm 68:30), “melted into a bar from the crucible,” is almost convincing in its simplicity and aptness.

Psalm 12:6. The words of the Lord are pure — Without the least mixture of falsehood, and therefore shall be infallibly fulfilled. Men often speak rashly, and promise what they cannot perform, and deceitfully, what they never intend to perform. But God’s words are different; they are pure from all manner of dross; from all folly, or fraud, or uncertainty. “Often have they been put to the test, in the trials of the faithful, like silver committed to the furnace in an earthen crucible; but, like silver in its most refined and exalted purity, found to contain no dross. The words of Jehovah are holy in his precepts, just in his laws, gracious in his promises, significant in his institutions, true in his narrations, and infallible in his predictions. What are thousands of gold and silver, compared to the treasures of the sacred page?” — Horne.

12:1-8 The psalmist begs help of God, because there were none among men whom he durst trust. - This psalm furnishes good thoughts for bad times; a man may comfort himself with such meditations and prayers. Let us see what makes the times bad, and when they may be said to be so. Ask the children of this world, What makes the times bad? they will tell you, Scarcity of money, decay of trade, and the desolations of war, make the times bad: but the Scripture lays the badness of the times on causes of another nature, 2Ti 3:1, c.: perilous times shall come, for sin shall abound; and of this David complains. When piety decays times really are bad. He who made man's mouth will call him to an account for his proud, profane, dissembling, or even useless words. When the poor and needy are oppressed, then the times are very bad. God himself takes notice of the oppression of the poor, and the sighing of the needy. When wickedness abounds, and is countenanced by those in authority, then the times are very bad. See with what good things we are here furnished for such bad times; and we cannot tell what times we may be reserved for. 1. We have a God to go to, from whom we may ask and expect the redress of all our grievances. 2. God will certainly punish and restrain false and proud men. 3. God will work deliverance for his oppressed people. His help is given in the fittest time. Though men are false, God is faithful; though they are not to be trusted, God is. The preciousness of God's word is compared to silver refined to the highest degree. How many proofs have been given of its power and truth! God will secure his chosen remnant, however bad the times are. As long as the world stands, there will be a generation of proud and wicked men. But all God's people are put into the hands of Christ our Saviour; there they are in safety, for none can pluck them thence; being built on Him, the Rock, they are safe, notwithstanding temptation or persecution come with ever so much force upon them.The words of the Lord - In contrast with the words of the persons referred to in Psalm 12:2-4. Their words were vanity, flattery, and falsehood; and no reliance could be placed on them. In contrast with these words, the words of the Lord were pure. They were to be relied on. All his sayings were true and faithful. The design is to bring his words into contrast with the sayings of such men, and to show how much more safety there is in relying on his promises than on the promises made by such men. Man failed, but God would not. Reliance could not be placed on the words of even the professedly "godly" and "faithful" Psalm 12:1, but entire confidence might be placed in the words of Yahweh. All his words were true, pure, faithful, so that even when his own professed friends failed, and confidence could be placed in them, yet there was still reason for unwavering confidence in God himself.

Are pure words - That is, they are without any mixture of falsehood - for this idea is implied in the comparison which the psalmist makes when he says that they are like silver purified in the furnace, that is, from which all the dross has been removed.

As silver tried in a furnace of earth - The word here rendered "furnace" properly means a workshop. Perhaps it corresponds nearly with our word "laboratory," as the term is now used by chemists. It evidently refers to some place where the metal was tried and purified. The words rendered "of earth" literally mean "on the earth," or "in the earth?" The language does not mean that the "furnace" was "made" of earth, as would seem to be implied in our version, but that the "furnace" or laboratory was erected on the earth, or in the earth. It may refer to something like a crucible placed on the ground, around which a fire of intense heat could be made. It is probable that some such structure would be made near the mines where ore was obtained, and that the ore would be thus purified from dross before it was removed.

Purified seven times - By passing it seven times - that is, very often - through the fire. The word "seven" in the Scriptures denotes a complete or perfect number, and is often used to denote frequency. The idea here would seem to be that the process was repeated until the silver became entirely pure. The sense is, that the words of the Lord are "perfectly pure." There is no admixture of falsehood in his statements; there is no deception in his promises; there is no flattery in what he says. This was the ground of confidence on the part of the psalmist - that while men (even those who professed to be good men) so failed that no reliance could be placed on their statements, the most perfect trust could be reposed on all the statements of God.

6. The words—literally, "saying of" (Ps 12:5).

seven times—thoroughly (Da 3:19).

6 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalm 12:6

What a contrast between the vain words of man, and the pure words of Jehovah. Man's words are yea and nay, but the Lord's promises are yea and amen. For truth, certainty, holiness, faithfulness, the words of the Lord are pure as well-refined silver. In the original there is an allusion to the most severely-purifying process known to the ancients, through which silver was passed when the greatest possible purity was desired; the dross was all consumed, and only the bright and precious metal remained; so clear and free from all alloy of error or unfaithfulness is the book of the words of the Lord. The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it as alloy to precious ore. The experience of saints has tried it in every conceivable manner, but not a single doctrine or promise has been consumed in the most excessive hear. What God's words are, the words of his children should be. If we would be Godlike in conversation, we must watch our language, and maintain the strictest purity of integrity and holiness in all our communications.

Psalm 12:7

To fall into the hands of an evil generation, so as to be baited by their cruelty, or polluted by their influence, is an evil to be dreaded beyond measure; but it is an evil foreseen and provided for in the text. In life many a saint has lived a hundred years before his age, as though he had darted his soul into the brighter future, and escaped the mists of the beclouded present: he has gone to his grave unreverenced and misunderstood, and lo! as generations come and go, upon a sudden the hero is unearthed, and lives in the admiration and love of the excellent of the earth; preserved for ever from the generation which stigmatised him as a sower of sedition, or burned him as a heretic. It should be our daily prayer that we may rise above our age as the mountain-tops above the clouds, and may stand out as heaven-pointing pinnacle high above the mists of ignorance and sin which roll around us. O Eternal Spirit, fulfil in us the faithful saying of this verse! Our faith believes those two assuring words, and cries, "Thou shalt, thou shalt."

Pure; or, sincere; without the least mixture of vanity or falsehood; and therefore shall infallibly be fulfilled. This he seems to add to answer an objection which might arise in some men’s minds concerning what was last said. You tell us, The, Lord saith, I will set him in safety, &c.; but saying and doing are two things. They are so indeed in men, who oft speak rashly what they cannot perform, and deceitfully what they never intend: but all God’s words are pure from all manner of dross; from all folly, or fraud, or uncertainty; he is holy and true in all his doctrines, threatenings, predictions, and promises.

Tried in a furnace of earth, i.e. made of such earth or clay as was proper for and then usual in that work. See 1 Kings 7:46.

The words of the Lord are pure words,.... This observation the psalmist makes in reference to what is just now said in Psalm 12:5,, and in opposition to the words of wicked men in Psalm 12:2; which are deceitful, sinful, and impure. The Scriptures are the words of God; and they are pure and holy, free from all human mixtures, and from all fraud and deceit; they are the Scriptures of truth. The promises are the words of God, and they are firm and stable, and always to be depended on, and are ever fulfilled, being yea and amen in Christ Jesus. The Gospel, and the doctrines of it, are the words of God; that is the sincere milk of the word, pure and incorrupt; as it is in itself, and as it is dispensed by the faithful ministers of it; and they are all according to godliness, and tend to encourage and promote purity and holiness of heart and life; See Proverbs 30:5;

as silver tried in a furnace of earth; they are as "silver" for worth and value; yea, they are more valuable than silver or gold, Psalm 19:10. The Bible is a mine of rich treasure, and to be searched into as for it; the promises in it are exceeding precious; they are like apples of gold in pictures of silver, and yield more joy than the finding a great spoil. The doctrines of the Gospel are comparable to gold and silver and precious stones, and to be bought at any rate, but to be sold at none: and they are as silver "tried", which is pure, and free from dross. The words of men, of false teachers, are as dross and reprobate silver; but the words of the Lord are tried, and are pure, and free from all the dross of error and falsehood, Psalm 18:30. And they are as silver tried "in a furnace of earth", which some (o) render "by the Lord of the earth"; but the word rather signifies a furnace, or an refinery, in which metal is melted and purified; and may be applied to the Lord Jesus Christ in human nature, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and who came full fraught with the doctrines of the Gospel; and in whom they have been "tried", by his sufferings and death, and are found to be pure, solid, and substantial: or to the ministers of the Gospel, who have this treasure in earthen vessels, whose works and words and ministry are tried by many fiery trials, and abide: or to all the people of God in general, who dwelt in earthly tabernacles; and who, in the midst of various afflictions, have a comfortable and confirming evidence of the purity and truth of the words of God, of the promises of his covenant, and the doctrines of the Gospel;

purified seven times; that is, many times, Proverbs 24:16; and so completely and perfectly pure, and clear of all dross whatsoever, as silver so many times tried must needs be: and so the words of God are not only pure, but very pure, exceeding pure, Psalm 119:140.

(o) Vid. Jarchi, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc. so some in David de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 11. 1. taking in to be radical, and doubled as if it was

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. A general truth with direct application to the promise of the preceding verse. In Jehovah’s words there is no dross of flattery or insincerity or falsehood. Unlike the words of men, they are wholly to be relied on.

as silver tried] Omit as. Silver is a natural emblem of purity and preciousness. The metaphor underlies the language of Psalm 18:30, Psalm 119:140, Proverbs 30:5.

in a furnace of earth] The precise meaning is doubtful. Either (1) in a furnace on the earth (R.V.), i.e. a furnace built on the ground, the point of which is not obvious: or (2) silver refined in a furnace (flowing down) to the earth may be meant to picture the bright stream of pure metal flowing from the furnace, shewing that the process of refining has done its work.

purified seven times] Again and again till no trace of dross is left. Seven is the number of completeness and perfection. Cp. Psalm 79:12; Proverbs 6:31; Isaiah 30:16.

Verse 6. - The words of the Lord are pure words. There is no base alloy in them: therefore they may be trusted. What God promises, he will perform. As silver tried in a furnace of earth; rather, perhaps, silver assayed in a crucible on earth (Kay). Purified seven times (comp. Psalm 18:30; Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5). Psalm 12:6(Heb.: 12:6-7) In Psalm 12:6 the psalmist hears Jahve Himself speak; and in Psalm 12:7 he adds his Amen. The two מן in Psalm 12:6 denote the motive, עתּה the decisive turning-point from forebearance to the execution of judgment, and ימר the divine determination, which has just now made itself audible; cf. Isaiah's echo of it, Isaiah 33:10. Jahve has hitherto looked on with seeming inactivity and indifference, now He will arise and place in ישׁע, i.e., a condition of safety (cf. שׂים בּחיּים Psalm 66:9), him who languishes for deliverance. It is not to be explained: him whom he, i.e., the boaster, blows upon, which would be expressed by יפיח בּו, cf. Psalm 10:5; but, with Ewald, Hengstenberg, Olshausen, and Bttcher, according to Habakkuk 2:3, where הפיח ל occurs in the sense of panting after an object: him who longs for it. יפיח is, however, not a participial adjective equals יפח, but the fut., and יפיח לו is therefore a relative clause occupying the place of the object, just as we find the same thing occurring in Job 24:19; Isaiah 41:2, Isaiah 41:25, and frequently. Hupfeld's rendering: "in order that he may gain breath (respiret)" leaves אשׁית without an object, and accords more with Aramaic and Arabic than with Hebrew usage, which would express this idea by ינוּח לו or ירוח לו.

In Psalm 12:7 the announcement of Jahve is followed by its echo in the heart of the seer: the words (אמרות instead of אמרות by changing the Sheb which closes the syllable into an audible one, as e.g., in אשׁרי) of Jahve are pure words, i.e., intended, and to be fulfilled, absolutely as they run without any admixture whatever of untruthfulness. The poetical אמרה (after the form זמרה) serves pre-eminently as the designation of the divine power-words of promise. The figure, which is indicated in other instances, when God's word is said to be צרוּפה (Psalm 18:31; Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5), is here worked out: silver melted and thus purified בּעליל לארץ. עליל signifies either a smelting-pot from עלל, Arab. gll, immittere, whence also על (Hitz.); or, what is more probable since the language has the epithets כוּר and מצרף for this: a workshop, from עלל, Arab. ‛ll, operari (prop. to set about a thing), first that which is wrought at (after the form מעיל, פּסיל, שׁביל), then the place where the work is carried on. From this also comes the Talm. בּעליל equals בּעליל manifeste, occurring in the Mishna Rosh ha-Shana 1. 5 and elsewhere, and which in its first meaning corresponds to the French en effet.

(Note: On this word with reference to this passage of the Psalm vid., Steinschneider's Hebr. Bibliographie 1861, S. 83.)

According to this, the ל in לארץ is not the ל of property: in a fining-pot built into the earth, for which לארץ without anything further would be an inadequate and colourless expression. But in accordance with the usual meaning of לארץ as a collateral definition it is: smelted (purified) down to the earth. As Olshausen observes on this subject, "Silver that is purified in the furnace and flows down to the ground can be seen in every smelting hut; the pure liquid silver flows down out of the smelting furnace, in which the ore is piled up." For it cannot be ל of reference: "purified with respect to the earth," since ארץ does not denote the earth as a material and cannot therefore mean an earthy element. We ought then to read לאבץ, which would not mean "to a white brilliancy," i.e., to a pure bright mass (Bttch.), but "with respect to the stannum, lead" (vid., on Isaiah 1:25). The verb זקק to strain, filter, cause to ooze through, corresponds to the German seihen, seigen, old High German sihan, Greek σακκεῖν (σακκίζειν), to clean by passing through a cloth as a strainer, שׂק. God's word is solid silver smelted and leaving all impurity behind, and, as it were, having passed seven times through the smelting furnace, i.e., the purest silver, entirely purged from dross. Silver is the emblem of everything precious and pure (vid., Bhr, Symbol. i. 284); and seven is the number indicating the completion of any process (Bibl. Psychol. S. 57, transl. p. 71).

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