Do good, O LORD, to those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 125:4-5. Do good unto those that be good — As thou hast promised to keep thy people from evil, (Psalm 125:3,) be pleased, also, to vouchsafe unto them those blessings which will be good for them. Deal well with those that are truly good, and reward the fidelity of them that are upright in their hearts — Who, notwithstanding the calamities with which they are chastised and tried, still persist in thy ways and preserve their integrity.
As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways — But, as for those unstable persons who, either through fear of the rod, mentioned Psalm 125:3, or for other considerations, shall turn aside from those good ways, which, for a time, they professed to walk in, unto sinful courses, and who, instead of growing better by the Lord’s chastisements, decline more and more from the paths of righteousness; the Lord shall lead them forth — Namely, unto punishment, as malefactors are led to the place of execution; with the workers of iniquity — With the most obstinate and profligate sinners, with whom he will appoint them their portion; for, as they partook of their sins, they shall also partake of their plagues. But peace shall be upon Israel — Upon the true Israel of God. When those that have treacherously deserted the ways of God meet with their own destruction, they that faithfully adhere to them, though they may have trouble in their way, they shall have peace in their end. Psalm 125:3, be pleased also to vouchsafe unto them those blessings which are good for them. Or thus, having declared God’s tender care of his people, and his promise made to them, he now prayeth for the execution of the said promises. Psalm 51:18;
and to them that are upright in their hearts; which is a further description of good men, from the integrity and sincerity of their hearts; who do all they do before God and men, in the uprightness of their souls, cordially and sincerely, from right principles, and with right views.Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Do good] We are reminded of Nehemiah’s prayer, Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:31. The good and the upright in their hearts are the loyal, honest, straightforward Israelites. The variation from the usual phrase “upright of heart” emphasises their thorough sincerity.
4, 5. A prayer for the faithful and a warning to renegades.Verse 4. - Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good. Give them their deservings. For their "goodness" repay them with "goodness." And to them that are upright in their hearts. Exegetical of the preceding clause. Only the "upright in heart" are really "good." Psalm 124:6 follows the thanksgiving for it, and in Psalm 124:7 the joyful shout of the rescued one. In Psalm 124:6 the enemies are conceived of as beasts of prey on account of their bloodthirstiness, just as the worldly empires are in the Book of Daniel; in Psalm 124:7 as "fowlers" on account of their cunning. According to the punctuation it is not to be rendered: Our soul is like a bird that is escaped, in which case it would have been accented בפשׁנו כצפור, but: our soul (subject with Rebia magnum) is as a bird (כּצפור as in Hosea 11:11; Proverbs 23:32; Job 14:2, instead of the syntactically more usual כּצּפור) escaped out of the snare of him who lays snares (יוקשׁ, elsewhere יקושׁ, יקוּשׁ, a fowler, Psalm 91:3). נשׁבר (with ā beside Rebia) is 3rd:praet.: the snare was burst, and we - we became free. In Psalm 124:8 (cf. Psalm 121:2; Psalm 134:3) the universal, and here pertinent thought, viz., the help of Israel is in the name of Jahve, the Creator of the world, i.e., in Him who is manifest as such and is continually verifying Himself, forms the epiphonematic close. Whether the power of the world seeks to make the church of Jahve like to itself or to annihilate it, it is not a disavowal of its God, but a faithful confession, stedfast even to death, that leads to its deliverance.
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