Psalm 18:26
With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) Froward . . . froward.—The use of this one word to render two different Hebrew terms is so far correct, as they both come from roots meaning primarily to twist. Both are combined in Proverbs 8:8, “froward (margin, twisted) or perverse,” and both are contrasted with “righteousness.” Plainly the metaphor might apply-either to the character itself, “twisted round,” “awry,” “perverse,” or to the line of conduct pursued, “bent,” “crooked,” or “wrong,” the opposite of “straight,” or “right.” “Froward” =from ward (opposite to “toward”), seems to have more of the latter idea, but may combine both—a disposition turned away from good. The poet therefore says, “God will turn away from those who turn away from him,” a thought which even with the Christian revelation we must admit true, for still it is true that—

“He that shuts love out, in turn shall be

Shut out from love.”—TENNYSON.

18:20-28 Those that forsake the ways of the Lord, depart from their God. But though conscious to ourselves of many a false step, let there not be a wicked departure from our God. David kept his eye upon the rule of God's commands. Constant care to keep from that sin, whatever it be, which most easily besets us, proves that we are upright before God. Those who show mercy to others, even they need mercy. Those who are faithful to God, shall find him all that to them which he has promised to be. The words of the Lord are pure words, very sure to be depended on, and very sweet to be delighted in. Those who resist God, and walk contrary to him, shall find that he will walk contrary to them, Le 26:21-24. The gracious recompence of which David spoke, may generally be expected by those who act from right motives. Hence he speaks comfort to the humble, and terror to the proud; Thou wilt bring down high looks. And he speaks encouragement to himself; Thou wilt light my candle: thou wilt revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit; thou wilt guide my way, that I may avoid the snares laid for me. Thou wilt light my candle to work by, and give me an opportunity of serving thee. Let those that walk in darkness, and labour under discouragements, take courage; God himself will be a Light to them.With the pure - Those who are pure in their thoughts, their motives, their conduct.

Thou wilt show thyself pure - They will find that they have to deal with a God who is himself pure; who loves purity, and who will accompany it with appropriate rewards wherever it is found.

And with the froward - The word used here - עקשׁ ‛iqqêsh - means properly perverse; a man of a perverse and wicked mind. It is derived from a verb - עקשׁ ‛âqash - which means, to turn the wrong way, to wrest, to pervert. It would be applicable to a man who perverts or wrests the words of others from their true meaning; who prevaricates or is deceitful in his own conduct; who is not straightforward in his dealings; who takes advantage of circumstances to impose on others, and to promote his own ends; who is sour, harsh, crabbed, unaccommodating, unyielding, unkind. It is rendered perverse in Deuteronomy 32:5; Proverbs 8:8; Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 28:6; froward here, and in 2 Samuel 22:27; Psalm 101:4; Proverbs 11:20; Proverbs 17:20; Proverbs 22:5; and crooked in Proverbs 2:15. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament.

Thou wilt show thyself froward - Margin, wrestle. In the corresponding place in 2 Samuel 22:27 it is rendered, "Thou wilt show thyself unsavory;" though the same word is used in the original. In the margin in that place, as here, the word is wrestle. The original word in each place - פתל pâthal - means to twist, to twine, to spin; and then, to be twisted; to be crooked, crafty, deceitful. In the form of the word which occurs here (Hithpael), it means, to show oneself crooked, crafty, perverse. (Gesenius, Lexicon). It cannot mean here that God would assume such a character, or that he would be crooked, crafty, perverse in his dealings with men, for no one can suppose that the psalmist meant to ascribe such a character to God; but the meaning plainly is, that God would deal with the man referred to according to his real character: instead of finding that God would deal with them as if they were pure, and righteous, and merciful, such men would find that he deals with them as they are - as perverse, crooked, wicked.

26. froward—contrary to. Pure; free from the least mixture or appearance of unrighteousness, or unfaithfulness, or unkindness; or simply and sincerely, such as thou usest and hast promised to be to them that are such; for

purity is oft put for sincerity.

Froward, or perverse, i.e. thou wilt cross him, and walk contrary to him, as thou hast threatened, Leviticus 26:23,24. See also Proverbs 3:34. Man’s perverseness here is moral and sinful, but God’s perverseness is judicial and penal.

With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure,.... None of Adam's posterity are pure by nature; they are all defiled with sin; and though some are pure in their own eyes, they are far from being cleansed from their filthiness; such only are pure who are sanctified by the Spirit of God, have clean hearts created in them, and whose hearts are purified by faith in the blood of Christ; who are justified by Christ's righteousness, and are washed from their sins in his blood; and who, in consequence of such grace, love, pureness of heart, speak a pure language, hold the mystery of faith in a pure conscience, and with a pure conversation, and live soberly, righteously, and godly: and whereas God is a pure and holy Being, his perfections, works, and word, are pure; he shows himself to be so to such persons, by providing for the honour of his purity and holiness in their redemption, sanctification, and salvation; by making all things to be pure to them; by granting them his presence, and blessing them with the vision of himself here and hereafter; see Matthew 5:8; this may likewise be understood of Christ, who, in his human nature, is pure from all sin, both original and actual: he indeed took upon him the sins of his people, and bore them, and made satisfaction for them, and brought in everlasting righteousness; which being done, God has showed himself pure to him, by justifying, acquitting, and discharging him from all such sins; by accepting his righteousness, and imputing it to those for whom he wrought it;

and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward; or "thou wrestlest" (b), or wilt contend with them until they are destroyed: the same word is here used which Naphtali has his name from, Genesis 30:8. The froward are such as are of perverse dispositions, and of stubborn and obstinate tempers, and whose ways are crooked and distorted; and such were the people of the Jews in the times of Moses, and of Christ, Deuteronomy 32:5; and who seem here to be designed; even the Jews in Christ's time, who were just the reverse of the above characters, were cruel and unmerciful, faithless and hypocritical, filthy and pure, disbelieved the Messiah, rejected and crucified him, were contrary to God, and to all men; and therefore God walked contrary to them, as he threatened, Leviticus 26:27; the same as showing himself froward to them; for God is not froward and perverse in himself, nor in his ways, which are all equal, just, and pure: and though there is one and the same word used in our version, yet there are two different words in the Hebrew text; the same word that is used of the froward is not used of God; that which is used of God, as before observed, signifies wrestling, and designs God's contending with the people of the Jews, in a way of wrath and fury, which came upon them to the uttermost, and issued in their entire ruin as a people and nation; the words here had their fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem.

(b) "eluctaris", Junius & Tremellius; "colluctaris", Aben Ezra; "reluctaris", Gejerus; "certas", Schmidt.

With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. With the pure &c.] Lit. one who purifies himself, cp. 1 John 3:3. Cp. Psalm 24:4, Psalm 73:1. Matthew 5:8 is the N.T. commentary on the words.

and with the froward &c.] Better, as R.V., and with the perverse thou wilt shew thyself froward. The ‘perverse’ man, whose character is morally distorted, is given over by God to follow his own crooked ways, till they bring him to destruction. God must needs be at cross purposes with the wicked, frustrating their plans, and punishing their wickedness. See Leviticus 26:23-24; Job 5:12-13; Isaiah 29:9 ff.; Proverbs 3:34; Romans 1:28; Revelation 22:11; and for an illustration camp. the history of Balaam (Numbers 22:20.).

Verse 26. - With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward; rather, thou wilt show thyself adverse. The same root is not here used for the verb as for the adjective, as is done in the three preceding clauses. The reason is well explained in the 'Speaker's Commentary:' "In dealing with the good, God shows his approval by manifesting attributes similar or identical in essence; in dealing with the wicked, he exhibits attributes which are correlative - in just proportion to their acts," but not identical. God cannot "show himself froward" - he can only show himself opposed, antagonistic, an adversary. What the psalmist means to say is that, if men oppose and thwart God, he in return will oppose and thwart them. But they will act in a perverse spirit, he in a spirit of justice and righteousness. Psalm 18:26(Heb.: 18:25-28) What was said in Psalm 18:21 is again expressed here as a result of the foregoing, and substantiated in Psalm 18:26, Psalm 18:27. חסיד is a friend of God and man, just as pius is used of behaviour to men as well as towards God. גּבר תמים the man (construct of גּבר) of moral and religious completeness (integri equals integritatis, cf. Psalm 15:2), i.e., of undivided devotion to God. נבר (instead of which we find בּר לבב elsewhere, Psalm 24:4; Psalm 73:1) not one who is purified, but, in accordance with the reflexive primary meaning of Niph., one who is purifying himself, ἁγνίζων ἑαυτόν, 1 John 3:3. עקּשׁ (the opposite of ישׂר) one who is morally distorted, perverse. Freely formed Hithpaels are used with these attributive words to give expression to the corresponding self-manifestation: התחסּד, התּמּם (Ges. 54, 2, b), התבּרר, and התפּתּל (to show one's self נפתּל or פּתלתּל). The fervent love of the godly man God requites with confiding love, the entire submission of the upright with a full measure of grace, the endeavour after purity by an unbeclouded charity (cf. Psalm 73:1), moral perverseness by paradoxical judgments, giving the perverse over to his perverseness (Romans 1:28) and leading him by strange ways to final condemnation (Isaiah 29:14, cf. Leviticus 26:23.). The truth, which is here enunciated, is not that the conception which man forms of God is the reflected image of his own mind and heart, but that God's conduct to man is the reflection of the relation in which man has placed himself to God; cf. 1 Samuel 2:30; 1 Samuel 15:23. This universal truth is illustrated and substantiated in Psalm 18:28. The people who are bowed down by affliction experience God's condescension, to their salvation; and their haughty oppressors, god's exaltation, to their humiliation. Lofty, proud eyes are among the seven things that Jahve hateth, according to Proverbs 6:17. The judgment of God compels them to humble themselves with shame, Isaiah 2:11.
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