Psalm 26:2
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
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(2) Try.—Rather, purify, according to the right reading. LXX., try by fire.

Psalm 26:2-3. Examine me, and prove me — Because it is possible I may deceive myself, and be partial in my cause, or, at least, mine enemies will so judge of me: I appeal to thee, O thou Judge of hearts, and beg that thou wouldst search and try me by such ways and means as thou seest fit, and make me known to myself and to the world, and convince mine enemies of mine integrity. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes — I have a true and deep sense of thy loving-kindness upon my heart, by which I have been obliged, and in a manner constrained to love and obey thee, and, in all things, to approve my heart and ways to thee, and consequently to abstain from all such evil practices as mine enemies charge me with. And hence it is, that I dare appeal to thee with this confidence. My experience of and trust in thy goodness fully satisfy me that I do not need to use, and so supports me that I do not use, any indirect or irregular courses for my relief. I have walked in thy truth — That is, according to thy word, believing its promises, and observing its precepts and directions; and not according to the course of this world.26:9 David, in this psalm, appeals to God touching his integrity. - David here, by the Spirit of prophecy, speaks of himself as a type of Christ, of whom what he here says of his spotless innocence was fully and eminently true, and of Christ only, and to Him we may apply it. We are complete in him. The man that walks in his integrity, yet trusting wholly in the grace of God, is in a state of acceptance, according to the covenant of which Jesus was the Mediator, in virtue of his spotless obedience even unto death. This man desires to have his inmost soul searched and proved by the Lord. He is aware of the deceitfulness of his own heart; he desires to detect and mortify every sin; and he longs to be satisfied of his being a true believer, and to practise the holy commands of God. Great care to avoid bad company, is both a good evidence of our integrity, and a good means to keep us in it. Hypocrites and dissemblers may be found attending on God's ordinances; but it is a good sign of sincerity, if we attend upon them, as the psalmist here tells us he did, in the exercise of repentance and conscientious obedience. He feels his ground firm under him; and, as he delights in blessing the Lord with his congregations on earth, he trusts that shortly he shall join the great assembly in heaven, in singing praises to God and to the Lamb for evermore.Examine me, O Lord - The meaning of this verse is, that he asked of God a strict and rigid examination of his case. To express this, the psalmist uses three words - "examine; prove; try." These words are designed to include the modes in which the reality of anything is tested, and they imply together that he wished the most "thorough" investigation to be made; he did not shrink from any test. He evidently felt that it was essential to his welfare that the most rigid examination should be made; that the exact truth should be known; that if he was deceived, it was best for himself that he should not be left under the delusion, but that, understanding his own case, he might be led to secure his salvation. The word rendered "examine" means, "to try, to prove," and is applicable especially to metals: Jeremiah 9:7; Zechariah 13:9. It means here, "Apply to me such tests as are applied to metals in order to determine their genuineness and their value."

And prove me - A word of similar import. In the original meaning of the word there is a reference to "smell;" to try by the smell; to ascertain the qualities of an object by the smell. Hence, it comes to be used in a more general sense to denote any way of ascertaining the quality of an object.

Try my reins - The word here rendered "try" (test) is one that is most commonly applied to metals; and the three words together express the earnest desire of the psalmist that God would examine into the evidences of his piety - those evidences to which he immediately refers - and apply the proper kind of tests to determine whether that piety was genuine. The word rendered "reins" means properly the "kidneys," and hence, it is used to denote the inward part, the mind, the soul - the seat of the desires and the affections. See Psalm 7:9, note; Psalm 16:7, note. We speak now of the "heart" as the seat of the affections or of love. The Hebrews more commonly spoke of the heart as the seat of intelligence or knowledge, and the reins or the "bowels" as the seat of the affections. In itself there was no more impropriety in their speaking of the reins or kidneys as the seat of the affections than there is of our speaking of the heart in that manner. Neither of them is strictly correct; and both modes of speech are founded on popular usage.

2. He asks the most careful scrutiny of his affections and thoughts (Ps 7:9), or motives. Because it is possible that I may deceive myself, and be partial in my cause, or at least mine enemies will so judge of me, I appeal to thee, O thou Judge of hearts, and beg that thou wouldst search and try me by such ways and means as thou seest fit, and make me known to myself, and to the world, and convince mine enemies of mine integrity. Examine me, O Lord,.... His cause, his integrity, and trust in the Lord, as silver and gold are examined by the touchstone, the word of God, which is the standard of faith and practice;

and prove me; or "tempt me" (r); as Abraham was tempted by the Lord; and his faith in him, and fear of him, and love to him, were proved to be true and genuine;

try my reins and my heart; the thoughts, desires, and affections of it, as gold and silver are tried in the furnace; and so God sometimes tries the faith and patience of his people by afflictive providences; and this examination, probation, and trial, are made by him, not for his own sake, who knows the hearts and ways of all men; but for the sake of others, to make known either to themselves or others the truth of grace that is in them, and the uprightness of their hearts and ways; and it was on this account the psalmist desired to pass under such an examination.

(r) "tenta me", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, &c.

Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my {b} reins and my heart.

(b) My very affections and inward motions of the heart.

2. God knows him already (Psalm 17:3); and fearlessly he offers himself for a fresh scrutiny. This prayer attests at once the clearness of his conscience, and his desire that if aught of evil remains, it may be purged away. Cp. Psalm 139:23-24. Three words are used to express the thoroughness of the scrutiny. Examine me, as the refiner assays his metal to test its fineness; prove me, by bringing me into circumstances in which the reality of my faith may be demonstrated; try me, as the refiner smelts gold to get rid of any remaining dross. So God ‘proved’ Abraham (Genesis 22:1); and Israel (Deuteronomy 8:2; Deuteronomy 8:16). The purpose of such heart-searching is ‘to give every man according to his ways’ (Jeremiah 17:10).

my reins and my heart] The reins are the seat of the affections, the heart of thought and will. Cp. Psalm 7:9; Psalm 11:4.Verse 2. - Examine me, O Lord, and prove me. He desires to be examined and proved - tested, as a metal is tested (comp. Psalm 17:3) - that his sincerity may fully appear. Try my reins and my heart; i.e. my emotional and my intellectual natures. The falling away of the ק is made up for by a double ר strophe. Even the lxx has ἴδε twice over. The seeing that is prayed for, is in both instances a seeing into his condition, with which is conjoined the notion of interposing on his behalf, though the way and manner thereof is left to God. נשׂא ל, with the object in the dative instead of the accusative (tollere peccata), signifies to bestow a taking away, i.e., forgiveness, upon any one (synon. סלח ל). It is pleasing to the New Testament consciousness that God's vengeance is not expressly invoked upon his enemies. כּי is an expansive quod as in Genesis 1:4. שׂנאת חמס with an attributive genitive is hatred, which springs from injustice and ends in injustice.
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