Psalm 26:4
I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Dissemblersi.e., hypocrites.

Psalm 26:4-5. I have not sat with vain persons — That is, chosen or used to converse with them. I have been so far from an approbation or imitation of their wicked courses, that I have avoided even their company; and, if I accidentally came into it, yet I would not continue in it; neither will I go in with dissemblers — That is, into their company, or with design to join in their counsels or courses. The word נעלמים, nagnalamim, here rendered dissemblers, signifies those that hide themselves; that is, cover their crafty and wicked designs with fair pretences. I have hated the congregation of evil-doers — I have a dislike to all such persons, and avoid meeting and joining with them in their assemblies and consultations.

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.I have not sat with vain persons - That is, I have not been found among them; I have not made them my companions. See the notes at Psalm 1:1. The word "vain" here is in contrast with those who are sincere and true. The expression would be applied to people who are false and hollow; to those who have no sincerity or solidity of character; to those who are hypocrites and pretenders. The psalmist urges it as one evidence of his attachment to God that he had not been found among that class of persons, either as making them his companions, or as taking part with them in their counsels.

Neither will I go in with dissemblers - Neither will I walk with them; neither will I be found in their company. The word here rendered "dissemblers" means properly those who are "hidden" or "concealed;" then, those who hide their purposes or designs from others, or who conceal their real character and intentions. Thus used, the word denotes hypocrites, whose real character is "concealed" or "hidden" from the world. The psalmist says that he had not associated with such people, but that His companionship had been with the open, the frank, the sincere. On this he relied as one evidence of his piety; and this is always an evidence of true religion. See the notes at Psalm 1:1.

4-8. As exemplified by the fruits of divine grace, presented in his life, especially in his avoiding the wicked and his purposes of cleaving to God's worship.4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

So far from being himself an open offender against the laws of God, the Psalmist had not even associated with the lovers of evil. He had kept aloof from the men of Belial. A man is known by his company, and if we have kept ourselves apart from the wicked, it will always be evidence in our favour should our character be impugned. He who was never in the parish is not likely to have stolen the corn. He who never went to sea is clearly not the man who scuttled the ship.

Psalm 26:4

"I have not sat with vain persons." - True citizens have no dealings with traitors. David had no seat in the parliament of triflers. They were not his boon companions at feasts, nor his advisers in council, nor his associates in conversation. We must needs see, and speak, and trade, with men of the world, but we must on no account take our rest and solace in their empty society. Not only the profane, but the vain are to be shunned by us. All those who live for this life only are vain, chaffy, frothy men, quite unworthy of a Christian's friendship. Moreover, as this vanity is often allied with falsehood, it is well to save ourselves altogether from this untoward generation lest we should be led from bad to worse, and from tolerating the vain, should come to admire the wicked. "Neither will I go in with dissemblers." Since I know that hypocritical piety is double iniquity, I will cease all acquaintance with pretenders. If I must needs walk the same street, I will not enter the same door and spend my time in their society. The congregation of the hypocrites is not one with which we should cultivate communion; their ultimate rendezvous will be the lowest pit of hell, let us drop their acquaintance now! for we shall not desire it soon. They hang their beads around their necks, and carry the devil in their hearts. This clause is in the future tense, to indicate that the writer felt no desire to begin an acquaintance with characters whom up till then he had shunned. We must maintain the separated path with more and more circumspection as we see the great redemption day approaching. Those who would be transfigured with Jesus, must not be disfigured by conformity to the world. The resolution of the Psalmist suggests, that even among professed followers of truth we must make distinctions, for as there are vain persons oat of the church, so there are dissemblers in it, and both are to be shunned with scrupulous decision.

Psalm 26:5

"I have hated the congregation of evil doers." - A severe sentence, but not too severe. A man who does not hate evil terribly, does not love good heartily. Men, as men, we must always love, for they are our neighbours, and therefore to be loved as ourselves; but evil doers, as such, are traitors to the Great King, and no loyal subject can love traitors. What God hates we must hate. The congregation or assembly of evil doers, signifies violent men in alliance and conclave for the overthrow of the innocent; such synagogues of Satan are to be held in abhorrence. What a sad reflection it is that there should be a congregation of evil doers as well as a congregation of the upright, a church of Satan as well as a church of God; a seed of the serpent as well as a seed of the woman; an old Babylon as well as a new Jerusalem; a great whore sitting upon many waters, to be judged in wrath, as well as a chaste bride of the Lamb to be crowned at his coming. "And will not sit with the wicked." Saints have a seat at another table, and will never leave the King's dainties for the husks of the swine-trough. Better to sit with the blind, and the halt, and the lame, at the table of mercy, than with the wicked in their feasts of ungodliness, yea, better to sit on Job's dunghill than on Pharaoh's throne. Let each reader see well to his company, for such as we keep in this world, we are likely to keep in the next.

I have not sat, i.e. chosen or used to converse with them; for sitting is a posture of ease and of continuance. I have been so far from an approbation or imitation of their wicked courses, (wherewith mine enemies reproach me,) that I have avoided even their company; and if accidentally I came into it, yet I would not abide in it.

With vain persons, i.e. with liars, or false and deceitful persons, as the next clause explains it. And vanity is very frequently put for falsehood or lying.

Neither will I go in; into their company, or with design to join in their counsels or courses, as the same word is used, Joshua 23:7. And conversation is oft expressed by going out and coming in.

With dissemblers, Heb. with such as hide themselves, covering their crafty and wicked designs with fair pretences. I abhor such persons and practices, though I am accused to be such a one.

I have not sat with vain persons,.... Or "men of vanity" (t); who are full of it; who are addicted to the vanities of the world; who pursue the riches, honours, pleasures, and profits of it; which is no other than walking in a vain show: whose thoughts, words, and actions are vain; who are vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind, and walk in the vanity of it; who take the name of God in vain, and whose common discourse is foolish, frothy, light, and empty; and who are men of a vain conversation, and are rash, imprudent, and deceitful: men of bad principles may very well go by this name, who are vain and unruly talkers, and whose doctrines are doctrines of vanity, and no other than vain babbling; and also men guilty of idolatrous practices, who observe lying vanities, and worship them, and lift up their souls unto them; with such vain men, in any of these senses, the psalmist would have nothing to do; he would not keep company with them, nor have any communion, consultation, and conversation with them; it may be, he may have some respect to the men that were about Saul, to whom such a character agreed; or he may say this, and what follows, to remove a calumny cast upon him and his friends; as if they that were with him were such men as here described, and in Psalm 26:5;

neither will I go in with dissemblers: or "hidden" or "unknown" persons (u), who lie in private lurking places, to murder the innocent, or secretly take away the good names and characters of men, and it is not known who they are; or who commit sin secretly; go into secret places to do their works in the dark, and hide themselves to do evil; as the Targum, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it; who love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil; or who cover themselves with lying and flattering words, that it is not known what their real intentions be; they speak one thing, and mean another; are an assembly of treacherous men: such are all deceitful workers, who lie in wait to deceive, and walk in craftiness; and hypocrites, who have the form of religion, but are strangers to the power of it; and who are to be turned away from, and avoided; the houses, assemblies, cabals, and company of such, are to be shunned; see Genesis 49:6; or such as are "signed", or "marked"; that is, infamous persons (w).

(t) "cum hominibus vanitatis", Gejerus, Michaelis. (u) "cum occultis", Vatablus, Michaelis; "absconditis", Gejerus; so Ainsworth. (w) Vide Schultens de def. Hod. ling. Heb. s. 188.

I have not {d} sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.

(d) He declares that they cannot walk in simplicity before God, that delight in the company of the ungodly.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. I have not sat] Of deliberate and prolonged intercourse, implying community of tastes and interests. Cp. Psalm 1:1; Jeremiah 15:17.

vain persons] Lit. men of vanity; hollowness, falsehood, unreality: the opposite of truth and righteousness. See Psalm 12:2; Psalm 24:4.

neither will I go in] To their houses: or an abbreviation for go in and out, associate with.

dissemblers] Lit. those who hide themselves; hypocrites who disguise their real thoughts and purposes (Psalm 28:3).

4–7. The proof of his integrity in his conduct in the past, and his purpose for the future.

Verse 4. - I have not sat with vain persons. Thirdly, he has not sat with vain persons; literally, with men of vanity; i.e. he has not consorted (Psalm 1:1) with light and frivolous persons - those whose hearts are set upon vain and worthless things (see Psalm 24:4, and the comment). Neither will I go in with dissemblers. Nor will he go in with (nor has he, we may conclude, gone in with) dissemblers, i.e. hypocrites. He has neither thrown in his lot with the light, vain persons who make no pretence to religion, nor with the pretenders, who "have the form of godliness, but deny the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5). Psalm 26:4He still further bases his petition upon his comportment towards the men of this world; how he has always observed a certain line of conduct and continues still to keep to it. With Psalm 26:4 compare Jeremiah 15:17. מתי שׁוא (Job 11:11, cf. Psalm 31:5, where the parallel word is מרמה) are "not-real," unreal men, but in a deeper stronger sense than we are accustomed to use this word. שׁוא ( equals שׁוא, from שׁוא) is aridity, hollowness, worthlessness, and therefore badness (Arab. su') of disposition; the chaotic void of alienation from God; untruth white-washed over with the lie of dissimulation (Psalm 12:3), and therefore nothingness: it is the very opposite of being filled with the fulness of God and with that which is good, which is the morally real (its synonym is און, e.g., Job 22:15). נעלמים, the veiled, are those who know how to keep their worthlessness and their mischievous designs secret and to mask them by hypocrisy; post-biblical צבוּעים, dyed (cf. ἀνυπόκριτος, Luther "ungefδrbt," undyed). (את) בּוא עם, to go in with any one, is a short expression for: to go in and out with, i.e., to have intercourse with him, as in Proverbs 22:24, cf. Genesis 23:10. מרע (from רעע) is the name for one who plots that which is evil and puts it into execution. On רשׁע see Psalm 1:1.
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