Psalm 7:8
The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity that is in me.
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(8) The Lord shall.—Better, Jehovah judgeth the nations. Everything is complete, and the work of judgment begins. The poet prays that his sentence may be according to his own consciousness of righteousness and integrity. Of this plea of innocence Jerome says, “David could not say this; this properly belongs to the Saviour, who was sinless.” Others think it is the ideal Israel, which stands before Jehovah’s tribunal. But we may compare Job’s protestations of innocence, and his persistent demand for a trial. David (if he is the author) refers naturally to his innocence of the charge calumniously brought against him. As between Saul and himself, his conduct had been blameless.

Psalm 7:8. The Lord shall judge the people — The Sovereign of the world will not fail to dispense equal justice unto all, according to their works. Assured of which, I say, Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness — For I desire no greater favour than to be disposed of according to my innocence in this matter. If I be guilty of those evil designs toward Saul wherewith Cush and others charge me, do thou give sentence against me; but, if I be just and innocent toward him, as thou knowest I am, and have been, do thou plead my right. Observe, reader, “legal or perfect righteousness and integrity are peculiar to the Redeemer; but evangelical righteousness and integrity all must have who would be saved.” — Horne.7:1-9 David flees to God for succour. But Christ alone could call on Heaven to attest his uprightness in all things. All His works were wrought in righteousness; and the prince of this world found nothing whereof justly to accuse him. Yet for our sakes, submitting to be charged as guilty, he suffered all evils, but, being innocent, he triumphed over them all. The plea is, For the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins. He knows the secret wickedness of the wicked, and how to bring it to an end; he is witness to the secret sincerity of the just, and has ways of establishing it. When a man has made peace with God about all his sins, upon the terms of grace and mercy, through the sacrifice of the Mediator, he may, in comparison with his enemies, appeal to God's justice to decide.The Lord shall judge the people - Expressing his confident belief that God would interpose, and that his judgment would not much longer be delayed. The proposition is a general one - that God would see that justice would be done to all people; and on this ground the psalmist pleads that He would now interpose and defend him from his enemies.

Judge me, O Lord - That is, in my present circumstances. Interpose to do justice to my cause, and to vindicate me from these false accusations.

According to my righteousness - In this particular case, for to that the proper laws of interpretation require us to confine this. He does not say that he wished his own righteousness to be made the basis of judgment in determining his eternal welfare, or that he depended on his own righteousness for salvation - for that is not the point in question; but he felt that his was, in this case, a righteous cause; that he was not guilty of the charge alleged against him; that he was an injured, wronged, and calumniated man; and he prayed that God would "vindicate" him from these charges, and defend him from those who were unjustly persecuting him. With all our sense of personal unworthiness in the matter of salvation, it is not improper, when we are wronged, to pray that God would interpose and vindicate us in that particular case, according to our innocence of the charges alleged against us.

And according to mine integrity that is in me - Hebrew, "my perfection." That is, his perfection in "this" case; his entire freedom from the charges brought against him; his absolute innocence in respect to the points under consideration. A man may be conscious of "perfect" innocence in respect to a particular matter, and yet have a deep sense of his "general" unworthiness, and of the fact that he is a sinner against God. That I am innocent of a particular act charged on me does not prove that I am guiltless altogether; that I should allege that, and insist on that, and pray to God to vindicate me in that, does not prove that I depend on that for the salvation of my soul, or that I claim absolute perfection before him.

8. Though not claiming innocence in general, he can confidently do so in this case, and in demanding from the Judge of all the earth a judgment, he virtually asks acquittal.8 The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.

9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

If I am not mistaken, David has now seen in the eye of his mind the Lord ascending to his judgment-seat, and beholding him seated there in royal state, he draws near to him to urge his suit anew. In the last two verses he besought Jehovah to arise, and now that he is arisen, he prepares to mingle with "the congregation of the people" who compass the Lord about. The royal heralds proclaim the opening of the court with the solemn words, "The Lord shall judge the people." Our petitioner rises as once, and cries with earnestness and humility, "Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me." His hand is on an honest heart, and his cry is to a righteous Judge. He sees a smile of complacency upon the face of the King, and in the name of all the assembled congregation he cries aloud, "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just." Is not this the universal longing of the whole company of the elect? When shall we be delivered from the filthy conversation of these men of Sodom? When shall we escape from the filthiness of Mesech and the blackness of the tents of Kedar?

What a solemn and weighty truth is contained in the last sentence of the ninth verse! How deep is the divine knowledge! - "he trieth." How strict, how accurate, how intimate his search! - "he trieth the hearts," the secret thoughts, "and reins," the inward affections. "All things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

It belongs to thee to judge all persons and people, and to give sentence between them, especially when they appeal unto thee; which I now do. If I be guilty of those evil designs towards him, wherewith Cush and others charge me, do thou give sentence against me; but if I be just and innocent towards him, as thou knowest I am and have been. do thou plead my right. The Lord shall judge the people,.... The inhabitants of the world in general; for God is the Judge of all the earth, and he judges the world in righteousness daily, and ministers judgment in uprightness, though it is not always manifest; or his own people in particular, whose cause he pleads, whose injuries and wrongs he avenges, whose persons he protects and defends; this the psalmist expresses with confidence, and therefore, suitable to his character as a Judge, he entreats him as follows:

judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness; he speaks not of his justification before God, in whose sight he well knew no flesh living could be justified by their own righteousness, Psalm 143:2; nor of the righteousness of his person, either imputed or inherent; but of the righteousness of his cause, Psalm 35:27; not of his righteousness God-ward, for he knew that he was a sinner with respect to him; but of his righteousness towards Saul, against whom he had not sinned, but had acted towards him in the most righteous and faithful manner, 1 Samuel 24:11; and therefore desired to be judged, and was content to stand or fall according to his conduct and behaviour towards him;

and according to mine integrity that is in me; who had always acted the sincere and upright part towards Saul, though he had pursued him with so much fury and violence; the psalmist's prayer was heard and answered, Psalm 18:20.

The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my {g} righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.

(g) As concerning my behaviour towards Saul and my enemies.

8. Render as R.V.:

The lord ministereth judgement to the peoples.

Jehovah has taken His seat and opened the assize (cp. the exactly similar sequence of ideas in Psalm 9:7-8 : and see Isaiah 3:13-14, R.V.): and the Psalmist comes forward with a plea to have justice done him.

judge me] Here as elsewhere, of a judgement favourable to the petitioner (Psalm 26:1, Psalm 35:24, Psalm 43:1, Psalm 82:3): ‘do me justice.’ David challenges a decision according to his righteousness and his integrity; not that he would claim to be perfect and sinless, but he has “a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men,” and protests his innocence of the charges of treachery which have been brought against him. See Introduction, p. lxxxvii ff. Comp. 1 Samuel 26:23 (R.V.).

that is in me] The marg. alternative of R.V., be it unto me, is suggested to meet a difficulty in the usage of the preposition, which commonly means upon. But the rendering of the text can be defended as a well established idiom, of which examples will be found in Psalm 42:6; Psalm 42:11; or we may render upon me, and regard righteousness and integrity as a cloak which envelopes the Psalmist. Cp. Job 29:14.Verse 8. - The Lord shall judge the people. Hitherto judgment has been prayed for, now it is announced, "The Lord shall judge " - shall decide between David and his enemies - shall judge them in his anger, and at the same time judge David, i.e. vindicate his cause. David has no desire to escape this judgment Judge me, he says, O Lord, according to my righteousness. Judge me, i.e., and, if thou findest me righteous, acquit me and vindicate me. And according to mine integrity that is in me; literally, which is on me (comp. Job 29:24, "I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my judgment was as a robe and a diadem"). Ver. 9: - Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end. It is not the removal of the wicked, but the removal of their wickedness, that David desires (comp. Psalm 10:15). But establish the just; i.e. protect strengthen, and sustain him. For the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins (comp. Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12). "The heart, as the seat of the understanding and the will, the reins of natural impulses and affections" ('Speaker's Commentary'). (Heb.: 7:2-3) With this word of faith, love, and hope בּך חסיתּי (as in Psalm 141:8), this holy captatio benevolentiae, David also begins in Psalm 11:1; Psalm 16:1; Psalm 31:2, cf. Psalm 71:1. The perf. is inchoative: in Thee have I taken my refuge, equivalent to: in Thee do I trust. The transition from the multitude of his persecutors to the sing. in Psalm 7:3 is explained most naturally, as one looks at the inscription, thus: that of the many the one who is just at the time the worst of all comes prominently before his mind. The verb טרף from the primary signification carpere (which corresponds still more exactly to חרף) means both to tear off and to tear in pieces (whence טרפה that which is torn in pieces); and פּרק from its primary signification frangere means both to break loose and to break in pieces, therefore to liberate, e.g., in Psalm 136:24, and to break in small pieces, 1 Kings 19:11. The persecutors are conceived of as wild animals, as lions which rend their prey and craunch its bones. Thus blood-thirsty are they for his soul, i.e., his life. After the painful unrest of this first strophe, the second begins the tone of defiant self-consciousness.
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