Psalm 140:11

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 11. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth. For that would be an established plague, a perpetual curse. Men of false and cruel tongues are of most use when they go to fatten the soil in which they rot as carcases: while they are alive they are the terror of the good, and the torment of the poor. God will not allow the specious orators of falsehood to retain the power they temporarily obtain by their deceitful speaking. They may become prominent, but they cannot become permanent. They shall be disendowed and disestablished in spite of all that they can say to the contrary. All evil bears the element of decay within itself; for what is it but corruption? Hence the utmost powers of oratory are insufficient to settle upon a sure foundation the cause which bears a lie within it. Evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. He hunted the good, and now his own evil shall hunt him. He tried to overthrow the goings of the righteous, and now his own unrighteousness shall prove his overthrow. As he was violent, so shall he be violently assaulted and hunted down. Sin is its own punishment; a violent man will need no direr doom than to reap what he has sown. It is horrible for a huntsman to be devoured by Iris own hounds; yet this is the sure fate of the persecutor.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 11. Let not an evil speaker a man full of tongue be established, etc. The man given to talk, the liar, the flatterer, the detractor, the scold, the brawler, "shall not be established in the earth", for such people are abhorred by the wicked as well as by the good. -- Robert Bellarmine.

Verse 11. Let not an evil speaker be established, etc. The positions laid down in this verse will find abundant illustration in every age of the church. "An evil speaker", who takes delight in wounding the reputation of others, is seldom established or prospered in the earth. Providence fights against such an unhappy wretch. "The violent man", the ishmaelite whose hand is against every man, is in general overthrown by the very same weapons which he wields against others. --John Morison.

Verse 11. An evil speaker. By "a man of the tongue", as the original has it, the Hebrews express a detractor or sycophant; one who gives his tongue the liberty to vent what mischief lie pleases. The Chaldee here expresses it by a delator or vile informer with a threefold or three forked tongue; because such a man wounds three at once; the receiver, the sufferer, and himself. --Thomas Fenton.

Verse 11. Evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. 'Tis an allusion to hounds that are of a quick scent, and pursue the game with pleasure; they do not see the deer or the hare, yet they follow upon the scent; and though they have sometimes a very cold and dead scent, yet they will follow and work it out. Thus "evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him"; and though sometimes he hath, as it were, got out of the view or sight of evil, and thinks himself under covert, yet these evils, like a company of greedy hounds, will pursue till they have overtaken and overthrown him. --Joseph Caryl.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 11. (first clause.)

  1. Notice a few varieties of evil speakers.

    1. Liars; the common liar, the trade liar, the stock exchange liar, the political liar, etc.
    2. Scandal mongers.
    3. Blasphemers and swearers.
    4. Libertines and seducers.
    5. Sceptics and new theology inventors.
  2. The propriety of the prayer.

    1. Because evil speaking is intrinsically an evil thing.
    2. It is an extensively injurious thing.
    3. He who would have God's truth established must needs desire that evil speaking must fail.
  3. The limitation of the prayer: "In the earth."

    1. It is certain an evil speaker cannot be established in heaven, nor in hell.
    2. The earth is the only sphere of his influence; but, alas! men on the earth are too prone to be influenced by him.
    3. Then, become righteous and true, by faith in the Righteous One and the "Truth." --J. F.

Verse 11. (second clause.) The Cruel Hunter pursued by his own Dogs.

Verse 11. (second clause.) Theme -- Sins committed, and not repented of, pursue men to their ruin.

  1. Illustrate.
    1. They may raise a force of opposition from men. Tarquin, Napoleon, etc.

b) They may precipitate ruin, as Haman was hunted by his own sin to the gallows.

c) They may arouse destructive remorse, as in Judas.

d) Certainly they will pursue to the judgment seat, and hunt the soul into hell.

  1. Apply.
    1. How fearful a thing must sin be.

b) The mole terrible because self created.

c) Flee from the avenging pursuers to Christ, the only and safe refuge. --J. F.

Verse 11. (second clause.) The hunt and pursuit of the violent sinner.

  1. The progress of the chase.

    1. At first the victim is ignorant of it.
    2. But ere long he finds Scripture, conscience, God, Death, at his heels.
    3. His own sins cry loudest after him.
  2. The issue of the hunt. Hemmed in, overthrown, lost for ever, unless he repent.
  3. Another Huntsman. "The Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost." --W. B. H.