Verse 25. The dealings of the Lord in his own case, cause the grateful singer to remember the usual rule of God's moral government; he is just in his dealings with the sons of men, and metes out to each man according to his measure.
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. Every man shall have his meat weighed in his own scales, his corn meted in his own bushel, and his land measured with his own rod. No rule can be more fair, to ungodly men more terrible, or to the generous man more honourable. How would men throw away their light weights, and break their short yards, if they could but believe that they themselves are sure to be in the end the losers by their knavish tricks! Note that even the merciful need mercy; no amount of generosity to the poor, or forgiveness to enemies, can set us beyond the need of mercy. Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 24-26. See Psalms on "Psalms 18:24" for further information.
Verse 24-27. See Psalms on "Psalms 18:24" for further information.
Verse 25. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. "An upright" -- the same word is oft translated "perfect," he is good throughout, though not thoroughly; not one that personates religion, but that is a religious person. He is perfect, because he would be so. So Noah is termed ( Genesis 6:9 ); "Noah was a just man and perfect (i.e., upright) in his generation:" he was a good man in a bad age. He was like a glowing spark of fire in a sea of water, which is perfect goodness; and therefore the Holy Ghost doth so hang upon his name, as if he could not give over -- it is an excellent preacher's observation -- Genesis 6:8 , "But Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah begat three sons." Noah, Noah, Noah, I love the sound of thy name; and so are all your names precious to God, though hated by men, if the name of God be dear and sweet to you. 'Tis also sometimes translated "plain." Genesis 25:27 . Jacob was ~t fya, "a plain," that is, an upright man, "dwelling in tents." Esau was "a cunning hunter," but Jacob was a plain man without welt or gard; you might well know his heart by his tongue, save once when Rebekah put a cunning trick into his head, otherwise he was a most "upright," downright man. And the plain meaning of it is, a simple, cordial, unfeigned, and exact man: this is the man we are looking for. "Man." This substansive the Hebrews use to drown in the adjective, but here the Holy Ghost exhibits a word, and a choice one too, signifying a strong, valiant man; the same word ( Psalms 45:3 ), "O mighty man!" that's meant of our Lord Christ, who was a most strong and valiant man, that could meet the wrath of God, the malice of the devil, and the sin of man, in the face, and come off with triumph. And so the Dutch translate this clause in 2Samuel 22: "With the right valiant person, you behave yourself upright." In short, if the words were literally translated, they run thus: -- a man of uprightness: that is, every way you behold him, an upright man: like an even die, cast him which way you will he will be found square and right; a stiff and strong man to tread down both lusts within and temptations without; an Athanasius contra mundum, a Luther contra Roman; this is a man of an excellent spirit, and such is our upright man. "Thou wilt shew thyself upright," or, "wilt be upright with him;" for one word in the Hebrew makes all these six, "Thou wilt upright it with him." If men will deal plainly with God, he will deal plainly with them. He that is upright in performing his duty shall find God upright in performing his promises. It is God's way to carry to men as they carry to him. If thou hast a design to please him, he will have a design to please thee; if thou wilt echo to him when he calls, he will echo to thee when thou callest. On the other side; if a man will wrestle with God, he will wrestle with him; if thou wilt be fast and loose with him, and walk frowardly towards him, thou shalt have as good as thou bringest; if thou wilt provoke him with never ending sins, he will pursue thee with never ending torments; if thou wilt sin in tuo eterno, thou must suffer in suo eterno, and every man shall find like for like...An upright heart is single without division. Unto an hypocrite there be "gods many and lords many," and he must have an heart for each; but to the upright there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, and one heart will serve them both. He that fixes his heart upon the creatures, for every creature he must have an heart, and the dividing of his heart destroys him. Hosea 10:2 . Worldly profits knock at the door, he must have an heart for them; carnal pleasures present themselves, he must have an heart for them also; sinful preferments appear, they must have an heart too -- Necessariorum numerus parvus, opinionum nullus; of necessary objects the number is few, of needless vanities the number is endless. The upright man hath made choice of God and hath enough. Richard Steele.
Verse 25. With the merciful, etc. In Jupiter's hall floor there are set two barrels of gifts, the one of good gifts or blessings, the other of evil gifts or plagues. Thus spake Homer falsely of Jupiter; it may truly be spoken of the true God, Jehovah; that he hath in his hand two cups, the one of comforts, the other of crosses, which he poureth out indifferently for the good and for the bad; with the kind (or merciful) he will shew himself kind, and with the froward, froward. Now this is not to make God the author of evil, but of justice, which is good; qrorum deus non est author eorum est justus ultor, saith Augustine; "God is not the author of sin, but he punishes the sinner justly." Miles Smith (Bishop), 1632.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 25. Equity of the divine procedure. -- C. Simeon.