Psalm 36:3

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 3. The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit. This pair of hell dogs generally hunt together, and what one does not catch the other will; if iniquity cannot win by oppression, deceit will gain by chicanery. When the heart is so corrupt as to flatter itself, the tongue follows suit. The open sepulchre of the throat reveals the foulness of the inner nature. God fearing men make a conscience of their words, and if they sin through infirmity they do not invent excuses, or go about to boast of their wickedness: but because wicked men think little of evil and artful speeches, we may be clear that God rules not in their souls. The original by declaring that the words of the wicked are falsehood and deceit is peculiarly strong; as if they were not only false in quality, but actual falseness itself. He hath left off to be wise, and to do good. From the good way he has altogether gone aside. Men who fear God proceed from strength to strength in the right path, but godless men soon forsake what little good they once knew. How could men apostatise if they had respect unto the supreme Judge? Is it not because they grow more and more forgetful of God, that in due season they relinquish even that hypocritical reverence of him which in former days they maintained in order to flatter their souls?

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3. He hath left off. That little light he once had, he hath lost, and cast off such good practices as once in hypocrisy he performed; neither will he learn to do better. John Trapp.

Verse 3. (last clause). Apostasy from God is really an undoing of all the good which we have done. It is a wicked repentance quite contrary to the grace of repentance; as that is a repentance from dead works, so this is a repentance from works of a better sort: He hath left off to be wise, and to do good. It is a perversion to evil after a seeming conversion from it. Timothy Cruso.

Verse 3-4

Yet did he spare his sleep, and hear the clock
Number the midnight watches, on his bed
Devising mischief more; and early rose,
And made most hellish meals of good men's names.
From door to door you might have seen him speed,
Or placed amid a group of gaping fools.
Peace fled the neighbourhood in which he made
His haunts; and, like a moral pestilence,
Before his breath the healthy shoots and blooms
Of social joy and happiness decayed.
Fools only in his company were seen,
And those forsaken of God, and to themselves
Given up. The prudent shunned him and his house
As one who had a deadly moral plague.

Robert Pollock, 1799-1827.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 3. Bad words. Two out of many kinds.

Verse 3. (second clause). The relation between true wisdom and practical goodness.