Psalm 58:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. Yea, in heart ye work wickedness. Down deep in your very souls ye hold a rehearsal of the injustice ye intend to practise, and when your opportunity arrives, ye wreak vengeance with a gusto; your hearts are in your wicked work, and your hands are therefore ready enough. Those very men who sat as judges, and pretended to so much indignation at the faults imputed to their victim, were in their hearts perpetrating all manner of evil.

Ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. They were deliberate sinners, cold, calculating villains. As righteous judges ponder the law, balance the evidence, and weigh the case, so the malicious dispense injustice with malice aforethought in cold blood. Note in this verse that the men described sinned with heart and hand; privately in their heart, publicly in the earth; they worked and they weighed -- they were active, and yet deliberate. See what a generation saints have to deal with! Such were the foes of our Lord, a generation of vipers, an evil and adulterous generation; they sought to kill him because he was righteousness itself, yet they masked their hatred to his goodness by charging him with sin.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. In heart ye work wickedness, etc. The psalmist doth not say, they had wickedness in their heart, but that they did work it there: the heart is a shop within, an underground shop; there they did closely contrive, forge, and hammer out their wicked purposes, and fit them into actions; yea, they weighed the violence of their hands in the earth. That's an allusion to merchants, who buy and sell by weight; they weigh their commodity to an ounce; they do not give it out in gross, but by exact weight. This saith the psalmist, they weigh the violence of their hands; they do not oppress grossly, but with a kind of exactness and skill, they sit down and consider what and how much violence they may use in such a case, or how much such a person may endure, or such a season may bear. They are wiser than to do all at once, or all to one, lest they spoil all. They weigh what they do, though what they do be so bad that it will hold no weight when God comes to weigh it. Nor do they arrive at this skill presently, but after they have, as it were, served an apprenticeship at it; and they bind themselves to the trade very early; for as it follows at the third verse of the Psalm, The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies, that is, they are estranged both by nature and by early practice; they lose no time, they go to it young, even "as soon as they are born," as soon as they are fit for any use, or to do any thing, they are using and setting themselves to do wickedly. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 2. The word twlw[ wickedness properly signifies the inclinations of scales, when the scale weighs down to one side; then it is transferred to respect of persons, to injustice and iniquity, especially in public tribunals and decisions, as in Psalms 82:2 , How long will ye judge lw[ by an unjust inclination of the scales? Hermann Venema.

Verse 2. The principles of the wicked are even worse than their practices: premeditated violence is doubly guilty. George Rogers.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

None.