Verse 8. They are corrupt. They rot above ground; their heart and life are depraved.
And speak wickedly concerning oppression. The reek of the sepulchre rises through their mouths; the nature of the soul is revealed in the speech. They choose oppression as their subject, and they not only defend it, but advocate it, glory in it, and would fain make it the general rule among all nations. "Who are the poor? What are they made for? What, indeed, but to toil and slave that men of education and good family may enjoy themselves? Out on the knaves for prating about their rights! A set of wily demagogues are stirring them up, because they get a living by agitation. Work them like horses, and feed them like dogs; and if they dare complain, send them to the prison or let them die in the workhouse." There is still too much of this wicked talk abroad, and, although the working classes have their faults, and many of them very grave and serious ones too, yet there is a race of men who habitually speak of them as if they were an inferior order of animals. God forgive the wretches who thus talk.
They speak loftily. Their high heads, like tall chimneys, vomit black smoke. Big talk streams from them, their language is colossal, their magniloquence ridiculous. They are Sir Oracle in every case, they speak as from the judges' bench, and expect all the world to stand in awe of them.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2-14. See Psalms on "Psalms 72:9" for further information.
Verse 8. They are corrupt. Prosperity, in an irreligious heart, breeds corruption, which from thence is emitted by the breath in conversation, to infect and taint the minds of others. George Horne.
Verse 8. They speak wickedly concerning oppression. Indeed, we see that wicked men, after having for some time got everything to prosper according to their desires, cast off all shame, and are at no pains to conceal themselves, when about to commit iniquity, but loudly proclaim their own turpitude. "What!" they will say, "is it not in my power to deprive you of all that you possess, and even to cut your throat?" Robbers, it is true, can do the same thing; but then they hide themselves for fear. These giants, or rather inhuman monsters, of whom David speaks, on the contrary not only imagine that they are exempted from subjection to any law, but, unmindful of their own weakness, foam furiously, as if there were no distinction between good and evil, between right and wrong. John Calvin.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8. Connection between a corrupt heart and a proud tongue.