Verse 2. How long will ye judge unjustly and accept the persons of the wicked? It is indirectly stated that the magistrates had been unjust and corrupt. They not only excused the wicked, but even decided in their favour against the righteous. A little of this is too much, a short time too long. Some suitors could get their claims settled at once, and in their own favour, while others were wearing out their lives by waiting for an audience, or were robbed by legal process because their opponents had the judge's ear: how long were such things to be perpetuated? Would they never remember the Great Judge, and renounce their wickedness? This verse is so grandly stern that one is tempted to say, "Surely an Elijah is here."
Selah. This gives the offenders pause for consideration and confession.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. Asaph, who has written so much in the previous Psalms of the coming of Christ in the flesh, now speaks of his second coming to judgment. Josephus Maria Thomasius. 1649-1713.
Verse 2. And accept the persons of the wicked. The last clause exemplifies one of the most peculiar Hebrew idioms. The combination usually rendered respect persons in the English Bible, and applied to judicial partiality, means literally to take (or take up) faces. Some suppose this to mean the raising of the countenance, or causing to look up from dejection. But the highest philological authorities are now agreed, that the primary idea is that of accepting one man's face or person rather than another's, the precise form of expression, though obscure, being probably derived from the practice of admitting suitors to confer with governors or rulers, face to face, a privilege which can sometimes only be obtained by bribes, especially, though not exclusively, in oriental courts. Joseph Addison Alexander.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. A common sin. Regard for the persons of men often influences our judgment of their opinions, virtues, vices, and general bearing; this involves injustice to others, as well as deep injury to the flattered.