Verse 5. Whose privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off. He had known so bitterly the miseries caused by slanderers that he intended to deal severely with such vipers when he came into power, not to revenge his own ills, but to prevent others from suffering as he had done. To give one's neighbour a stab in the dark is one of the most atrocious of crimes, and cannot be too heartily reprobated, yet such as are guilty of it often find patronage in high places, and are considered to be men of penetration, trusty ones who have a keen eye, and take care to keep their lords well posted up. King David would lop the goodly tree of his state of all such superfluous boughs,
Him that hath an high look and a proud heart him will not I suffer. Proud, domineering, supercilious gentlemen, who look down upon the poor as though they were so many worms crawling in the earth beneath their feet, the psalmist could not bear. The sight of them made him suffer, and therefore he would not suffer them. Great men often affect aristocratic airs and haughty manners, David therefore resolved that none should be great in his palace but those who had more grace and more sense than to indulge in such abominable vanity, Proud men are generally hard, and therefore very unfit for office; persons of high looks provoke enmity and discontent, and the fewer of such eople about a court the better for the stability of a throne. If all slanderers were now cut off, and all the proud banished, it is to be feared that the next census would declare a very sensible diminution of the population.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Privily slandereth -- literally, he that tongueth his neighbour secretly. Will I not suffer, is properly, "him I cannot", i.e., cannot live with, cannot bear about me, as the same verb is used in Isaiah 1:13 . --Henry Cowles.
Verse 5. Him that hath an high look. Pride will sit and show itself in the eyes as soon as anywhere. A man is seen what he is in oculis, in poculis, in loculis (in his eyes, his cups, and his resorts) say the Rabbins. See Pr 6:17. --John Trapp.
Verse 5. Proud heart. From bxr latus or dilatatus est, is the noun bxr, here, broad, or wide, or large; and being applied to the heart or soul, it notes largeness of desires. -- Henry Hammond.
Verse 5. Detraction, ambition, and avarice are three weeds which spring and flourish in the rich soil of a court. The psalmist declareth his resolution to undertake the difficult task of eradicating them for the benefit of his people, that Israelites might not be harassed by informers, or repressed by insolent and rapacious ministers. Shall we imagine these vices less odious in the eyes of that King whose character was composed of humilty and charity; or will Christ admit those tempers into the court of heaven, which David determined to exclude from his court upon earth? --George Horne.
Verse 5-10. Perfect, as prophetic of Christ, is the delineation of his associates and disciples. The perverse; the evil-doers; the slanderers, and the proud found no fellowship with him. There were no common principles; no bond of union between them. There was "a gulph" interposed, as in the parable, which they could not pass; and what they saw of Christ, they beheld only from a distance. Nor even now, as then, can "the deceitful" dwell in Christ's "house" -- his holy temple; nor the man of "lies be established" by his love and favour. They must renounce their vices before they can be admitted to his covenant; or, however they may claim communion with Him, he in return can have no sympathy with them. --William Hill Tucker.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. -- The detestable nature of slander, hurting three persons at once -- the speaker, hearer, and person slandered.