Verse 7. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned. He judged and condemned others in the vilest manner, he suffered not the innocent to escape; and it would be a great shame if in his time of trial, being really guilty, he should be allowed to go free. Who would wish Judge Jeffries to be acquitted if he were tried for perverting justice? Who would desire Nero or Caligula to be cleared if set at the bar for cruelty? When Shylock goes into court, who wishes him to win his suit?
And let his prayer become sin. It is sin already, let it be so treated. To the injured it must seem terrible that the black hearted villain should nevertheless pretend to pray, and very naturally do they beg that he may not be heard, but that his pleadings may be regarded as an addition to his guilt. He has devoured the widow's house, and yet he prays. He has put Naboth to death by false accusation and taken possession of his vineyard, and then he presents prayers to the Almighty. He has given up villages to slaughter, and his hands are red with the blood of babes and maidens, and then he pays his vows unto Allah! He must surely be accursed himself who does not wish that such abominable prayers may be loathed of heaven and written down as new sins. He who makes it a sin for others to pray will find his own praying become sin. When he at last sees his need of mercy, mercy herself shall resent his appeal as an insult. "Because that he remembered not to show mercy", he shall himself be forgotten by the God of grace, and his bitter cries for deliverance shall be regarded as mockeries of heaven.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 7. Let his prayer become sin. As the clamours of a condemned malefactor, not only find no acceptance, but are looked upon as an affront to the court. The prayers of the wicked now become sin, because soured with the leaven of hypocrisy and malice; and so they will in the great day, because then it will be too late to cry, "Lord, Lord, open unto us." --Matthew Henry.
Verse 7. Let his prayer become sin. Evidently his prayer in reference to his trial for crime; his prayer that he might be acquitted and discharged. Let it be seen in the result that such a prayer was wrong; that it was in fact, a prayer for the discharge of a bad man -- a man who ought to be punished. Let it be seen to be what a prayer would be if offered for a murderer, or violator of the law, -- a prayer that he might escape or not be punished. All must see that such a prayer would be wrong, or would be a "sin"; and so, in his own case, it would be equally true that a prayer for his own escape would be "sin." The Psalmist asks that, by the result of the trial, such a prayer might be seen to be in fact a prayer for the protection and escape of a bad man. A just sentence in the case would demonstrate this; and this is what the Psalmist prays for. --Albert Barnes.
Verse 7. Let his prayer become sin. Kimchi in his annotations thus explains these words: i.e., "let it be without effect, so that he does not get what he asks for; let him not hit the mark at which he aims": for ajx sometimes has the meaning to miss. -- Wolfgang Musculus.
Verse 7. Let his prayer become sin. St. Jerome says that Judas's prayer was turned into sin, by reason of his want of hope when he prayed: and thus it was that in despair he hanged himself. --Robert Bellarmine.
Verse 7. Let his prayer become sin. The prayer of the hypocrite is sin formally, and it is sin in the effect, that is, instead of getting any good by it, he gets hurt, and the Lord instead of helping him because he prays, punishes him because of the sinfulness of his prayers. Thus his prayer becomes sin to him, because he receives no more respect from God when he prays than when he sins. And sin doth not only mingle with his prayer (as it doth with the prayers of the holiest), but his prayer is nothing else but a mixture or mingle mangle (as we speak) of many sins. --Joseph Caryl.
Verse 7. Let his prayer become sin. We should be watchful in prayer lest the most holy worship of God should become an abomination: Isaiah 1:15 66:3 James 4:3 Hosea 7:14 Amos 5:23 . If the remedy be poisoned, how shall the diseased be cured? --Martin Geier.
Verse 7-19. These and the following verses, although they contain terrible imprecations, will become less dreadful if we understand them as spoken concerning men pertinaciously cleaving to their vices, against whom only has God threatened punishments; not against those who repent with all their heart, and become thoroughly changed in life. --John Le Clerc.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 7. When may prayer become sin. From what is sought, how sought, by whom sought, and wherefore sought.