Verse 8. Here we return to the fount of bitterness, which first made the psalmist run to the wells of salvation, namely, the prevalence of wickedness. When those in power are vile, their underlings will be no better. As a warm sun brings out noxious flies, so does a sinner in honour foster vice everywhere. Our turf would not so swarm with abominables if those who are styled honourables did not give their countenance to the craft. Would to God that the glory and triumph of our Lord Jesus would encourage us to walk and work on every side; as like acts upon like, since an exalted sinner encourages sinners, our exalted Redeemer must surely excite, cheer, and stimulate his saints. Nerved by a sight of his reigning power we shall meet the evils of the times in the spirit of holy resolution, and shall the more hopefully pray, "Help, Lord."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. When the vilest men are exalted: Hebrew, vilities, outidanoi the abstract for the concrete, quisquilioe, outidanoi. Oft, empty vessels swim aloft, rotten posts are gilt with adulterate gold, the worst weeds spring up bravest. Chaff will get to the top of the fan, when good corn, as it lieth at the bottom of the heap, so it falls low at the feet of the fanner. The reason why wicked men walk on every side, are so brisk, so busy (and who but they?) is given to be this, because losels and rioters were exalted. See Proverbs 28:12 Proverbs 28:18 29:2. As rheums and catarrhs fall from the head to the lungs, and cause a consumption of the whole body, so it is in the body politic. As a fish putrefies first in the head and then in all the parts, so here. Some render the text thus, "When they (that is, the wicked) are exalted, it is a "shame for the sons of men," that other men who better deserve preferment, are not only slighted, but vilely handled by such worthless ambitionists, who yet the higher they climb, as apes, the more they discover their deformities." John Trapp.
Verse 8 Good thus translates this verse: --
Should the wicked advance on every side; Should the dregs of the earth be uppermost?
The original is given literally. (Twlz) means "foeces, foeculences, dregs." (~rk) is here an adverb, and imports uppermost, rather than exalted. J. Mason Good, in loc.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8. Sin in high places specially infectious. Call to the rich and prominent to remember their responsibility. Thankfulness for honourable rulers. Discrimination to be used in choice of our representatives, or civic magistrates.