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1. Assertion of integrity 26:1-3
When David asked God to vindicate him, he was praying that the Lord would show to others that he had not been guilty of things with which others had charged him. To prove him guiltless, the psalmist asked God to be fair with him, and he invited Him to examine his claim. He was confident that when the Lord did this He would find David not guilty.
In this individual lament psalm, which is similar to Psalms 25 but does not contain confession, David asked for God’s vindication because of his personal integrity. Psalms 26 (Psalms 26:6-8), 27 (Psalms 26:4-7), and 28 (Psalms 26:2) all reveal David’s love for God’s sanctuary and so uncover his love for the Lord.
David cited his separation from sinners and their assemblies as evidence that he was not wicked and deceitful (cf. Psalms 1:1). He was not speaking so much of his social preference as of his spiritual commitment. These were enemies of the Lord.
2. Proof of integrity 26:4-8
He preferred the sanctuary of the Lord to the meeting places of the wicked (cf. Psalms 26:5). Washing the hands in innocence is a figurative way of saying that his actions were righteous (cf. Matthew 27:24). He offered sacrifices to God in worship, and praised God, rather than ignoring Him as the wicked did.
David asked God to spare him from a premature death in the company of the wicked. Evidently he expected God to judge the wicked this way, and wanted God to separate him from them in His judgment (cf. Genesis 18:23), as David had separated himself from them in his behavior. It appears that some people were grouping David together with others who were wicked in their thinking, but he did not want God to do that.
3. Prayer for reward 26:9-12
Having called on God to do right, the psalmist promised to do the same. He would continue to do right as he waited for God to redeem him from his trouble. "Redeem" (Heb. padah) means to ransom or purchase out of trouble. This word often refers to the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt in the Old Testament (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:8; 2 Samuel 7:23; Micah 6:4). David felt he was on solid footing in his request, and looked forward to praising God publicly for saving him from his accusers.
The people of God can appeal confidently for vindication from the false accusations of spiritual enemies because they have a righteous standing before Him. This is not a claim to being sinless but to being righteous because of God’s work for them. The upright behavior of the righteous is evidence that they are, by God’s grace, different from the wicked. [Note: See Swindoll, pp. 83-93.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 26". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany