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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 12

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 12:0.

David, destitute of human comfort, asketh help of God: he comforteth himself with God's judgments on the wicked, and confidence in God's tried promises.

To the chief musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.

Title. השׁמינית על למנצח lamnatseach al hoshsheminith. See the note on the title of Psalms 6:0. This psalm complains of the falsehood and treachery abounding in the world; from which God is introduced as determined to deliver his people. Some conjecture that he points particularly at the corruption which reigned in the court of Saul, and more especially at Doeg, and the treacherous Ziphites; who promised David their friendship, with no other design than to deliver him up to Saul.

Verse 2

Psalms 12:2. They speak vanity They speak falsehood. Mudge. A double heart, in the Hebrew is ולב בלב beleb valeb, with heart and heart; that is, they spake as if they had two hearts: the one to hate their neighbour and form designs against him, and the other to prompt the tongue to pretend a friendship for him.

Verse 3

Psalms 12:3. That speaketh proud things The Hebrew word גדלות gedoloth signifies great things, or great words; for the more artificial and dissembling a man is, the more he affects a pompous formality in his discourse, that he may the better deceive.

Verse 5

Psalms 12:5. Now will I arise, saith the Lord The beauty and energy of this fine prosopopoeia, must be felt by every reader. Nothing can be more poetical and expressive. Houbigant renders the last clause, I will procure them safety, that they may breathe; namely, from their troubles.

Verse 6

Psalms 12:6. The words of the Lord are pure words The words of God, mentioned in the verse before, may certainly be depended on; they are pure truth, without any mixture of dross or deceit: Silver fined in a ground furnace [a furnace or melting-pot in the earth] seven times purified.

Verse 7

Psalms 12:7. Thou shalt keep them, &c.— Thou shalt keep those [words] O Lord; thou shalt preserve him, &c.

Verse 8

Psalms 12:8. The wicked walk on every side Dr. Hammond observes that this verse is very obscure, and Bishop Hare ingenuously acknowledges that he does not understand it. Mudge renders it thus: The wicked walk up and down on every side; as thou art on high, thou art become contemptible to the sons of men. I make the Psalmist, says he, apply here to the jealousy of God, as he frequently does, that his honour may arouse him to do justice upon the wicked; "Because thou residest up on high, thou art become disregarded by men; and that makes the wicked walk up and down in such numbers." It is a very frequent sentiment in the Psalms, Is there knowledge in the Most High, &c.?

REFLECTIONS.—1st, It has been the just complaint of God's saints in every age, how few faithful could be found. David here with deep concern bewails it; and since he could find so few like-minded with himself, while in general all pursued the ways of sin and vanity, he flies to God for help. Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men: Bad times indeed, when piety towards God is decayed, and honesty to men ceases; when all seek their own, not the things which be of Jesus Christ!

2nd, What David prays for, his faith sees ready to be accomplished. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, by judgments, from the earth, and give them shortly their portion with liars in the burning lake; and the tongue that speaketh proud things; none so high but God can humble them; his sword shall smite all the children of pride. The character of the proud is here described, Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; by eloquence carry the cause against truth and justice; or, as if they need but speak the word and it is done. Such high conceits does pride generate. Our lips are our own: who is Lord over us? casting off the government of God, and deifying themselves, as if bound to give account of none of their words, and renouncing the authority of the Almighty. But they will be disappointed; there is one who observes all the high imaginations and hard speeches of ungodly sinners, and will not suffer them to pass with impunity: for, in the height of their insolence,

God will make bare his arm, and shew them to their cost who is Lord over them. For the oppression of the poor, who groan like Israel in Egypt under the afflictions they endure, and for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord, when the arrogance of the proud is at the height, and his people's patience ready to fail; in that critical time he will arise to confound the one, and to rescue the other; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him, or lays snares for him, which shall be broken in pieces, and the souls of the righteous delivered as a bird from the net of the fowler. Note; God's time is the best time; and if we have but faith, he will not fail; for the words of the Lord are pure words, proceeding from the fountain of purity, and therefore can never disappoint or deceive those who trust in them; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times, or more precious than the most refined silver, and pure from all human mixture and adulteration. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord; namely, the poor and needy, who trust in thee, from all the power of evil, and from the snares of the enemy; thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever; from the wickedness of it, that they be not corrupted, and from their persecutors that they be not destroyed. Blessed be God, we are not in our own keeping, but in so much better hands; so able to preserve us from falling, and so faithful to his promises: we are safe therefore, though the wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted, have the power and dominion here below: or, as the latter clause may be rendered, according to their exaltation shall be their vileness. They shall fall as low in misery as they have been exalted in dignity.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 12". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/psalms-12.html. 1801-1803.
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