Bible Commentary

Psalm 58

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

<< Psalm 57 | Psalm 58 | Psalm 59 >>
(Read all of Psalm 58)

Verse 1

[1] Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

O congregation — The word seems to point at Saul's judges and counsellors; who met together to consult what they should do against David.

Sons of men — So he calls them; to mind them that they were men, and must give an account to God for all their hard speeches.

Verse 2

[2] Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.

Heart — With free choice and consent.

Hands — He intimates that they did great wrong under the pretence of justice, and while they seemed exactly to weigh the true proportion between the actions and the recompenses allotted to them, they turned the scale; and pronounced an unjust sentence.

Land — Or, in this land, where God is present, and where you have righteous laws to govern you.

Verse 3

[3] The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Estranged — From God, and from all goodness. Their very natures are corrupt, even from their birth: they are the wicked offspring of sinful parents.

Astray — By actual sins, from their childhood, as soon as ever they were capable of the exercise of reason.

Verse 4

[4] Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;

Poison — Their malicious disposition.

Verse 5

[5] Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

Not hearken — As they commonly say of the adders, such really are these men: deaf to all my counsels, to their own consciences, and to God's law. Of the charming or enchanting of serpents, mention is made both in other places of scripture, and in all sorts of authors, ancient and modern, Hebrew and Arabick, and Greek and Latin. And particularly the Arabick writers (to whom these creatures were best known) name some sorts of serpents, among which the adder is one, which they call deaf, not because they are dull of hearing, but, as one of them expressly faith, because they will not be charmed.

Verse 6

[6] Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.

Their teeth — Their powerful instruments of doing mischief.

Verse 7

[7] Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

Melt away — As waters arising from melted snow, which at first run with great force, but are suddenly gone.

Verse 8

[8] As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.

Melteth — Which is quickly dissolved.

Verse 9

[9] Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.

Before — Before your pots can be heated.

Take them — Violently and irresistibly.

Living — Alive, as he did Korah.

Verse 10

[10] The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

Rejoice — For the blessed effects of it; the vindication of God's honour, and the deliverance of himself and of all good men.

Wash — There shall be so great a slaughter of his enemies that he might, if he pleased, wash his feet in their blood.

<< Psalm 57 | Psalm 58 | Psalm 59 >>