Psalm 58

Persecution in another form here agitates the Psalmist's mind. A fearful picture of the persecutors' hate is next exhibited. Confidence in their ruin is expressed. God surely will maintain the righteous cause.

1-2. "Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly? No, all your dealings are crooked; you hand out violence instead of justice."

If any seat should be preeminently conspicuous in honest equity, it is the tribunal of justice. But when the cause of God has called for righteous judgment, how often has iniquity perverted the decree! David found no acquittal from the courts of Saul. Mark, also, the Sanhedrin and the unstable judge who administered the Roman law! Spotless innocence did not avert unrighteous condemnation. No guilt was found; freedom from shadow of blame was allowed; but the sentence was, 'Let him die.' Crucifixion was decreed. Happy are those who look to Him whose right hand is full of righteousness, and look to the tribunal where the plea "Christ died" cannot be urged in vain, but ensures not acquittal only, but exaltation to the throne of glory.

3-5. "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf adder that stops her ear; which will not listen to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely."

Injustice and cruelty are here traced to the first cause of original corruption. These noxious streams issue from an evil spring. These hateful berries hang on branches rotten to the core. Men are shaped in iniquity; in sin do mothers conceive their offspring. If heavenly grace comes not mercifully to renew, convert, and sanctify, a corrupt offspring cannot fail to move in paths of corruption. Mark what issues from the nursery—proneness to depart far from God; tendency to fabricate untruth, and to misrepresent, and to delight in lies. Their words contain all venom. The viper's poison is the emblem of their destroying tongues. To all instruction they are deaf. As the adder with closed ears is unmoved by sweetest melody, so they are touched not by the silver notes of God's enchanting word.

6-9. "Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O Lord, the fangs of the lions! Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted. Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun. God will sweep them away, both young and old, faster than a pot heats on an open flame."

The Spirit here, to support and console afflicted saints, gives strong assurance of approaching vengeance. The weapons of their foes shall be broken. Their power of evil shall gradually be brought to nothing, as waters lessen when they flow away. They may bend the bow, and prepare the arrows, but these implements shall take no effect. Graphic images of weakness portray their utter impotency to prosecute their schemes. Wrath shall break suddenly upon them, and sweep them from the earth, as the fury of an unexpected whirlwind. Quickly will they perish, even more quickly than the blazing fuel can warm a caldron.

10. "The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked."

When God's holy indignation is thus conspicuously displayed, the godly should thankfully recognize God's just displeasure. Pity for the miserable offenders they should feel, but joy in God's glory should prevail. The blood of the wicked should be as a fountain, in which their feet should wash, and as a warning to walk more warily.

11. "So that a man shall say, truly there is a reward for the righteous; truly He is a God who judges in the earth."

The truth will brightly shine, and compel acknowledgment that the righteous shall at last inherit manifestations of favor, and God's unerring tribunal will righteously dispense justice. When the great white throne is set, may we receive the welcome, "Come, blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."