“Therefore walk in the way of good people.
Keep to the paths of the just.
The upright will inhabit the land.
The innocent ones of integrity will remain in it.
But the wicked will be cut off from the land.
The treacherous will be rooted out of it.”
The young people were to walk in the way of the good people. Thus they would become upright and righteous as they kept to the path of the just ones. The upright will then inherit, inhabit, and abide in the land. The innocent ones who live with integrity will remain on the land. However, the wicked ones will be cut off from the land. The liars and the treacherous infidels will be rooted out of the land. Notice that the big reward and punishment is the land.
If sinners entice you,
Do not consent!
If they say.
‘Come with us!
Let us lie in wait for blood!
Let us wantonly ambush the innocent!
Let us swallow them alive and whole!
Like those who go down to the Pit,
We shall find all kinds of costly things.
We shall fill our houses with booty.
Throw in your lot among us!
We will all have one purse.’
Do not walk in their way!
Keep your foot from their paths!
Their feet run to evil.
They hurry to shed blood.
For in vain is a net baited,
While the bird is looking on.
Yet they lie in wait,
To kill themselves.
They set an ambush
For their own lives.
Such is the end
Of all who are greedy for gain.
It takes away the life of its possessors.”
The main parental advice of these proverbs is to stay away from evil people. Do not let sinners entice you! Stay away from those who want to ambush innocent people in order to spill their blood. They seem to think that they can swallow people up like Sheol or the pit, the grave, does. This part appears to not sound enticing, but the kicker enticement was filling up your house with spoils and booty. They would all share together with one purse. Parents should warn their children not to walk in their paths or let their feet walk in their ways. These wicked ones hurry to shed blood. However, they set a net while the birds are watching so that their own ambush will kill them. This is the end for those who are greedy and want to kill others so that they would have their goods.
“Some sat in darkness.
Some sat in gloom.
They were prisoners in misery.
They were prisoners in irons.
They had rebelled against the words of God.
They had spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor.
They fell down.
There was no one to help them.
Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.
He saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness.
He brought them out of gloom.
He broke their bonds asunder.
Let them thank Yahweh
For his steadfast love!
Let them thank Yahweh
For his wonderful works to humankind!
He shatters the doors of bronze.
He cuts in two the bars of iron.”
Some people were in darkness and gloom. They were prisoners in misery and in actual irons, shackled together, because they had rebelled against God. They had turned away from the counsel of the Most High God. They were in forced labor with no one to help them. These people were not innocent, since they had done or said something against God. However, they cried to Yahweh for help in their distress. Guess what? He saved them from their distress, darkness, and gloom. He tore their chains apart. Now they should give thanks to Yahweh for his steadfast love and wondrous deeds. He shattered the doors of bronze and the iron bars. They were now free people.
“But as for me,
I walk in my integrity.
Be gracious to me!
My foot stands on level ground.
In the great congregation
I will bless Yahweh.”
This psalm ends with the innocent David’s self-righteous plea that he had always walked in integrity. He wanted Yahweh to redeem him. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him. He had kept his feet on the level right path. In the congregations he blessed Yahweh. Therefore he was on the right side with Yahweh.
“I do not sit with the worthless.
I do not consort with hyprocrites.
I hate the company of evildoers.
I will not sit with the wicked.”
David would not sit with worthless people or hypocrites. He hated the company of evildoers. He would not sit with the wicked ones. Clearly this was the cry of the innocent pure man who would not hang out or consort with the wicked evil people.
“A psalm of David
I have walked in my integrity.
I have trusted in Yahweh
I have not wavered.
Test my heart!
Test my mind!
Your steadfast love is before my eyes.
I walk in faithfulness to you.”
Psalm 26 is another lament or prayer for deliverance from personal enemies like the preceding Psalm 25. It is more like Psalm 7 and Psalm 17 in that it is a cry of the innocent like Job. Once again the notation is simply that of a psalm of David. David maintained that he was innocent. He wanted to be vindicated. He walked in integrity. He had trusted in Yahweh, never wavering. He wanted both his heart and mind tested. He always had the steadfast love of Yahweh before his eyes. He was always faithful.
“Moreover by the law,
Your servant is warned.
In keeping the law,
There is a great reward.
But who can discern his errors?
Clear me from hidden faults!
Keep back your servant also from the insolent!
Do not let them have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless.
I shall be innocent of a great transgression.”
This then is prayer to follow the law of Yahweh. There is a reward for following the law of Yahweh. How can anyone discern their errors? How can they be clear from hidden faults? They have to stay away from the insolent ones. David does not want to let them have power over him. He wants to be blameless and innocent. Without the help of Yahweh it is not possible to follow the law.
In your anger.
Lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies.
O my God!
You have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you.
Take your seat on high over it!
Yahweh judges the peoples!
Judge me according to my righteousness.
Judge me according to the integrity that is in me.”
David wanted Yahweh, the judge to judge him. Of course, he wanted Yahweh to judge against his enemies. He wanted Yahweh to wake up and take his seat as the judge of all the people. Then everyone could see that David was innocent and righteous, as well as living with integrity if the judgment came from above, from Yahweh. This was David’s cry of self righteousness to be proclaimed by Yahweh.
“Then Elihu continued and said.
‘Hear my words!
You wise men!
Give ear to me!
You who know!
The ear tests words,
As the palate tastes food.
Let us choose what is right.
Let us determine among ourselves what is good.
Job has said.
‘I am innocent.
God has taken away my justification.
In spite of being right,
I am counted a liar.
My wound is incurable.
I am without transgression.’
Who is there like Job?
Who drinks up scoffing like water?
Who goes in company with evildoers?
Who walks with the wicked?
He has said.
‘It profits one nothing to take delight in God.’”
Elihu turned to the 3 friends of Job, the 3 wise comforters. Elihu wanted them to listen to what he had to say. Listening was a skill like tasting food. You had to acquire the skill of listening. He had asked what is right and good, a great philosophical question. Job claimed that he was innocent. God had taken away his rightful justification. Others have called him a liar, which is an incurable wound. He claimed that he had not done anything wrong. He has absorbed the mocking of others like he was drinking water. Who is in the company of the wicked and the evil doers? Job had said that there is no advantage in delighting in God. Somehow Elihu believes that he will settle this issue.
“He has made me a byword of the peoples.
I am one before whom men spit.
My eye has grown dim from grief,
All my members are like a shadow.
Upright men are appalled at this.
The innocent men stir themselves up against the godless.
Yet the righteous men hold to their way.
They that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.
Come back now.
All of you,
I shall not find a sensible person among you.”
Job has become a byword, a fable, or a symbol for the people. People spit at him. His eyes are failing. His body is a shadow of what it once was. Upright people are appalled at him. The innocent and righteous people hold their own, as their clean hands grow stronger each day. However, among the friends of Job, he could not find a sensible man.