Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
A priestly or Levitical psalm (see Psalm 26:6-8), calm and regular, composed of twelve verses, each verse a distich. The writer has nothing to reproach himself with; he can appeal to the strict tribunal of God without fear. The protest against apostasy is evidently made not for himself alone, but for the pious part of the community.
A Psalm of David. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide.(1) Judge me—i.e., do me justice, “vindicate me.”
I shall not slide.—Rather, I have trusted in Jehovah without wavering.
I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.(4) Dissemblers—i.e., hypocrites.
I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.(5) Evil doers.—With idea of violence; from a root meaning to break in pieces.
I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:(6) I will wash.—First a symbolical action (Deuteronomy 21:6 seq.; Matthew 27:24), then a figure of speech (Job 9:30; Ezekiel 36:25). The Levitical authorship or, at all events, the Levitical character of the psalm appears from comparison of this with Exodus 30:17 seq.
So will I.—Better, that I may, &c. There is no other reference in Jewish literature to the custom of pacing round the altar, but it was a very natural and obvious addition to a gorgeous ceremonial—like the processions in churches where a high ceremonial is adopted. It is, however, implied from the Talmud that it was part of the ceremonial of the Feast of Tabernacles for people to march round the altar with palms.
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.(7) That I may . . .—Literally, to make to hear the voice of praise.
Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:(9) Gather not.—Better as in margin. The psalmist prays that he may be spared to worship in the sanctuary, when doom falls on evildoers and carries them off. The LXX. and Vulg. have “destroy not.”
My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.(12) My foot standeth.—It seems more in accordance with the general drift of the poem to take this verse, When I stand in an even or level place [i.e., when I am rescued from the difficulties which now beset me] I will praise Jehovah in the congregation.