The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Lord shall.—Translate, May Jehovah cut off.
Proud things.—Literally, great things. Vulg., linguam magniloquam.Psalm 12:3. The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips — All such as speak kind things to any one, at the same time that they mean quite the contrary in their hearts; and the tongue that speaketh proud things — Hebrew, גדלות, gedoleth, great things, or, great words, boasting what they have done, or declaring, or threatening what they will do, and what great things they will effect, namely, with their tongues, as they themselves explain it in the next words.
All flattering lips - The meaning is, that he will cut off all "persons" who use flattery; that is, he will cut them off from the favors which he will show to his own people, or will punish them. The word used here is the common one to denote disowning or excommunicating, and derives its meaning from the act of separating offenders from a community. See Genesis 17:14; Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 18:29; Leviticus 20:3, Leviticus 20:6; et soepe.
And the tongue that speaketh proud things - That boasts, or is self-confident. For an example of this, see Isaiah 28:15; and compare the notes at that passage. It was this disposition to falsehood, flattery, and boasting, which constituted the fact stated in Psalm 12:1, that "godly" and "faithful" men - men on whom reliance might be placed, whose word might be trusted, and whose promised aid in the cause of truth might be depended on - had seemed to "fail" among men. That is, no such men could be found.
4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
Total destruction shall overwhelm the lovers of flattery and pride, but meanwhile how they hector and fume! Well did the apostle call them "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame." Free-thinkers are generally very free-talkers, and they are never more at ease than when railing at God's dominion, and arrogating to themselves unbounded license. Strange is it that the easy yoke of the Lord should so gall the shoulders of the proud, while the iron bands of Satan they bind about themselves as chains of honour: they boastfully cry unto God, "Who is lord over us?" and hear not the hollow voice of the evil one, who cries from the infernal lake, "I am your Lord, and right faithfully do ye serve me." Alas, poor fools, their pride and glory shall be cut off like a fading flower! May God grant that our soul may not be gathered with them. It is worthy of observation that flattering lips, and tongues speaking proud things, are classed together: the fitness of this is clear, for they are guilty of the same vice, the first flatters another, and the second flatters himself, in both cases a lie is in their right hands. One generally imagines that flatterers are such mean parasites, so cringing and fawning, that they cannot be proud; but the wise man will tell you that while all pride is truly meanness, there is in the very lowest meanness no small degree of pride. Csar's horse is even more proud of carrying Csar, than Csar is of riding him. The mat on which the emperor wiped his shoes, boasts vaingloriously, crying out, "I cleaned the imperial boots." None are so detestably domineering as the little creatures who creep into office by cringing to the great; those are bad times, indeed, in which these obnoxious beings are numerous and powerful. No wonder that the justice of God in cutting off such injurious persons is matter for a Psalm, for both earth and heaven are weary of such provoking offenders, whose presence is a very plague to the people afflicted thereby. Men cannot tame the tongues of such boastful flatterers; but the Lord's remedy if sharp is sure, and is an unanswerable answer to their swelling words of vanity.great things, or great words, either bragging or threatening what they will do, and what great things they will effect, to wit, by their tongues, as they themselves explain it in the next verse, which they will use so cunningly and powerfully, that they shall not need to use their hands, or strike a stroke. Job 32:21;
and the tongue that speaketh proud things, or "great things" (f), as the little horn, Daniel 7:20; and the beast, or Romish antichrist, who is designed by both, Revelation 13:5; and which will be accomplished when Christ shall destroy him with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming; and indeed every tongue that riseth up against God, Christ, and his people, will be condemned; when ungodly sinners will be convinced of all their hard speeches, Isaiah 54:17, Jde 1:15. Perhaps some regard may be had to the tongue of Doeg the Edomite; see Psalm 52:3.The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. Render: May Jehovah cut off &c. Cp. Psalm 31:17-18.
proud things] Lit. as R.V., great things; further defined in Psalm 12:4.
3, 4. The prayer for help passes into a prayer for the excision of these false-hearted braggarts. Cp. Psalm 5:10.Verse 3. - The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips. The complaint having been made, a threat follows (comp. Psalm 10:15; Psalm 11:6; Psalm 17:13, etc.). The men who flatter with their lips, beguiling and cozening their victims to get them completely into their power, shall be "cut off" from the congregation (see Genesis 17:14; Exodus 12:15, 19; Leviticus 7:20, 27; Leviticus 17:10, etc.). And the tongue that speaketh proud things; literally, greet rhinos; but proud and lofty boastings are intended (comp. Daniel 7:8, 20). The same man sometimes cozens with smooth words, sometimes blusters and talks big. Psalm 18:7; Psalm 29:9, and in this holy temple is Jahve, the Holy One. Above the earth are the heavens, and in heaven is the throne of Jahve, the King of kings. And this temple, this palace in the heavens, is the place whence issues the final decision of all earthly matters, Habakkuk 2:20; Micah 1:2. For His throne above is also the super-terrestrial judgment-seat, Psalm 9:8; Psalm 103:19. Jahve who sits thereon is the all-seeing and omniscient One. חזה prop. to split, cf. cernere, is used here according to its radical meaning, of a sharp piercing glance. בּחן prop. to try metals by fire, of a fixed and penetrating look that sees into a thing to the foundation of its inmost nature. The mention of the eyelids is intentional. When we observe a thing closely or ponder over it, we draw the eyelids together, in order that our vision may be more concentrated and direct, and become, as it were, one ray piercing through the object. Thus are men open to the all-seeing eyes, the all-searching looks of Jahve: the just and the unjust alike. He tries the righteous, i.e., He knows that in the depth of his soul there is an upright nature that will abide all testing (Psalm 17:3; Job 23:10), so that He lovingly protects him, just as the righteous lovingly depends upon Him. And His soul hates (i.e., He hates him with all the energy of His perfectly and essentially holy nature) the evil-doer and him that delights in the violence of the strong towards the weak. And the more intense this hatred, the more fearful will be the judgments in which it bursts forth.
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