Psalm 50:18
When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
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(18) Thou consentedst with himi.e., hast pleasure in. (Comp. Job 34:9.)

Psalm 50:18-20. When thou sawest a thief — Instead of reproving him, and witnessing against him, as those should do that declare God’s statutes, or that profess his religion; thou consentedst with him — Didst approve of his practices, and desire to share in the profits of his iniquitous proceedings. Or, thou didst run with, him, as תרצ עמו, tiretz gnimmo, may be rendered. Thou didst readily and eagerly associate thyself with him in his unrighteous actions. Thou didst yield to his motions, and that with great complacency and earnestness. And hast been partaker with adulterers — By joining with them in their lewd and filthy practices. “In this and the two following verses,” says Dr. Dodd, “are represented the notorious vices of the synagogue, (the Jewish Church,) which was extremely corrupt in the time of Christ.” Thou givest thy mouth to evil — To sinful or mischievous speeches. Thou hast an unbridled tongue, and castest off all restraints of God’s law, and of thy own conscience, and givest thy tongue liberty to speak what thou pleasest, though it be very offensive and dishonourable to God, and injurious to thy neighbour, or to thy own soul. And thy tongue frameth deceit — Uttereth lies or fair words, wherewith to deceive and circumvent those who deal with thee. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother — Thou sittest in the seat of the scornful to deride and backbite others, even those whom thou oughtest to respect and show kindness to, thy own relations, thy very brother: and this, not through inadvertency, or upon some sudden and great provocation, but it is thy constant and deliberate practice. This, the word תשׁב, teesheb, thou sittest, or continuest, implies. And thou art not only guilty of backbiting, or speaking evil of them when they are absent, and making known to others the follies or faults with which they are justly chargeable; but thou accusest them of things of which they are innocent. Thou slanderest even thine own mother’s son — And takest away his good name, which is better than all riches, yea, than life itself: and this in opposition to any express and often repeated commands.

50:16-23 Hypocrisy is wickedness, which God will judge. And it is too common, for those who declare the Lord's statutes to others, to live in disobedience to them themselves. This delusion arises from the abuse of God's long-suffering, and a wilful mistake of his character and the intention of his gospel. The sins of sinners will be fully proved on them in the judgment of the great day. The day is coming when God will set their sins in order, sins of childhood and youth, of riper age and old age, to their everlasting shame and terror. Let those hitherto forgetful of God, given up to wickedness, or in any way negligent of salvation, consider their urgent danger. The patience of the Lord is very great. It is the more wonderful, because sinners make such ill use of it; but if they turn not, they shall be made to see their error when it is too late. Those that forget God, forget themselves; and it will never be right with them till they consider. Man's chief end is to glorify God: whoso offers praise, glorifies him, and his spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted. We must praise God, sacrifice praise, put it into the hands of the Priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar: we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. Let us thankfully accept God's mercy, and endeavour to glorify him in word and deed.When thou sawest a thief - When you have seen or found one who was intending to commit theft, then (instead of rebuking or exposing him) you have been willing to act with him, and to divide the profits. The words "when thou sawest" would seem to imply readiness and willingness to engage with them, as "at first sight." Whenever there was an opportunity to share in the results of theft, they were ready to engage in it. The main "point" in this is, that they were willing to do so even when observing the outward duties of religion, and when professing to be the true worshippers of God. A similar sentiment occurs in Romans 2:21. See the notes at that passage.

Then thou consentedst with him - literally, Thou didst delight in him, or hadst pleasure in him. He was a man after thine own heart. Thou wast at once on good terms with him.

And hast been partaker with adulterers - Margin, as in Hebrew, "thy portion was with adulterers." This was a common vice among the Jewish people. See the notes at Romans 2:22. The idea here is, that they were associated in practice with adulterers; they were guilty of that crime as others were. The point of the remark here is, that they did this under the cloak of piety, and when they were scrupulous and faithful in offering sacrifices, and in performing all the external rites of religion.

16-20. the wicked—that is, the formalists, as now exposed, and who lead vicious lives (compare Ro 2:21, 23). They are unworthy to use even the words of God's law. Their hypocrisy and vice are exposed by illustrations from sins against the seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments. Sawest; or, didst observe, or consider; when he came into thy presence and company, and thou didst understand and consider his ways, and his success and impunity, and he invited thee to a participation of his profit.

Thou consentedst with him; or, as many render it, then didst run with him; thou didst readily and greedily associate thyself with him in his unrighteous courses. Thou didst yield to his motions, and that with great complacency and diligence.

Partaker with adulterers, by joining with them in their lewd and filthy practices.

When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him,.... Or "didst run with him" (a); joined and agreed with him in the commission of the same things; which was literally true of the Scribes and Pharisees: they devoured widows' houses, and robbed them of their substance, under a pretence of long prayers; they consented to the deeds of Barabbas, a robber, when they preferred him to Jesus Christ; and they joined with the thieves on the cross in reviling him: and, in a spiritual sense, they stole away the word of the Lord, every man from his neighbour; took away the key of knowledge from the people, and put false glosses upon the sacred writings;

and hast been a partaker with adulterers; these teachers of the law were guilty both of theft and adultery, Romans 2:21; they are called by our Lord an adulterous generation, Matthew 12:39; and they were so in a literal sense; see John 8:4; and in a figurative one, adulterating the word of God, and handling it deceitfully.

(a) , Sept. "currebas cum eo", V. L. sic Eth. Syr. Targum, so Vatablus, Musculus, Piscator, Ainsworth.

When thou sawest a thief, then {o} thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.

(o) He shows what the fruits of them who contemn God's word are.

18. then thou consentedst with him] The original is stronger: thou didst delight thyself with him, didst gladly associate with him. Cf. Job 34:9. R.V. omits then. The LXX vocalises the consonants differently and renders, thou didst run along with him (cp. Proverbs 1:16): but the Massoretic reading is preferable.

and hast been partaker &c.] Lit., and thy portion was with adulterers: thou didst make common cause with them, condoning and sharing their sin.

Verse 18. - When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst unto him. God tests his professed, but really disobedient, servants by the second table of the Decalogue, and finds them wanting. If they do not themselves actually rob, they give their consent, they become accessories before the fact, to robbery. They probably participate in the gains. And hast been partaker with adulterers; rather, and with adulterers is thy portion; i.e. thou hast thrown in thy lot with them, hast adopted their principles, hast set at nought the seventh no less than the eighth commandment. Psalm 50:18The accusation of the manifest sinners. It is not those who are addressed in Psalm 50:7, as Hengstenberg thinks, who are here addressed. Even the position of the words ולרשׁע אמר clearly shows that the divine discourse is now turned to another class, viz., to the evil-doers, who, in connection with open and manifest sins and vices, take the word of God upon their lips, a distinct class from those who base their sanctity upon outward works of piety, who outwardly fulfil the commands of God, but satisfy and deceive themselves with this outward observance. מה־לּך ל, what hast thou, that thou equals it belongs not to thee, it does not behove thee. With ועתּה, in Psalm 50:17, an adversative subordinate clause beings: since thou dost not care to know anything of the moral ennobling which it is the design of the Law to give, and my words, instead of having them as a constant test-line before thine eyes, thou castest behind thee and so turnest thy back upon them (cf. Isaiah 38:17). ותּרץ is not from רוּץ (lxx, Targum, and Saadia), in which case it would have to be pointed ותּרץ, but from רצה, and is construed here, as in Job 34:9, with עם: to have pleasure in intercourse with any one. In Psalm 50:18 the transgression of the eighth commandment is condemned, in Psalm 50:18 that of the seventh, in Psalm 50:19. that of the ninth (concerning the truthfulness of testimony). שׁלח פּה ברעה, to give up one's mouth unrestrainedly to evil, i.e., so that evil issues from it. תּשׁב, Psalm 50:20, has reference to gossiping company (cf. Psalm 1:1). דּפי signifies a thrust, a push (cf. הדף), after which the lxx renders it ἐτίθεις σκάνδαλον (cf. Leviticus 19:14), but it also signifies vexation and mockery (cf. גּדף); it is therefore to be rendered: to bring reproach (Jerome, opprobrium) upon any one, to cover him with dishonour. The preposition בּ with דּבּר has, just as in Numbers 12:1, and frequently, a hostile signification. "Thy mother's son" is he who is born of the same mother with thyself, and not merely of the same father, consequently thy brother after the flesh in the fullest sense. What Jahve says in this passage is exactly the same as that which the apostle of Jesus Christ says in Romans 2:17-24. This contradiction between the knowledge and the life of men God must, for His holiness' sake, unmask and punish, Psalm 50:20. The sinner thinks otherwise: God is like himself, i.e., that is also not accounted by God as sin, which he allows himself to do under the cloak of his dead knowledge. For just as a man is in himself, such is his conception also of his God (vid., Psalm 18:26.). But God will not encourage this foolish idea: "I will therefore reprove thee and set (it) in order before thine eyes" (ואערכה, not ואערכה, in order to give expression, the second time at least, to the mood, the form of which has been obliterated by the suffix); He will set before the eyes of the sinner, who practically and also in theory denies the divine holiness, the real state of his heart and life, so that he shall be terrified at it. Instead of היה, the infin. intensit. here, under the influence of the close connection of the clauses (Ew. 240, c), is היות; the oratio obliqua begins with it, without כּי (quod). כמוך exactly corresponds to the German deines Gleichen, thine equal.
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