False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.…
The general subject in this section of the psalm is a contrast between the wicked and the good, setting forth the baseness of the wicked nature, and the generous sympathies of the good.
I. THE BASENESS OF THE WICKED. Their general characteristics are:
1. They often bring false malicious charges against good men. (Ver. 11.) "They demand satisfaction at my hands for injuries of which I have never even heard."
2. They return evil for good. (Ver. 12.) They had been former friends: this was the sting of their ingratitude and injustice. Former favours sour the minds of the ungrateful, and intensify their hatred.
3. They exult over the calamities of the good, and insult and injure them. (Ver. 15.) "The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel," and cruelty always embrutes the bad mind.
4. They incite the senseless rabble to persecute good men. (Ver. 16.) The multitude ever ready without reason to join in a hue and cry, and, without thinking, are ready to become the instruments of bad men.
II. THE NOBILITY OF THE GOOD.
1. Broken friendships fill them with a sense of bereavement. (Ver. 12.) The good hunger for love, as well as give it; and, when denied it, are afflicted with a sense of loneliness.
2. They are deeply sympathetic with the afflictions of others. (Vers. 13, 14.) They fast and pray in token of the sincerity and depth of their sympathy.
3. In the calamities and sorrows of life the good turn to God for help and deliverance. (Ver. 17.) Especially the more they feel deserted by former friends.
4. They are constrained to give thanks to God for his mercies. (Ver. 18.) They are not ungrateful, like the wicked. Gratitude is a joy to the generous and religious mind. - S.
Parallel VersesKJV: False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.