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Psalm 5:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 For in their mouth there is nothing trustworthy;
their inmost self is destruction;
their throat is an open grave;
they flatter with their tongue.
For in their mouth there is nothing trustworthy. There is nothing in them that can be confided in; nothing in their promises and declarations. They are false and treacherous, and I can only appeal to you. It is easy to see the propriety of this statement and of those which follow, on the supposition that this refers to the rebellion of Absalom. Absalom had gone to Hebron on a false pretense (2 Sam. 15:7–10), and every act of his in this whole transaction had been treacherous and false.
Their inmost self is destruction. Not only their external conduct but their hearts, their principles, and their motives. This was fairly to be inferred from their conduct. The object of the psalmist is to show that they were wholly depraved in all that properly constitutes character or that entered into moral conduct.
Their throat is an open grave. That is, as the grave is open to receive its victim, so is their throat open to devour or swallow up the peace and happiness of others. The main idea is that they are false, treacherous, not to be confided in, slanderous. This passage, with the following, is employed by the apostle Paul to demonstrate the universal depravity of man. See Notes on Rom. 3:13.
They flatter with their tongue. He had referred to the “inward part,” or the heart, and to the throat as being depraved and evil; he now refers to another body member as equally depraved—the tongue. Instead of being employed to utter truth, and to give expression to the real feelings of the heart, it was employed to flatter others, with a view to leading them astray, or to make use of them for base and selfish purposes. The propriety of this representation as applicable to Absalom and his coadjutors no one can fail to see (comp. 2 Sam. 15:1–6). It is also, to an eminent degree, the character of the wicked in general. On this, also, see Notes on Rom. 3:13.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews