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Psalm 5:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 But God will declare them guilty;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
But God will declare them guilty. The phrase here rendered declare them guilty is translated by Prof. Alexander “condemn”—“condemn them; literally, make them guilty; that is, recognize and treat them as such.” The Hebrew word אָשַׁם, asham, means to fail in duty, to transgress, to be guilty; in Hiph., the form used here, according to Gesenius, to “punish; and hence to destroy,” (Lex.) The idea in the mind of the psalmist seems to have been that he desired, since they were undoubtedly guilty, that God would regard and treat them as such. It is not that he wished that God would make them guilty; or that, in itself considered, he desired that they should be found to be so, or that, in itself considered, he wished them to be punished or cut off; but it is that, as they were guilty, and as they were pursuing a course which tended to overthrow the government of the land, and as they were at war with God and with the best interests of the people, God would interpose and stay their progress,—that he would show himself to be a righteous and just God. There is no evidence of any private malignity in this prayer or of any spirit of private revenge. It is a prayer that corresponds with all the efforts, and consequently with all the wishes of every good man, that the violators of law may be arrested and punished. In this, assuredly, there is no wrong.
Let them fall by their own counsels. So as to show that they brought this judgment upon themselves. The wish is that their evil plans might come to nothing and tend to their own overthrow. That is, the psalmist did not wish to stain his hands in their blood or to be made the agent in their destruction, but he desired that God would himself interpose so that their own plans might be made the means of quelling the rebellion. If men are so wicked that they must perish, it is desirable that it should be seen that they perish by their own guilt and folly.
Cast them out. Expel them; drive them away; let them not be successful in taking possession of the throne and in overturning the government.
Because of their many transgressions. In the abundance of their sins or as a consequence of the number and the aggravation of their offenses. The design of the psalmist is to fix attention on the great number of their sins as a reason why they should not be successful. Such a prayer is not wrong, for it would not be right to pray that sinners in the abundance of their sins, or in consequence of the multitude of their sins, should be successful and prosperous. The fact that they are such sinners is, under a righteous administration, a reason why they should not be successful, not why they should be.
For they have rebelled against you. This is given as a reason why the psalmist prayed that they should be cut off. It was not that they had wronged him; it was because they had rebelled against God, and it was right, therefore, to hope and to pray that he would interpose and vindicate his government and law. There is no spirit of private revenge manifested here, and nothing said that would encourage or foster such a spirit. All that is said here is but carrying out what every magistrate must feel who executes the laws and is what he endeavors himself to do; for it is desirable that the wicked—the violators of the law—the enemies of their country—should be arrested and prosecuted.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews
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