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Psalm 7:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but you establish the righteous;
For the righteous God,
tries the hearts and minds.
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end. Of all the wicked;—wickedness not in this particular case only, but wickedness of all forms and in all lands. The prayer here is a natural one; when a man becomes impressed with a sense of the evil of sin in one form, he wishes that the world may be delivered from it in all forms and altogether.
But establish the just. The righteous. This stands in contrast with his desire in regard to the wicked. He prays that the righteous may be confirmed in their integrity, and that their plans may succeed. This prayer is as universal as the former, and is, in fact, a prayer that the world may come under the dominion of the principles of truth and holiness.
For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. That is the hearts and reins of all men. He understands the character of all men; he is intimately acquainted with all their thoughts, and purposes, and feelings. To search or try “the heart and the reins” is an expression frequently used in the Bible to denote that God is intimately acquainted with all the thoughts and feelings of men; that is, that he thoroughly understands the character of all men. The word “heart” in the Scriptures is often used to denote the seat of the thoughts; and the word “reins” seems to be used to denote the most secret feelings, purposes, and devices of the soul—as if lodged deep in our nature, or covered in the most hidden and concealed portions of the man. The word reins, with us, denotes the kidneys. In the Scriptures, the word seems to be used, in a general sense, to denote the inward parts, as the seat of the affections and passions. The Hebrew word כִּלְיָה, kilyah, means the same as the word reins with us,—the kidneys, Exod. 29:13, 22; Job 16:13; Isa. 34:6; Deut. 32:14. From some cause, the Hebrews seem to have regarded the reins as the seat of the affections and passions, though perhaps only in the sense that they thus spoke of the inward parts, and meant to denote the deepest purposes of the soul—as if utterly concealed from the eye. These deep thoughts and feelings, so unknown to other men, are all known intimately to God, and thus the character of every man is clearly understood by him, and he can judge every man aright. The phrase here used—of trying the hearts and reins—is one that is often employed to describe the Omniscience of God. Comp. Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; Ps. 26:2; 139:13; Rev. 2:23. The particular idea here is, that as God searches the hearts of all men and understands the secret purposes of the soul, he is able to judge aright and to determine correctly in regard to their character, or to administer his government on the principles of exact justice. Such is the ground of the prayer in this case, that God, who knew the character of all men, would confirm those who are truly righteous and would bring the wickedness of the ungodly to an end.
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