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Psalms 50:16 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, And that thou hast taken my covenant in thy mouth,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— But to the wicked God says, “What right have you to tell of My statutes And to take My covenant in your mouth?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— But to the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy mouth,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— But, to the lawless one, God saith, What hast, thou, to do, to recount my statutes? Or that thou hast taken up my covenant upon thy mouth?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And to the wicked hath God said: What to thee—to recount My statutes? That thou liftest up My covenant on thy mouth?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— But to the sinner God hath said: Why dost thou declare my justices, and take my covenant in thy mouth?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— But vnto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to doe, to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldest take my Couenant in thy mouth?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— But to the sinner God has said, Why dost thou declare my ordinances, and take up my covenant in thy mouth?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— But unto the wicked Elohim saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
But unto the wicked 7563
{7563} Prime
From H7561; morally wrong; concretely an (actively) bad person.
lhm אֱלֹהִים 430
{0430} Prime
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
saith, 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
What x4100
(4100) Complement
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
hast thou to do to declare 5608
{5608} Prime
A primitive root; properly to score with a mark as a tally or record, that is, (by implication) to inscribe, and also to enumerate; intensively to recount, that is, celebrate.
<8763> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 790
my statutes, 2706
{2706} Prime
From H2710; an enactment; hence an appointment (of time, space, quantity, labor or usage).
or [that] thou shouldest take 5375
{5375} Prime
A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
my covenant 1285
{1285} Prime
From H1262 (in the sense of cutting (like H1254)); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh).
in x5921
(5921) Complement
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
thy mouth? 6310
{6310} Prime
From H6284; the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literally or figuratively (particularly speech); specifically edge, portion or side; adverbially (with preposition) according to.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 50:16-20

_ _ the wicked — that is, the formalists, as now exposed, and who lead vicious lives (compare Romans 2:21, Romans 2:23). 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.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Psalms 50:16-23

_ _ God, by the psalmist, having instructed his people in the right way of worshipping him and keeping up their communion with him, here directs his speech to the wicked, to hypocrites, whether they were such as professed the Jewish or the Christian religion: hypocrisy is wickedness for which God will judge. Observe here,

_ _ I. The charge drawn up against them. 1. They are charged with invading and usurping the honours and privileges of religion (Psalms 50:16): What has thou to do, O wicked man! to declare my statutes? This is a challenge to those that rare really profane, but seemingly godly, to show what title they have to the cloak of religion, and by what authority they wear it, when they use it only to cover and conceal the abominable impieties of their hearts and lives. Let them make out their claim to it if they can. Some think it points prophetically at the scribes and Pharisees that were the teachers and leaders of the Jewish church at the time when the kingdom of the Messiah, and that evangelical way of worship spoken of in the foregoing verses, were to be set up. They violently opposed that great revolution, and used all the power and interest which they had by siting in Moses's seat to hinder it; but the account which our blessed Saviour gives of them (Mt. 23), and St. Paul (Romans 2:21, Romans 2:22), makes this expostulation here agree very well to them. They took on them to declare God's statues, but they hated Christ's instruction; and therefore what had they to do to expound the law, when they rejected the gospel? But it is applicable to all those that are practicers of iniquity, and yet professors of piety, especially if withal they be preachers of it. Note, It is very absurd in itself, and a great affront to the God of heaven, for those that are wicked and ungodly to declare his statutes and to take his covenant in their mouths. It is very possible, and too common, for those that declare God's statutes to others to live in disobedience to them themselves, and for those that take God's covenant in their mouths yet in their hearts to continue their covenant with sin and death; but they are guilty of a usurpation, they take to themselves an honour which they have no title to, and there is a day coming when they will be thrust out as intruders. Friend, how camest thou in hither? 2. They are charged with transgressing and violating the laws and precepts of religion. (1.) They are charged with a daring contempt of the word of God (Psalms 50:17): Thou hatest instruction. They loved to give instruction, and to tell others what they should do, for this fed their pride and made them look great, and by this craft they got their living; but they hated to receive instruction from God himself, for that would be a check upon them and a mortification to them. “Thou hatest discipline, the reproofs of the word and the rebukes of Providence.” No wonder that those who hate to be reformed hate the means of reformation. Thou castest my words behind thee. They seemed to set God's words before them, when they sat in Moses's seat, and undertook to teach others out of the law (Romans 2:19); but in their conversations they cast God's word behind them, and did not care for seeing that rule which they were resolved not to be ruled by. This is despising the commandment of the Lord. (2.) A close confederacy with the worst of sinners (Psalms 50:18): “When thou sawest a thief, instead of reproving him and witnessing against him, as those should do that declare God's statutes, thou consentedst with him, didst approve of his practices, and desire to be a partner with him and to share in the profits of his cursed trade; and thou hast been partaker with adulterers, hast done as they did, and encouraged them to go on in their wicked courses, hast done these things and hast had pleasure in those that do them,Romans 1:32. (3.) A constant persisting in the worst of tongue-sins (Psalms 50:19): “Thou givest thy mouth to evil, not only allowest thyself in, but addictest thyself wholly to, all manner of evil-speaking.” [1.] Lying: Thy tongue frames deceit, which denotes contrivance and deliberation in lying. It knits or links deceit, so some. One lie begets another, and one fraud requires another to cover it. [2.] Slandering (Psalms 50:20): “Thou sittest, and speakest against thy brother, dost basely abuse and misrepresent him, magisterially judge and censure him, and pass sentence upon him, as if you wert his master to whom he must stand or fall, whereas he is thy brother, as good as thou art, and upon the level with thee, for he is thy own mother's son. He is thy near relation, whom thou oughtest to love, to vindicate, and stand up for, if others abused him; yet thou dost thyself abuse him, whose faults thou oughtest to cover and make the best of; if really he had done amiss, yet thou dost most falsely and unjustly charge him with that which he is innocent of; thou sittest and doest this, as a judge upon the bench, with authority; thou sittest in the seat of the scornful, to deride and backbite those whom thou oughtest to respect and be kind to.” Those that do ill themselves commonly delight in speaking ill of others.

_ _ II. The proof of this charge (Psalms 50:21): “These things thou hast done; the fact is too plain to be denied, the fault too bad to be excused; these things God knows, and thy own heart knows, thou hast done.” The sins of sinners will be proved upon them, beyond contradiction, in the judgment of the great day: “I will reprove thee, or convince thee, so that thou shalt have not one word to say for thyself.” The day is coming when impenitent sinners will have their mouths for ever stopped and be struck speechless. What confusion will they be filled with when God shall set their sins in order before their eyes! They would not see their sins to their humiliation, but cast them behind their backs, covered them, and endeavoured to forget them, nor would they suffer their own consciences to put them in mind of them; but the day is coming when God will make them see their sins to their everlasting shame and terror; he will set them in order, original sin, actual sins, sins against the law, sins against the gospel, against the first table, against the second table, sins of childhood and youth, of riper age, and old age. He will set them in order, as the witnesses are set in order, and called in order, against the criminal, and asked what they have to say against him.

_ _ III. The Judge's patience, and the sinner's abuse of that patience: “I kept silence, did not give thee any disturbance in thy sinful way, but let thee alone to take thy course; sentence against thy evil works was respited, and not executed speedily.” Note, The patience of God is very great towards provoking sinners. He sees their sins and hates them; it would be neither difficulty nor damage to him to punish them, and yet he waits to be gracious and gives them space to repent, that he may render them inexcusable if they repent not. His patience is the more wonderful because the sinner makes such an ill use of it: “Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself, as weak and forgetful as thyself, as false to my word as thyself, nay, as much a friend to sin as thyself.” Sinners take God's silence for consent and his patience for connivance; and therefore the longer they are reprieved the more are their hearts hardened; but, if they turn not, they shall be made to see their error when it is too late, and that the God they provoke is just, and holy, and terrible, and not such a one as themselves.

_ _ IV. The fair warning given of the dreadful doom of hypocrites (Psalms 50:22): “Now consider this, you that forget God, consider that God knows and keeps account of all your sins, that he will call you to an account for them, that patience abused will turn into the greater wrath, that though you forget God and your duty to him he will not forget you and your rebellions against him: consider this in time, before it be too late; for if these things be not considered, and the consideration of them improved, he will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.” It is the doom of hypocrites to be cut asunder, Matthew 24:51. Note, 1. Forgetfulness of God is at the bottom of all the wickedness of the wicked. Those that know God, and yet do not obey him, do certainly forget him. 2. Those that forget God forget themselves; and it will never be right with them till they consider, and so recover themselves. Consideration is the first step towards conversion. 3. Those that will not consider the warnings of God's word will certainly be torn in pieces by the executions of his wrath. 4. When God comes to tear sinners in pieces, there is no delivering them out of his hand. They cannot deliver themselves, nor can any friend they have in the world deliver them.

_ _ V. Full instructions given to us all how to prevent this fearful doom. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; we have it, Psalms 50:23, which directs us what to do that we may attain our chief end. 1. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and we are here told that whoso offers praise glorifies him; whether he be Jew or Gentile, those spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted from him. We must praise God, and we must sacrifice praise, direct it to God, as every sacrifice was directed; put it into the hands of the priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar; see that it be made by fire, sacred fire, that it be kindled with the flame of holy and devout affection; we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. This he is pleased, in infinite condescension, to interpret as glorifying him. Hereby we give him the glory due to his name and do what we can to advance the interests of his kingdom among men. 2. Man's chief end, in conjunction with this, is to enjoy God; and we are here told that those who order their conversation aright shall see his salvation. (1.) It is not enough for us to offer praise, but we must withal order our conversation aright. Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better. (2.) Those that would have their conversation right must take care and pains to order it, to dispose it according to rule, to understand their way and to direct it. (3.) Those that take care of their conversation make sure their salvation; them God will make to see his salvation, for it is a salvation ready to be revealed; he will make them to see it and enjoy it, to see it, and to see themselves happy for ever in it. Note, The right ordering of the conversation is the only way, and it is a sure way, to obtain the great salvation.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 50:16

But — With what confidence darest thou make mention of my grace and favour, in giving thee such a covenant and statutes.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 50:16

But unto the wicked God saith, (m) What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or [that] thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?

(m) Why do you pretend to be of my people and talk of my covenant, seeing that you are a hypocrite?

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Isaiah 48:22 [There is] no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.
Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: ... Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Ezekiel 18:27 Again, when the wicked [man] turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.


Proverbs 26:7 The legs of the lame are not equal: so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.
Isaiah 1:11-15 To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. ... And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
Isaiah 48:1-2 Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, [but] not in truth, nor in righteousness. ... For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts [is] his name.
Isaiah 58:1-7 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. ... [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Jeremiah 7:4-7 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, [are] these. ... Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Matthew 7:3-5 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? ... Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? ... And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
John 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.
Acts 19:13-16 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. ... And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
Romans 2:17-24 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, ... For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
2 Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

thou shouldest:

Psalms 25:14 The secret of the LORD [is] with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
Psalms 78:36-38 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. ... But he, [being] full of compassion, forgave [their] iniquity, and destroyed [them] not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
Ezekiel 20:37-38 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: ... And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Hebrews 8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Ps 25:14; 78:36. Pv 26:7. Is 1:11; 48:1, 22; 55:6; 58:1. Jr 7:4. Ezk 18:27; 20:37. Mt 7:3, 22. Jn 4:24. Ac 19:13. Ro 2:17. 1Co 9:27. He 8:9. 2P 2:15.

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