The wickedness of the wicked - The iniquity of Saul's conduct.
But establish the just - Show the people my uprightness.
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to and 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 trieth the hearts and reins - That is, the hearts and reins of all people. He understands the character of all people; 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 people; that is, that he thoroughly understands the character of all people. 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 כליה kilyâh means the same as the word “reins” with us - the kidneys, Exodus 29:13, Exodus 29:22; Job 16:13; Isaiah 34:6; Deuteronomy 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 people, 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 used here - of trying the hearts and reins - is one that is often employed to describe the Omniscience of God. Compare Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Psalm 26:2; Psalm 139:13; Revelation 2:23. The particular idea here is, that as God searches the hearts of all people, 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 people, would confirm those who are truly righteous, and would bring the wickedness of the ungodly to an end.
29-33 (2 Corinthians 3:13-15). Moses Saw the Day of Christ—In the mount, when the law was given to Moses, the Coming One was shown to him also. He saw Christ's work, and His mission to earth, when the Son of God should take upon Himself humanity, and become a teacher and a guide to the world, and at last give Himself a ransom for their sins. When the perfect Offering should be made for the sins of men, the sacrificial offerings typifying the work of the Messiah were to cease. With the advent of Christ, the veil of uncertainty was to be lifted, and a flood of light shed upon the darkened understanding of His people. 1BC 1110.1
As Moses saw the day of Christ, and the new and living way of salvation that was to be opened through His blood, he was captivated and entranced. The praise of God was in his heart, and the divine glory that attended the giving of the law was so strikingly revealed in his countenance when he came down from the mount to walk with Israel, that the brightness was painful. Because of their transgressions, the people were unable to look upon his face, and he wore a veil that he might not terrify them.... 1BC 1110.2
Had the Israelites discerned the gospel light that was opened to Moses, had they been able by faith to look steadfastly to the end of that which was abolished, they could have endured the light which was reflected from the countenance of Moses. “But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” The Jews as a people did not discern that the Messiah whom they rejected, was the Angel who guided their fathers in their travels in the wilderness. To this day the veil is upon their hearts, and its darkness hides from them the good news of salvation through the merits of a crucified Redeemer (The Signs of the Times, August 25, 1887). 1BC 1110.3Read in context »