Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 101:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor - All flatterers and time-servers, and those who by insinuations and false accusations endeavor to supplant the upright, that they may obtain their offices for themselves or their dependants, will I consider as enemies to the state, I will abominate, and expel them from my court.

The Chaldee gives a remarkable meaning to the Hebrew, רעהו בסתר מלשני melasheni bassether reehu, which we translate, Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, and which it renders thus, חבריה על תליתי לישן דמשתעי demishtaey lishan telitai al chabreyah : "He who speaks with the triple tongue against his neighbor." That is, the tongue by which he slays three persons, viz.,

  1. The man whom he slanders;
  • Him to whom he communicates the slander; and,
  • Himself, the slanderer.
  • Every slanderer has his triple tongue, and by every slander inflicts those three deadly wounds. Such a person deserves to be cut off. On this subject St. Jerome speaks nearly in the same way: Ille qui detrahit, et se, et illum qui audit, demergit; "He who slanders ruins both himself and him who hears him;" he might have added, and him who is slandered, for this is often the case; the innocent are ruined by detraction.

    A high look and a proud heart - One who is seeking preferment; who sticks at nothing to gain it; and one who behaves himself haughtily and insolently in his office.

    Will not I suffer - אוכל לא lo uchal, I cannot away with. These persons especially will I drive from my presence, and from all state employments.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour - literally, “One who speaks concerning his neighbor in secret.” If a man has any good to say of another, he will be likely to say it openly; if he has any evil to say, it will be likely to be said in secret. Hence, to speak in secret of anyone comes to mean the same thing as to slander him.

    Him will I cut off - That is, I will cut him off from me; I will not employ him. He would not have one in his house, or in his service, who did injustice to the character of others; who stabbed their reputation in the dark. This was alike indicative of the personal character of the author of the psalm, and of his purpose as the head of a family. It is hardly necessary to say that no one should employ another who is in the habit of slandering his neighbor.

    Him that hath an high look - That is proud - as a proud man commonly carries his head high.

    And a proud heart - The Hebrew word here rendered “proud” commonly means wide, broad, large, as of the sea, or of an extended country, Job 11:9; Exodus 3:8. It is applied also to the law of God as comprehensive, and without limit, Psalm 119:96. Then it comes to mean swelled up - made large - inflated Proverbs 28:25; and hence, proud and arrogant.

    Will not I suffer - I will not tolerate such a person near me. No one can have peace in his house who has such a class of servants or domestics; no one should countenance such persons. Humility is the very foundation of all virtue.

    Ellen G. White
    Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 119

    From their infancy the youth need to have a firm barrier built up between them and the world, that its corrupting influence may not affect them. Parents must exercise unceasing watchfulness, that their children be not lost to God. The vows of David, recorded in the 101st psalm, should be the vows of all upon whom rest the responsibilities of guarding the influences of the home. The psalmist declares: “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” Psalm 101:3-7. CT 119.1

    The youth should not be left to learn good and evil indiscriminately, the parents thinking that at some future time the good will predominate and the evil lose its influence. The evil will increase faster than the good. It is possible that the evil which children learn may be eradicated after many years, but who would trust to this? Whatever else they neglect, parents should never leave their children free to wander in the paths of sin. CT 119.2

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