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2. I will behave myself prudently in a perfect way. David here shows that he carefully considered how weighty a charge was laid upon him when he was made king. We know, and it is a truth taught us by experience, that almost all kings are intoxicated with the splendors of royalty; and the proverb was not used without foundation in ancient times, “A king must be born either a king or a fool.” It is indeed a mistake to say that kings are born fools. Men were led to speak in this manner, because it commonly happens that those who are invested with the government of kingdoms and empires are fools and blockheads. And surely it is a remarkable instance of the vengeance of God, that beasts, and such as are altogether unworthy to be numbered among men, commonly possess the highest authority. But although kings are not born fools, yet they are so blinded by their dignity, that they think themselves in no respect indebted to their subjects, become arrogant and haughty in their carriage, recklessly plunge into their pleasures, and at length utterly forget themselves. David therefore says, I will behave myself prudently, or, which amounts to the same thing, I will look warily to myself; it being a rare virtue for the man who may do as he pleases to exercise such moderation, as not to allow himself liberty in any degree to do evil. He then who is exalted to sovereign power, and yet, instead of attempting to go as far as he can in doing mischief, restrains himself by self-control, is endued with true understanding. In short, David protests that he will not be like other kings who are infatuated by their own dignity; but that according to the greatness of the charge imposed upon him, he would endeavor wisely to perform his duty. It is to be observed, that he represents wisdom as consisting in a perfect way, or in uprightness. From this we learn that tyrants who employ their talents in forming wicked devices, and who are daily contriving new methods for burdening and oppressing their subjects; in short, who are ingenious only in doing mischief, are not wise towards God. Many persons, it is true, dislike such craftiness; but still, it is undeniable that, if kings are intent upon enlarging the boundaries of their kingdom, and are masters in refined policy for accomplishing such a purpose, this is accounted the most perfect wisdom which they can possess, and is extolled to the skies. David, on the contrary, covets no other wisdom but that which is the mistress of integrity. Till thou comest to me. These words may be read in two ways. Some translate them interrogatively, When wilt thou come? as if David besought God not to subject him to any longer delay. And truly he had just ground to groan and lament, when he saw himself so long oppressed with poverty, and driven from place to place a wretched exile. It had been better for him to have lived obscure and unnoticed in his father’s cottage, following his former occupation as a shepherd, than to be anointed king, that, being driven out of his country, he might live in utter dishonor and hatred. But I prefer reading the sentence without interrogation, until or when thou comest; and yet even this I interpret somewhat differently from the majority of commentators, understanding it to mean, that although David still continued in the condition of a private person, and did not enjoy the royal power which had been promised him, he nevertheless did not cease in the meantime to follow after uprightness. Thus he sets the midst of his house in opposition to palaces and public buildings; as if he had said, Within my private house or in my family.




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