Psalm 58:1

Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?

Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation?.... Of the mighty, as in Psalms 82:1; the judges of the land, who were many, and therefore called a congregation, as it is necessary they should; for, being many, they are not so easily bribed; and besides, one may see that in a cause which another does not. The word signifies a "sheaf" {t}; and so it is by some rendered, to which a bench or assembly of judges may be compared; because consisting of many, and a select body, who should unite together in a sentence or decree, and act uprightly, like a sheaf of wheat standing upright; see Genesis 37:7; some think the word has the signification of dumbness, or silence; so Jarchi and R. Moses {u}; as "elem" in Psalms 56:1, title, and render it, "do ye indeed speak dumb justice?" or "the dumbness of justice" {w}; or are you dumb, or your mouth silent, when ye should speak righteousness? and so the psalmist accuses them for their criminal silence, in not contradicting Saul and his courtiers when they spake against him; and for not advising him to another kind of conduct towards him. All men ought to speak that which is right and truth; but especially judges on the bench, who are to judge the people with just judgment, Deuteronomy 16:18; but here this is doubted of, and called in question; at least their sincerity in giving judgment: yea, it is denied; for this interrogation carries in it a strong denial; and the meaning is, that they did not speak righteousness, or that which was just and right in the cause of David, when before them;

do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? no, they did not; they were unjust judges. The psalmist calls them "the sons of men", as in

1 Samuel 26:19, in distinction from God the Judge of all, and to put them in mind of their frailty and mortality; for though they were gods by office, they were but men, and should die like men, and be accountable to the supreme Judge for all their proceedings in judgment here,

Psalms 82:1.

{t} Mla "e manipulo", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "e manipulo justifiae", Cocceius.
{u} In Aben Ezra in loc.
{w} So Varenius, Reinbech, Michaelis.