on Psalms 116 :11
I said in my haste - This is variously translated: I said in my Light, Chaldee. In my excess, or ecstasy, Vulgate. In my ecstasy, εκστασει, Septuagint. fi tahayury, in my giddiness, Arabic. In my fear or tremor, Syriac. I quoth in outgoing mine, when I was beside myself, Anglo-Saxon. In myn oute passyng, old Psalter. When passion got the better of my reason, when I looked not at God, but at my afflictions, and the impossibility of human relief.
All men are liars - כל האדם כזב col haadam cozeb, "the whole of man is a lie." Falsity is diffused through his nature; deception proceeds from his tongue; his actions are often counterfeit. He is imposed on by others, and imposes in his turn; and on none is there any dependence till God converts their heart.
"O what a thing were man, if his attires
Should alter with his mind,
And, like a dolphin's skin,
His clothes combine with his desires!
Surely if each one saw another's heart,
There would be no commerce;
All would disperse, And live apart."
To the same purpose I shall give the following Italian proverb: -
Con arte e con inganno,
Si vive mezzo l'anno.
Con inganno e con arte
on Psalms 116 :11
I said in my haste - The Hebrew word used here means to flee in haste; to be in alarm and trepidation; and the idea seems to be, that the assertion referred to was made under the influence of excitement - or that it was not the result of sober reflection, but of an agitated state of mind. It does not necessarily imply that that which was said was false, for many true statements may be made when the mind is agitated and excited; but the meaning is, that he was then in such a state of mind as to suggest the belief, and to cause the assertion that all people are liars. Whether calm reflection would, or would not, confirm this impression of the moment would be a fair question after the excitement was over.
All men are liars - Are false; no one is to be relied on. This was said in the time of his affliction, and this added much to his affliction. The meaning is that, in those circumstances of distress, no one came to his aid; no one sympathized with him; there was no one to whom he could unbosom himself; no one seemed to feel any interest in him. There were relatives on whom he might have supposed that he could rely; there may have been those to whom he had shown kindness in similar circumstances; there may have been old friends whose sympathy he might have had reason to expect; but all failed. No one came to help him. No one shed a tear over his sorrows. No one showed himself true to friendship, to sympathy, to gratitude. All people seemed to be false; and he was shut up to God alone. A similar thing is referred to in Psalm 41:5-9; Psalm 88:18; compare also Job 19:13-17. This is not an unnatural feeling in affliction. The mind is then sensitive. We need friends then. We expect our friends to show their friendship then. If they do not do this, it seems to us that the entire world is false. It is evident from the whole course of remark here that the psalmist on reflection felt that he had said this without due thought, under the influence of excitement - and that he was disposed, when his mind was restored to calmness, to think better of mankind than he did in the day of affliction and trouble. This also is not uncommon. The world is much better than we think it is when our own minds are morbid and our nerves are unstrung; and bad as the world is, our opinion of it is not unfrequently the result rather of our own wrong feeling than of just reflection on the real character of mankind.
on Psalms 116 :11