when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people. The people of God are, in their unregeneracy, in a state of captivity to sin, Satan, and the law; the work of the Messiah, when he came, was to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set them free, to deliver them from their spiritual bondage: and this Christ has done; he has redeemed his people from all their sins, and from the curse of the law, and from the power of Satan, and has led captivity captive; and which has justly occasioned great joy in the redeemed ones, according to this prophecy:
Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad; that is, the posterity of Jacob and Israel; not his natural, but spiritual seed, such who are the true sons of Jacob, Israelites indeed; these having faith and hope in the plenteous redemption of Christ, rejoice in the view of their interest in it; they the song of redeeming love now, and these ransomed ones will hereafter come to Zion with joy, and everlasting joy upon their heads. The Jews refer this to the times of the Messiah (c).
(c) Baal Hatturim in Numbers 25.12. & Midrash Tillim in loc.
INTRODUCTION TO Psalm 15
A Psalm of David. As in the preceding psalm, according to Theodoret, the salvation of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is foretold, and the liberty of the captives; so in this advice is given to them, and the life they ought to live proposed, who should share in such benefits.
who shall dwell in thy holy hill? the same is here intended as in the preceding clause; the allusion is to Mount Zion, whither the ark of the Lord was brought in David's time, and on one part of which the temple was afterwards built: and the church may be compared to this hill, for its eminence and visibility in the world; for the holiness which God has put upon it, and for the immovableness of it; for though like, a tabernacle it may be carried from place to place, yet it is like an hill that can never be removed out of the world; it is built on a sure foundation, the Rock of ages. Now the purport of these questions is, who is a proper person to be an inhabitant of Zion? or to be a member of the church of God? the answer is in the following verses.
(d) "peregrinabitur", Pagninus, Montanus; "diversabitur", Muis; so Ainsworth; "vel hospitabitur", Cocceius.
and worketh righteousness; not in order to his justification before God; for not such an one, but he that trusts in the Lord for righteousness, shall inherit his holy mountain, Isaiah 57:12; but he that works the work of faith, and believes in the righteousness of Christ; who looks to it and receives it; that lays hold on it and pleads it as his justifying righteousness; he that does righteousness in this sense, is righteous as Christ is righteous, 1 John 3:7; and such an one is a proper person to dwell in his house; and who also by faith does works of righteousness, and whose life is a series and course of righteousness, as a fruit of his faith, and in consequence of his having laid hold on the righteousness of Christ;
and speaketh the truth in his heart; receives Christ who is the truth, and the Gospel the word of truth into his heart, and makes an hearty profession of the same before men; and both speaks according to his light in the Scriptures of truth, whenever he speaks of divine things; and in common conversation speaks truth from his heart to his neighbour, and does not speak with a double heart, or say one thing with his mouth, and intend another in his heart; see Psalm 12:2; or endeavour to deceive persons, and impose a falsehood on them, or tell them lies; for as such a person is not fit to dwell in a private house, or to be in a civil society, much less is he a proper person to be in the house of God.
(e) "perfectus", Montanus, Gejerus,
nor doeth evil to his neighbour: to any man whatever, good or bad, friend or foe, whether in a natural, civil, or spiritual relation, either by words or deeds, to his person, property, or good name;
nor taketh up, a reproach against his neighbour; does not raise any scandalous report on him himself, nor will he bear to hear one from another, much less will he spread one; nor will he suffer one to lie upon his neighbour, but will do all he can to vindicate him, and clear his character.
but he honoureth them that fear the Lord; who have the covenant grace of fear wrought in their hearts, and serve the Lord with reverence and godly fear; that is, who are truly religious and godly persons; these such who are fit members of the church of Christ love heartily, esteem of highly, and honour them by thinking and speaking well of them, and behaving with great respect and decency to them; see Romans 12:10;
he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not; having taken a solemn oath, so sacred is it with him, and such a regard has he to the name of God, by whom he swears, that though it is to his civil loss and detriment, yet he will not break it and depart from it, but punctually observe it: some render it, "he that swears to his neighbour, and changeth not" (g); he that is just to his word, faithful to his promises, that exactly fulfils all the obligations he lays himself under unto others; he that is honest and upright in all his dealings. The Jewish writers interpret this clause of a man's vowing and swearing to afflict himself by fasting, which, though it is to the emaciating of his body, yet he strictly observes his vow or oath; but this is foreign from the scope of the place: it might be rendered, "he that swears to do evil, and does not recompense or perform" (h), it being better to break through such an oath than to keep it; see Leviticus 5:4.
(f) "qui despicit se in oculis suis", so some in Vatablus; "ille est despectus in propriis oculis, reprobatus", Gussetius, p. 453. (g) , Sept. "proximo suo", V. L. Sic. Syr. Ar. Aethiop. (h) So Ainsworth.