Let not mercy and truth forsake thee ,.... Or, forsake not them, and the exercise of them; show "mercy" to fellow creatures, to sinful men, to the bodies of men, by relieving their wants; and to their souls, by pitying and praying for them, and by giving them wholesome counsel and advice: to fellow Christians, sympathize with them in their troubles, put on bowels of compassion, be tenderhearted, and forgive offences; and, in a spirit of meekness, restore backsliders, for God will have mercy, and not sacrifice. Attend to "truth"; exercise faith on the Lord; cast not away your confidence; speak truth to your neighbour and brother; and hold fast the truth of the Gospel, and never depart from it. Though many interpreters understand this by way of promise, and as an encouragement to regard the doctrines and ordinances of Christ, rendering the words, "mercy and truth shall not forsake thee" F7 אל יעזבך "non derelinquent te", Piscator; "non deserent te", Michaelis; so Aben Ezra and Gersom. ; meaning the mercy and truth of God; the "mercy" of God in forgiving sin, in sympathizing under affliction, in helping in time of need, in supplying with all needful grace, and in bringing to eternal life; for the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him, Psalm 103:17 ; the "truth" of God, his faithfulness in performing promises, never fails; the unbelief of man cannot make it of no effect; though we believe not, he abides faithful and true to every word of his; not one shall fail, or pass away; all shall be fulfilled; see Psalm 89:33 ; "all his paths are mercy and truth", and he never goes out of them, Psalm 25:10 ;
bind them about thy neck ; as chains for ornament: not mercy and truth, just before mentioned, as may seem at first sight; but the law and commandments of wisdom, Proverbs 3:1 ; or the doctrines and ordinances of Christ; see Proverbs 1:8 ; reckon it as your greatest honour, glory, and beauty, that you steadfastly adhere to these things; nothing makes a believer look more lovely in conversation than a close regard to the truths of Christ, and a constant walking in his ordinances;
write them upon the table of thine heart ; do not forget them, keep them in memory, and always retain a hearty affection for them; it is the Spirit's work to write them in the heart; and when they are there written, it is the work of saints, under a divine influence, to copy them over in life, and to show by their conduct and behaviour that they are written there; see Jeremiah 31:33 . The allusion, in both phrases, is to the directions given about the law of Moses, Deuteronomy 6:8 ; and to the writing of his law on tables of stone: and it was usual with the ancients, in later times, to write on tables of wood; Solon's laws were written on tables of wood F8 Laert, Vit. Solon. A. Gell. Noet. Attic. l. 2. c. 12. ; and such were the "tabellae et pugillares" of the Romans, made of box, beech, and other sorts of wood, covered with wax, on which they wrote; See Gill on Habakkuk 2:2 ; but Solomon would have his law written on the fleshly tables of the heart, 2 Corinthians 3:3 .
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