Psalm 58:2
(2) In heart . . . in the earth (or, better, in the land).--These in the text are in antithesis. The mischief conceived in the heart is weighed out, instead of justice, by these unjust magistrates. The balance of justice is thus turned into a means of wrong-doing. But, perhaps, we should rather arrange as follows:

Nay! with your heart ye work wickedness in the land,

With your hands you weigh out violence.

Verse 2. - Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; literally, wickednesses, or iniquities. These ye first devise in your heart, and then (see the next clause) carry out with your hands. Ye weigh (or, weigh out) the violence of your hands in the earth. Instead of carefully meting out justice to men, after accurately weighing it in the balance of right and equity, you weigh out to them mere wrong and "violence."

58:1-5 When wrong is done under the form of law, it is worse than any other; especially it is grievous to behold those who profess to be children of God, joining together against any of his people. We should thank the Lord for merciful restraints; we should be more earnest in seeking renewing grace, more watchful over ourselves, and more patient under the effects of fallen nature in others. The corruption of their nature was the root of bitterness. We may see in children the wickedness of the world beginning. They go astray from God and their duty as soon as possibly they can. And how soon will little children tell lies! It is our duty to take pains to teach them, and above all, earnestly to pray for converting grace to make our children new creatures. Though the poison be within, much of it may be kept from breaking forth to injure others. When the Saviour's words are duly regarded, the serpent becomes harmless. But those who refuse to hear heavenly wisdom, must perish miserably, for ever.Yea, in heart ye work wickedness,.... So far were they from speaking righteousness, and judging uprightly. The heart of man is wickedness itself; it is desperately wicked, and is the shop in which all wickedness is wrought; for sinful acts are committed there as well as by the tongue and hand, as follows. This phrase also denotes their sinning; not with precipitancy, and through surprise; but with premeditation and deliberation; and their doing it heartily, with good will, and with allowance, and their continuance and constant persisting in it;

ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth; they were guilty of acts of violence and oppression, which, of all men, judges should not be guilty of; whose business it is to plead the cause of the injured and oppressed, to right their wrongs, and to protect and defend them: these they pretended to weigh in the balance of justice and equity, and committed them under a show of righteousness; they decreed unrighteous decrees, and framed mischief by a law; and this they did openly, and everywhere, throughout the whole land.

Psalm 58:1
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