Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Psalms 5

Verses 1-3

1. Prayer to be heard5:1-3

David cried out to God to listen to his prayer that arose out of great concern. His references to praying in the morning show the earnestness of his petition and his felt need for God"s help. The first thing David did when he awoke was to pray to God because he sensed his need for God"s assistance very keenly. The implication is that an injustice had been committed. David viewed Yahweh as his King, who could deliver him, and as his God, who was his Father. VanGemeren regarded "my God" as the Old Testament equivalent of "Abba Father." [Note: Ibid, p87. See also his excursus on Yahweh as God, pp91-96.]

Verses 1-12

Psalm 5

This is another prayer of David that arose out of opposition by enemies (cf. Psalm 3, 4), as is clear from the content. In contrast to Psalm 4, this one is a morning prayer. The Jews regarded each new day as beginning with sundown. Both are individual laments that contain elements of confidence, but this one also has characteristics of a community lament ( Psalm 5:11-12) and an imprecation.

Verses 4-6

David was aware that the One whom he petitioned was absolutely upright. Consequently those who are boastful and presumptuous cannot count on standing before Him and finding favor in His eyes. God hates and destroys liars, deceivers, and murderers.

"The LORD "hates" the wicked in the sense that he despises their wicked character and deeds and actively opposes and judges them for their wickedness. See Psalm 11:5." [Note: The NET Bible note on5:5.]

"If the Jews cursed more bitterly than the Pagans, this was, I think, at least in part because they took right and wrong more seriously. For if we look at their railings we find they are usually angry not simply because these things have been done to them but because these things are manifestly wrong, are hateful to God as well as to the victim." [Note: C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalm, p30.]

Verses 4-7

2. Praise for God"s holiness5:4-7

Verse 7

David did not claim a right to stand before God and to present his petitions on the basis of his own righteousness. He believed God would be merciful to him because God had made promises to bless David and his house ( 2 Samuel 7). The king believed God would be loyal to His servant. "Lovingkindness" (NASB) or "mercy" (NIV) means "loyal love" (Heb. hesed). The house and temple in view refer to the tabernacle David had pitched for the ark in Jerusalem ( 2 Samuel 6:17; cf. 1 Samuel 1:7; 1 Samuel 1:9). Rather than behaving arrogantly like the wicked, David prostrated himself before the Lord in worship. This posture expressed an attitude of humility and vulnerability in God"s presence.

Verse 8

Essentially what David asked for was guidance in the righteous path God trod; he did not want to walk in the way of the wicked ( Psalm 5:4-6; cf. Psalm 1). He wanted to clearly see the righteous way to live so he would not wander from it. Departure from it was a possibility because of the influence of the wicked.

Verses 8-12

3. Prayer for guidance5:8-12

Verse 9

David mentioned a few of the sins of the wicked. They were untrustworthy in their speech. They determined to destroy rather than to edify. Their words led to death, and they were deceitful flatterers (cf. Romans 3:13).

Verse 10

The king asked God to hold the wicked guilty rather than let them escape the consequences of their sins. He asked that they be snared in their own traps, and that they be thrust out, probably from their positions of influence and even ultimately from God"s presence. This was a legitimate request because they had rebelled against the King in heaven by behaving contrary to His will.

Verse 11-12

On the other hand, those who love God can count on His blessing and protection. They will respond to His care with joyful singing in praise of Him. This is the first of many references to singing in the Book of Psalm. "Thy name," an expression found over100 times in the Psalter, refers to the character and attributes of God as He has revealed these to human beings. The whole psalm finds its focus in the faith expressed in Psalm 5:12.

We who are God"s people should seek God"s help in prayer diligently, so we may perceive and walk in God"s ways of righteousness. When we do so walk, we will experience His joy, protection, and fellowship-rather than sharing the fate of the wicked. [Note: See Swindoll, pp16-26.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-5.html. 2012.