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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 5

Verse 1

Give ear to my words O LORD consider my meditation Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Title. - Upon Nehiloth, [ 'el (H413) hanªchiylowt (H5155) 'on the flutes:' or 'to 'be sung TO wind-instruments' (Maurer), from chaalal (H2490), to bore. But 'el' is never used to introduce the instruments]. Probably the title is enigmatic, and expresses poetically the subject of the Psalm. The Septuagint and other Greek translators render it as: huper tees kleeronomousees, concerning the heiress:' so Vulgate. The heiress is the Church, who possesses the Lord as her "inheritance" (Psalms 16:5). Or else passively [from naachal (H5157)], 'Her who is possessed as an inheritance;' the Lord's portion is His people. 'Jacob (type of the Church) is the lot of His inheritance.' The plural implies the plurality of members in the, Church Hengstenberg translates, 'upon the lots'-namely, the double destiny, blessing appointed by God to the righteous-misery to the wicked.

As Psalms 4:1-8 was for the evening, so Psalms 5:1-12 is a morning prayer. Psalms 5:1-2. David's early cry (Psalms 5:1-3); his plea, God's hatred of sin, and love of sincere wordshippers (Psalms 5:4-7); prayer for guidance amidst foes whose doom must be perdition from God (Psalms 5:8-10); contrasted lot of the righteous (Psalms 5:11-12).

Give ear ... consider. The latter verb [ biynaah (H995)] is stronger than "give ear." 'Take cognizance of, so as to understand my meditation,' or [ hagiygiy (H1901)] which in Psalms 39:3 is translated "musing," 'intense sighing:' my fervent prayer of the heart, expressed only in moans: "groanings which cannot be uttered," but which "He that searcheth the hearts, and knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit," understands (Romans 8:26-27). This groaning inward prayer stands in contrast to the previous "my (uttered) words." Compare Psalms 39:2-3.

Verse 2

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

Hearken-used in the English portion for other Hebrew verbs, [translate, therefore, qaashab (H7181) here, 'Attend to'].

My cry. Another form of prayer, expressed in loud earnest calls for help, distinguished from "my words" and "my meditation" (Psalms 5:1).

My king, and my God - the ground of his prayer. God, as David's king, standing at the head of the Israelite theocracy, cannot let evil triumph in his kingdom, or His believing subjects call for help against their unbelieving foes in vain. 'David places himself in opposition to the unbelieving, who in misfortune neglecting God, either consume their grief within themselves, or make complaints of it to men, as if God took no cognizance of them' (Calvin).

Verse 3

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning. It is my first thought when I awake, to raise "my voice" to thee: do thou also lose no time in 'speedily' helping me (Psalms 143:7-8).

Direct my prayer, [ `aarak (H6186)] - 'set in order (the particulars of my case) before thee.' The Hebrew is used of setting in order the wood upon the altar (Genesis 22:9; Leviticus 1:7; 1 Kings 18:33), and the show-bread upon the sacred table before the Lord (Leviticus 24:8). Prayer is the spiritual oblation which the believer presents, the first each day. The two other times of prayer, 'evening and noon,' are mentioned, Psalms 55:17. Prayer is not to be offered at random, but with words duly set in order before the God who has no pleasure in the "sacrifice of fools" (Ecclesiastes 5:1).

Look up, [ tsaapah (H6822)] - 'I will look out'-namely, as one on a watchtower looking out eagerly for the expected succour (Habakkuk 2:1; Micah 7:7).

Verse 4

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

For - the ground of his hope. Deliverance from his enemies is the object of his prayer. His enemies are wicked (Psalms 5:9-10), therefore God will deliver him, as being a sincere worshipper, from them.

For thou art not a God, [ 'Eel (H410), here first: "The Mighty One"]

That hath pleasure in wickedness. Seven expressions portray the ungodly (Psalms 5:4-6): 'wickedness: evil: the foolish: workers of iniquity: them that speak evil: the bloody: deceitful man.' Again, seven in Psalms 5:9-10: 'No faithfulness in their mouth: their inward part very wickedness: their throat an open sepulchre: they flatter with their tongue: their own counsels: multitude of transgressions: rebelled against thee.' Seven expresses consummated totality.

Neither shall evil dwell with thee, [Hebrew: guwr (H1481): 'sojourn with thee'] - neither shall evil be received by thee as a pilgrim, to sojourn even for a time in thy tabernacle (Psalms 15:1; Psalms 61:4). He who would dwell with God must be holy, as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

Verse 5

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

The foolish, [ howlªliym (H1984), 'the boastful']. Folly is the designation of boasting (2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:21); and The foolish, [ howlªliym (H1984), 'the boastful']. Folly is the designation of boasting (2 Corinthians 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:21); and of sin generally (Psalms 14:1; Psalms 73:3), with the additional idea of high-mindedness here, which is specially offensive to God.

Shall not stand in thy sight. Kings allow none to stand in their presence at court, except those who enjoy their favour.

Iniquity - literally, 'vanity' [ 'aawen (H205), nothingness].

Verse 6

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

Leasing - old English for 'lies.'

Verse 7

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

But as for me - While mine enemies, whom the Lord abhors, are put down, I, whom thou lovest as thy pious worshipper, will come unto thine house (to thank thee for deliverance, Psalms 5:11; Psalms 66:13), not through mine own power, but through thy favour.

In the multitude, of thy mercy - `in the greatness of thy favour,' shown in my deliverance [Compare Psalms 69:13; Psalms 69:16 - checed (H2617)]

In thy fear. Compare the parallel words, "in the multitude (greatness) of thy mercy (favour)." David's reverent fear of God is the result of the grace of God experienced in his deliverance. Compare Psalms 130:4. So the touching appeal of God, Ezekiel 16:62-63. Also, Jacob's fear after God's manifestation of grace (Genesis 28:17).

Toward thy ... temple. David, according to Israelite usage, turned himself, in praying, toward the seat of Yahweh's manifested presence in Zion, from whence he looked for aid. The word "temple" [ heeykal (H1964)] does not prove this psalm to be subsequent to David's time; because the term "the temple of Yahweh" is applied in 1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:3, to the Mosaic tabernacle at Shiloh; and to the tabernacle which covered the ark of the covenant placed by David on Zion (Psalms 27:4). 'The dwelling place of the Lord was not so named as being a great building, but from being His residence as King of Israel. The house where a king dwells is a palace, whether it be splendid or not' (Hengstenberg). The heeykal (H1964) includes the "temple" strictly so called, the holy and most holy place together, as distinguished from the outer court.

Verse 8

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

The matter of Psalms 5:8-12 is parallel to that Psalms 5:3-7. A prayer; the plea whereon it rests; the hope resulting thence. The confident hope expressed in Psalms 5:7, so far from causing remissness, only stimulates him to pray afresh, on the ground of that hope.

Lead me ... in thy righteousness - i:e., in the righteousness which thou requirest, which thou dost impart of thy "mercy" (Psalms 5:7), and which thou rewardest with thy blessing (Psalms 5:12). Hengstenberg explains it-`God's own righteousness, whereby He gives to every one His own, befriends the pious, and destroys the ungodly.' I prefer the former explanation, as confirmed by "thy way" in the parallel clause. Compare Psalms 27:11.

Because of mine enemies - Hebrew, 'those who observe' or "lie in wait for me" (Psalms 27:11, margin; Luke 11:54; cf. Jeremiah 5:26; Hosea 13:7).

Make ... straight - i:e., unimpeded (Isaiah 40:3).

Verse 9

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

Parallel to Psalms 5:4-5; as Psalms 5:10 is to Psalms 5:6. Seven characteristics of the wicked.

For - assigning the reason why he needed to be 'led in God's righteousness' (Psalms 5:8) - namely, because of the great sinfulness and insidiousness of his enemies.

No faithfulness, [ nªkownaah (H3559)] - steadfastness. No fixed principle to make their professions with "their mouth" trustworthy (Psalms 62:4, end).

Their inward part - their heart, the seat of the feelings, as distinguished from the mouth, the organ of words.

Their throat is an open sepulchre - `emitting in impious language the noisome exhalations of a putrid heart entombed in a body of sin' (Dr. Horne). The throat is used as an organ of speech (Psalms 115:7), and of swallowing. Malignant and treacherous speeches are the weapons wherewith their kill and devour, as a sepulchre opened to receive its victim (Jeremiah 5:16; Psalms 35:25; Psalms 124:3).

If They flatter with their tongue - Hebrew, 'they make smooth [ yachª;ouquwn (H2505)] their tongue.' If ever they speak what is good, it is in order the more effectually to destroy. 'By plausible arguments, contriving to set a fair appearance upon mischievous maxims' (Horsley).

Verse 10

Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

Destroy - Hebrew, 'Deal with them us guilty;' 'bring on them the penalty of guilt' [ ha'ªshiymeem (H816)]: cf. margin, Psalms 34:21. These imprecatory denunciations do not prove that the Old Testament is a lower standard than the Gospel (cf. Matthew 5:44 with 38); but are predictions of the afore-appointed doom of the transgressors (Jude 1:4): also they express David's concurrence in it as the sentence of God. David pronounces God's sentence against them, not as his personal enemies, but as opposers of God and His Anointed: and only against the finally impenitent (Psalms 7:12). 'What God does, and must do, that man not merely may, but must wish' (Hengstenberg). 'David speaks in the form of a wish concerning what he certainly foresees, showing how we must not be dissatisfied with the known determination of God which He has unalterably fixed' (Augustine, Sermon Twenty-two, 'Ad Scrip.') Compare 1 Samuel 15:35; 1 Samuel 16:1; Psalms 139:21; Revelation 14:10. Joy in the destruction of God's foes becomes the child of God alike in the Old and New Testaments.

Let them fall by (Hebrew, min, from; owing to) their own counsels - like Haman (Esther 7:9-10).

Verse 11

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Let all those that ... trust in thee rejoice - being delivered from all their spiritual and personal enemies, who are the enemies of God also. David classes all the godly with himself. His triumph is the pledge of theirs.

Defendest - Hebrew, 'coverest them over' [ taaceek (H5526) `aaleeymow (H5921)].

Them that love thy name. The name of God does not signify His mere appellation, but expresses His native. Thus to love God's name is to love Himself, in so far as He has manifested His nature in relation to us (Isaiah 9:6).

Verse 12

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

For - the ground of his hope expressed in Psalms 5:7; Psalms 5:11. It is thy way, founded upon thy nature, to "bless the righteous."

As with a shield, [ tsinaah (H6793)] - the larger shield, covering the whole body, as distinguished from the smaller.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-5.html. 1871-8.