Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 5

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2981. B.C. 1023.

This Psalm is a prayer, addressed to God in some time of great distress and trouble, in which the psalmist continues, and resolves still to continue instant in prayer, Psalms 5:1-3 . Declares the irreconcilable hatred which God bears to sin, Psalms 5:4-6 . And his own confidence of being accepted, Psalms 5:7 . He prays for grace to direct and preserve him in the way, Psalms 5:8 . Sets forth the wickedness of his enemies, Psalms 5:9 . Foretels their punishment, Psalms 5:10 . And the salvation of the faithful, Psalms 5:11 , Psalms 5:12 .

The title of the Psalm. Upon Nehiloth This word is nowhere else used in Scripture. It is thought to signify a wind instrument, as Neginoth signifies stringed instruments.

Verses 1-2

Psalms 5:1-2. Consider my meditation That is, my prayer, as the foregoing and following words show. He calls his prayer his meditation, to signify that it was not the mere labour of his lips, but that it proceeded from, and was accompanied with, the deepest thoughts and most fervent affections of his soul. Hearken unto the voice of my cry The sincerity and earnestness of our cry to God will be in proportion to the sense we have of our sins and wants. My King It is the part and duty of a king to answer the just and humble desires of his subjects; and my God: for unto thee will I pray To thee alone will I direct all my prayers, for to whom should a sinner pray but to his God? and therefore, from thee alone I expect succour and relief.

Verses 3-4

Psalms 5:3-4. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning That is, early, seasonably, in a time when thou wilt be found, and art ready to hear; or rather, every morning. As soon as I awake, I am still with thee, as he says Psalms 139:18. The first thing that I do is to pray to thee. For, or but, or surely, thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness Or, in wicked men. Thou dost not approve of, or delight in them, or in their prayers; neither shall evil dwell with thee Have any friendship or fellowship with thee.

Verses 5-6

Psalms 5:5-6. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight Literally, The mad shall not stand before thine eyes; shall not be admitted to attend upon thee, nor shall they be acquitted at the judgment of the great day. The word הוללים , holelim, here rendered the foolish, properly signifies the madmen, as the learned reader may see by consulting Ecclesiastes 2:2; Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Ecclesiastes 10:13; Isaiah 44:25. Wicked men are intended, as the next clause explains it; who are indeed morally and really madmen, in that they oppose and fight against Omnipotence, and voluntarily expose themselves to such dreadful miseries as are implied in everlasting banishment from God, for such mean and momentary gains or pleasures as are found in sin. Thou shalt destroy With an everlasting destruction from thy presence, and the glory of thy power, them that speak leasing Or falsehood, that continue so to do, and will not be reformed: that are void of integrity and veracity, or who suffer themselves to be employed by the father of lies in spreading calumnies and slanders. The Lord will abhor the bloody man also That is, the passionate, the malicious, the implacable. For inhumanity, cruelty, and revenge are no less contrary, no less hateful to the God of mercy, than deceit, lies, and slanders are to the God of truth.

Verse 7

Psalms 5:7. But I will come into thy house Namely, into thy tabernacle, with holy boldness and confidence, as becomes thy son and servant; in the multitude of thy mercy Trusting only in thy great mercy for admittance thither and acceptance there. Or, for, or because of thy many mercies to me: for which I will come to render thanks and praise, and to pay the service so justly due to thee for thy goodness. And in thy fear With a holy dread and reverence of thy majesty; will I worship In spirit and in truth, thee who art a spirit, who searchest the heart, and requirest truth in the inward parts, toward thy holy temple Hebrew, the temple of thy holiness, looking toward it when I cannot come to it. Or, as אל היכל , el heecal, may be rendered, at thy holy temple, that is, the tabernacle, which is sometimes called by that name.

Verse 8

Psalms 5:8. Lead me, O Lord Direct my heart, and counsels, and affairs, and all the course and actions of my life; in thy righteousness In thy righteous laws, or, for, or, because of, or, according to, thy righteousness, a phrase and argument frequently used in the Psalms. Because of mine enemies That I may give them no occasion of slandering me, or religion for my sake. Make the way Wherein thou wouldst have me to walk, or the course thou wouldst have me to take; straight before my face Plain to my view, that I may clearly discern it, and readily, evenly, and smoothly walk in it without mistake, hinderance, or stumbling, which my enemies would gladly take hold of. “Thus, a man’s enemies,” says Dr. Horne,

“while they oblige him to pray more fervently, and to watch more narrowly over his conduct, oftentimes become his best friends.”

Verse 9

Psalms 5:9. There is no faithfulness in their mouth They speak one thing and mean another, and under a pretence of kindness seek my destruction; which renders it difficult for me to know how I ought to carry myself toward them, and therefore I have asked thy direction. Their inward part is very wickedness Hebrew, קרבם הוות , kirbam havvoth, literally, woes, sorrows, or mischiefs, are within them. The word seems to have a meaning derived from the sound, הוה , eue, or הוי , hoe, any thing upon which we pronounce a wo; evil of any kind, natural or moral. “Their inward part is all woful, execrable stuff, or rottenness, which sends forth nauseous steams, as though it were a sepulchre open.” Mudge. Their throat is an open sepulchre Their speech coming out of their throat though smooth and subtle, is most pernicious: or, their mouth and throat are opened wide, ready to devour all that come within their reach: a metaphor taken from wild beasts gaping for the prey. They flatter with their tongue They make a show of piety and friendship that they may more easily deceive and destroy. The reader will recollect that “a part of this verse is cited, Romans 3:13, together with several other passages from the Psalms and prophets, to evince the depravity of mankind; whether Jews or Gentiles, till justified by faith, and renewed by grace. It is plain, therefore, that the description was designed for others besides the enemies of the literal David, and is of more general import, reaching to the world of the ungodly, and the enemies of all righteousness, as manifested in the person of the Messiah, and in his church.” Horne.

Verse 10

Psalms 5:10. Destroy thou them, O God Hebrew, האשׁימם , haashimem, hold them guilty, that is, condemn and punish them; or, make them desolate, as the word is used Ezekiel 6:6; Joel 1:18. Let them fall by their own counsels That is, make their counsels, not only unsuccessful against me, but also destructive to themselves. Or, from their counsels, that is, let them fall short of their aims and designs. Or, because of their counsels, which are ungodly and unjust, and so deserve destruction. Cast them out Of thy land and from among the people, whom they either infect or molest by their wicked courses. For they have rebelled against thee Against thy authority and declared will, concerning my advancement to the throne, and that of my seed the Messiah, and concerning the enlargement of thy church. It is justly observed by Dr. Horne, Dr. Dodd, and others, concerning these imprecatory passages of the Psalms, that they may all be rendered in the future tense, as indeed they ought to be to obviate objections, and cut off all occasion of offence from those who desire and seek it. “The verse before us would then run thus: ‘Thou wilt destroy them, O God; they shall perish by their own counsels: thou wilt cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, for they have rebelled against thee.’ Thus rendered, the words contain a prophecy of the infatuation, rejection, and destruction of such as should obstinately persevere in their opposition to the counsels of Heaven, whether relating to David, to Christ, or to the church. The fate of Ahithophel and Absalom, of Judas and the Jews, should warn others not to offend after the same example.”

Verses 11-12

Psalms 5:11-12. But let those that put their trust in thee That dare rely on thy word and promise when all human hopes and refuges fail; rejoice

Let them have cause of great joy from thy love and care of them; because thou defendest them As it follows. Let them also that love thy name That is, thy majesty and glory, thy word and worship, all which is called God’s name, in Scripture; be joyful Hebrew, יעלצו , jangletzu, exult in thee. Thus David does not confine his prayer to his party, but prays for, and predicts the happiness of all good men, though some of them, through their own mistakes, or other men’s artifices, might now be in a state of opposition to him. And so, as the preceding verse foretold the perdition of the ungodly, this describes the happiness of the saints. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous Thou hast engaged thyself by promise and covenant, and art resolved to bless them, and therefore my prayer for them is agreeable to thy will; with favour With thy love and gracious providence; wilt thou compass him as with a shield That is, keep him safe on every side.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 5". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/psalms-5.html. 1857.
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