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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 15

Verse 1

Psalms 15:0.

David describeth a citizen of Zion.

A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד מזמור mizmor ledavid. It is not known with any certainty when David composed this Psalm. Bishop Patrick thinks that it was upon his bringing the ark to mount Sion, 2 Samuel 6., or upon his being restored to it again, after having been driven from it by Absalom. The latter part of it is an answer to the question in the first verse, which gains additional authority as being delivered by God himself. It contains a fine exhortation to the people, to live as became those who were under the government of the righteous God. On which account it seems probable, that it was rather composed for the use of the people, when they assembled there to worship at the stated annual solemnities.

Psalms 15:1. Lord, who shall abide, &c.— Heb. יגור מי mii iagur. Who shall sojourn and lodge.—i.e. "Whom wilt thou admit to pay thee honour in thy temple?" an expression accommodated to the nation, which came from all parts three times a year, to do homage in the temple; the answer, therefore, to this question in the last verse, is, He that doeth these things shall never be shaken; i.e. he shall ever be prosperous, and in a condition to pay his duty to God at Jerusalem. This gives the Psalm the air of one of those which are called Psalms of ascent, and which were sung on occasion of their going up to Jerusalem at their usual solemnities. Mudge.

Verse 2

Psalms 15:2. He that walketh uprightly He that walketh steadily uniform. Mudge. The word צדק tsedek rendered righteousness, signifies not only those duties which strict justice requires from man to man, but likewise all those kind and benevolent offices, which, though not commanded in the law, are the ornaments of our nature, and the very support of society.

Verse 3

Psalms 15:3. Nor taketh up a reproach, &c.— Nor throweth a disgrace upon his neighbour: namely, by dishonouring his wife or daughter. I understand it so, says Mr. Mudge, for two reasons; one, that the common translation comes too near the meaning of the first clause of this verse; the second, that otherwise something very essential to a good man, and which is usually made part of his character, (See Ezekiel 18:0.) would be omitted.

Verse 4

Psalms 15:4. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not The greatest temptation to the breach of oaths and promises to others, is, when the performance of them brings mischief on ourselves; for then is the trial of a man's virtue; and not when he designs either to gain, or not to lose any thing by it. It is, therefore, a very considerable part of a just man's character, that, whatever temporal inconvenience it may involve him in, he breaks not his oath which he has once given.

Verse 5

Psalms 15:5. He that putteth not out his money to usury See Deuteronomy 23:19-20. The next clause seems plainly to shew, that exorbitant and excessive usury is here more immediately pointed at.

REFLECTIONS.—The former Psalm described that desperate corruption of fallen man, which rendered him unfit for communion with God; this describes the character of the faithful, whose captivity to sin is turned, who are justified and forgiven through the blood of Jesus, and by his Spirit made meet for an inheritance among the saints in light.

1. The Psalmist puts an important question: Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? have a place among the faithful in the church of God, and abide there as living members upon earth, and after death be admitted to thy presence in glory? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? in the heavenly Zion, and the city of the living God. Note; (1.) This is a question which we should often be asking, that we may with self-application say, Lord, is it I? (2.) Many have a seat in God's tabernacle on earth, who will find no dwelling in his holy hill above. (3.) If we would know our true state, we must enquire at God's mouth, and examine and judge of ourselves, not by the opinions of men, but by his holy word.

2. The question is resolved, and we must apply the character here described: happy for us if we can find our hearts correspond thereunto. (1.) He that walketh uprightly, with simplicity and godly sincerity; whose bent is to please God, and who is without dissimulation. (2.) And worketh righteousness; who acts towards man with integrity in all his dealings. (3.) And speaketh the truth in his heart; thinks before he speaks in the presence of God, that he may not offer the prayer and service of feigned lips; and among men his words are ever the true copy of his heart; nor does he defraud or go beyond his brother in any matter, making conscience in all his worldly business to speak truth with his neighbour. (4.) He desires in conversation to be harmless and inoffensive; his neighbour's reputation is sacred, he never speaks evil of him, either with malicious design or in common talk; nor taketh up a reproach against him; is pleased with the tales of slander, or encourages them; but, contrariwise, is ever the advocate of the injured and the absent, pleading their cause, and desiring to cast the veil of charity over the multitude of sins: nor doeth evil to his neighbour; his deeds correspond to his words, he does not speak him fair to his face, and, when opportunity offers, make a property of him, or injure him; but studies to advance his interests as his own, and to serve him with his counsel, purse, or influence. (5.) He values men not by their outward show, but by their inward piety: in whose eyes a vile person is contemned; or a wicked man, notwithstanding he may possess the world's goods, honours, and esteem, is contemned; not that he refuses to pay him the civil respect due to his station; but he judges of him according to God's word, and counts it his duty to avoid all intimate connection with him, and is as fearless of his frowns, as regardless of his favour: but he honoureth them that fear the Lord; however poor and despicable they may be in the eyes of the world, he regards them as the excellent of the earth, and they are his companions and familiar friends. (6.) His oath is sacred: he that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not; however much prejudice he may sustain, he fulfils his engagement for his oath's sake, unless released from the obligation. (7.) He is no extortioner, he that putteth not out his money to usury; that is, to take advantage of his neighbour's distress, to exact unjust premiums or interest; for a reasonable recompence for the use of money is as lawful, before God and man, as the rent of land, or the price of labour; and he often lends where the case requires a charitable help, hoping for nothing again. (8.) No bribe can tempt him to bear a false evidence, or engage in a bad cause, or pervert judgment; nor taketh reward against the innocent.

3. He that doeth these things; the man whom this character perseveringly suits, shall never be moved, shall have a place in the church of God, as tried and found faithful, shall be enabled to persevere amidst all difficulties and dangers, and finally be admitted into God's mansion of glory, as a pillar in the temple of God; to go out no more. May such be our character, then such shall be our end!

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 15". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.