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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 5

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 5:0


Prayer For Protection From the Wicked MT Intro“For the choir director; for flute accompaniment. A Psalm of David” A Prayer for GuidancePrayer for Deliverance From Personal Enemies (a Lament) A Prayer for Protection Morning Prayer
Psalms 5:1-3 Psalms 5:1-3 Psalms 5:1-3 Psalms 5:1-3 Psalms 5:1-2
Psalms 5:3
Psalms 5:4-7 Psalms 5:4-6 Psalms 5:4-6 Psalms 5:4-6 Psalms 5:4-5a
Psalms 5:5-6
Psalms 5:7-8 Psalms 5:7-8 Psalms 5:7-8 Psalms 5:7
Psalms 5:8-10 Psalms 5:8
Psalms 5:9-10 Psalms 5:9-10 Psalms 5:9-10 Psalms 5:9
Psalms 5:10
Psalms 5:11-12 Psalms 5:11-12 Psalms 5:11-12 Psalms 5:11-12 Psalms 5:11
Psalms 5:12

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

Verses 1-3

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 5:1-3 1Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning. 2Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. 3In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.

Psalms 5:1-2 This prayer begins with three imperatives.

1. give ear to my words BDB 24; KB 27, Hiphil imperative

2. consider my groanings BDB 106, KB 122, Qal imperative (“groaning,” BDB 211, only here and Psalms 39:3, “musing”)

3. heed the sound of my cry BDB 904, KB 1151, Hiphil imperative

These do not represent a fear on the psalmist's part that God will not hear, but Hebrew parallelism.

Psalms 5:1 “O Lord” Notice the parallelism of titles.

1. O Lord (YHWH, cf. Exodus 3:14)

2. my King (the terminology comes from 1 Samuel 8:7, cf. Psalms 84:3, the rabbis later call YHWH “the King of the universe”)

3. my God (see note below)

For #3 there are several forms of the term “God/god.” A good example is Deuteronomy 32:0.

Psalms 5:1. Deuteronomy 32:3, Deuteronomy 32:15 (Eloah, BDB 42-43, cf. Psalms 5:2)

Psalms 5:2. Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:21 (El, BDB 41-42, cf. Psalms 5:4)

Psalms 5:3. Deuteronomy 32:17 (Elohim, BDB 43-44, cf. Psalms 5:10)

All are based on El, which denotes power and strength. It is the general name for deity in the ANE. In poetry all are used interchangeably.

Psalms 5:3 This Psalm denotes a morning prayer. For post-exilic Jews there were several set times a day when prayers were offered.

1. at the time of the morning sacrifice, about 9 a.m. (possibly alluded to in Psalms 46:5b)

2. at noon

3. at the time of the evening sacrifice, about 3 p.m.

This faithful follower structured his day around times with God. He believed God heard and would respond (i.e., “eagerly watch,” Psalms 5:3b, BDB 859 I, KB 1044, Piel imperfect).

The daily sacrifices in the tabernacle (cf. Exodus 29:38-42), and later temple, occurred every morning and evening. They were called “The Continual.” These were special times to draw near to YHWH.

NASB“I will order” NKJV“I will direct” NRSV“I will plead” TEV“I will offer” NJB“I will lay” LXX“I will present”

This verb (BDB 789, KB 884, Qal imperfect) has a wide semantic field but basically means “to arrange something.” Here it could be (1) words or (2) sacrifice.

eagerly watch” This verb (BDB 859, KB 1044, Piel imperfect) denotes expectant waiting for something, here for YHWH to respond to the psalmist's prayer (cf. Lamentations 4:17; Micah 7:7; Habakkuk 2:1).

Verses 4-7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 5:4-7 4For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. 5The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. 6You destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. 7But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You.

Psalms 5:4-6 The psalmist describes God (El, לא, see note at Psalms 5:1).

1. not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness

2. no evil dwells (permanent abode) with You (I think James 1:17 is a theological parallel)

3. the boastful will not stand before Your eyes (cf. Psalms 1:5)

4. You hate all who do iniquity

5. You destroy those who speak falsehood

6. You abhor the man of bloodshed and deceit

Psalms 5:5 “You hate” This is shocking to usthat YHWH, the Creator, the desirer of fellowship with all humans, “hates” (BDB 971, KB 1338, Qal perfect). The Bible uses human terms to describe deity. This always causes tensions. See the Special Topic: God Described as Human (anthropomorphism).

His love for those “made in His image” (cf. Genesis 1:26-27) causes the opposite reaction when they treat each other in destructive ways!

Psalms 5:7 In contrast to the faithless follower, the psalmist knows that because of YHWH's “abundant lovingkindness” (cf. Psalms 6:4b), he will worship Him in the tabernacle/temple in reverence.

The term “lovingkindness” is the NASB's way of translating the powerful covenant term hesed (BDB 338).


“temple” There was no temple in David's day! But the same term (BDB 228) is used in 1 Samuel 1:9 and Psalms 3:3 for the tabernacle.

Verses 8-10

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 5:8-10 8O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me. 9There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue. 10Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You.

Psalms 5:8 This is the content of the psalmist's prayer mentioned in Psalms 5:1-2.

1. lead (Qal imperative) me in Your righteousness (see Special Topic: Righteousness)

2. make Your way straight/smooth (Kethib has Hiphil, while Qere has Piel imperative, cf. NET Bible, p. 854, #4) before me (the terms “righteous” and “straight” are related theologically)

Psalms 5:9 The psalmist is concerned about the words and deeds of his foes (“enemies,” Psalms 5:8, BDB 1004).

1. there is nothing reliable/true in what they say

2. their inward parts are destruction itself

3. their throat is an open grave

4. they flatter/smooth tongue (cf. Psalms 12:2)

Paul quotes this verse in his litany of OT texts which reflect the fallen nature of mankind in Romans 3:10-18.

Psalms 5:10 The psalmist asks God to act against the enemies because of their words and deeds.

1. hold them guilty BDB 79, KB 95, Hiphil imperative (the opposite of justification)

2. by their own devices let them fall BDB 656, KB 709, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

3. in the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out BDB 623, KB 673, Hiphil imperative (i.e., from YHWH's personal presence at worship, Psalms 5:7 or at trial, Psalms 5:5)

4. for they are rebellious against You BDB 598, KB 632, Qal perfect

Notice the different words the psalmist uses to describe his enemies.

1. wicked, Psalms 5:4

2. boastful, Psalms 5:5

3. doers of iniquity, Psalms 5:5

4. speak falsehood, Psalms 5:6

5. men of bloodshed, Psalms 5:6

6. men of deceit, Psalms 5:6

7. foes (i.e., those who lie in wait), Psalms 5:8

8. nothing reliable, Psalms 5:9

9. attitude of destruction, Psalms 5:9

10. liar, Psalms 5:9

11. transgressor, Psalms 5:10

12. rebellious, Psalms 5:10

Verses 11-12

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 5:11-12 11But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. 12For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.

Psalms 5:11-12 In contrast to the wicked enemy, the psalmist now describes the faithful followers (i.e., plurals, the prayer and experience of one became the description of all).

1. they take refuge in YHWH

2. they rejoice in YHWH

3. they take shelter in Him (I think this refers to a female bird metaphor, cf. Ruth 2:12; Psalms 17:8; Psalms 36:7; Psalms 57:1; Psalms 61:4; Psalms 63:7; Psalms 91:1, Psalms 91:4; see Special Topic below)

4. they love and exult in His name (see Special Topic below)

In light of this, YHWH

1. shelters them

2. blesses them

3. surrounds them as a shield (cf. 1 Samuel 23:26)

One can tell the difference between a faithful follower and a faithless follower by their fruit (cf. Matthew 7:15-22)!




This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why is Psalms 4:0 considered an evening Psalm and Psalm 5 a morning Psalm?

2. List the attributes of YHWH from Psalms 5:4-6.

3. The life of faith is described as a road/path/way. Why?

4. Describe the wicked from Psalms 5:4-6 and 9-10.

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 5". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-5.html. 2021.
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