Psalms 5

PSALM V

David continues instant in prayer, 1, 2;

makes early application to God, 3;

and shows the hatred which God bears to the workers of

iniquity, 4-6.

His determination to worship God, and to implore direction and

support, 7, 8.

He points out the wickedness of his enemies, 9,

and the destruction they may expect, 10;

and then shows the happiness of those who trust in the Lord,

11, 12.

NOTES ON PSALM V

This Psalm is inscribed to the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A

Psalm of David. As neginoth may signify all kinds of instruments

struck with a plectrum, stringed instruments, those like the drum,

cymbals, &c.; so nechiloth, from chal, to be hollow, to

bore through, may signify any kind of wind instruments, such as

the horn, trumpet, flute, &c. See on the title to the preceding

Psalm. The Septuagint have, ειςτοτελοςυπερτηςκληρονομουσης,

"In favour of her who obtains the inheritance." The Vulgate and

Arabic have a similar reading. The word nechiloth they

have derived from nachal, to inherit. This may either refer

to the Israelites who obtained the inheritance of the promised

land, or to the Church of Christ which obtains through him, by

faith and prayer, the inheritance among the saints in light. This

Psalm is, especially, for the whole Church of God.

Verse 1. Give ear to my words] This is properly a morning hymn,

as the preceding was an evening hymn. We have seen from the

conclusion of the last Psalm that David was very happy, and lay

down and slept in the peace and love of his God. When he opens his

eyes on the following morning, he not only remembers but feels the

happiness of which he spoke; and with his first recollections he

meditates on the goodness and mercy of God, and the glorious

state of salvation into which he had been brought. He calls on God

to give ear to his words; probably words of God's promises which

he had been pleading.

Verse 2. Hearken unto the voice of my cry] We may easily find

the process through which David's mind was now passing: 1. We have

seen from the preceding Psalm that he lay down in a very happy

frame of mind, and that he had enjoyed profound repose. 2. As soon

as he awakes in the morning, his heart, having a right direction,

resumes its work. 3. He meditates on God's goodness; and on his

own happy state, though pursued by enemies, and only safe as long

as God preserved him by an almighty hand and especial providence.

4. This shows him the need he has of the continual protection of

the Most High; and therefore he begins to form his meditation and

the desires of his heart into words, to which he entreats the Lord

to give ear. 5. As he was accustomed to have answers to his

prayers, he feels the necessity of being importunate! and

therefore lifts up his voice. 6. Seeing the workers of iniquity,

liars, and blood-thirsty men strong to accomplish their own

purposes in the destruction of the godly, he becomes greatly in

earnest, and cries unto the Lord: "Hearken unto the voice of my

cry." 7. He knows that, in order to have a right answer, he must

have a proper disposition of mind. He feels his subjection to the

supreme authority of the Most High, and is ready to do his will

and obey his laws; therefore he prays to God as his King:

"Hearken, my King and my God." I have not only taken thee for my

GOD, to save, defend, and make me happy; but I have taken thee for

my KING, to govern, direct, and rule over me. 8. Knowing the

necessity and success of prayer, he purposes to continue in the

spirit and practice of it: "Unto thee will I pray." R. S. Jarchi

gives this a pretty and pious turn: "When I have power to pray,

and to ask for the things I need, then, O Lord, give ear to my

words; but when I have no power to plead with thee, and fear

seizes on my heart, then, O Lord, consider my meditation!"

Verse 3. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning] We find from

this that he had not prayed in vain. He had received a blessed

answer; God had lifted upon him the light of his countenance; and

he therefore determines to be an early applicant at the throne of

grace: "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning." He finds it good

to begin the day with God; to let Divine things occupy the first

place in his waking thoughts; as that which first occupies the

mind on awaking is most likely to keep possession of the heart all

the day through.

In the morning will I direct my prayer] Here seems to be a

metaphor taken from an archer. He sees his mark; puts his arrow in

his bow; directs his shaft to the mark, i.e., takes his aim; lets

fly, and then looks up, to see if he have hit his mark. Prayers

that have a right aim, will have a prompt answer; and he who sends

up his petitions to God through Christ, from a warm, affectionate

heart, may confidently look up for an answer, for it will come. If

an immediate answer be not given, let not the upright heart

suppose that the prayer is not heard. It has found its way to the

throne; and there it is registered.

Verse 4. Neither shall evil dwell with thee.] As thou art holy,

so thou hast pleasure only in holiness; and as to evil men, they

shall never enter into thy glory; lo yegurecha ra, "the

evil man shall not even sojourn with thee."

Verse 5. The foolish shall not stand] He is a fool and a madman

who is running himself out of breath for no prize, who is fighting

against the Almighty; this every wicked man does; therefore is

every wicked man a fool and a madman.

Thou hatest all workers of iniquity] Some sin now and then,

others generally; some constantly, and some labour in it with

all their might. These are the WORKERS of iniquity. Such even the

God of infinite love and mercy hates. Alas! what a portion have

the workers of iniquity! the hatred of God Almighty!

Verse 6. That speak leasing] Falsity, from the Anglo-Saxon

[A.S.] leasunge, a lie, falsity, deceit; from [A.S.] leas, lie,

which is from the verb [A.S.] leasian, to lie. See on Ps 4:2.

The Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.] ish

damim, the man of bloods; for he who has the spirit of a

murderer, will rarely end with one bloodshedding. So the Jews, who

clamoured for the blood of our Lord, added to that, as far and as

long as they could, the blood of his disciples.

Verse 7. In the multitude of thy mercy] David considered it an

inexpressible privilege to be permitted to attend public worship;

and he knew that it was only through the multitude of God's mercy

that he, or any man else, could enjoy such a privilege. He knew

farther that, from the multitude of this mercy, he might receive

innumerable blessings in his house. In this spirit, and with

this dependence, he went to the house of the Lord. He who takes

David's views of this subject will never, willingly, be absent

from the means of grace.

In thy fear] Duly considering the infinite holiness of thy

majesty, will I worship, eshtachaveh, will I bow and

prostrate myself in the deepest self-abasement and humility.

Toward thy holy temple.] If David was the author of this Psalm,

as is generally agreed, the temple was not built at this time:

only the tabernacle then existed; and in the preceding clause he

speaks of coming into the house, by which he must mean the

tabernacle. But temple here may signify the holy of holies,

before which David might prostrate himself while in the house,

i.e., the court of the tabernacle. Even in the house of God, there

is the temple of God; the place where the Divine Shechinah dwells.

God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. In him dwelt

all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. In all ages and

dispensations, Jesus was ever the temple where the Supreme Deity

was met with and worshipped. The human nature of Jesus was the

real temple of the Deity. Nowhere else can God be found.

Verse 8. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness] When entered

into the house, and prostrated before the temple, he knew that,

unless God continued to lead and direct, he was not likely to

profit even by such great advantages. We need God not only to

bring us to his house, but to keep our feet while we are there.

Because of mine enemies] His conduct was marked; his enemies

looked upon and watched him with an evil eye. They would have been

glad of his halting, that they might have brought a reproach on

the good cause which he had espoused. O how cautiously should

those walk who make a profession of living to God, of knowing

themselves to be in his favour, and of being delivered from all

sin in this life!

Make thy way straight] Show me that I must go right on; and let

thy light always shine on my path, that I may see how to proceed.

Verse 9. No faithfulness in their mouth] They make professions

of friendship; but all is hollow and deceitful: "They flatter with

their tongue."

Very wickedness] Their heart is full of all kinds of depravity.

Their throat is an open sepulchre] It is continually gaping for

the dead; and sends forth effluvia destructive to the living. I

fear that this is too true a picture of the whole human race,

totally corrupt within, and abominable without. The heart is the

centre and spring of this corruption; and the words and actions

of men, which proceed from this source, will send out incessant

streams of various impurity; and thus they continue till the grace

of God changes and purifies the heart.

Verse 10. Destroy thou them, O God] All these apparently

imprecatory declarations should be translated in the future

tense, to which they belong; and which shows them to be prophetic.

Thou WILT destroy them; thou WILT cast them out, &c.

Verse 11. Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice]

Such expressions as these should be translated in the same way,

declaratively and prophetically: "All those who put their trust

in thee SHALL rejoice,-SHALL ever shout for joy."

Verse 12. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous] A righteous

soul is a peculiar object of God's affectionate regards; and

therefore will be a subject of continual blessing.

With favour] Literally, Like a shield, thy favour will crown

him. God loves such; and this love is their defence. In all

places, times and circumstances, it will preserve them. "Keep

yourselves," says the apostle, "in the love of God." He who abides

in this love need not fear the face of any adversary. Thus ended

the morning's devotion of this excellent man: a model by which

every Christian may frame his own.

ANALYSIS OF THE FIFTH PSALM

This Psalm consists of FIVE parts:-

I. An introduction, in which he petitions to be heard; professes

his earnestness about it, Ps 5:1-3; and his confidence of

audience.

II. He delivers his petition, Ps 5:8; and the reason of it-his

enemies.

III. These enemies he circumstantially describes, Ps 5:9.

IV. He prophesies that God will destroy them, Ps 5:10.

V. He prays for the Church, that God would preserve it,

Ps 5:11, 12.

I. 1. In the entrance he prays very earnestly for audience; he

shows that he meant to be serious and fervent in it; and he

chooses a variety of words to express the same thing, which rise

by degrees in the description: 1. He rises from meditation; 2. To

words; 3. From words to a voice; 4. From a voice to a cry. Then

he desires God, 1. To consider. 2, To give ear. 3. To hearken.

1. He considers, who weighs the justice of the cause. 2. He gives

ear, who would understand what the suppliant means. 3. He attends

and hearkens, who intends to satisfy the petitioner.

2. The reasons he uses here to beget audience are very

considerable:-

1. The relation that was between him and his God: "Thou art my

King and my God."

2. That he would sue to none other: "To thee will I pray;" which

he illustrates, 1. From the time. It is a morning petition. 2. It

was a well composed and ordered prayer. 3. He would lift up his

eyes with it; that is, have all his hope and expectation exercised

in it. "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning; I will direct my

prayer unto thee, and look up."

3. The third reason is taken from the nature of God: whom he

will and whom he will not hear. 1. Persevering sinners God will

not regard. 2. To the upright he is ready to look. The sinners

whom God will not hear he thus describes: 1. Men who delighted in

wickedness, evil, foolish workers of iniquity-liars-blood-thirsty

and deceitful. Now it was not likely that God should hear such:

"For thou art not a God who hast pleasure in wickedness, neither

shall evil dwell with thee." These it is said he hated; these he

would destroy; these he did abhor. 2. But on the contrary, he who

was faithful; who relied on God; who feared the Lord; who

attended the ordinances of his house; who worshipped towards his

temple; and who came, not trusting to himself, but in the

multitude of God's mercies; him he would hear.

II. David, having petitioned for audience, and delivered the

grounds of his confidence, brings forth his petition that his life

may be holy and innocent:-

1. "Lead me in thy righteousness."

2. "Make thy way straight before me." For which he gives this

reason: "Because of mine enemies."

III. These his enemies he circumstantially describes:-

1. By their MOUTH: "There is no faithfulness in their mouth."

2. By their HEART: "Their inward parts are very wickedness."

3. By their THROAT: "Their throat is an open sepulchre."

4. By their TONGUE: "They flatter with their tongue."

IV. Then he proceeds to prophesy against these enemies:-

1. God will destroy them.

2. They shall fall by their own counsels.

3. They shall be cast out in the multitude of their

transgressions. For which predictions he gives this reason: They

are rebels. For they have rebelled against thee. Rebels, not

against David, but against God. They have not rejected me, but

they have rejected thee.

V. The conclusion contains his prayer for God's people, whom he

here describes: 1. They are righteous. 2. They put their trust in

God. 3. They love his name.

And he prays for them, that, 1. They may be happy; that they may

shout for joy. 2. They may be joyful in God.

And he expects an answer; because, 1. God defends them. 2. He

will continue to bless them. 3. He will with his favour compass

them as with a shield.

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