April 2, 2007

Psalm 15

Category: Bible - OT - Psalms :: Permalink

A reminder: I’ve prepared these psalms for our liturgy, trying to be as accurate in my translation as possible. The alternation between plain text and bold is for responsive reading. I invite feedback on the translation!

A psalm.
By David.

Yahweh, who may sojourn in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy mountain?
He who walks blamelessly
And who works righteousness
And who speaks truth with his heart.
He does not slander with his tongue;
He does not do evil to his companion;
And a reproach he does not take up against his neighbor.
Despised in his eyes is a reprobate,
But the ones who fear Yahweh he honors.
He swears to his hurt
And does not change.
His silver he does not give with interest,
And a bribe against an innocent man he does not take.
He who does these things
Will not be shaken forever.

In line 3, the word “blamelessly” has to do with integrity, wholeness, maturity, completeness. God told Abraham to walk before him and be blameless. Animals presented for sacrifice are to be blameless, that is, they are not to have a flaw.

The word “truth” in line 4 is broader than just the opposite of a lie. It’s trustworthiness: this man’s words are reliable, faithful. In line 5, the word for “slander” is related to the word for “foot.” It may imply going around to spread slander or perhaps, as James Jordan suggests, it means “to trip someone up.”

The background to line 12 (“He swears to his hurt and does not change”) is Leviticus 27, which discusses oaths and the possibility of exchanging one item vowed to Yahweh for another. The righteous man doesn’t try to make a switch to benefit himself.

The righteous man also cares for the poor. He doesn’t loan the poor money at interest, which the Law prohibited, and he also doesn’t accept bribes.  (This verse is not prohibiting all loans at interest.)

In line 8, a “reprobate” is literally a “rejected one,” that is, someone who has been rejected because of his open wickedness. The righteous man, however, will not be rejected and won’t be shaken out of Yahweh’s tent. Jesus is the man of Psalm 15, but in Him we also are the righteous ones who will walk in righteousness and sojourn everlastingly in Yahweh’s tent.

Posted by John Barach @ 6:15 pm | Discuss (0)

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