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Psalm 5

Psalm 5 Summary Handout. David confidently cries for help.

Summary

David calls out to Yahweh for help from unknown adversaries who attack him physically and verbally. David knows that God is completely separate from wickedness, evil, those who boast, do iniquity, lie, do violence, and deceive—characteristics of his own foes. David also realizes that Yahweh’s lovingkindness permits him to enter and worship in the LORD’s house. So, David asks Yahweh to guide him in Yahweh’s path. In contrast, the speech of the wicked is destructive, and they rebel against God. David asks God to judge them and allow them to destroy themselves. David sums up by asking that Yahweh give joy, shelter, and great happiness to those who take refuge in Him. No matter how terrible the enemy, Yahweh blesses the righteous man and surrounds him as with a shield. So prayer for help, believing watchfulness, fellowship with Yahweh, reverence, prayer for God’s guidance in the righteous and right life, taking refuge in Yahweh, and loving Him result in Yahweh’s blessing and favor.

Outline

  1. Psalm 5.1-3. David cries out to Yahweh for help and waits for his help.
  2. Psalm 5.4-7. God is completely separate from evil and judges those who sin, but David will enter God’s house and worship because of Yahweh’s lovingkindness.
  3. Psalm 5.8-10. David then asks Yahweh to guide him in Yahweh’s righteous path, and asks God to judge the rebels, and allow them to destroy themselves by their own plans.
  4. Psalm 5.11-12. David knows that Yahweh blesses the righteous man and surrounds him like someone is surrounded with a shield.

Brief Exposition

  1. Psalm 5.1-3. David cries out to Yahweh for help and waits for his help.
    • Note the words give ear, consider, heed the sound, I pray. All indicate that David is needs help and he turns to the real source of help, Yahweh, his King and God. David begins the day with prayer and then keeps watch (צָפָה tsaphah, to look out, spy, watch) for Yahweh’s answer. David expects an answer to his prayer.
  2. Psalm 5.4-7. God is completely separate from evil and judges those who sin, but David will enter God’s house and worship because of Yahweh’s lovingkindness. This demonstrates God’s holiness, righteousness, and justice.
    • Psalm 5.4-6. Yahweh hates, destroys, abhors those who sin (do iniquity, speak falsehood, shed blood and deceive). In this section David stresses different kinds of sin and Yahweh Elohim’s compete separateness from all sin, mental attitude sins, sins of the tongue, and deeds.
    • Those who sin will not stand before him—they will not enjoy his presence, he hates (does not favor) them, and he will judge them.
    • Psalm 5.7. In contrast to the wicked, David depends on Yahweh’s great lovingkindness (חֶ֫סֶד hesed). He will be allowed to fellowship with Yahweh in His house, and to worship at His holy temple. He will bow in reverence or in awe of you. Because of the words house and temple some say that David did not write this psalm. But both words are also used for the tabernacle (house בַּ֫יִת bayit, Psalm 23.6; Joshua 6.24; 1 Samuel 6.24; temple הֵיכָל heykal, 1Samuel 1.9; 3.3).
  3. Psalm 5.8-10. David then asks Yahweh to guide him in Yahweh’s righteous path, and asks God to judge the rebels who sin with their tongue, and allow them to destroy themselves.
    • Psalm 5.8. This reminds us of Proverbs 3.5-6. David wants and needs Yahweh’s guidance (נָחָה nachah to lead, to guide, qal imperative. See Psalm 27.11; 77.21) to live out Yahweh’s righteous kind of life. The enemies, his watchers (שׁוֹרֵר shorer, a watcher, foe. See Psalm 27.11; 54.7; 56.3) attack him, slander him, and want him to fail. We all need Yahweh’s guidance in this world because of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
    • Psalm 5.9. David turns again to the sins of the tongue attack by his foes. What they say is untrue, their very nature is destructive, the throat is like an open grave that is scary with no escape, and what they say draws people into their destructive plans.
    • Psalm 5.10. These are rebels against Yahweh Elohim. David asks God to judge them. We know the phrase, “actions have consequences.” He asks that their own activities be used to judge them. In fact, let their own activity bring them down. See Romans 1.24,26,28 for sin reaping consequences. What is the main charge David brings? It is that the foes are rebellious (מָרָה marah, qal perfect, be rebellious, be refractory, be contentious, be obstinate; Numbers 20.10, rebels, qal participle masc plural; Hosea 14.1; Jeremiah 4.17) against God. How foolish it is to rebel against God.
  4. Psalm 5.11-12. David knows that Yahweh blesses the righteous man and surrounds him as with a shield.
    • Psalm 5.11. Be glad, sing for joy, shelter them, exult in you.
      •  The text begins with “let them be glad” (שָׂמֵ֑חַ samach rejoice, be glad, be joyful; qal 3rd person plural with jussive meaning, which is the imperative or earnest request in the third person). Who can be glad? Those who take refuge in Yahweh. Take refuge is חָסָה chasah. Someone who takes refuge is one who hides behind or with someone else. The safety depends on the other person. Here David says that those who take refuge in Yahweh should rejoice. There is no better, no stronger, no smarter, no one more dependable, no one more loving than Yahweh.
      • Another earnest request—sing or shout for joy—is also a jussive meaning.
      • “May you shelter them” (סָכַךְ sakak to overshadow, screen, cover, block off, make unapproachable, hiphil imperfect expressing the psalmist’s wish). Yahweh is their cover, their shield. Remember the subject is those to take refuge in Yahweh. This speaks of knowledge of Yahweh and faith that he will do what he says he will do.
      • The purpose or result is that those who love (אָהֵב ‘ahab love, qal participle masc plural) Yahweh’s name, referring to who he is, may rejoice or exult in him. Loving Yahweh takes a capacity to love him based on knowing who he is and trusting him as he is revealed in the Bible.
    • Psalm 5.12. Yahweh blesses the righteous man. The righteous is the one who has a relationship with Yahweh and then walks in His ways or by faith faithfully obeys him. Yahweh surrounds the righteous man (surrounds עָטַר `tar, to surround, 1 Samuel 23.26 where Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men) with favor (רָצוֹן ratson, goodwill, favor) like a shield surrounds with favor. The LORD blesses, favors, shows goodwill to those who take refuge in him, who love him, who trusts and obeys him.

So what for us?

  1. This psalm can be a pattern for our prayer when we are unjustly attacked. We Pray to LORD God (Yahweh Elohim) and wait for his answer (Psalm 5.1-3).
  2. Remember who he is (his character and attributes) and what he has promised us (Psalm 5.4-7,12).
  3. Depend upon Yahweh’s lovingkindness-grace-mercy, and reverence him (Psalm 5.7,12).
  4. Pray that Yahweh Elohim will lead you in his right and righteous life path (Psalm 5.8).
  5. Take refuge in Yahweh. He is our surrounding shield (Psalm 5.11-12).
  6. Yahweh judges the wicked—they will not fool him (Psalm 5.5,6,1).