Where the world comes to study the Bible

Psalm 15

 

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Description of a Citizen of Zion The Character of Those Who May Dwell with the Lord A Liturgy for Admission to the Temple What God Requires The Guest of Yahweh
MT Intro
"A Psalm of David"
       
15:1-5 15:1 15:1 15:1 15:1
  15:2-5b 15:2-5b 15:2-5b 15:2-3a
        15:3b-4b
        15:4c-5
  15:5c 15:5c 15:5c  

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

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.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 15:1-5
 1O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
 Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
 2He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
 And speaks truth in his heart.
 3He does not slander with his tongue,
 Nor does evil to his neighbor,
 Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
 4In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
 But who honors those who fear the Lord;
 He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
 5He does not put out his money at interest,
 Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
 He who does these things will never be shaken.

15:1 "Lord" This is the covenant name for Deity from the Hebrew verb "to be." See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at Ps. 1:1.

▣ "who" Verse 1 is a question which may be a textual marker for a type of liturgy used for those who enter the temple on a feast day.

▣ "Your tent. . .Your holy hill" These are parallel which means the verbs ("abide" and "dwell") are also. The concept of being in YHWH's temple permanently (cf. Ps. 23:6b) is eternal fellowship with God that

1. reaches beyond this life

2. involves intimacy

3. has a daily aspect

Psalm 27:4-6 expresses this same thought in a non-hyperbolic way (i.e., "all the days of my life," cf. Ps. 23:6a).

Also note that in Ps. 5:4b "no evil abides/resides with YHWH," but the faithful follower desires to live with God (cf. Ps. 61:4; 84:10).

15:2-5 These verses describe (in balanced positive and negative attributes) the kind of person who will dwell with God (cf. Ps. 24:3-6).

1. walks in integrity ("blameless," BDB 1071, cf. Ps. 18:23,31; 119:80; Pro. 28:18)

2. works righteousness

3. speaks truth (see Special Topic at Ps. 12:1) in his heart

4. does not slander

5. does not do evil to his neighbor

6. does not take up a reproach against his friend

7. despises reprobates

8. honors those who fear the Lord (i.e., covenant partners)

9. swears to truth (i.e., a vow, cf. Leviticus 27)

10. does not change (renege on a vow for self interest)

11. does not charge interest (cf. Exod. 22:25; Lev. 25:36)

12. does not take a bribe against the innocent (cf. Exod. 23:8; Deut. 16:19)

Notice that all of these characterizations describe how a godly person lives and treats others. To know God is to respect people. Faithful followers are meant to live and love so that the world may come to know and emulate the Creator God.

15:4b "those who fear the Lord" This is a recurrent description of faithful followers (cf. Ps. 25:12,14; 103:11,13; 118:4). They are described in several ways.

1. what they do

a. praise, glorify, and stand in awe of YHWH, Ps. 22:23

b. walk in His way, Ps. 128:1

2. what He does for them

a. explains His covenant, Ps. 25:14

b. brings salvation near, Ps. 85:9

c. is their help and shield, Ps. 115:11

d. blesses them, Ps. 115:13; 128:1

e. fulfills their desires, Ps. 145:19 (also "hears their cry and will save them")

 

15:5c This is the summary statement. Those who live in covenant with God and their brothers/sisters will never be shaken (BDB 556, KB 555, Niphal imperfect, cf. Ps. 17:5; 30:6; Pro. 10:30; 12:3). TEV translates it as "will always be secure." Isaiah 33:15 seems to parallel the glorification of those who can approach and dwell with YHWH. If so, then Isa. 33:16 is parallel to Ps. 15:5c.

The purpose of salvation is not just individual-focused but societal! A love for God should issue in love for each other! We must not separate justification from justice! The Fall of Genesis 3 affected all mankind (cf. Ps. 14:1-3). The image of God (cf. Gen. 1:26-27) in mankind was damaged. Mankind has turned inward. Selfishness and independence now characterize his/her thoughts and actions. A new encounter with God changes this focus (cf. Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27). The new person again has a sense of dependance. He/she lives for God/for others.

▣ "never" See Special Topic: Forever at Ps. 9:5.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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. Describe the person who can approach YHWH in the temple.

2. How is "lifestyle faith" related to saving faith?

3. List the five positive and negative characteristics of a faithful follower.

4. Define "usury."

5. Does this Psalm imply a righteous person will never suffer?