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Psalms 15

Psalm 15 1 

A psalm of David.

15:1 Lord, who may be a guest in your home? 2 

Who may live on your holy hill? 3 

15:2 Whoever lives a blameless life, 4 

does what is right,

and speaks honestly. 5 

15:3 He 6  does not slander, 7 

or do harm to others, 8 

or insult his neighbor. 9 

15:4 He despises a reprobate, 10 

but honors the Lord’s loyal followers. 11 

He makes firm commitments and does not renege on his promise. 12 

15:5 He does not charge interest when he lends his money. 13 

He does not take bribes to testify against the innocent. 14 

The one who lives like this 15  will never be upended.

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1 sn Psalm 15. This psalm describes the character qualities that one must possess to be allowed access to the divine presence.

2 tn Heb “Who may live as a resident alien in your tent?”

3 sn In this context the Lord’s holy hill probably refers to Zion/Jerusalem. See Isa 66:20; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Zech 8:3; Pss 2:6; 43:3; 48:1; 87:1; Dan 9:16.

4 tn Heb “one who walks blamelessly.”

5 tn Heb “one who speaks truth in his heart”; or “one who speaks truth [that is] in his heart.” This apparently refers to formulating a truthful statement in one’s mind and then honestly revealing that statement in one’s speech.

6 sn Hebrew literature often assumes and reflects the male-oriented perspective of ancient Israelite society. The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age.

7 tn Heb “he does not slander upon his tongue.” For another example of רָגַל (ragal, “slander”) see 2 Sam 19:28.

8 tn Or “his fellow.”

9 tn Heb “and he does not lift up an insult against one who is near to him.”

10 tn Heb “despised in his eyes [is] a rejected [one].” The Hebrew term נִמְאָס (nimas, “rejected [one]”) apparently refers here to one who has been rejected by God because of his godless behavior. It stands in contrast to “those who fear God” in the following line.

11 tn Heb “those who fear the Lord.” The one who fears the Lord respects his sovereignty and obeys his commandments. See Ps 128:1; Prov 14:2.

12 tn Heb “he takes an oath to do harm and does not change.” The phrase “to do harm” cannot mean “do harm to others,” for the preceding verse clearly characterizes this individual as one who does not harm others. In this context the phrase must refer to an oath to which a self-imprecation is attached. The godly individual takes his commitments to others so seriously he is willing to “swear to his own hurt.” For an example of such an oath, see Ruth 1:16-17.

13 sn He does not charge interest. Such an individual is truly generous, and not simply concerned with making a profit.

14 tn Heb “a bribe against the innocent he does not take.” For other texts condemning the practice of a judge or witness taking a bribe, see Exod 23:8; Deut 16:19; 27:25; 1 Sam 8:3; Ezek 22:12; Prov 17:23.

15 tn Heb “does these things.”

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