The Bible


Psalms 5



1 For the Chief Musician; with the Nehiloth. A Psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O Jehovah, Consider my meditation.

2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God; For unto thee do I pray.

3 O Jehovah, in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; In the morning will I order [my prayer] unto thee, and will keep watch.

4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: Evil shall not sojourn with thee.

5 The arrogant shall not stand in thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

6 Thou wilt destroy them that speak lies: Jehovah abhorreth the blood-thirsty and deceitful man.

7 But as for me, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness will I come into thy house: In thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

8 Lead me, O Jehovah, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; Make thy way straight before my face.

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is very wickedness; Their throat is an open sepulchre; They flatter with their tongue.

10 Hold them guilty, O God; Let them fall by their own counsels; Thrust them out in the multitude of their transgressions; For they have rebelled against thee.

11 But let all those that take refuge in thee rejoice, Let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: Let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

12 For thou wilt bless the righteous; O Jehovah, thou wilt compass him with favor as with a shield.




Exploring the Meaning of Psalms 5

By New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Psalm 5 is essentially a prayer for guidance.

The message is encapsulated in verse 8: “Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.”

When we follow the Lord’s guidance, we can develop a clearer understanding of those things that come from the Lord, and those things that are in opposition to His design. It's important for us to discern the nature of what comes into our hearts and minds.

In the first verse, we hear the words: “consider my meditation.” Meditation in a biblical sense has a different meaning from the way it is understood today. Rather than the modern idea of simple awareness, this kind of meditation is more a reflection and exploration in the mind. This whole psalm is like such a meditation. We, too, must make use of this practice in our spiritual lives; this kind of mental examination helps us understand which deeper desires our thoughts stem from (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 61).

The speaker says in verse 3 that he will pray to the Lord in the morning. The morning is significant because it is a time of awakening. It represents a new spiritual state of personal renewal, based on the Lord, His love, His truth, and His presence with us.

Verses 4 through 6 list many things that are not acceptable to the Lord: wickedness, evil, boastful arrogance, iniquity, falsity and deceit. Many of these attributes feed our inclinations toward self-righteousness; these influences are at play whenever we try to convince others (and ourselves) that we always know what is right, and that we are superior to others. They are the ingredients of a hellish life.

A list such as this one helps us to recognize what is contrary to the Lord’s life in us, so that we may be genuine followers of the Lord and the Word. This process involves a great deal of self-examination, and indeed, meditation of our own thoughts and spiritual states.

Verse 7 follows with a promise to come and worship in the house of the Lord, and verse 8 is a prayer to be led by the Lord in His righteousness “because of my enemies.” These enemies are really our internal battles; “a man’s foes are those of his own household” (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 8282 ).

Verses 9 and 10 move on to recognize the self-destructive path of those caught up in evil. While all of us have our hereditary evils and a lower nature before regeneration, it is intentional evil, as the psalm declares, that can lead us in the direction of hell (see Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell 532[3]).

The psalm comes to an end with an affirmation: let all those who trust in the Lord rejoice! For He blesses us when we live in righteousness, and protects us as with a shield. This simply reminds us to have confidence in our commitment to the Lord, and to trust that He works for our eternal life more than we will ever know (Divine Providence 46).