Psalm 15

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-04-17 10:07.

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This is a psalm or song attributed to David. The expressions contained therein indicate that it would have been composed after he made Zion his royal capital and the ark of the covenant had been transferred to a tent he had erected there. (1 Chronicles 16:1)

To “sojourn” in YHWH’s tent would mean to gain admittance into his presence as an approved guest. Because the ark of the covenant, representing YHWH’s presence, was located on Mount Zion, the eminence proved to be his “holy mountain.” Therefore, sojourning in his tent and abiding on his holy mountain are parallel thoughts. Worshipers could only be at the actual location temporarily, and both the Hebrew gur and the Greek paroikéo (linked with the tent) can convey this thought.

In answering the question about who could be a sojourner in YHWH’s tent, the psalmist focused on the kind of relationship that is maintained with others. Reverence for the Most High finds its tangible demonstration in one’s response to fellow humans.

Those whom YHWH approves must “walk” or conduct themselves in a blameless manner, doing what is right in his eyes. To speak truth in one’s heart would mean that one’s speaking is sincere and an honest reflection of the deep inner self. The tongue would not be used to slander others, maliciously misrepresenting them.

The godly person would not wrong his fellow in other ways. He would not take unfair advantage. When hearing reproach or scorn directed against his neighbor, he does not “pick it up,” repeating the defamation. He refuses to join scorners in downgrading his neighbor and making him look bad in the eyes of others.

The godly person does not tolerate moral corruption. Because of adhering to divine standards, he looks with disdain upon those acting wickedly, but those who manifest reverential fear of YHWH he honors or treats with the highest regard. This would indicate that he would never make contemptible persons his companions or let other factors (such as their wealth, influence, or position) sway his estimate of them.

His word can be trusted. After giving his oath-bound promise, he may come to realize that carrying out his word could prove to be seriously disadvantageous. Nevertheless, he would keep his word.

According to the Mosaic law, loans to needy Israelites were to be made without charging interest. (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36, 37; Deuteronomy 23:19) Concerned about helping the poor, the godly man would obey this command from the heart.

He would refuse to allow himself to be corrupted by accepting a bribe and then render an unjust verdict against an innocent person. He would thus uphold God’s law. (Exodus 23:8)

The psalm concludes with the assurance that the one doing the things enumerated would not be moved or shaken for all time to come or “into the age” (Septuagint). This would mean that he would not experience a calamitous fall, one from which there would be no recovery. As one admitted into YHWH’s presence, he would continue to enjoy his favor, blessing, and aid.


Verse 4 of the Masoretic Text starts with the words: “He disdains, in his own eyes, a rejected one.” The Hebrew form of the verb (ma’ás) for “reject,” as used in this context, would refer to a contemptible person or reprobate. In the Septuagint, the corresponding term is a form of the verb ponereúomai, meaning “to act wickedly.” The Septuagint also renders the Hebrew “in his eyes” according to the basic sense, “before him.”

See Psalm 1 regarding the divine name (YHWH).