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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 15

Verses 1-5

Psalms 15:1 . Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Either as attendants and ministers, or as true Israelites coming to the feasts with acceptable offerings? The prophet here asks the Lord of the sanctuary for the character of his worshippers. The answers are eleven.

Psalms 15:2 . He that walketh uprightly, in heart and life; a perfect and upright man, as described in the first psalm. A man working righteousness, in all good offices to his neighbour; fulfilling every moral and social duty. A man that speaketh the truth in his heart, sincerely and without guile.

Psalms 15:3 . He that backbiteth not; for “God will cut off the man who secretly slanders his neighbour.” Psalms 101:5.

Psalms 15:4 . He that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not. If in our commercial or social connections, we meet with persons who take advantage of our ignorance, or impose on our good nature, and surprise us into a bargain, or draw us into a promise, they do indeed commit a mean and sordid crime. But if we, on perceiving our error or our interest, violate that covenant, we tarnish our honour, and wound our conscience: we add crime to crime, and associate our name with the perjured race. Whereas, if we honourably fulfil our engagements, the injury is only in our exterior circumstances, and we have the promised approbation and reward of the faithful God, which is infinitely preferable to the addition of one fraud added to another. So Joshua kept faith with the Gibeonites, though he was commanded to destroy the Canaanites.

Psalms 15:5 . He that putteth not out his money to usury. See on Exodus 22:25. Leviticus 25:35. The money lenders on annuities, redeemable at pleasure. Nor taketh a reward against the innocent. I hope we have now no hired assassins; for he who hires, forfeits his life to his country. But the false swearer, and the minister of justice may be implicated, either by bitterness of impeachment, or by sophisms to clear the guilty.


What a glorious character is given here of the Israelite indeed: he is like a tree loaded with ripe fruit. His renovated nature bears on earth a fair resemblance of the image of God, in which he was created. And oh how much are all his virtues irradiated by the sombrous shades of the wicked, described in the last five psalms. These are the fruits of the Spirit, which discover the power of grace, and silence the slanders of wicked men.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.