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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Psalms 5

Nehiloth: this is no where else used in Scripture. It is generally and probably thought to be a term belonging to music, and to signify either some kind of tune, or rather an instrument, and particularly a wind-instrument, as Neginoth in the title of the last Psalm signified

stringed instruments.

This Psalm supposeth David to be in some great distress or trouble, either from Saul, or from Absalom, or some of their courtiers.

David earnestly beseecheth God to hear his prayer, Psalms 5:1-3; and assureth himself of God’s justice against his enemies, Psalms 5:4-6. Professeth his faith in God, Psalms 5:7, he prayeth him to guide his goings, Psalms 5:8. He exclaims against his enemies’ cruelty, Psalms 5:9; and prayeth God to destroy them, Psalms 5:10, but to preserve the godly, Psalms 5:11,Psalms 5:12.

Verse 1

i.e. My prayer, as the words foregoing and following show; which he calls his

meditation, to note that it was not a lip prayer only, but that it proceeded from and was accompanied with the deepest thoughts and most fervent affections of his soul.

Verse 2

It is the part and duty of a king to answer the just and humble desires of his subjects. To thee alone will I direct all my prayers, and therefore from thee alone I expect succour and relief.

Verse 3

In the morning; either,

1. Metaphorically, i.e. early, seasonably, in a time when thou wilt be found, and art ready to hear. Or,

2. Properly, every morning. As soon as I awake, I am still with thee, as he saith, Psalms 139:18. The first thing that I do is to pray to thee, I neither neglect nor delay that work. But this is not spoken exclusively as to his other times of prayer, as appears from Psalms 55:17; but only eminently, to show his constancy, diligence, and eagerness in the work.

My prayer; or, mine eyes; which may be well understood out of the following word, which is usual in Scripture. Or, it, (so it is only a defect of the pronoun, which is most frequent,) to wit, my voice, last mentioned; or, which is equivalent, my words, which is also understood with this very verb, Job 33:5, and is expressed with it, Job 32:14. And the verb here and there used is very emphatical, and notes his great care and exactness so to

direct, or order, or compose himself and his prayers in such a manner as was most pleasing to God.

Will look up, to wit, unto thee (as he now said) for help. The word implies a confident, and withal a patient, expectation of relief, as Psalms 130:6; Micah 7:7; Habakkuk 2:1. See also Psalms 145:15; Acts 3:4.

Verse 4

For; or, but; or, surely.

In wickedness; or, in wicked men. Thou dost not approve of nor delight in them, or in their prayers, but dost hate and wilt destroy them, as it here follows: compare Proverbs 17:15. And this he saith partly for the conviction and discouragement of his enemies, who were such; and partly for his own vindication, to show that he was not such a wicked man as they falsely and maliciously represented him.

Dwell with thee, i.e. have any friendship, or fellowship, or quiet abode with thee, as those that dwell together usually have one with another.

Verse 5

The foolish; or, the madmen, as the word properly signifies, as Ecclesiastes 2:2,Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Ecclesiastes 10:13; Isaiah 44:25, i.e. wicked men, as the next words explain it; who are indeed morally and really madmen, in fighting with the Lord God Almighty, and in exposing themselves to such dreadful hazards and mischiefs for such mean and momentary advantages. In thy sight; either in battle against thee, as this phrase is used, Deuteronomy 7:24; Joshua 1:5; Joshua 7:12; or in judgement at thy tribunal, of which see on Psalms 1:5; compare 1 Samuel 6:20; Job 41:10.

All workers of iniquity, i.e. such as make sin their choice, design, and business, giving up themselves to the constant or customary practice of it. Compare Matthew 7:23. Otherwise, in a general sense, there is no man that doth not sin or work iniquity, Ecclesiastes 7:20.

Verse 6

Leasing; or, lies; that make it their business to raise and scatter calumnies and reproaches concerning me; as many did.

The bloody and deceitful man; those who design mischief against me or my friends raider a pretence of kindness; of whom he oft speaks.

Verse 7

I will come, to wit, with holy boldness and confidence, as becomes thy son and servant; whereas mine enemies cannot appear in thy presence with any comfort and safety, Psalms 5:5.

Into thy house, to wit, the tabernacle; from which, though I be now excluded, through the malice and power of mine adversaries, yet thou wilt, I doubt not, restore me to my former opportunities of coming thither to worship thee, which was my constant custom and chief joy.

In the multitude of thy mercy, or, by thy great mercy, i.e. trusting only to thy great mercy for admittance thither, and acceptance there. Or, for or became of thy many mercies to me, for which I will come to pay my thanks and service unto thee.

In thy fear; with a holy dread and reverence of thy majesty, and of thy house, and a due care to please thee in my religious worship, and in the whole course of my life; which he opposeth to the carelessness of his enemies, who came thither so rudely and presumptuously, and with the conscience of such wicked hearts and lives.

Toward thy holy temple; looking towards it, when I cannot come to it. Compare Daniel 6:10. Or, at thy holy temple, i.e. the tabernacle, which is sometimes called by that name.

Verse 8

Lead me; direct my heart, and counsels, and affairs, and all the course and actions of my life.

In thy righteousness; in thy righteous laws; which sometimes are called righteousness, as Psalms 119:172; Matthew 3:15. Or, for, or because of, or according to thy righteousness; which is a phrase and argument frequently used in this Book of Psalms.

Because of mine enemies; either,

1. That I may give them no occasion of slandering me, or religion for my sake. Or rather,

2. Because they are most malicious and mischievous, and withal cunning and treacherous, as he describes them in the next verse, (which he useth as an argument to enforce this petition,) and they lay snares for me, and if thou dost not assist me, will be too hard for me, and will triumph over me; which will reflect dishonour upon thee also.

Thy way, i.e. the way wherein thou wouldst have me to walk, or the course which thou wouldst have me to take; for God’s precepts or counsels are most commonly called his way.

Straight, or plain, or smooth, that I may clearly discern it, and readily walk in it, without mistake, or let, or stumbling, or offence. This was a needful request, because many good men are oft at a loss what their duty is in several circumstances. And God granted this request to David, as in many other things, so in this, that he should not cut off Saul when he had opportunity and instigation to do it, 1 Samuel 24:0; 1 Samuel 26:0, but that he should wait till God took him away.

Before my face; to my view and for my walk; for men walk forward, not backward.

Verse 9

They speak one thing, and mean another, and under a pretence of kindness they seek my destruction; which makes it difficult for me to know how I should carry myself to them; wherein therefore I have begged thy direction.

Their throat; either,

1. Metonymically; their speech coming out of their throat, though smooth and subtle, yet is most pernicious. Or,

2. Properly; their throat and mouth are wide opened, ready to devour all that come within their reach. A metaphor from wild beasts gaping for the prey.

They flatter with their tongue; they make show of piety and friendship, that they may more easily deceive and destroy me.

Verse 10

Destroy thou them, Heb. Hold them guilty, i.e. condemn and punish them. Or, make them to offend, to wit, in their counsels, as it follows; so as they may either be given up to bad and foolish counsels, or fail in the execution of their wise or crafty counsels. Or, make them desolate, as the word is used, Ezekiel 6:6; Joel 1:18.

Let them fall by their own counsels i.e. make their counsels not only unsuccessful against me, but also destructive to themselves. Or, from their &c., i.e. let them fall short of their aims and designs. Or, because of their counsels, which are ungodly and unjust, and so deserve destruction.

Cast them out; out of thy land, and from among thy people, whom they either infect or molest by their wicked courses. In, or for, or because of, as before.

Against thee; against thy authority and declared will concerning my advancement to the throne; which divers Israelites opposed against their own consciences. See 2 Samuel 3:8-10.

Verse 11

Those that put their trust in thee; that dare rely upon thy word and promise when all human hopes and refuges fail; which was oft the case of David and his followers.

Rejoice; let them have cause of great joy from thy love and care of them, and because thou defendest them, as it follows.

Thy name, i.e. thy majesty, thy word, and worship, and glory; all which is called God’s name in Scripture. David doth not confine his prayer to his party, but prays for all good men, though by their own mistakes, Or other men’s artifices, some of them might now be in a state of opposition against him.

Verse 12

i.e. Thou art resolved, and hast engaged thyself by promise and covenant, to bless them; and therefore my prayer for them is agreeable to thy will.

With favour; with thy love and gracious providence.

Wilt thou compass him as with a shield, i.e. keep him safe on every side.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 5". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/psalms-5.html. 1685.