Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 15

A.M. 2944. B.C. 1060.

The scope of this short, but excellent Psalm, is to show us the way to heaven, and to convince us, that if we would be happy, we must be holy. Christ, who is himself the way, and in whom we must walk as our way, has also showed us the same way that is here prescribed, saying, If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, Matthew 19:7 . We have here a question by which we are directed and excited to inquire the way, Psalms 15:1 . By the answer to that question, in the rest of the Psalm, we are directed and encouraged to walk in that way, Psalms 15:2-5 .

Verse 1

Psalms 15:1. Lord, who shall, &c. The psalmist proposes this question to God, that the answer, coming from the Supreme Lord of earth and heaven, the Lawgiver and Judge of men and angels, might have the greater authority and influence on men’s consciences. Who shall abide Hebrew מי יגור , mi jagur, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle? In thy church here, and be a true member thereof, and an acceptable worshipper of thee therein? Who shall dwell Hebrew, ישׁכן , jishchon, shall reside, and have his constant and perpetual mansion, in thy holy hill of Zion, often put for heaven, where is the true tabernacle not made with hands, Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 9:11; Revelation 21:3. Who shall be permitted and enabled so to worship thee in thy church on earth, and enjoy and improve the privileges thereof, as to dwell with thee in heaven for ever hereafter? The reader will easily observe, that the psalmist alludes to the hill of Zion, to the tabernacle of God which was thereon, and to the character of the priest who should officiate in that tabernacle. And he will remember that “all these were figures of a celestial Jerusalem, a spiritual Zion, a true tabernacle, and an eternal priest. To the great originals, therefore, we must transfer our ideas, and consider the inquiry as made after Him who should fix his resting-place on the heavenly mount, and exercise his unchangeable priesthood in the temple not made with hands. And since the disciples of this new and great high-priest become righteous in him, and are by the Spirit conformed to his image, the character which essentially and inherently belongs only to him will derivatively belong to them also, who must follow his steps below, if they would reign with him above.” Horne.

Verse 2

Psalms 15:2 . He that walketh uprightly Without guile, or hypocrisy, loving and serving God, and loving his neighbour, not in word only, but in truth, and this constantly, and in the whole course of his life, as the word walking implies. And worketh righteousness Maketh it his business to do justly, to give to every one his due, first to God, and then to men. And speaketh the truth in his heart His words and professions to God and men agree with, and proceed from, the thoughts and purposes of his heart.

Verse 3

Psalms 15:3. He backbites not with his tongue Doth not use his tongue to calumniate, or detract from the reputation of any one; speaks evil of no man, nor makes the faults of others the subject of his conversation, much less of his sport or ridicule, nor speaks of them with pleasure, nor at all but for edification. Nor doeth evil Any hurt or injury, willingly or designedly, to his neighbour That is, any man; doth nothing to offend or grieve his spirit, to prejudice the health or ease of his body, to injure him in his estate or secular concerns, in his family or relations; but makes conscience of doing as he would be done by. Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour Namely, into his lips or mouth: doth not raise it, or spread and propagate it, or even believe it, without sufficient reason.

Verse 4

Psalms 15:4. In whose eyes In whose judgment and estimation; a vile person An ungodly or wicked man, (as appears from the next clause, in which he that feareth God is opposed to him,) is contemned Or, thought meanly of, notwithstanding his wealth, or honour, or greatness, or even his learning and knowledge: who does not admire the person of such a one, or envy his condition, or court him with flatteries, or value his company and conversation, or approve of, or comply with, his course of life; but judges him a miserable man, and a great object of pity; abhors his practices, and labours to make such ways contemptible to all men, as far as lies in his power. It must be observed, however, that this contemning or thinking meanly of ungodly men, does not imply a contempt of just authority, which, if it be lodged even in a wicked man’s hand, claims not only obedience, but also honour and reverence, as is manifest from the precepts and examples of Christ and his apostles. But he honoureth them that fear the Lord He highly esteems and cordially loves them, and shows them great respect and kindness, even though they be mean and obscure as to their worldly condition, and though they may differ from him in some opinions or practices of lesser moment. That sweareth to his own hurt Promises and engages upon oath to do something which may be beneficial to his neighbour, but apparently will be to his own damage. As if a man solemnly swear that he will sell his neighbour such an estate at a price below the full worth; or that he will give a poor man such a sum of money, to give which afterward he finds inconvenient to him. And changeth not His purpose, but continues firm, and resolved to perform his promise.

Verse 5

Psalms 15:5. He that putteth not out his money to usury In such a manner as is contrary to God’s law, of which see on Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36-37. Or taketh reward Or bribe, from him who hath a bad cause; that he may condemn the innocent or acquit the guilty: both which things God abhors. He that doeth these things Here enumerated, in consequence of first having faith working by love, in consequence of the justification of his person and the renovation of his nature; he that, being made a tree of righteousness, thus glorifies God by bearing the fruit of righteousness, and being created anew, in Christ Jesus, unto good works, thus steadily and perseveringly walks in them; he shall never be moved But shall abide with God, in his favour and family here, and shall dwell with him for ever hereafter.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 15". Benson's Commentary. 1857.