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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 5

Verse 1

Psalms 5:0.

David prayeth, and professeth his study in prayer. God favoureth not the wicked. David, professing his faith, prayeth unto God to guide him, to destroy his enemies, and to preserve the godly.

To the chief musician upon Nehiloth.
A Psalm of David.

Title. הנחילות אל למנצח lamnatseach el hannechiiloth. To the {Master / Prefect} of the successive voices. This psalm was indited by David, on account of his many enemies; and in particular, as it is supposed, of Achitophel. He represents himself in it as performing his morning devotions in the temple, and praying for protection against his enemies; whose falsehood and malice he describes; and in the end expresses his confidence in God's favour. נחילות Nechiiloth is by many of the commentators supposed to express those wind instruments which were used in the temple service. Aquila, Symmachus, and several other of the versions, render the words, upon Nehiloth—Concerning her who obtaineth the inheritance: Improving upon whom, Fenwick readers the whole title, To him who giveth the victory; the God of the inheritance; i.e. "To Christ; who gave the Jews possession of the earthly Canaan, and who will bring all his faithful servants to his heavenly kingdom, that blessed lot of our inheritance." See the note on the title of the former psalm.

Psalms 5:1. My meditation My sighing.

Verse 2

Psalms 5:2. Hearken, &c.— Attend unto the voice of my supplication.

Verse 4

Psalms 5:4. Neither shall evil dwell Neither shall the wicked sojourn. Fenwick understands this of the evil one, by way of eminence; the devil; as by the righteous or Just One, in the 12th verse, he supposes the Messiah to be denoted.

Verse 5

Psalms 5:5. The foolish shall not stand Or, The mad shall not stand before thine eyes.

Verse 6

Psalms 5:6. The bloody—man The man of blood, is generally understood to be a man guilty of murder, or disposed to be so; but, from the use of that word in Scripture, he seems to be a man whose blood, for any capital crime, is due to justice; on whom is blessed, or the debt of blood, as it is expressed in Lev. ενοχος θανατω, i.e. a man abandoned to the most capital and flagitious crimes. Mudge.

Verse 8

Psalms 5:8. Make thy ways straight, &c.— Make thy way plain before me; i.e. "That I may walk on it evenly and smoothly, without stumbling, which mine enemies would gladly take hold of." See Psalms 143:10.

Verse 9

Psalms 5:9. Very wickedness The word rendered wickedness, seems to have a meaning derived from the sound; הוה hovah; any thing upon which we pronounce woe; evil of any kind, natural or moral. "Their inward part is all woeful, execrable stuff or rottenness, which sends forth nauseous steams through the throat, as though it were a sepulchre open." See Mudge.

Verse 10

Psalms 5:10. Destroy thou them We have heretofore observed, that imprecatory passages of this kind may all be rendered in the future; which would obviate many objections: Thou wilt destroy them, O God; they shall fall, &c.

Verse 11

Psalms 5:11. That love thy name The name of a person or a thing is a Hebraism, whereby the person or thing is expressed. The propriety of this mode of speaking will appear stronger from the religion of names, as delivered by the Egyptians, and derived from them to the neighbouring states. The names of their tutelary deities were not only names of distinction, but likewise names of honour. The Deity, when asked his name by Moses, complied with this principle or custom, and assumed the name of JEHOVAH, by which he was considered as the peculiar tutelary deity of the Israelites. The love of his name, therefore, implying in it an abhorrence of idolatry, a strong confidence in him as their tutelary Deity, and a tacit obligation of obedience to his laws, is generally used in the Old Testament to express a religious conduct; and the frequent use of the word name, instead of the express mention of the divine person, will from hence appear to be no expletive, but to be consistent with the veneration which all nations had for the names of their deities, when used as terms of honour. See Div. Leg. vol. 2: Because thou defendest them, in the foregoing clause, may be rendered, And thou shalt overshadow them.

Verse 12

Psalms 5:12. For thou, Lord, wilt bless Yes, thou, Lord, wilt bless; Mudge: who observes, that David seems here to receive the signal that he had been looking for. The word צנה tsinnah, rendered a shield, agreeably to its other significations, must mean some pointed weapon, as a spear. So that the clause should be rendered, Thou wilt encircle him with favour, as with a fence of spears; as a prince is encircled with spears or spearmen.

REFLECTIONS.—1st. The cries of his people are ever pleasing to the ears of the God of Sabaoth, and he will hear and help them. This David knew, and therefore lifts up his heart and voice to God. Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. His lips were not hasty to speak; he first deeply pondered his wants, and then he uttered his petition. Hearken unto the voice of my cry; as his distress was urgent, his importunity was great. Note; Fervour is the life of prayer; cold and negligent requests shew a heart dead to God. The arguments that he uses, as a plea for being heard, are,

1. The relation in which he stood to God. My King, and my God; thou art not only all-sufficient to help me, as the almighty King and eternal God, but in a tender and gracious sense bound to help me, as I am thy subject, and servant, and child in the Beloved. Note; A believing view of God as our God, is a great encouragement to pray.

2. The constant service that he resolved to pay him. For unto thee will I pray, as the only object of my worship, and with ceaseless attendance. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord: no sooner shall my eyes behold the returning light, than early will I offer unto thee the grateful acknowledgment of protection received, and put my body and soul anew under thy care, to be kept from the dangers of the day. Note; The morning is a time peculiarly fit to spend with God in prayer, and our first moments should ever be consecrated to the service of that God who wakeneth us morning by morning. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up, or out. As when a messenger is dispatched on some important errand, the eye is eager to catch the distant glimpse of his return; so does the soul, that sends to heaven its supplications and prayers, wait with earnestness the returning answer of peace. For want of this, how many prayers become fruitless, because formal!

3. He mentions God's purity, as a foundation of his hope, conscious of his own simplicity, and convinced of the wickedness of his troublers. For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee. Sin is the abominable thing that God hates; it is contrary to his nature, and therefore all who love, delight in, and serve sin, must be the objects of his abhorrence. The foolish, or wicked, (for, wickedness is the height of folly,) shall not stand in thy sight, shall be unable to bear his presence in the day of judgment, driven out with indignation, saying, Depart ye cursed, &c. Thou hatest all workers of iniquity; not all that have been workers of it; for when we were yet sinners, God commended his love towards us, and sent his Son to die for the ungodly: but all who, rejecting the grace of a Redeemer, persist in their impenitence, and work iniquity as their practice and delight, these the holy God hates. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing, or a lie; all the forgers and propagators of false reports to hurt and defame. The Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man, the implacable and unmerciful. These are the characters marked for vengeance, not only in David's day, but in every age and place. Such enemies of Christ and his people, foolish, wicked, malicious, false, blood-thirsty men, shall be destroyed with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power. Lord, gather not my soul with these sinners!

2nd, Having described the miserable ways and end of the ungodly, we have David's resolution and prayer, that he may take a different course. But as for me, I will come into thy house, to worship there, as one of thy devoted servants, and publickly to make profession of my bounden duty; not that I am worthy to open my polluted lips, or to mention my worthless service; but in the multitude of thy mercy, this being the only ground of a sinner's confidence towards God, the mercy revealed in a covenant of grace through Jesus Christ: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple; with reverence adoring the eternal Majesty who is so greatly to be feared; careful to observe his instituted ordinances, as well as drawing near through the divinely-appointed medium, the great Mediator between God and man, whom the temple and all its service prefigured.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 5". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.