Psalm 5:4
For you are not a God that has pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with you.
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(4) Neither shall evil.—Better, the wicked man is not thy guest. For the same thought, see Psalms 15; and for the opposite, of God coming to dwell with the godly, Isaiah 57:15.

5:1-6 God is a prayer-hearing God. Such he has always been, and he is still as ready to hear prayer as ever. The most encouraging principle of prayer, and the most powerful plea in prayer, is, to look upon him as our King and our God. David also prays to a sin-hating God. sin is folly, and sinners are the greatest of all fools; fools of their own making. Wicked people hate God; justly are they hated of him, and this will be their endless misery and ruin. Let us learn the importance of truth and sincerity, in all the affairs of life. Liars and murderers resemble the devil, and are his children, therefore it may well be expected that God should abhor them. These were the characters of David's enemies; and such as these are still the enemies of Christ and his people.For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness - The psalmist here refers to a well-known and well-understood characteristic of the Divine Being, that he was holy and pure, and that he could not have any pleasure in furthering the designs of wicked men. This is said with reference to his enemies, who were thus wicked; and the idea is that God would not, and could not, consistently with his nature, further their designs. This is the ground of encouragement which he had to pray - that he was conscious that his own aims were right, and that his cause was just, and that God could not favor the cause of the ungodly. This is still, and always will be, a ground of encouragement in prayer. If we know that our cause is right, we may look to God to favor it; if a cause is wrong, we cannot look to him to interpose to advance it. Good men, therefore, pray; wicked men do not.

Neither shall evil dwell with thee - The same idea is here expressed in another form. If God should show favor to the wicked, it would seem as if he admitted them to his habitation, as we do our friends and those in whom we delight. But as God would not do this, the psalmist feels that it was proper for him to call upon Him to deliver him from wicked people.

4. For, &c.—God only regards sincere worshippers.

evil—or, "the evil man."

dwell—lodge, remain under protection.

4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

And now the Psalmist having thus expressed his resolution to pray, you hear him putting up his prayer. He is pleading against his cruel and wicked enemies. Hs uses a most mighty argument. He begs of God to put them away from him, because they were displeasing to God himself. "For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee." "When I pray against my tempters," says David, "I pray against the very things which thou thyself abhorrest." Thou hatest evil: Lord, I beseech thee, deliver me from it!

Let us learn here the solemn truth of the hatred which a righteous God must bear towards sin. He has no pleasure in wickedness, however wittily, grandly, and proudly it may array itself. Its glitter has no charm for him. Men may bow before the successful villainy, and forget the wickedness of the battle in the gaudiness of the triumph, but the Lord of Holiness is not such-an-one as we are. "Neither shall evil dwell with thee." He will not afford it the meanest shelter. Neither on earth nor in heaven shall evil share the mansion of God. Oh, how foolish are we if we attempt to entertain two guests so hostile to one another as Christ Jesus and the devil! Rest assured, Christ will not live in the parlour of our hearts if we entertain the devil in the cellar of our thoughts. "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight." Sinners are fools written large. A little sin is a great folly, and the greatest of all folly is great sin. Such sinful fools as these must be banished from the court of heaven. Earthly kings were wont to have fools in their trains, but the only wise God will have no fools in his palace above. "Thou hatest all workers of iniquity." It is not a little dislike, but a thorough hatred which God bears to workers of iniquity. To be hated of God is an awful thing. O let us be very faithful in warning the wicked around us, for it will be a terrible thing for them to fall into the hands of an angry God! Observe, that evil speakers must be punished as well as evil workers, for "thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing." All liars shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A man may lie without danger of the law of man, but he will not escape the law of God. Liars have short wings, their flight shall soon be over, and they shall fall into the fiery floods of destruction. "The Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man." Bloody men shall be made drunk with their own blood, and they who began by deceiving others shall end with being deceived themselves. Our old proverb saith, "Bloody and deceitful men dig their own graves." The voice of the people is in this instance the voice of God. How forcible is the word abhor! Does it not show us how powerful and deep-seated is the hatred of the Lord against the workers of iniquity?

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. For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness,.... Sin, ungodliness; it is contrary to his nature, who is holy, just, and good; and to his will revealed in his law, which is the same with his nature; and sin is a transgression of it. God is so far from taking pleasure in sin, that it is the abominable thing which his righteous soul hates; though this hinders not his voluntary permission of sin, or his decree of it; which he has willed, though he does not delight in it, in order to magnify the riches of his grace and mercy in the salvation of his people: nor is this contrary to the delight and pleasure which he takes in the persons of his elect in Christ, though they are sinners in themselves, and were so when he so loved them as to give his Son for them, and who died for them while they were yet sinners; and when he sends his Spirit to regenerate and sanctify them, and are after conversion guilty of many sins: for, though he delights in their persons, he has no pleasure in their sins; nor is it consistent with the holiness of his nature to take pleasure in wickedness, let it be committed by whomsoever;

neither shall evil dwell with thee; that is, the evil man, who continues in a course of wickedness, and lives and dies in his sins. He has no communion with God here, nor shall he dwell with him hereafter; but shall be bid to depart from him, whether he be a profane sinner openly, or secretly a wicked professor of religion. The sense of the psalmist is, that since they were evil and wicked men, that were risen up against him, and gave him trouble, he entertained a strong confidence that God would hear him, for himself and his friends, whose cause was righteous; and appear against his enemies, who were wicked and ungodly men; and this he grounded upon the purity and holiness of God.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in {c} wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

(c) Seeing that God of nature hates wickedness, he must punish the wicked and save the godly.

4. a God] El, not Elohim. If the fundamental idea of this name for God is that of power[3], its use here is significant. Power without goodness is the fetishistic conception of deity, to which human nature is prone (Psalm 50:21).

[3] Attractive but questionable is Lagarde’s explanation of the name El as ‘the Being to Whom man turns,’ the aim and end of all human longing and effort.

neither shall evil dwell with thee] Rather, as R.V. marg., with the LXX, Vulg. and Jerome, The evil man shall not sojourn with thee. He cannot be (so to speak) God’s guest, and enjoy the hospitality and protection which Oriental custom prescribes. See on Psalm 15:1, and cp. Psalm 61:4. To sinners the divine holiness is a consuming fire which they cannot endure (Isaiah 33:14).

4–6. The ground of the Psalmist’s confident expectation of an answer is the holiness of God, who will tolerate no evil. Comp. the ideal of an earthly king’s court in Psalms 101.Verse 4. - For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness. Thou wilt listen to the prayer of a righteous man (Psalm 4:1), since thou dost not delight in wickedness, but in goodness. Neither shall evil dwell with thee. Light has no fellowship with darkness. Evil men can obtain no support from thee, who art All-holy. They will scarcely venture to ask thy aid. (Heb.: 4:7-8) Looking into his own small camp David is conscious of a disheartened feeling which is gaining power over him. The words: who will make us see, i.e., (as in Psalm 34:13) experience any good? can be taken as expressive of a wish according to 2 Samuel 23:15; Isaiah 42:23; but the situation gives it the character of a despondent question arising from a disheartened view of the future. The gloom has now, lasted so long with David's companions in tribulation that their faith is turned to fear, their hope to despair. David therefore prays as he looks upon them: Oh lift upon us (נסה־עלינוּ)

(Note: The Metheg which stands in the second syllable before the tone stands by the Sheb, in the metrical books, if this syllable is the first in a word marked with a greater distinctive without any conjunctive preceding it, and beginning with Sheb; it is, therefore, not נסה־עלינוּ but נסה־עלינוּ, cf. Psalm 51:2 בּבוא־, Psalm 69:28 תּנה־, Psalm 81:3 שׂאו־, Psalm 116:17 לך־, Psalm 119:175 תּחי־. The reason and object are the same as stated in note p. *84 supra.)

the light of Thy countenance. The form of the petition reminds one of the priestly benediction in Numbers 6. There it is: פּניו יאר ה in the second portion, in the third פּניו ישּׂא ה, here these two wishes are blended into one prayer; and moreover in נסה there is an allusion to neec a banner, for the imper. of נשׂא, the regular form of which is שׂא, will also admit of the form נשׂא (Psalm 10:12), but the mode of writing נסה (without example elsewhere, for נסּה Job 4:2 signifies "to be attempted") is only explained by the mingling of the verbs נשׂא and נסס, Arab. nṣṣ, extollere (Psalm 60:6); נסּי ה (cf. Psalm 60:6) is, moreover, a primeval word of the Tra (Exodus 17:15). If we may suppose that this mingling is not merely a mingling of forms in writing, but also a mingling of the ideas in those forms, then we have three thoughts in this prayer which are brought before the eye and ear in the briefest possible expression: may Jahve cause His face to shine upon them; may He lift upon them the light of His countenance so that they may have it above them like the sun in the sky, and may that light be a banner promising them the victory, around which they shall rally.

David, however, despite the hopelessness of the present, is even now at peace in His God. The joy which Jahve has put into his heart in the midst of outward trial and adversity is מעת דּגנם ותירושׁם רבּוּ. The expression is as concise as possible: (1) gaudium prae equivalent to gaudium magnum prae -majus quam; then (2) מעת after the analogy of the comparatio decurtata (e.g., Psalm 18:34 my feet are like hinds, i.e., like the feet of hinds) is equivalent to משּׂמחת עת; (3) אשׁר is omitted after עת according to Ges. 123, 3, for עת is the construct state, and what follows is the second member of the genitival relation, dependent upon it (cf. Psalm 90:15; Isaiah 29:1); the plurality of things: corn and new wine, inasmuch as it is the stores of both that are specially meant, is exceptionally joined with the plur. instead of the sing., and the chief word raabbu stands at the end by way of emphasis. The suff. does not refer to the people of the land in general (as in Psalm 65:10), but, in accordance with the contrast, to the Absolomites, to those of the nation who have fallen away from David. When David came to Mahanaim, while the rebels were encamped in Gilead, the country round about him was hostile, so that he had to receive provisions by stealth, 2 Samuel 17:26-29. Perhaps it was at the time of the feast of tabernacles. The harvest and the vintage were over. A rich harvest of corn and new wine was garnered. The followers of Absolom had, in these rich stores which were at their disposal, a powerful reserve upon which to fall back. David and his host were like a band of beggars or marauders. But the king brought down from the sceptre of the beggar's staff is nevertheless happier than they, the rebels against him. What he possesses in his heart is a richer treasure than all that they have in their barns and cellars.

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