New American Standard Bible
Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
King James Bible
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Darby Bible Translation
Be moved with anger, and sin not; meditate in your own hearts upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
World English Bible
Stand in awe, and don't sin. Search your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.
Young's Literal Translation
Tremble ye, and do not sin;' Say ye thus in your heart on your bed, And be ye silent. Selah.
Psalm 4:4 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Stand in awe - Still addressed to those who in Psalm 4:2 are called "sons of men;" that is, to his enemies. This is rendered by Prof. Alexander, "Rage and sin not." The Aramaic Paraphrase renders it, "Tremble before him, and sin not." The Latin Vulgate, "Irascimini" - "be angry." The Septuagint ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε orgizesthe kai mē hamartanete, "Be ye angry, and sin not" - a rendering which Paul seems to have had in his eye in Ephesians 4:26, where the same language is found. It is not necessary, however, to suppose that, in this case, or by so quoting this language, Paul meant to give his sanction to the Septuagint translation of the passage. The truth doubtless is, that he found this language in that version, and that he quoted it, not as a correct translation, but as exactly expressing an idea which he wished to convey - in the same way as he would have quoted an expression from a Greek classic.
It was made to convey an inspired sentiment by his use of it; whether it was a fair translation of the original Hebrew was another question. For the meaning of the sentiment, see the notes at Ephesians 4:26. The original word here - רגז râgaz - means to be moved, disturbed, disquieted, thrown into commotion; and as this may be by anger, fear, or grief, so the word comes to be used with reference to any one of these things. - Gesenius, Lexicon. The connection here would seem to require that it should be understood with reference to "fear" - since we cannot suppose that the writer would counsel them to be moved or agitated by wrath or anger, and since there was no ground for exhorting them to be moved by grief. The true idea is, doubtless, that which is conveyed in our translation - that they were to fear; to stand in awe; to reflect on the course which they were pursuing, and on the consequences of that course, and by so doing to cease from their plans, and to sin no further. God had determined to protect him whom they were engaged in persecuting, and, in prosecuting their plans, they must come into conflict with His power, and be overcome. The counsel, therefore, is just such as may properly be given to all men who are engaged in executing plans of evil.
And sin not - That is, by continuing to prosecute these plans. Your course is one of rebellion against Yahweh, since he has determined to protect him whom you are endeavoring to drive from his throne, and any further prosecution of your schemes must be regarded as additional guilt. They had indeed sinned by what they had already done; they would only sin the more unless they abandoned their undertaking.
Commune with your own heart - Hebrew: "Speak with your own heart;" that is, consult your own "heart" on the subject, and be guided by the result of such a deliberation. The language is similar to what we often use when we say, "Consult your better judgment," or "Consult your feelings," or "Take counsel of your own good sense;" as if a man were divided against himself, and his passions, his ambition, or his avarice, were contrary to his own better judgment. The word "heart" here is used in the sense in which we now use it as denoting the seat of the affections, and especially of right affections; and the meaning is, "Do not take counsel of, or be influenced by, your head, your will, your passions, your evil advisers and counselors; but consult your own better feelings, your generous emotions, your sense of right, and act accordingly." People would frequently be much more likely to do right if they would consult their "hearts" as to what should be done than they are in following the counsels which actually influence them. The secret, silent teachings of the "heart" - the heart when unbiased and uninfluenced by bad counselors - is often our best and safest guide.
Upon your bed - Admirable advice to those who are engaged in plans of wickedness. In the silence of night; in solitary musings on our bed; when withdrawn from the world, and from all the promptings of passion and ambition, and when, if at any time, we cannot but feel that the eye of God is upon us, the mind is most likely to be in a proper state to review its plans, and to inquire whether those plans can be expected to meet the divine approbation.
And be still - When you are thus quiet, reflect on your doings. For a most beautiful description of the effect of night and silence in recalling wicked men from their schemes, see Job 33:14-17. Compare the notes at that passage.
Selah - This, as explained in the notes at Psalm 3:2, marks a musical pause. The pause here would well accord with the sense, and would most happily occur after the allusion to the quiet communion on the bed, and the exhortation to be still.
LibraryOf the Love of Solitude and Silence
Seek a suitable time for thy meditation, and think frequently of the mercies of God to thee. Leave curious questions. Study such matters as bring thee sorrow for sin rather than amusement. If thou withdraw thyself from trifling conversation and idle goings about, as well as from novelties and gossip, thou shalt find thy time sufficient and apt for good meditation. The greatest saints used to avoid as far as they could the company of men, and chose to live in secret with God. 2. One hath said, …
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ
An Evening Thought. --Ps. Iv.
BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:
The LORD reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!
Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
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