PSALMS 15. A PSALM OF DAVID
[Psalms 15:1] LORD, WHO SHALL ABIDE IN THY TABERNACLE? WHO SHALL DWELL IN
THY HOLY HILL?
S.R. Hirsch points out that that this literally means the area of Jerusalem
and the Temple but conceptually refers to the whole Land of Israel that is
viewed as centered around Jerusalem and the Temple mount. Figuratively
these are seen as the entrance gates to the next life, to the presence of
the Almighty where the boundaries between this world and the spiritual
dimension of existence are not felt. The message of the Bible is that
every person should have spiritual orientation towards the Holy Land. Every
Israelite should wish to come up to the Land even if only for a visit.
Coming to Israel on a trip can be expensive but not necessarily more than
going for a holiday or trip elsewhere.
[Psalms 15:2] HE THAT WALKETH UPRIGHTLY, AND WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND
SPEAKETH THE TRUTH IN HIS HEART.
<<HE THAT WALKETH UPRIGHTLY>>: In Hebrew "tamim" from the root "tam"
(from here we have the English "tame") meaning simple, innocent, pure.
One should do the best one can, be straight with other people and seek
justice and the righteousness both for oneself and others when possible.
This is not easy for everyone of us but I have noticed that in places where
there is a need those who feel they can do something often do. There are
people who go out of their way to rectify what needs rectification and to
assist those who need it. We can be like them. Often we feel that we
ourselves are not getting along in this life as we should and are in no
position to exert ourselves on behalf of other people. Even so, each person
will at some time or other feel a "pull" in the direction of something
that can be done by himself/herself. Often through helping others our own
problems get sorted out.You should seel the truth and acknowledge it in
your heart when you find it.
[Psalms 15:3] HE THAT BACKBITETH NOT WITH HIS TONGUE, NOR DOETH EVIL TO HIS
NEIGHBOUR, NOR TAKETH UP A REPROACH AGAINST HIS NEIGHBOUR.
The Psalmist is emphasizing that a "spritiually" oriented person who seeks
to dwell in the Tabernacle of the Almighty should also be one who acts well
and constructively. When someone has done you wrong or has not acted in a
way consistent with the needed harmony of your surroundings one may feel
that the only means of redress is to voice grievances to others or to
rectify the behavior of others through precisely placed insults. In
certain extreme cases this may be justified but on the whole it should be
avoided. Words of encouragement, a positive attitude, and good humor are
usually much more effective. Even in those cases when "tale-telling" may be
justified it is liable to cause you damage (spiritually and otherwise) and
not have any positive result.
<< TO HIS NEIGHBOUR>>: In Hebrew "rayehu" literaly "fellow" or
"fellowman". This would not encompass someone who was an enemy.
<<AGAINST HIS NEIGHBOUR>>: In Hebrew "Kerovo" literaly "he who is close to him"
<< NOR TAKETH UP A REPROACH AGAINST HIS NEIGHBOUR>>: In Hebrew this can
also be interpreted to mean (as Rashi explains): <<He does not cover up the
offence of his relative>>.
Metzudat David interprets it to mean:<<He does not cause shame to his relative>>.
[Psalms 15:4] IN WHOSE EYES A VILE PERSON IS CONTEMNED; BUT HE HONOURETH
THEM THAT FEAR THE LORD. HE THAT SWEARETH TO HIS OWN HURT, AND CHANGETH NOT.
These are principle that everyone agrees with but when it comes to putting
them into practice it may not be that easy. Some people are just bad. It
may be possible to reform them but we are not necessarily those capable of
doing it. On the whole a bad person should be kept away from and not
honored or unnecessarily placated.
[Psalms 15:5] HE THAT PUTTETH NOT OUT HIS MONEY TO USURY, NOR TAKETH REWARD
AGAINST THE INNOCENT. HE THAT DOETH THESE THINGS SHALL NEVER BE MOVED.
It was forbidden to lend money with interest to a fellow Israelite under Law.
<<UNTO A STRANGER THOU MAYEST LEND UPON USURY; BUT UNTO THY BROTHER THOU
SHALT NOT LEND UPON USURY: THAT THE LORD THY GOD MAY BLESS THEE IN ALL THAT
THOU SETTEST THINE HAND TO IN THE LAND WHITHER THOU GOEST TO POSSESS
IT.>> [Deuteronomy 23:20]
<<NOR TAKETH REWARD AGAINST THE INNOCENT>>: Even a reward for doing the
right thing that you would have done anyway can be included here under
<<THE INNOCENT>>: This means those who are not guilty. Allowing things
that are not correct be said against other individuals or groups because
you get some kind of satisfaction out of it would be included in this prohibition.