The Righteous Israelite
1aA psalm of David.
LORD, who may abide in your tent?*
Who may dwell on your holy mountain?*
2Whoever walks without blame,b
doing what is right,
speaking truth from the heart;
3Who does not slander with his tongue,
does no harm to a friend,
never defames a neighbor;
4Who disdains the wicked,
but honors those who fear the LORD;
Who keeps an oath despite the cost,
5lends no money at interest,*
accepts no bribe against the innocent.c
Whoever acts like this
shall never be shaken.
* [Psalm 15] The Psalm records a liturgical scrutiny at the entrance to the Temple court (cf. Ps 24:3–6; Is 33:14b–16). The Israelite wishing to be admitted had to ask the Temple official what conduct was appropriate to God’s precincts. Note the emphasis on virtues relating to one’s neighbor.
* [15:1] Your tent: the Temple could be referred to as “tent” (Ps 61:5; Is 33:20), a reference to the tent of the wilderness period and the tent of David (2 Sm 6:17; 7:2), predecessors of the Temple. Holy mountain: a venerable designation of the divine abode (Ps 2:6; 3:5; 43:3; 48:2, etc.).
* [15:5] Lends no money at interest: lending money in the Old Testament was often seen as assistance to the poor in their distress, not as an investment; making money off the poor by charging interest was thus forbidden (Ex 22:24; Lv 25:36–37; Dt 23:20).