Psalms

PSALM 15*

The Righteous Israelite

1aA psalm of David.

I

LORD, who may abide in your tent?*

Who may dwell on your holy mountain?*

II

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

III

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 24:36; Is 33:14b16). 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 25:3637; Dt 23:20).

a. [15:1] Is 56:7.

b. [15:2] Ps 119:1.

c. [15:5] Ex 22:24; 23:8.

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