Psalm 5

Psalm 5


Read: Psalm 5; John 14:1 – 6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:19

Psalm 5 is a prayer psalm that (according to Jewish tradition) David wrote based on his experiences during the rebellion of Absalom.  David revealed the essential humility of his spiritual attitude in vv. 7 and 8.

Think About It: On what basis did David enter the Lord’s house? What did David ask for from the Lord in Psalm 5:8? What does that request say about his spiritual attitude? What is “the Lord’s house” for me? On what basis can I enter the Lord’s house and draw near to God?

Prayer: Praise God that He has provided the Way to come to Him.

Read: Psalm 5:1 – 2; Psalm 38:9; Psalm 39:3

David referred to his practices in prayer in Psalm 5. In Psalm 5:1 he referred to “groaning,” using a Hebrew word that means whispering, musing, or murmuring; it is one of the psalmist’s ways of referring to the Old Testament practice of meditative or reflective prayer.  In Psalm 5:2, David asked God to pay attention to the “sound of my cry.” The Hebrew word he used for “sound” can be translated “shout,” or “bleating”; it is often used in the Old Testament for “thunder.” The Hebrew word that is translated as “cry” in the English Standard Version refers specifically to a cry for help.

Think About It: How can David’s example help me in my prayer life? Do I make time for reflection in prayer?  Since God is not far from us (Acts 17:27), nor is He hard of hearing (Psalm 94:9), what possible function did David’s crying loudly to God serve?

Prayer: Praise God that He is near to me and hears me.


Read: Psalm 5:3; Psalms 101:8; 30:5; 46:5; 90:14; 92:2

In Psalm 5:3 David wrote that He rose early in the morning to watch and pray, and also to offer a sacrifice, which was central to Old Testament worship. To “watch” means to anticipate and wait hopefully. Most commentators on this verse agree that the reference to morning prayer expressed the priority of God in David’s life. In Scripture, morning is both a special time of God’s judgment on the wicked and a time when God shows mercy.

Think About It: David’s actions demonstrated the priority of God in his life. What do my actions say about my priorities?

Prayer: Lord, may my actions demonstrate that I recognize Your supremacy, and my need of You.


Read: Psalm 5:4 – 6, 9; 2 Samuel 15:12, 31; 2 Samuel 17:1 – 3

Ancient Jewish tradition says the wicked person in this Psalm is Ahithophel. David was grieved for the masses of people who believed Absalom’s lies (Psalm 4:2), but Ahithophel’s sin was worse; he was (according to tradition) a great Torah scholar who used his learning not to become obedient to God, but to impress others with his brilliance and originality. Unlike the masses, he was not deceived by lies; he knew better, and still acted wickedly.

Think About It: Whether or not this psalm refers to Ahithophel, as Jewish tradition claims, it definitely reveals characteristics of the wicked person in vv. 4 -6 and v. 9.  What are some of those characteristics?

Prayer: Lord, deliver me from the wicked, and from the wickedness in my heart.


Read: Psalm 5:8, 10; 1 Peter 2:12, 4:17; 1 Corinthians 5:2 – 5

David made specific prayer requests regarding the wicked in Psalm 5. In Psalm 5:8, David’s prayer that God make his way straight was made “because of my enemies.” David wanted to be sure to walk a righteous path before his enemies – even if his way led through great difficulties. A righteous life produces conviction of sin.

Think About It: What did David request from God regarding the wicked in Psalm 5:10? When is it necessary for God to cast out or banish someone from God’s people?  Because many people have the idea that the imprecatory psalms (of which Psalm 5 is an example) are unduly harsh, it is important to ask this: did David pray that he be permitted to crush the wicked? Although David observed in Psalm 5:5 that God destroys liars, did David ask God to destroy the wicked? What was David’s attitude towards Absalom, who started the rebellion (2 Samuel 18:5)?  See 2 Corinthians 2:5 – 10 for what may have been the outcome of the severe discipline ordered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:2 – 5.

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember to show mercy as You have been merciful to me.


Read: Psalm 5:3 – 8, 12; Romans 9:23; Ephesians 2:4; Exodus 34:6 – 7; Nehemiah 9:17

Psalm 5 reveals many encouraging characteristics about the Lord. In v. 3 David affirmed that God heard his voice. In vv. 4 – 6 David wrote that God hates evil and evildoers, that He destroys liars, and abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful. In v. 7, David observed that God is abundant in chesed – translated as mercy, lovingkindness, or steadfast love. This essential characteristic of God was revealed by the Lord Himself to Moses, and is reiterated in the New Testament phrase that God is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4).

Think About It: What characteristics about God are stated or implied in Psalm 5 verses 8 and 12? Of the characteristics of God revealed in Psalm 5 – and we surely need to know all of them – which do I find the most encouraging for my present situation?  

Prayer: Thank you Lord, not only for what You do, but for who You are.


Read: Psalm 5:11; 2 Corinthians 4:18; John 8:36

David provides the application for the truths of Psalm 5 in v. 11. Those who “ever sing for joy,” that is, who sing everlastingly, must of necessity be finding their joy in things eternal, not in things temporal.

Think About It: The Hebrew word translated as “exult” implies the overcoming of resistance, being freed from restraint – as a prisoner exults when released from is cell, or a slave exults when set free.  From what have I been set free?  Do I love the Lord’s name, and exult in Him?

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for setting me free!