Psalms 15

Psalm 15

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

A Psalm of David.

15   O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
  He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
  who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
  in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the LORD;
  who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
  who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
  He who does these things shall never be moved.


Psalm 15 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The term “Christian” can mean many different things. Some people immediately think of a moral person who obeys rules. Others may picture someone who is filled with love. Still, others may associate the word with hypocritical behavior. In this psalm, the author outlines the type of behavior and character that is expected of someone who professes to follow Christ.

As Christians, we should reject behaviors that Christ rejected. We should also embrace behaviors that Christ embraced. It’s not that we think we are better than anyone, but because God’s Kingdom will come through His church. We are His hands and feet.

Rolf Jacobson of the New International Commentary – OT writes this…

“If a society ignores, tolerates, or actively embraces violent and oppressive behaviors, that society is in effect sanctioning oppression. The society that turns a deaf ear to battered women, for instance, is a society that in effect licenses the abuse of women. Because life in God’s community is about the welfare of the neighbor, one cannot simply look to one’s own person and house. One bears a constant and all-encompassing duty to the neighbor.”

Rolf Jacobson

So, who is my neighbor? This was a question a lawyer posed to Jesus in Luke 10. Jesus replied with a famous parable about the Good Samaritan. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had already blurred the lines regarding our behavior toward both friends and enemies (Luke 6). In Luke 10, it seems that the lawyer is looking for an opportunity to reintroduce this issue and get an absolute clarification.

Here is the irony of this story. Jesus is about to make this parable intensely personal. A “lawyer” at that time could have been a priest since they functioned as experts of the law when they were not performing their priestly duties at the temple. In Jesus’ parable, the “expert” of the law (a priest) is the first to pass by the beaten man without showing compassion. This would have been the first heavy blow to the hearers of this story.

A strategic move of Jesus in this parable is to describe the beaten man as only that – a person. He is only said to be a “certain man.” Jesus gives no other details that would cause us to place a predetermined judgment upon this individual. This stands alone as a lesson in compassion for all people.

Then, we have the Samaritan. He is not considered a holy man. He represented a class of people despised as half-breeds. He not only stops and checks on the man, but the text indicates a very critical component that the other two travelers lacked; he had compassion. That compassion led to action. His actions are in line with the covenantal faithfulness of God. He stops on the Jericho road to assist a man he does not know, provides care from his own resources, and even opens an account with the innkeeper with no arrangement for reimbursement. Psalm 15:5 states this exact behavior.

“He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”

Psalms 15:5 NASB

There is substantial risk involved with the Samaritan’s behavior. He goes far and above what would be expected or required in that situation from a worldly perspective. And it’s with this ending that Jesus turns the original question into a far better one; which one of you has acted as a neighbor?

So, if you are someone who professes to be a Christian, have you acted as a neighbor? Does this psalm describe you?

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments