Study Notes

Psalm 5:1-12

For Flute Accompaniment

While the NAS translates this word as flute, in Hebrew it is nekh-ee-LAW. It seems to come from a root word meaning "to bore through, to pierce or perforate," hence the understanding that it must be a flute or wind instrument of some kind. This is the only psalm written that indicates it is to be played with this instrument, and the only place in Scripture the word is used.

5:1 Consider My Groaning

The word translated "groaning" here is rendered "meditation" in the King James Version. It means to moan or whisper. Often as we take our troubles to the Lord, we find ourselves at a loss for words. There is no way to put into english the emotions we're feeling, the despondency or confusion of a given situation. So David goes to the Lord, alternating between words and groans.

5:2 To Thee Do I Pray

Although many people then and now would pray to their false gods, David will never pray to anyone but the true and living God. The Lord spoke through Isaiah the prophet,

Isa. 45:20 "...They have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol, and pray to a god who cannot save."

David affirms that it is the God of heaven that he is addressing.

5:3 In The Morning

A lot of us aren't morning people. Even the proverb says,

Prov. 27:14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, It will be reckoned a curse to him.

But David didn't sleep in on God. He knew that God often ministers most mightily in the morning. Manna was to be gathered first thing in the morning. Moses met the Lord on Mt. Sinai early in the morning. Jesus always sought the Father early in the morning, and after His resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene first because she arose and went to the tomb early in the morning.

Lam. 3:22-23 The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;

Because God's mercies are new every morning, it is a wonderful time to seek Him and wait to hear from Him.


David prays,

Ps. 5:3 ...I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.

Although it may sound like it, David is not ordering God to action. The word "order" here means, "to arrange, to lay out in order, to set in array." David will systematically lift his requests to God in prayer.

Eagerly Watch

One thing that we often are guilty of is, even after we've prayed, expecting nothing. We pray for healing and then don't expect it. We pray for rain, but we don't bring our umbrellas. We pray for answers and then go to sleep. David knew better. He lifted his prayer up and then sat expectantly waiting for the answer. Jesus taught,

Mark 11:24 "...All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be {granted} you.

When my children ask without expecting, they rarely receive what they're asking for. As I'm packing for California it's, "Dad, can I go to the pastor's conference with you this year?" They don't believe that they're going or they they have a prayer of going. So the question is empty. Too often, we ask God in the same way - asking, but not expecting. David said, "I'm praying, and then I'm watching."

5:4-6 Hating Wickedness, Evil, Boasting, And Iniquity

God takes no pleasure in wickedness. He hates evil, boasting, iniquity, falsehood, and deceit. When I am reminded of that, it amazes me all the more that He loved us in spite of those things. The fact that everyone in the world is guilty of these things, yet

John 3:16 ... God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son...

When I recognize mankind's wickedness, then I realize that the biggest mystery of all is God's love for us.

5:7 I Will Enter Thy House

The man they named Saint Louis, Missouri after was King Louis IX, who ruled France during the 13th century. This words of this verse were uttered by him in 1270 as he died. Louis IX knew that it was only by God's mercy that he would enter into the heavenly temple of the Lord.

Now, this word David uses for temple is used interchangeably throughout the psalms as referring to both God's holy habitation and the earthly tabernacle in which He met with man.

Whichever David is referring to here, whether the tabernacle or heaven, the only entrance is not by his righteousness, but by the Lord's mercy.

5:8 The Straight Way

The writer of Hebrews said,

Hebr. 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that {the limb} which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

John the Baptist came crying,


How can we make straight paths? By following the trail the Lord has already cut. Peter said that Christ came,

1Pet. 2:21 ...leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps

This is how we will follow a straight path - by following the way He went.

5:9-10 Hold Them Guilty

This seems to be a departure from the evangelistic leanings that David had in psalm 4. And it is certainly different than the prayers of Jesus and Stephen.

Luke 23:34 ..."Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."

Acts 7:60 ..."Lord, do not hold this sin against them!"...

Do we condemn David for this prayer, or do we imitate him? I believe that we must simply understand him.

David is asking for justice. The law that he lived under proclaimed,

Exod. 21:23-25 ...Appoint {as a penalty} life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

David is not asking for anything that they wouldn't receive in a human court of law. As a matter of fact, the law dictated that, in the instance of murder, it was the victim's family member himself who would put the murderer to death.

Num. 35:18-19 ...the murderer shall surely be put to death. The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death...

But David doesn't even ask to be part of the justice. He simply prays, "Lord, let them be caught in their own trap, let them be entangled in their own nets, let them fall by their own devices." I see this prayer as far more godly than many prayers I've prayed over the years.

5:11-12 Refuge, Shelter, And Shield

David is not taking matters into his own hands, but simply taking refuge in the Lord. He once again has victory by leaving both the offense and the defense to the God of all the earth.

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