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Psalms: Chapter 26

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Of David.

1Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked without blame; I have trusted in the LORD; I have not faltered. 2Probe me, O LORD, and try me, test my a‐ Lit. “kidneys and heart.” heart and mind; ‐a Lit. “kidneys and heart.” 3 b‐ Or “I am aware of Your faithfulness, and always walk in Your true [path].” for my eyes are on Your steadfast love; I have set my course by it. ‐b Or “I am aware of Your faithfulness, and always walk in Your true [path].” 4I do not consort with scoundrels, or mix with hypocrites; 5I detest the company of evil men, and do not consort with the wicked; 6I wash my hands in innocence, and walk around Your altar, O LORD, 7raising my voice in thanksgiving, and telling all Your wonders. 8O LORD, I love Your temple abode, the dwelling‐place of Your glory. 9Do not sweep me away with sinners, or [snuff out] my life with murderers, 10who have schemes at their fingertips, and hands full of bribes. 11But I walk without blame; redeem me, have mercy on me! 12My feet are on level ground. In assemblies I will bless the LORD.

Notes:

a‐a Lit. “kidneys and heart.”

b‐b Or “I am aware of Your faithfulness, and always walk in Your true [path].”

Text Commentary view alone

Ps. 26 :

A prayer for divine justice. The bulk of the psalm is a protestation of innocence, where the psalmist insists that he has conducted his life as God requires and therefore should not be punished like the wicked. His plea is based on the assumption that the righteous are rewarded and the wicked punished, yet in his case this expectation seems not yet to have been fulfilled. Like Ps. 25 , this psalm uses some language of wisdom literature.

1–3 :

The psalmist prays that God adjudicate him and find him righteous ( 7.9; 17.2–5 ).

4–5 :

The psalmist's protestation of innocence and his nonassociation with the wicked is similar to 1.1–2 .

6–8 :

The mention of the altar and temple suggests to some that the psalmist is a priest, but he may be an ordinary person who delights in coming to the Temple. Clean hands (literally or metaphorically) are required for entrance to the Temple (Ps. 24.4 ).

8 :

Glory, the light streaming from the deity ( 36.10; 63.3 ).

9–10 :

If the psalmist is swept away with the evildoers, he will not be able to come to the Temple, which he loves (v. 8 ).

11–12 :

I walk without blame forms an inclusio, with a change of tense, with v. 1 ; the psalmist was blameless in the past and continues to be. My feet are on level ground, Heb “my foot stands on level ground” recalls the walking in vv. 1, 3 . Heb without blame and level ground echoes the words “tam” and “yashar,” “to have integrity and be upright,” the desired traits of the righteous person (cf. 25.21 ).

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