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Psalm chapter 15

New International Version

1 A psalm of David. LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.
English Standard Version

1 A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 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; 5 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.
King James Version

1 {A Psalm of David.} LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.
New American Standard Bible

1 LORD, who may reside in Your tent? Who may settle on Your holy hill? 2 One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart. 3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor do evil to his neighbor, Nor bring shame on his friend; 4 A despicable person is despised in his eyes, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change; 5 He does not lend his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. One who does these things will never be shaken.
New Living Translation

1 A psalm of David. Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? 2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. 3 Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. 4 Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. 5 Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Lord, who can dwell in your tent? Who can live on your holy mountain? 2 The one who lives blamelessly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart -- 3 who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, 4 who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word whatever the cost, 5 who does not lend his silver at interest or take a bribe against the innocent -- the one who does these things will never be shaken.

What does Psalm chapter 15 mean?

This psalm begins with a deceptively simple question. Who is worthy to be in the presence of God? The term "sojourn" does not necessarily mean travel or a temporary condition. Rather, it means to live somewhere as a stranger or foreigner. David implicitly realizes that no human being is perfect (Psalm 51:1–2; 143:2; Romans 3:23); any imperfect person in God's presence is somewhat out of place. What follows are characteristics of a truly righteous person. These are explanations of what righteousness looks like, not an explanation of how one can prove their righteousness to the Lord (Psalm 15:1).

The term "blameless" is a reference to reputation. It does not mean "sinless," but implies someone whose life offers no room for criticism from others (Deuteronomy 18:13; Proverbs 29:10). One way to monitor this is by honesty. The "heart," as mentioned in ancient writing, includes many aspects modern language ascribes to the "mind." A righteous person is not only truthful about others, and about themselves, they think honestly about others and themselves (Psalm 15:2).

Telling lies, speaking unkindly of others, or harming a neighbor are all incompatible with a righteous lifestyle. In addition, the godly person weighs if other people's lifestyles are God-honoring and esteems their actions accordingly. In honesty and respectful love for others, the righteous person keeps their word, even when it's to their own disadvantage (Psalm 15:3–4).

Under the Old Testament law, Israelites were forbidden from charging interest when lending money to poor countrymen. The terms used in ancient Hebrew most closely resemble the English term usury, which means to charge excessive interest. A righteous person does not give financial aid to those in need with the intent of making a profit. Investing for a business purpose is not the same as "lending" to those who are poverty-stricken. Also, those who are righteous refuse to accept bribes; they do not allow their judgment to be clouded with corruption (Psalm 15:5).