What does Psalm 26:4 mean?
ESV: I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.
NIV: I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites.
NASB: I do not sit with deceitful people, Nor will I go with pretenders.
CSB: I do not sit with the worthless or associate with hypocrites.
NLT: I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites.
KJV: I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
NKJV: I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
Verse Commentary:
As part of his commitment to holiness, David sought not to have close association with known liars or hypocrites (Psalm 26:5). This is often a difficult issue to balance when trying to live a God-honoring life. Completely disconnecting, in every way, from those who sin would not only be practically impossible (1 Corinthians 5:9–10), it would leave those persons without evidence of God's goodness (Matthew 5:16). Sensible boundaries are healthy; David recognized the value of avoiding those steeped in sin (Proverbs 13:20). Believers should try to draw unbelievers to Christ, but an equal yoke will draw believers away from Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33).

Jesus sent His followers into the world. But He did not tell them to copy the culture of the world. He prayed, "I do not ask that you take them out of the world…They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world" (John 17:15–16). First John 2:16 indicts the world's culture as full of evil desires: "the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life." By contrast, the believer's desire should be to do God's will (John 7:17). The world is passing away, but the person who does God's will abides forever (John 11:25–26).
Verse Context:
Psalm 26:4–12 is practical evidence of the commitment David expressed in this psalm's introduction. While imperfect, David's life demonstrated consistent emphasis on godliness and obedience to the Lord. David draws a contrast between him and the evildoers that corrupted the worship of God (Psalm 26:5). David loves God's house and thanks the Lord for His miracles. David notes that because he does not associate with those who are evil, he does not expect to be caught up in their judgment.
Chapter Summary:
Some of David's psalms connect directly to events recorded in Scripture. Psalm 26, however, does not seem to match any biblical events in David's life. This might have been David's response to a specific challenge, or a general plea for God to preserve him from deceptive attacks. In this psalm, David reaffirms his lifestyle of godliness and integrity. He is confident that he will not be judged with the wicked; the psalm offers evidence that he honors the Lord.
Chapter Context:
This Davidic psalm affirms David's integrity and his deliberate separation from evildoers. It also reveals his love for the tabernacle on Mount Zion. In several ways Psalms 26 resembles Psalm 25, though this song does not include a request for forgiveness (Psalm 25:18). David declares his sincere pursuit of the Lord, including attention to genuine worship. He does not participate with evildoers—likely meaningfalse worship —and he recognizes that the Lord will sweep away the souls of sinners.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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