What does Psalms 5 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
As with Psalms 3 and 4, Psalm 5 is connected to David's conflict with his rebellious son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:1–6). After winning a large following, Absalom attempted a murderous coup against his father (2 Samuel 15:13–14). David's writing in these several psalms includes his thoughts and feelings during this dangerous time (Psalm 3:1). The request for God to bring judgment makes this one of the so-called "imprecatory psalms."

David begins with a prayer for God's attention, including a declaration that he seeks to honor the Lord. Psalm 7:1–2 contains similar language as David seeks the favor of God in a difficult time (Psalm 5:1–3).

Next, David describes the wickedness of those who oppose him. Part of David's confidence came from knowing that he honored God, and his enemies did not. He trusts that God will ultimately vindicate him in the face of wicked opponents (Psalm 5:4–6).

Closing out this song, David expresses confidence in God's impending judgment on the wicked. Once again, he declares his sincere obedience to God. This passage directly calls on God to bring consequences on those who are evil. This is known as "imprecation," and is why this is considered one of the "imprecatory" psalms (Psalm 5:7–12).
Verse Context:
Psalm 5:1–3 begins like Psalm 4, as David prays to the Lord with intense feeling. This song of David shares much with Psalms 3 and 4. All three were composed by David when he was fleeing from his rebellious, murderous son, Absalom, in the wilderness (2 Samuel 15—18). Other intense prayers for relief include Jonah's prayer from the belly of a great fish (Jonah 2) and Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39–44; Hebrews 5:7). Psalm 7:1–2 also alludes to David's fervent prayer to be saved from his pursuing enemies.
Psalm 5:4–6 expresses David's confidence in God's abhorrence of the wicked. No doubt, he had Absalom and the other rebels in mind (2 Samuel 15:13–14). The passage echoes the sentiments of Psalm 37:7–15 and Psalm 24:3–6. Proverbs 6:16–19 lists six things the Lord hates. Among these are lying, murder, bearing false witness, and sowing discord among brothers. Absalom and his men were guilty of all these sins that the Lord hates. Revelation 19 and 20 foretell how the Lord will judge the wicked. Psalm 1:5 states that the wicked will not stand before God.
Psalm 5:7–12 reflects David's confidence in God's justice. The Lord punishes the guilty but rewards the righteous. Other passages tell us the Lord loves righteousness and justice (Psalm 36; 58; 97). Isaiah 30, Luke 18, and Romans 1 reveal these characteristics of God, as well. Romans 3 paints the entire human race as guilty before God, but Romans 4—6 show how God justifies the guilty who believe on His crucified and risen Son Jesus (John 3:16–18). David's prayer for blessing resembles the apostle Paul's benedictions at the close of some of his epistles (1 Corinthians 16:23; Galatians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28).
Chapter Summary:
Psalm 5 begins with David's urgent prayer for the Lord to heed his groaning and cry. He addresses the Lord as his King and his God, and indicates that he prays in the morning and watches for an answer. He recognizes that God takes no pleasure in the wicked but destroys evil, lying, bloodthirsty, or deceitful men. He anticipates that the God who loves him will allow him to enter the tabernacle, where he will offer reverential worship. He prays for the Lord's leading so that he will escape his enemies, whom he identifies as devoid of truth and violent. He prays further that the Lord will cause those rebels to bear the consequences of their transgressions. The psalm closes with an appeal to the righteous to sing for joy as they take refuge in the Lord, and David asks the Lord to bless and protect the righteous.
Chapter Context:
Like Psalm 4, this psalm is connected to Psalm 3. Psalm 3 refers to David's rising up in the morning, whereas Psalm 4 refers to his nighttime sleep. This psalm is addressed to the choirmaster. Like Psalms 3 and 4, Psalm 5 was composed by David in the wilderness, when Absalom's forces sought to destroy him (see 2 Samuel 15—18). This is one of the ''imprecatory psalms,'' so called because they pray for God to destroy the wicked. The imprecatory psalms are Psalms 5, 12, 35, 37, 58, 59, 69, 79, 83, 108, 139, and 140. These psalms urge God to judge those who oppose God and His people. Imprecations are also found elsewhere in the Bible, such as in passages like Jeremiah 11:18–20,15:15, 17:18, 18:19–23, 20:11–12; 1 Corinthians 16:22, and Revelation 6:10.
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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