Psalms 15:5 MEANING

Psalm 15:5
(5) Usury was not forbidden in the legitimate commercial dealings with foreigners (Deuteronomy 23:20); and the laws against it seem to have had exclusive reference to dealings among Israelites themselves, and were evidently enacted more with a view to the protection of the poor than because the idea of usury in itself was considered wrong (Exodus 22:25; Lew 25:36). So here the context plainly seems to limit the sin of usury to unjust application of the principle, being connected with bribery. Against "biting" usury (the Hebrew word primarily means "bite") all governments find it necessary to legislate, as we see in the case of the money-lenders of our own time; but with the employment of capital put out on interest for legitimate purposes of trade, neither Hebrew feeling generally, as the whole career of the race shows, nor the higher minds among them, as we see by our Lord's parable of the talents, were averse. The best illustrations of invectives of prophets and psalmists against extortionate usurers are supplied by Shakespeare's play, The Merchant of Venice.

Verse 5. - He that putteth not out his money to usury. Usury, when one Israelite borrowed of another, was strictly forbidden by the Law (Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:36; Deuteronomy 23:19). When the borrower was a foreigner, it was lawful (Deuteronomy 15:3; Deuteronomy 33:20); and no discredit can attach to the practice, so long as the rate of interest charged is moderate (comp. Matthew 25:27). Here the writer contemplates only such usury as was forbidden by the Law. Nor taketh reward against the innocent; refuses, i.e., to take a bribe, either as judge or witness, when a charge is made against an innocent person. The contrary conduct was widely practised by the Israelites in later times (see Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 5:23; Jeremiah 22:17; Ezekiel 22:12; Hoe. 4:18; Micah 3:11, etc.), and prevails generally in the East to the present day. He that doeth these things shall never be moved (comp. Psalm 16:8). He shall continue "steadfast, unmovable," having God "at his right hand," as his Protector and Sustainer.

15:1-5 The way to heaven, if we would be happy, we must be holy. We are encouraged to walk in that way. - Here is a very serious question concerning the character of a citizen of Zion. It is the happiness of glorified saints, that they dwell in the holy hill; they are at home there, they shall be for ever there. It concerns us to make it sure to ourselves that we have a place among them. A very plain and particular answer is here given. Those who desire to know their duty, will find the Scripture a very faithful director, and conscience a faithful monitor. A citizen of Zion is sincere in his religion. He is really what he professes to be, and endeavours to stand complete in all the will of God. He is just both to God and man; and, in speaking to both, speaks the truth in his heart. He scorns and abhors wrong and fraud; he cannot reckon that a good bargain, nor a saving one, which is made with a lie; and knows that he who wrongs his neighbour will prove, in the end, to have most injured himself. He is very careful to do hurt to no man. He speaks evil of no man, makes not others' faults the matter of his common talk; he makes the best of every body, and the worst of nobody. If an ill-natured story be told him, he will disprove it if he can; if not, it goes no further. He values men by their virtue and piety. Wicked people are vile people, worthless, and good for nothing; so the word signifies. He thinks the worse of no man's piety for his poverty and mean condition. He reckons that serious piety puts honour upon a man, more than wealth, or a great name. He honours such, desires their conversation and an interest in their prayers, is glad to show them respect, or do them a kindness. By this we may judge of ourselves in some measure. Even wise and good men may swear to their own hurt: but see how strong the obligation is, a man must rather suffer loss to himself and his family, than wrong his neighbour. He will not increase his estate by extortion, or by bribery. He will not, for any gain, or hope of it to himself, do any thing to hurt a righteous cause. Every true living member of the church, like the church itself, is built upon a Rock. He that doeth these things shall not be moved for ever. The grace of God shall always be sufficient for him. The union of these tempers and this conduct, can only spring from repentance for sin, faith in the Saviour, and love to him. In these respects let us examine and prove our own selves.He that putteth not out his money to usury,.... To the poor, in an extravagant and exorbitant way, by which he bites, devours, and destroys his little substance, and sadly afflicts and distresses him; see Exodus 22:25; otherwise, to lend money on moderate interest, and according to the laws, customs, and usages of nations, and to take interest for it, is no more unlawful than to take interest for houses and land; yea, it is according to the law of common justice and equity, that if one man lends money to another to trade with, and gain by, that he should have a proportionate share in the gain of such a trade; but the design of this passage, and the law on which it is founded, is, to forbid all exactions and oppressions of the poor, and all avaricious practices, and to encourage liberality and beneficence; and such who are covetous, and bite and oppress the poor, are not fit for church communion; see 1 Corinthians 5:11;

nor taketh reward against the innocent; either to swear falsely against him, or to pass a wrong sentence on him; see 1 Samuel 12:3;

he that doeth these things shall never be moved; from the tabernacle of God, and his holy hill; he is fit to be a member of the church of God, and an inhabitant of Zion; and he shall dwell and abide there, he shall be a pillar which shall never go out, Revelation 3:12; he shall finally persevere, through the grace of God; he shall hold on and out unto the end: and though he may fall through infirmity and temptation into sin, and that many times, yet he shall not finally and totally fall, 2 Peter 1:10; but shall be as Mount Zion which can never be removed, Psalm 125:1; The words should be rendered, since the accent "athnach" is on "these things", thus; "he that doeth these things", not only what is mentioned in this verse, but in the foregoing, "he", I say, "shall never be moved".

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