Original Research

Psalm 5 and the polarity between those who may stand before Yahweh and those who may not

Philippus J. Botha
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 1 | a5087 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i1.5087 | © 2018 Philippus (Phil) J. Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 May 2018 | Published: 06 September 2018

About the author(s)

Philippus J. Botha, Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Psalm 5 is often described as an example of a prayer of someone who has been falsely accused of wrongdoing. Based on the contents of the middle part of the psalm, its wisdom features and especially the parallels it forms with Psalm 1, it is argued in this article that the editors of the Psalter attempted to present the psalm as a prayer of David at the time of his flight from Absalom. In this prayer of the endangered king, he (prophetically) pronounced judgement on the actions and attitudes of his opponents and respectfully entrusted himself to the care of Yahweh. In its literary context, the psalm was therefore probably meant to censure arrogant and irreligious compatriots of the editors, because they exploited fellow Jews, and also to provide hope and encouragement to those exploited members of the in-group.


Psalm 5; Psalm 1; wisdom features; polarity; editing of the Psalter


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