Psalms 24:4

4 He who has 1clean hands and a 2pure heart, Who has not 3lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not 4sworn deceitfully.

Psalms 24:4 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 24:4

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart
Though "clean hands" are mentioned first, as being more obvious to view, and better known, and more subject to the cognizance and observation of others; yet a "pure heart" is first in being and in order; from whence cleanness of hands, when right and truth springs: no man has a pure heart naturally and of himself: the heart is desperately wicked; the imagination of the thoughts of it is evil continually; the mind and conscience are defiled with sin; nor can any man make his heart clean, or say he is pure from sin; but it is God that creates a clean heart, and renews a right spirit within men, and purifies the heart by faith, which is led to the blood of sprinkling, which purges the conscience, and cleanseth it from all sin; and from this purity of heart flows purity of life and conversation, signified by "clean hands"; the hand being the instrument of action, holy actions, or good works, performed from a principle of grace, are meant; the phrase is expressive of a holy, harmless, and innocent conversation, washing the hands being used to denote innocence, ( Matthew 27:24 ) ( Psalms 26:6 ) ( 73:13 ) ; not a conversation entirely free from sin, nor by which a man is justified before God; for though he wash his hands ever so clean, they will not be pure in his sight, and will need washing in the blood of the Lamb; but it denotes a conversation upright in general, and declares a man righteous in the sight of men, and distinguishes him from one of a dissolute life, whose hands are full of blood, and defiled with sin;

who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity;
or "set his heart upon" {g}, and desired vain things, as the phrase is sometimes used, ( Deuteronomy 24:15 ) ( Jeremiah 22:27 ) ; that is, the vain things of this world; as the riches, honours, pleasures, and profits of it; or has not served other gods, the idols of the Gentiles, which are lying vanities, but has lifted up his soul to God, and served him only: or "who hath not received his soul in vain" F8; from the hands of God, but loves him with all his soul, believes with the heart in Christ for righteousness, being sanctified by the Spirit of God; and so the desire of his soul is to his name, and the remembrance of him. The "Keri", or marginal reading, according to the points, is, "who hath not lifted up my soul to vanity" F9; that is, has not taken the name of God in vain, or swore falsely by his name; his soul being put for his name or himself; and by which he is said sometimes to swear, ( Jeremiah 51:14 ) ( Amos 6:8 ) ; and this sense the Jewish interpreters F11 generally give into. The Targum seems to take in both the writing of the text and the marginal reading, as it often does, and renders the words, "who hath not sworn in vain, to the condemnation of his soul"; though sometimes to his own disadvantage, yet not to the hurt of others; see ( Psalms 15:4 ) ; it follows,

nor sworn deceitfully;
by bearing false witness against any man; or by cheating him out of his substance through a false oath.


F7 (wvpn avn al) "non inhiat, aut intentus est", Vatablus, Amama; so Gejerus, Michaelis.
F8 So Pagninus.
F9 "Animam meam", Montanus, Vatablus, Hillerus.
F11 Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc.

Psalms 24:4 In-Context

2 For He has founded it upon the seas And established it upon the rivers.
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD ? And who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face -even Jacob. Selah.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Job 17:9; Psalms 22:30; Psalms 26:6
  • 2. Psalms 51:10; Psalms 73:1; Matthew 5:8
  • 3. Ezekiel 18:15
  • 4. Psalms 15:4

Footnotes 1

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