Psalms 15–17: Integrity & God’s Paths

Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 6: Wednesday

In today’s Bible reading of Psalms 15–17, I noticed the theme of integrity, and I also noticed the word, shaken.

One thing I sometimes do after praying and reading the Bible is to look up some of the individual words. In the right sidebar under Resources, there’s a link to the Blue Letter Bible. When you go to the site you can do a search for a specific Bible passage and a specific translation. Choose your translation with care—there are some politically correct translations out today that change the words in the original languages, and there are paraphrases that don’t even deserve that name they so obliterate the text and meaning.  The New American Standard Bible is a reliable translation I have used for years.

I searched for Psalm 15 in the NASB, and then clicked on the box that says, “Show Strong’s.” Strong’s is a classic concordance, and many other Bible references are keyed to Strong’s word numbers. Once you click on “Show Strong’s,” numbers will show up after some of the words. Here’s Psalm 15. Click on the number and that will give you information about the word from Strong’s and several other references. Here is the word shaken, and it means, to totter, shake, slip.1 For Old Testament words, you will see the box, “TWOT Reference.” This gives you the number to use to look up the word in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke. That’s an excellent two volume reference I own and use that gives extensive information about words and their usage in the Old Testament.

I next scrolled down the page for shaken, and I found that the Hebrew word translated as shaken in Psalm 15 and 16, is also in Psalm 17, but there it is translated as slipped. If you’ve studied languages, then you know that translation of a word can vary depending on word usage and context. That’s an important reason for using a reliable Bible translation.

Here are the three verses:

He who does these things will never be shaken.
Psalm 15:5b

I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8

My steps have held fast to Your paths
My feet have not slipped.”
Psalm 17:5

In Psalm 15, this verse is at the end of the psalm and it is the concluding statement about the person who walks with integrity.

In Psalm 16, verse eight is at the end of a section of the psalm just before the final part, which begins with, Therefore. If you check cross references in your Bible, you’ll find that in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:24–31, he quotes Psalm 16:8–11, as a Messianic prophecy of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection.

In Psalm 17, verse five is not at the end of the psalm or a section, but it does serve as a summary statement of David’s lifestyle.

After doing this I can see that the word shaken is used in various ways with various applications. I have to be careful to look at context and to cross reference.

I saw that I must walk in integrity and hold fast to God’s paths.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Wenceslas HollarThe Psalms, 1668: Public Domain.
1Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for mowt (Strong’s 4131)“. Blue Letter Bible.
1996-2011. 9 Feb 2011.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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