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Psalm 26 - Being governed by Yahweh, so one walks with integrity

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

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1 Give judgment for me, Yahweh,

for I have lived with integrity; *

I have trusted in Yahweh and have not faltered.

2 Test me, Yahweh, and try me; *

examine my heart and my mind.

3 For your love is before my eyes; *

I have walked faithfully with you.

4 I have not sat with the worthless, *

nor do I consort with the deceitful.

5 I have hated the company of evildoers; *

I will not sit down with the wicked.

6 I will wash my hands in innocence, Yahweh, *

that I may go in procession round your altar,

7 Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving *

and recounting all your wonderful deeds.

8 Yahweh, I love the house in which you dwell *

and the place where your glory abides.

9 Do not sweep me away with sinners, *

nor my life with those who thirst for blood,

10 Whose hands are full of evil plots, *

and their right hand full of bribes.

11 As for me, I will live with integrity; *

redeem me, XXXXX and have pity on me.

12 My foot stands on level ground; *

in the full assembly I will bless Yahweh.


This is the companion Psalm to be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor following the reading of Job on the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 22], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. In Job is written: “[Job] was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” This pairing will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere … You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet.” All will accompany a reading from Mark’s Gospel, where is written: “[The Pharisees] said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you.”

You will note that in six places I have restored the text written, as “Yahweh,” in bold type. In each of those places the English translation has erroneously shown “Lord.” That was not written. Additionally, in verse eleven you will find my insertion of “XXXXX.” This is to show my erasure of the NRSV translation [there may be other translators also, I don’t know] of “Lord,” where nothing was written in that regard, meaning it is a fabrication of Holy text. Because of these errors making everything presented be a paraphrase of what was actually written, with paraphrases having a tendency to mold themselves to personal, hidden agendas, I will not analyze the verses as translated. Instead, I will offer a literal translation into English and interpret from that.

Verse one literally says, “govern me Yahweh that I in my integrity have walked ; Yahweh I have trusted , not shall I waver .” In this, the Hebrew word “shaphat” begins this verse, meaning “to judge, govern.” This means David is placing immediate focus on his submission of self-will to that of Yahweh’s. For Yahweh to “govern” (or “judge”) David, Yahweh has to be married to David’s soul. This makes the theme statement for this song be relative to all souls, like David’s, who allow divine possession to guide one’s actions.

The Hebrew word “ani” means “I.” This must be seen as the equivalent of the Greek “ego,” which is a statement of “self.” When David stated “that I in my integrity have walked” (with “my” being a statement about the possession of self), the use of “I” and “my” says Yahweh has taken the role of “I” from David, although David gets credit for that guidance being perceived by others as his “integrity.” The Hebrew word “tom” means “completeness, integrity, also part of the high priest's breastplate,” and the same word was used in Job 2:9, when Job’s wife asked Job why he still held onto his “integrity” [from “tom”]. This is then why this psalm is linked to the Job reading; and, “integrity” becomes a statement about one’s self being possessed by Yahweh, with that soul not wavering from that guidance.

When David used the first person form of “batach” in saying, “I have trusted,” this is the ego of David having faith in the presence of Yahweh leading his actions. It is the personal experience (“I”) that knows Yahweh through divine possession (“have trust”), not someone telling him about this, as an influence to believe. It is only from that personal possession experience that “trust” becomes the cornerstone of faith, which does not ‘waver.” Thus, David is establishing a song of praise that states his steadfast love of Yahweh, who is one with his soul.

Verse two then says, “try me Yahweh and test me , [refine] (my inward being) and my heart .” In this, “try me” and “test me” must be seen as one who understands metallurgical testing, where the combination of Yahweh with a soul is like the addition of carbon to iron, mixed with other metals. These metals are smelted with fire and pounded with hammers, to mix the elements together into a strong alloy, before quenched in oil or water, to prove the metal to be hard and strong.

In the second half of this verse, “refine” [“tsaraph”] becomes a similar heating process, but because this word appears in brackets, it should be seen as a statement that is non-physical. The brackets [not shown in translation] are an indication of the soul’s “refinement,” as opposed to the body being fused with a new Spirit. Then, following that soul's testing, David wrote in parentheses “kilyah,” which literally means “kidney,” but reflects “inward parts” or “inmost being.” That should be seen as the soul. Again, the surrounding of this word with marks [brackets and parenthesis] show this not to be physical parts, but the soul of the body, now being alongside a Spirit of Yahweh. No longer just a soul in a body of flesh, Yahweh has joined as an overriding purifier. This becomes a test of purity, where “my heart” is a statement of one’s “soul” or “inner mind, mind, will” being made refined by the presence of Yahweh testing.

Verse three then says, “for goodness before my eyes ; and I have walked , in your truth .” This is David singing about his wearing the face of Yahweh, so the “goodness” of Yahweh becomes the face through which David sees. By having that divine face glowing upon his face [the sign of a true Saint - artistically depicted as a halo], the “I” of David has walked righteously. That path of righteousness is based on being shown the “truth” of the world, known by Yahweh. It also is the “truth” of the meaning of Scripture, which otherwise is overlooked and unknown.

Verse four then says, “not I have dwelt with men of emptiness ; and with pretenders , nor will I go in .” This is David singing about the company he keeps, as a wife of Yahweh. Those of his family, as well as those of his nation of people, all are likewise filled with the Spirit of Yahweh, from also having married their souls to Him. In David’s Israel, the name of the nation was a true reflection that all within its boundaries were truly “Those Who Retained God.” There were no ”pretenders,” where the Hebrew word “alam” means “to conceal,” where the meaning is to hide the fact that one’s soul has been retained for selfish purposes. David’s Israel found those out and converted them to welcome divine marriage or be banished. When David sang “I will not go in,” this says there was nothing offered by the Gentile peoples surrounding Israel that lured him to turn away from Yahweh, to seek their ways.

Verse five then sings, “I have hated the congregation of evildoers ; and with the criminal not will remain .” In this verse, David is saying that Israel still had those who broke the laws of Moses and promoted lives that were not righteous. Saul was an example of that. Samuel had sons who did not follow in his ways. So, there were pockets of people calling themselves Israelites, but who were the ones retaining their own souls, while doing lip-service to Yahweh and Moses. David is saying that one whose soul is married to Yahweh will find disgust in those who do evil works; and, he will not add any support to those who think of ways to sidestep Mosaic Law.

Verse six then says, “I will wash in innocence my feet ; so I will walk about your altar Yahweh .” Here, the Hebrew word “kaph” means, “hollow or flat of the hand, palm, sole (of the foot), a pan,” such that the standard translation would be “hands.” In the Tabernacle, according to the decrees of Exodus that a “bronze laver” was constructed for the priests of the Tabernacle to wash both their hands and their feet, before going to the altar of sacrifice. [Exodus 30:17-21] As feet are dirtier than hands, from walking in sandals in dusty ground, it is more important to see “feet” as that area [the sole or instep] least likely to be clean. The aspect of Jesus washing feet needs to be seen here. Each body in submission to Yahweh is a sacrifice upon His altar. Thus, the Hebrew word “sabab,” which means “to turn about, go around, surround,” is viable in translation as “will walk about.” As for “innocence,” instead of water to bathe in, the outpouring of Yahweh’s Spirit is the “innocence” that cleans a soul.

Verse seven then sings, “that I may hear of the sound of thanksgiving ; and relate all your wonders .” This is David singing that all who are the wives of Yahweh are not silent about His presence within them. There is the singing of praises for all He does. It is not just one guy telling everyone how wonderful it is, when no one else could hear that as anything more than selfish bragging. This sings of the widespread glory given Yahweh from His faithful.

Verse eight then says, “Yahweh I have loved the dwelling of your house ; and the standing place , tabernacle of your gloriousness .” In this, the first half of the verse sings about Yahweh “dwelling” within one’s being, such that David was the “house” in which Yahweh lived and gave him true life [eternal life]. The second half is then relating to the Tabernacle, where the Ark and the Covenant was where Yahweh rested between the Cherubim.

Verse nine then sings, “not do gather with the sinners my soul , not with men bloodthirsty for my life .” This is David singing about his knowing that there were enemies that wanted to kill him. This verse can be seen as the truth of Jesus saying to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” because “[Yahweh] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” The way to love your enemy is to leave them alone to hate you, while you pray Yahweh will lead them to righteousness, without your presence igniting hatred within them. Faith in Yahweh working miracles without one’s presence needed elsewhere, which means sometimes it is better to stay in a state of love oneself, while others find the same.

Verse ten then says, “who in one’s hands a wicked scheme ; and whose right hand is full of bribes .” In this, the mention of both “hands” says one who plots evil against others has put his or her own soul in the “hands of wickedness.” This says “one’s hands are full,” which does not leave any room for anything other than evil doings. Because the “right hand” [“yamin”] is typically a statement of that which leads a soul, when it is holding “bribes” it has been paid by Satan in material gains, none of which will have any lasting value. Rather than be at the “right hand” of Yahweh, as His servant, with Him leading one’s soul, one’s soul has been sold for thirty pieces of silver.

Verse eleven is where the non-existent “Lord” was removed above. It literally sings, “but I in my integrity will walk , ransom me and show favor to me .” Following a verse that says the wicked will waste their time planning to get rich and powerful, at the expense of others, David is now saying his soul will not be distracted by such temporary profits. He will reject bribes because Yahweh will maintain his “integrity” and committed state of divine being. When the Hebrew word “padah is read as “ransom me,” rather than “redeem me,” David is saying he sacrifices himself to be the “bribe” that draws others to Yahweh. David is willing to be used by Yahweh, trusting that whatever happens to his body of flesh, his soul will be promised “favor.”

Verse twelve then says, “my foot takes a stance in uprightness ; in the assemblies I will kneel to Yahweh .” This sings of the stability that comes from having the “integrity” of David and the patience of Job in one’s soul, married to Yahweh’s Spirit. All who share this inner presence, as an “assembly” of His wives who are all known truly as Israelites, the kneeling to Yahweh is a restating of the wedding vows. All who acknowledge the Covenant as their contract to be the people of Yahweh, they must all “kneel” in submission of their souls to His presence, in order to live up to that agreement.

As the accompanying Psalm to the Job reading, to be read on the nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is stated in the theme of verse one: Let Yahweh govern your life, so you walk with the integrity of Job. Yahweh boasted to Satan how faithful Job was. It should be one’s ministry to be equally committed to walking with true faith that is unwavering. Only with that commitment can others see Yahweh on your face and feel His presence.

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