342 – Psalm 24 – Part 2

Psalm 24:3-6 (LEB)

           3       Who may ascend the mountain of Yahweh? 

     And who may stand in his holy place? 

           4       He who is innocent of hands and pure of heart, 

     who does not lift up his soul to falseness, 

     and does not swear deceitfully. 

           5       He will receive blessing from Yahweh, 

     and justice from the God of his salvation. 

           6       Such is the sort of those who seek him, 

     those who seek your face, even Jacob. Selah 

 

The second logical section I see in Psalm twenty-four is verses three through six. Let’s start with the last word in verse six, “Selah”. The word is considered an interjection. The best way to understand an interjection might be to consider a couple of examples. The words “ugh” and “wow” are both interjections. They are designed to “interject” emotion and are often stand-alone, meaning they do not need to be combined with other sentence parts such as a subject, verb, or object. “Selah” is an interjection. 

Though very little is known about the use of the word in the Psalms it is said to be a technical term. It can mean lift up, exalt, pause, suspend, etc. Many surmise that since the Psalms were actually songs with words and instrumentation it refers to a musical rest or pause. I tend to dismiss this idea in my thinking because there is an absence of additional technical musical notation. I tend to think it is simply an emotional interjection encouraging the hearer in their day, and the reader in our day to pause and reflect or ponder the truth just communicated.

Let’s move back up to verse three and see if we can answer the two questions it asks. The word of God should always be understood to be literal. The problem we have as English readers is we don’t always understand what that means. The author is always communicating a literal idea but sometimes uses metaphors, allegories, similes, and other literary devices like poetry to communicate a particular truth. It’s our job as interpreters to explore each literary device to discover what the author has communicated. 

Now, if we take the author to be referring specifically to the “Mountain of Yahweh” to be Jerusalem, and the Holy Place to be where the table of shewbread, candlestick, and the altar of incense were housed then the answers are simply “Israelites”, and “Levites” respectively. Think about the second question for a minute, “Who may stand in His Holy Place?” 

The only people who could enter the “Holy Place” were the Levites. The Most Holy Place that housed the Ark of the Covenant was only accessed by the High Priest only once a year. That being true, if that’s what the author was talking about, then the answers he supplies in verses four and five do not make sense. The qualifications listed in verses four and five are much more inclusive than simply saying, “the Levites”. 

Verse six is powerful and to the point. 

 

Psalm 24:6 (LEB)

 6       Such is the sort of those who seek him, 

     those who seek your face, even Jacob. Selah 

 

The people who meet the qualifications in verses four and five are the ones “who seek your [Yahweh’s] face”. But what about the phrase “even Jacob”? Jacob certainly was not alive when David penned this Hebrew song so what is David saying? I think consulting two different translations can shed some light on this for us.

 

Psalm 24:6 (NKJV)

           6       This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,

    Who seek Your face.

 

Psalm 24:6 (NASB)

               This is the generation of those who seek Him, 

         Who seek Your face—even Jacob. 

 

I think it’s important to consider the phrase “Even Jacob” does not exclude any people groups who are not Jacob (probably the Nation), but rather it’s a statement of inclusion saying that Jacob is included in those who seek Yahweh.

As always remember to read these verses in the context of the rest of the Psalm. If verses seven through ten don’t help to explain verse six they certainly color our understanding. Yahweh willing we will consider verses seven through ten next time.

I pray that we all would be found to be seeking the face of Yahweh as verse six says. Yahweh is Loving, Kind, and Holy. It is a real privilege to get to know Him through His word and prayer. He is worthy of all praise and worship.


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