Commentary on Psalm 4:5

5. Offer right sacrifices;

Historical considerations notwithstanding,1the command to offer right sacrifices seems to echo the words of God to Cain who, after he had been rejected by God for faithlessly offering up an unacceptable sacrifice, is admonished in this way:

Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”2

Cain’s anger is due to his being rejected by God for faithlessly offering up the work of his own hands.3 Hence, the reference to doing well is in reality a reference to offering right sacrifices which are blood sacrifices given by faith in God’s promised Seed.4 And this is only further strengthened by the next half of the verse.

5a. …and put your trust in the Lord.

Let us note the string of imperatives given by David: (i.)know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself (v.3a), (ii.)be angry (v.4a), (iii.)do not sin (v.4a), (iv.)ponder in your own hearts on your beds (v.4b), (v.)be silent (v.4b), (vi.)offer right sacrifices (v.5a), and (vii.)put your trust in the Lord (v.5b). This appears to form a chiasm, at the center of which is the command to “ponder in your own hearts.”5

A. Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself

B. Be angry

C. Do not sin

D. Ponder in your own hearts

C.’ Be still

B.’ Offer right sacrifices

A.’ Put your trust in the Lord

Whereas the first three imperatives direct the enemies of David away from their rage, the last three imperatives directs them to faith in the Lord. David’s enemies are warned and told to repent, but they are then told to believe in the Lord. But how will they repent when, as we have already noted, they love vain words and seek after lies? How will they believe when they, as we have also noted already, turn David’s honor into shame? They do not have any correct dispositions of their soul, but instead are wholly corrupt. How then will they repent and believe?

1Gill: “Some respect may be had to the unrighteous acquisitions of Absalom and his men, and who were now in possession of Jerusalem, and of the altars of the Lord, and were sacrificing on them; in which they gloried; and to which this may be opposed.” – John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Pss 4:5

2Gen 4:6-7

3cf. Gen 4:3-5

4cf. Heb 11:4

5 It should be noted that the entire psalm exhibits a chiastic structure. For further reference, see Alden, Robert L. “Chiastic Psalms: A Study in the Mechanics of Semitic Poetry in Psalms 1-50,” Journal of the Evangelical Society, 17:1 (1974): 11-28



One thought on “Commentary on Psalm 4:5

  1. Heather says:

    D. Ponder in your own hearts

    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. -Psalm 51:17

    Always appreciate seeing the patterns you note within the text. It helps to be able to concentrate on the main point while considering the passage.


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