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Psalms 15:3

    Psalms 15:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    He that backbites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    He that slandereth not with his tongue, Nor doeth evil to his friend, Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor;

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Whose tongue is not false, who does no evil to his friend, and does not take away the good name of his neighbour;

    Webster's Revision

    He that slandereth not with his tongue, Nor doeth evil to his friend, Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor;

    World English Bible

    He who doesn't slander with his tongue, nor does evil to his friend, nor casts slurs against his fellow man;

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    He that slandereth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his friend, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

    Definitions for Psalms 15:3

    Backbiteth - To slander; to falsely accuse.
    Reproach - Disgrace; shame.

    Clarke's Commentary on Psalms 15:3

    He that backbiteth not with his tongue - לא רגל על לשנו lo ragal al leshono, "he foots not upon his tongue."

    4. He is one who treats his neighbor with respect. He says nothing that might injure him in his character, person, or property; he forgets no calumny, he is author of no slander, he insinuates nothing by which his neighbor may be injured. The tongue, because of its slanderous conversation, is represented in the nervous original as kicking about the character of an absent person; a very common vice, and as destructive as it is common: but the man who expects to see God abhors it, and backbites not with his tongue. The words backbite and backbiter come from the Anglo-Saxon bac, the back, and to bite. How it came to be used in the sense it has in our language, seems at first view unaccountable; but it was intended to convey the treble sense of knavishness, cowardice, and brutality. He is a knave, who would rob you of your good name; he is a coward, that would speak of you in your absence what he dared not to do in your presence; and only an ill-conditioned dog would fly at and bite your back when your face was turned. All these three ideas are included in the term; and they all meet in the detractor and calumniator. His tongue is the tongue of a knave, a coward, and a dog. Such a person, of course, has no right to the privileges of the Church militant, and none of his disposition can ever see God.

    Nor doeth evil to his neighbor -

    5. He not only avoids evil speaking, but he avoids also evil acting towards his neighbor. He speaks no evil of him; he does no evil to him; he does him no harm; he occasions him no wrong. On the contrary, he gives him his due. See under the second particular.

    Nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour -

    6. The word חרפה cherpah, which we here translate a reproach, comes from חרף charaph, to strip, or make bare, to deprive one of his garments; hence חרף choreph, the winter, because it strips the fields of their clothing, and the trees of their foliage. By this, nature appears to be dishonored and disgraced. The application is easy: a man, for instance, of a good character is reported to have done something wrong: the tale is spread, and the slanderers and backbiters carry it about; and thus the man is stripped of his fair character, of his clothing of righteousness, truth, and honesty. All may be false; or the man, in an hour of the power of darkness, may have been tempted and overcoxne; may have been wounded in the cloudy and dark day, and deeply mourns his fall before God. Who that has not the heart of a devil would not strive rather to cover than make bare the fault? Those who feed, as the proverb says, like the flies, passing over all a man's whole parts to light upon his wounds, will take up the tale, and carry it about. Such, in the course of their diabolic work, carry the story of scandal to the righteous man; to him who loves his God and his neighbor. But what reception has the tale-bearer? The good man taketh it not up; לא נשא lo nasa, he will not bear it; it shall not be propagated from him. He cannot prevent the detractor from laying it down; but it is in his power not to take it up: and thus the progress of the slander may be arrested. He taketh not up a reproach against his neighbour; and the tale-bearer is probably discouraged from carrying it to another door. Reader, drive the slanderer of your neighbor far away from you: ever remembering that in the law of God, as well as in the law of the land, "the receiver is as bad as the thief."

    Barnes' Notes on Psalms 15:3

    He that backbiteth not with his tongue - The word "backbite" means to censure; slander; reproach; speak evil of. The Hebrew word - רגל râgal - a verb formed from the word foot, means properly "to foot it," and then "to go about." Then it means to go about as a tale-bearer or slanderer; to circulate reports unfavorable to others. It is not improperly rendered here "backbite;" and the idea is, that it is essential to true piety that one should "not" be a slanderer, or should "not" circulate evil reports in regard to others. On the use of the "tongue," see the note at James 3:2-11.

    Nor doeth evil to his neighbor - That does his neighbor no harm. This refers to injury in any way, whether by word or deed. The idea is, that the man who will be admitted to dwell on the holy hill of Zion, the man who is truly religious, is one who does no injury to anyone; who always does that which is right to others. The word "neighbor" usually refers to one who resides near us; and their it denotes all persons who are near to us in the sense that we have business relations with them; all persons with whom we have anything to do. It is used in this sense here as referring to our dealings with other persons.

    Nor taketh up a reproach - Margin, "or receiveth," or, "endureth." The idea is that of "taking up," or receiving as true, or readily giving credit to it. He is slow to believe evil of another. He does not grasp at it greedily as if he had pleasure in it. He does not himself originate such a reproach, nor does he readily and cheerfully credit it when it is stated by others. If he is constrained to believe it, it is only because the evidence becomes so strong that he cannot resist it, and his believing it is contrary to all the desires of is heart. This is true religion every where; but this is contrary to the conduct of no small part of the world. There are large classes of persons to whom nothing is more acceptable than reproachful accusations of others, and who embrace no reports more readily than they do those which impute bad conduct or bad motives to them. Often there is nothing more marked in true conversion than the change which is produced in this respect. He who delighted in gossip and in slanderous reports of others; who found pleasure in the alleged failings and errors of his neighbors; who gladly lent a listening ear to the first intimations of this kind, and who cheerfully contributed his influence in giving circulation to such things, augmenting such reports as they passed through his hands - now sincerely rejoices on hearing everybody well spoken of, and does all that can be done consistently with truth to check such reports, and to secure to every man a good name.

    Wesley's Notes on Psalms 15:3

    15:3 He - He that doth not speak evil of his neighbour. Neighbour - That is, any man. Nor taketh - Into his mouth, doth not raise it, neither spread or propagate it; or believe it without sufficient reason.