Who Can Climb the Hill of Yahweh?

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully” (Ps. 24:3-4, ESV).

In v. 4, I see what is called, step parallelism. The second and third lines clarify and explain the first line. Thus, purity of heart is described in two negative ways. One—the one with a pure heart is not given to falsehood. Two—He does not speak deceitfully.

The word, “soul” (Heb. nephesh), can mean, “desire, appetite, emotion, and passion.” (BDB) The word, “false” (Heb. shaw) in v. 4, means, “emptiness, vanity” (BDD); or “anything that is unsubstantial, unreal, worthless, either materially or morally. Hence, it is a word for idols.” (TWOT)  That is why the NKJV translates it, “idols.” The word is also used of false prophets (Lam. 2:14; Ezek 13:6-9, 23). It can mean anything that is false, empty, and vain. Thus, to lift up one’s soul to falsehood is to desire spiritually empty things.

So who can climb the holy hill of God? It is he who does not desire falsehood. It is she who does not crave for spiritually and morally empty things. It is he who has no appetite for deception.

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