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Psalm 5:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 O Jehovah, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I will present my prayer to you and wait expectantly.
O Jehovah, in the morning you hear my voice. The voice of prayer. Comp. See Ps. 3:5. Probably he refers here to a general habit of praying in the morning, though he makes a particular reference to his circumstances at that time. Comp. Ps. 55:17. The psalmist felt, doubtless, that while it was a general duty and privilege to call upon God with the return of each morning, there was a special reason for it in the circumstances in which he then was. See the introduction to the psalm. He was then surrounded by enemies and was in danger, and it was only in God that he could hope for protection, even for a single day. The propriety of looking to God in the morning by prayer commends itself to any reflecting mind. Who knows what a day may bring forth? Who knows what temptations may await him? Who can protect himself from the dangers which may encompass him? Who can enable us to discharge the duties which are incumbent on us every day? Feeble, helpless, sinful, prone to err, in a world of temptation, and surrounded by dangers alike when we see them and when we do not, there is an obvious fitness in looking to God each morning for his guidance and protection; and the resolution of the psalmist here should be the firm purpose of every man.
In the morning. Regularly, each morning.
I will present my prayer to you. The word here used—עָרַךְ, arach—means properly to place in a row, to put in order, to arrange, e.g., to place wood upon the altar (Gen. 22:9; Lev. 1:7); to arrange the showbread on the table (Ex. 40:23; Lev. 24:6, 8). There is, not improbably, an allusion to these customs in the use of the word here; and the meaning may be that his prayer would be a regularly arranged service before God. It would be a kind of morning sacrifice, and it would be arranged and performed with a suitable regard to the nature of the service—the fact that it was rendered to the great God. There would be a devout regard to propriety—a serious and solemn attention to the duties involved in the act as the worship of a holy God. Prayer should not be rash; it should not be performed negligently or with a light spirit; it should engage the profound thought of the soul, and it should be performed with the same serious regard to time and to propriety which was demanded in the solemn and carefully prescribed rites of the ancient temple-service.
And wait expectantly. The word here used—צָפָה, tzaphah—means, properly, to look about, to view from a distance. In Isa. 21:5, it refers to a tower that has a wide prospect. Comp. Cant. 7:4. The idea here is properly that he would watch, narrowly and carefully (as one does who is stationed on a tower), for some token of Divine favor—for some answer to his prayer—for some Divine interposition—for some intimation of the Divine will. This is, perhaps, equivalent to the Savior’s repeated command to “watch and pray.” The notion of looking up is not necessarily in the word used here, but it indicates the state of mind where there is deep and careful solicitude as to the answer to prayer.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews