Psalm 26


In this psalm, as David does in many of his psalms, he asks God to examine him and his behaviour. He affirms his innocence, and so, felt confident that a divine inspection of his life would reveal his innocence.


‘Of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading here, simply tells us that this is of David.

‘Vindicate me, LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD and have not faltered. Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.’ Psalm 26:1-7

David begins by crying out to God and asks Him to vindicate him. He asks God to give him a full examination, of his life, his mind and his mind. His whole life had been focused very much upon God, Genesis 17:1 / Job 1:1 / Job 1:8 / Job 2:3 / Job 2:9, and he didn’t live as the hypocrites do, James 1:6-7.

The word ‘examine’ means to prove or to test, which is usually related to metalwork in removing the impurities. In other words, he asks God to determine if he was genuine or not, Jeremiah 9:7 / Zechariah 13:9. He wants God to examine his inner being.

David had been merciful to others while walking in the commandments of the Lord. He had kept himself from the company of those who would turn him away from living after the ways of God, Psalm 1:1-3.

He stayed away from hypocrites and refused to get involved in idolatry, 2 Kings 20:3 / Psalm 1:1 / 3 John 4 and stayed in good company.

He washed in hands in innocence, which is symbolic of visibly proclaiming a person’s innocence or relinquishing their responsibility, Exodus 30:17-21 / Deuteronomy 21:6-7 / Matthew 27:4 / Matthew 27:24.

Notice David goes about the Lord’s altar, this means he spent time around holy things. He’s so grateful for what God has done in his life, he spends a lot of time surrounding himself with godly people and proclaiming God and speaking of His wonderful deeds, Psalm 22:22 / Psalm 66:16 / Psalm 145:5-6.

‘LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.’ Psalm 26:8-12

David tells us that he loves to be in God’s house, it’s in God’s house where God was present and all those who loved God would gather for worship, Psalm 23:6 / Psalm 27:4 / Psalm 84:1-2 / Psalm 84:4 / Psalm 84:10.

It’s clear that David deliberate chose to be around those who love God, instead of the wicked and because of this he asks God not to take his soul away with the sinners, that is, don’t take his soul to death.

David refused to keep company with murderers, and he didn’t deal with people unjustly or accepted any bribes, Exodus 23:8 / Deuteronomy 10:17 / 2 Kings 16:8 / Psalm 5:6 / Proverbs 6:35.

Adam Clarke, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the wicked.

They are vain, irreligious persons, Psalm 26:4.
They are deep, dark men, saying one thing, meaning something else, Psalm 26:4.
They are malignant, doing everything for their own ends, Psalm 26:5.
They regard neither God nor holy religion, Psalm 26:5.
They are blood-thirsty murderers, ‘men of blood’, Psalm 26:9.
They are traffickers in wickedness, Psalm 26:9.
They are ready with their hands to execute the wicked schemes of their hearts, Psalm 26:10.
They are lovers of bribes, perverting judgment for the sake of money, Psalm 26:10.

David made a conscious decision to live a life of integrity and he says his ‘feet stand on level ground’, which means he felt vindicated after a thorough examination of his integrity, Isaiah 40:4 / Isaiah 42:16. When God’s people are gathered together he will publicly praise the Lord, Psalm 22:22.


David deliberately chose not to spend any time with the wicked. The wicked are clearly seen as hypocrites, they are great actors, Matthew 23:27-28 / Luke 12:1 / Titus 1:16, and so, we must be careful not to spend time with them, or we could easily end up where they are doomed to end up, Matthew 24:51.

David deliberately chose to spend more time with God and godly people. Our spiritual walk with God begins at baptism when we surrender the control of ourselves to Christ, acknowledging His Lordship over our entire being, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

From the point of baptism, we start walking freely in the newness of life, with God. What a great liberty! Genesis 5:22-24 / Genesis 17:7.

Jesus told the hypocritical Pharisees and the teachers of the law that they had neglected the more important matters of the law, Matthew 23:23.

We should consider these important matters that hinge on justice, mercy and faithfulness and they should be the guiding principles of our walk with God today and always, Micah 6:8 / Exodus 18:20.

Go To Psalm 27