Pinning Down Clean Hands

When David asked “Who shall go up to your holy hill?” his reply did not include homicide as disqualifying. His zeal for the Ark of the Covenant and his plan to build a palace for it ran into Yahweh’s objection to bloodshed, of which David was guilty. As a result he was not allowed to supervise the building of the temple for Yahweh.

How could David have missed that is unknown, and his terms for who has access to the holy hill were indeed definitive.

he who lives uprightly, he who does righteousness, he who speaks the truth in (with) his heart, who keeps his word whatever the cost, despising the one rejected by the LORD, honoring those who fear the LORD

Some indication of who is refused access comes with the identification of certain behaviours.

  1. slander
  2. doing no harm to one’s friend
  3. discrediting one’s neighbor, (Ps 15:3)
  4. lending money at interest
  5. taking a bribe against the innocent

David caps off his reply with a signature label. Unmoveable! — the one who does these things will never be moved. (Ps 15:5)

Since God rejects murderers as builders of monuments to his dignity one has to assume that the vast majority of today’s secular leaders today do not qualify. Extrajudicial killings, discriminatory residency regulations, travel bans, demolition of homes, deportations, and mistreatment of citizens are all manifestations of hate. They constitute murder.

God disqualifies the hawks in Israeli politics, the 45 republicans, the despotic leadership of Turkey, the Philippines, and state-sponsored religion everywhere. Bloody hands have no place in any nation-building process.

David could not build a palace. There is no way for 21st century murderers to be a legitimate part of building civic society.

Each day when we set out to partake of our community’s privileges and foster its goals we had better clear our heads of despite for the poor, of impatience with those who are different from us, and of hate for people who seem incorrigible. A heart tainted with hate is corroborated by unloving deeds, filthy hands. Clean hands begin with purified hearts. We get pure hearts from the Lord by grace through faith. Bad people can do good things and bad deeds show that no humans are eligible for holy hill admission apart from repentance and rebirth.