It is not clear to me what Psalm 14:5 means. Here are the translations I am referring to :

Green's Literal :

For God [is] in the generation righteous (Interlinear Literal)

For God [is] in the righteous generation (Expressed Narrative)

KJV, J N Darby and Young's Literal :

For God [is] in the generation of the righteous

With regard to the the KJV/JND/YLT translation, are they saying that God is responsible for generating the righteous ? Can the text mean this ?

With regard to Green's Expressed translation, is he saying something similar to KJV/JND/YLT in that God is within, or involved in, the righteous generation ?

Or does Green's literal, interlinear translation hint at the true meaning, that it is God who is righteous and the context of him being seen to be righteous is a matter of (maybe) each generation ?

That is to say that in every generation, God is righteous and does righteously ?

3 Answers 3


The adjective “righteous”1 does not refer to “God,” but “generation,” as elsewhere we find the similar phrase, דֹּור יְשָׁרִים—“generation of upright.”2 “God is with3 [the generation of the righteous]” because righteous people seek God and do His will, as it is written elsewhere,4

2 Yahveh is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.

On the preposition ב, Gesenius wrote,5

(2) When it refers to a multitude, in the midst of which one is, i.q. among, in. Lament. 1:3, בַּגּוֹיִם “among the nations.” 2 Ki. 18:5, בְּכָל־מַלְבֵי יְהוּרָה. 2 Sa. 15:31, “Ahithophel is בַּקּשְׁרִים among the conspirators.”

On the word דּוֹר, he wrote,6

The idea of age, or generation being neglected, it often means a race of men [vice versâ, Gr. γενεὰ, primarily race, hence generation], in a good sense, Psa. 14:5; 24:6; 73:15; 112:2;

Therefore, since a race of men would indicate a multitude, the prepositional ב would more properly be understood as “among.” That is, God is among or with the generation of the righteous. So long as they seek Him and do His will, He does not forsake them.


1 Here functioning as a substantive and as the סוֹמֵךְ in a סְמִיכוּת.
2 Psa. 112:2
3 or “among”
4 2 Chr. 15:2 cf. 15:12; Deu. 4:29–30
5 Gesenius, p. 97
6 id., p. 194


Gesenius, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm. Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Trans. Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux. London: Bagster, 1860.

  • So the meaning hinges on the preposition expressing 'among' or 'within' rather than the somewhat vague 'in'. Can you further substantiate that prepositional meaning, please ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 19:12
  • 1
    I am actually agreeing with you. Just seeking official substantiation of the prepositional meaning.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 19:40
  • Thank you for teaching about "righteous", adding my own separate thoughts on articles and prepositions, not touching this part because you did such a great job! Thanks!
    – Jesse
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 22:21

If I were to arrive at a conclusion to your question concerning Psalm 14:5 using Biblical Theology only I’d say it means that Elohim is righteous in every age.

Here is my drawn out reasonings

Righteousness belongs to Elohim and is imputed by faith. Whenever a person is called righteous it must be assumed that it is imputed righteousness and that it is as a result of faith which is demonstrated in works through obedience in any age and any dispensation.

“There was a man in the land of ‘Utz whose name was Iyov. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” ‭‭Iyov (Job)‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭CJB‬‬

This exact phrase is repeated in the divine council by Elohim Himself in v8. However it’s important to note that Job is not described with the usual Hebrew word for righteous but rather upright and blameless.

“So these three men stopped trying to answer Iyov, because he remained convinced of his own righteousness.” ‭‭Iyov (Job)‬ ‭32:1‬ ‭CJB‬‬

Job’s problem was he took his upright and blameless living which was facilitated by Elohim Himself and ascribed it to himself. While Elohim does not deny Job’s upright and blameless living He stands against pride and pride I understand to be defined as, any time that you rely on your own strength, your own wisdom and/or your own righteousness.

What was wrong with Job’s self righteousness was that it denounced Elohim and practically placed a sticker on top of His righteousness with Job’s name on it.

‬‬“I hold to my righteousness; I won’t let it go; my heart will not shame me as long as I live.” ‭‭Iyov (Job)‬ ‭27:6‬ ‭CJB‬‬

It’s unfortunate that Job confuses the act of obedience and faith with the righteousness of Elohim and ascribed his living to himself. Elihu saw this fallacious oversight and that the consequence of such reasoning is to make Elohim out to be unjust. After all at one point Job says what good is it that I lived a righteous life, if suffering is all I can show for it while the unrighteous know no suffering

“But then the anger of Elihu the son of Barakh’el the Buzi, from the family of Ram, blazed up against Iyov for thinking he was right and Elohim wrong.” ‭‭Iyov (Job)‬ ‭32:2‬ ‭CJB‬‬

Elihu goes on to say how righteousness ought to be viewed

“I may search far and wide for my arguments, but I will ascribe righteousness to Elohim my maker.” ‭‭Iyov (Job)‬ ‭36:3‬ ‭CJB‬‬

The Bible clearly says that pride is punished

“Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Elohim resists the proud and Job due to his self righteousness qualified as prideful

Then Job finally recognizes his error, peels the sticker label with his name on it, off of Elohim’s righteousness and repents

Noah on the other hand is called righteous but it cannot be because of his own righteousness but rather his faith in Elohim which is demonstrated in obedience. Faith without works is dead, or put differently you can’t look for an effect without a cause, Faith is the cause of the works.

“Here is the history of Noach. In his generation, Noach was a man righteous and wholehearted; Noach walked with Elohim.” ‭‭B'resheet (Gen)‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭CJB‬‬

Walking with Elohim was a demonstration that Noah had faith/trust in Elohim and this was why he was reckoned righteous.

The same Hebrew word for generation used here is used in Psalm 14.

You can read it as generation but I prefer to read it as AGE (or PEOPLE within an age). In Noah’s case it was the age prior to the flood. The Psalmist age would be the age when Israel was juxtaposed against all the other nations. There is also the generation or age of the Church

“But you are a chosen (generation), the King’s cohanim, a holy nation, a people for Elohim to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” ‭‭1 Kefa (1 Pe)‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭CJB‬‬

It goes back to this very verse that I think says it all

“But seek first his Kingdom and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ‭‭Mattityahu (Mat)‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭CJB‬‬

It’s His and if He calls us righteous like He did Abraham it was because of faith and it was imputed.

  • 1
    Your input appreciated. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 12:43

This use of "in" from your translation examples carries the in/with meaning, not the in/among meaning. To "be with", in this way, means to support.

Also, the definite article "the" is used as a substantiver, making "righteous" mean "righeous people", distinguishing it from the abstract noun "righteousness" and does not carry the "monadic" meaning of "one and only".

We know these things by becoming familiar with how the articles and prepositions are used by becoming familiar with more and more Bible passages. But, we also know these things from "Biblical theology"; we see direct evidence of this meaning by interpreting Scripture with Scripture, even specifically Psalms with Psalms:

Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations...

Ps 119:90 (NASB)

...God spans generations and is not only with one (monadic) in particular.

...but the Lord sustains the rightrous.

Ps 37:17 (NASB)

...God helps, supports, and goes "with" the righteous [people/generation] in this way.

An extended interpretation could include that if a whole generation is generally righteous/fair overall, that God would be with those people as a generation overall. This might be contrasted with an "unrighteous generation", which Jesus often spoke of (Mt 12:39; 16:4, Lk 11:29).

Tip: Always presume that a text, the Bible included, agrees with itself. Then it will make the most sense. Hence, the best way to understand the Bible is to become more and more familiar with the Bible.

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