Understanding Psalm 4:5

Be angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.

My question has to do with the first part of the verse: “Be angry, and sin not”. Is it possible to be angry and not sin? I can understand that you can be angry and not act on that anger (i.e., lash out), but what about not sinning in thought? Every time I get angry at something, I almost always end up sinning in thought (i.e., mentally insulting a person, lashing out in thoughts, etc.); to me it seems that anger and sinning (at least in thought) are indissociable; thoughts seem to appear as soon as I get angry.

He was referring to using your anger to override the temptation to join in the sinful activities. But note that this was before Jesus’ proclamation that what you do in your heart is paramount to doing it in body.

The very seed of sin is presumption and anger is even more tempting toward presumption than sexual lust, so your concern is a valid one as was Jesus’ comment.

One can behave as though angry so as to get a point across to an observer, but to actually “be angry” is to lust, void of consideration, toward an aim disregarding what might get broken by such thrust. Thus to actually feel anger is to tempt inconsideration of the whole, to temporarily ignore God. As such, it is not recommended unless you are a Secularist, Jewish, or Muslim. As a Christian, anger is turning away from your Lord (and makes you a little more stupid in the process).

I love Psalms because they are human. Anger is as much a part of being human as love.
This passage tells you to control your anger.


It can even be taken up into an act of virtue :slight_smile: (like a Father defending his family against an intruder…anger helps him do so!)

"Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…’(Ephesians 4:26)

But yes…much of the anger that we act upon tends to have some sin in it…for our passions are disordered after the fall. at least when i get angry…

Good part to read in the Catechism (well of course the whole thing is great!)


767 In themselves passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, "either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way."44 It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason.45

1768 Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered passions and exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices.

Ora_et_Labora, I have looked at three different versions of Psalm 4, and I do not find the word angry in any of them. This is the way Psalm 4 is written in the Liturgy of the Hours:

When I call, answer me, O God of justice;
from anguish you released me; have mercy and hear

O men, how long will your hearts be closed,
will you love what is futile and seek what is false?

It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom he
the Lord hears me whenever I call him.

Fear Him; do not sin; ponder on your bed and be still.
Make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.

“What can bring us happiness?” many say.
Let the light of you face shine on us, O Lord.

You have put into my heart a greater joy
than they have from abundance of corn and new

I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

The new American Bible says it like this:

"Tremble and do not sin; upon your beds ponder in silence."

The Jerusalem Bible says it as follows:

"Be careful not to sin, speak in your hearts, and on your beds keep silence."

The passage is saying have a very healthy respect for God, ponder or think about who and what He is.

All the best to you, in Christ.

gotta love the Douay-Rheims!

[bibledrb]Psalms 4:5[/bibledrb]

Psalms 4:5 (Douay Rheims)

Be angry, and sin not: the things you say in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.

Thanks, I was wondering where it came from.

I found an interesting web site,


It allows you to look up bible passages and then compare translations from over 30 different versions of the bible.

On this particular, psalm 4:5, many of the translations used the word “angry”, but many used such terms as “stand in awe,”.

From one version, called “young’s literal translation,” it says:
`Tremble ye, and do not sin;’ but from one called the "Complete Jewish Bible, it says:
You can be angry, but do not sin!

your welcome. :slight_smile:


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