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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 130

Verses 1-8

This is one of the penitential psalms, which though it have no title, appears to have been composed by David when in deep distress.

Psalms 130:6 . More than they that watch for the morning. The word morning is twice repeated in the Hebrew; yet the LXX took the liberty of dropping the repetition, though repetitions in grief and anguish display the heart in the most powerful language. Dr. Hammond, following the Chaldee, will read it, My soul hasteneth to the Lord from the guard in the morning; that is, as early as the guard. The Vulgate is much the same.


This psalm consists of three parts, David’s troubles, David’s prayers, and David’s salvation. It is a fine copy of the human heart labouring under trouble of conscience, and grief for having offended against God. The depths were his sins, the terrors of justice, the darkness of the mind, and especially afflictions. His method of pleading with God is a model for the penitent in anguish and grief: every sinner, conscious that sin worketh death, should plead with God as a criminal begging life of his sovereign. In the depth of his trouble, mercy, but mercy through redemption, was the ground of his plea. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, who shall stand? If I am lost, all are lost. I therefore plead for mercy, even from the delays of justice.

While he cried under the absence of God, and awaited a pardon, he hoped in the promises; and the promises of pardon are painted with the richest tints of grace. Though our sins be as crimson, they shall be white as wool. Isaiah 1:18. He pleaded for mercy in unison with justice. “With thee there is forgiveness that thou mayest be feared.” God does not pardon sin till there has been a proper law-work on the mind. The justified soul may then say, let me no more hear that voice on Sinai; let me no more see that fire, and let me no more fall into that miry pit lest I die.

Being deeply distressed he prayed, he waited, he watched till the morning, or till the light of God’s countenance was lifted up upon his soul. Then he tasted the joys of remission, and his heart overflowed with grace. Then he exhorted Israel to trust in the Lord, and promised them the same salvation and holiness. True indeed it is, that no minister can preach pardon with greater effect than the young convert, who is exulting in God’s forgiving love. In reading psalms therefore of this nature, we should endeavour fully to enter into the spirit of devotion, and expect a present deliverance from the Lord.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 130". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.