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Prayer out of the Depth of Affliction Borne for the Sake of the Truth
This Psalm follows Ps 68 because in vv. 36f. the very same thought is expressed in unfigurative language, that we found in Psalms 68:11 represented under a figure, viz., Thy creatures dwelt therein. In other respects the two Psalms are as different as day and night. Psalms 69 is not a martial and triumphal Psalm, but a Psalm of affliction which does not brighten until near the close; and it is not the church that is the speaker here, as in the preceding Psalm, but an individual. This individual, according to the inscription, is David; and if David, it is not the ideal righteous man (Hengstenberg), but David the righteous, and that when he was unjustly persecuted by Saul. The description of suffering harmonizes in many points with the Psalms belonging to the time of Saul, even the estrangement of his nearest adherents, Psalms 69:9; Psalms 31:12 (cf. Psalms 27:10); the fasting till he is thoroughly enfeebled, Psalms 69:11; Psalms 109:24; the curse upon his foes, in which respect Ps 35; Ps 69, and Ps 109 form a fearful gradation; and the inspiriting call to the saints who are his companions in suffering, Psalms 69:33; Psalms 22:27; Ps 31:25. Were there no doubt about Ps 40 being Davidic, then the Davidic origin of Ps 69 would at the same time be firmly established; but instead of their inscriptions לדוד being mutually confirmatory, they tend, on the contrary, to shake our confidence. These two Psalms are closely related as twin-Psalms: in both the poet describes his suffering as a sinking into a miry pit; in both we meet with the same depreciation of ceremonial sacrifice; the same method of denoting a great multitude, “more than the hairs of my head,” Psalms 69:5; Psalms 40:13; and the same prospect of the faith of the saints being strengthened, Psalms 69:33, Psalms 69:7; Psalms 40:17, Psalms 40:4.
But whilst in Ps 40 it is more the style and in general the outward form than the contents that militate against its Davidic authorship, in Ps 69 it is not so much in form as in subject-matter that we find much that does not accord with David's authorship. For this reason Clericus and Vogel (in his dissertation Inscriptiones Psalmorum serius demum additas videri , 1767) have long ago doubted the correctness of the לדוד ; and Hitzig has more fully supported the conjecture previously advanced by Seiler, von Bengel, and others, that Psalms 69, as also Ps 40, is by Jeremiah. The following points favour this view: (1) The martyrdom which the author endured in his zeal for the house of God, in his self-mortification, and in this consuming of himself with the scorn and deadly hostility of his foes; we may compare more particularly Jeremiah 15:15-Job :, a confession on the part of the prophet very closely allied in spirit to both these Psalms. (2) The murderous animosity which the prophet had to endure from the men of Anathoth, Jeremiah 11:18., with which the complaint of the psalmist in Psalms 69:9 fully accords. (3) The close of the Psalm, vv. 35-37, which is like a summary of that which Jeremiah foretells in the Book of the Restoration, Psalms 30:1. (4) The peculiar character of Jeremiah's sufferings, who was cast by the princes, as being an enemy to his country, into the waterless but muddy cistern of prince Malchiah (Malkîja) in the court of the guard, and there as it were buried alive. It is true, in Jeremiah 38:6 it is said of this cistern that there was “no water, but only mire,” which seems to contradict the language of the Psalm; but since he sank into the mud, the meaning is that just then there was no water standing in it as at other times, otherwise he must at once have been drowned. Nevertheless, that he was in peril of his life is clear to us from the third kı̂nah (Lam. 3), which in other respects also has many points of close contact with Psalms 69; for there in Lamentations 3:53 he says: “They cut off my life in the pit and cast stones at me. Waters flowed over my head; I thought: I am undone. I called upon Thy name, Jahve, out of the lowest pit. Thou didst hear my cry: Hide not Thine ear from the outpouring of my heart, from my cry for help! Thou didst draw near in the day that I cried, Thou saidst: Fear not." The view of Hitzig, that in Psalms 69 we have this prayer out of the pit, has many things in its favour, and among them, (5) the style, which on the whole is like that of Jeremiah, and the many coincidences with the prophet's language and range of thought visible in single instance. But how could this Psalm have obtained the inscription לדוד ? Could it be on account of the similarity between the close of Psalms 69 and the close of Ps 22? And why should not Ps 71, which is to all appearance by Jeremiah, also have the inscription לדוד ? Psalms 69 is wanting in that imitative character by which Ps 71 so distinctly points to Jeremiah. Therefore we duly recognise the instances and considerations brought forward against the Jeremianic authorship by Keil ( Luth. Zeitschrift, 1860, S. 485f.) and Kurtz ( Dorpater Zeitschrift, 1865, S. 58ff.), whilst, on the contrary, we still maintain, as formerly, that the Psalm admits of being much more satisfactorily explained from the life of Jeremiah than that of David.
The passion Psalms are the part of the Old Testament Scriptures most frequently cited in the New Testament; and after Ps 22 there is no Psalm referred to in so many ways as Ps 69. (1) The enemies of Jesus hated Him without a cause: this fact, according to John 15:25, is foretold in Psalms 69:5. It is more probable that the quotation by John refers to Psalms 69:5 than to Psalms 35:19. (2) When Jesus drove the buyers and sellers out of the Temple, Psalms 35:10 received its fulfilment, according to John 2:17: the fierce flame of zeal against the profanation of the house of God consumes Him, and because of this zeal He is hated and despised. (3) He willingly bore this reproach, being an example to us; John 2:10 of our Psalm being, according to Romans 15:3, fulfilled in Him. (4) According to Acts 1:20, the imprecation in Psalms 69:26 has received its fulfilment in Judas Iscariot. The suffixes in this passage are plural; the meaning can therefore only be that indicated by J. H. Michaelis, quod ille primus et prae reliquis hujus maledictionis se fecerit participem . (5) According to Romans 11:9., Psalms 69:23. of the Psalm have been fulfilled in the present rejection of Israel. The apostle does not put these imprecations directly into the mouth of Jesus, just as in fact they are not appropriate to the lips of the suffering Saviour; he only says that what the psalmist there, in the zealous ardour of the prophetic Spirit - a zeal partaking of the severity of Sinai and of the spirit of Elias - invokes upon this enemies, has been completely fulfilled in those who wickedly have laid violent hands upon the Holy One of God. The typically prophetic hints of the Psalm are far from being exhausted by these New Testament quotations. One is reminded, in connection with Psalms 69:12, of the mockery of Jesus by the soldiers in the praetorium, Matthew 27:27-Amos :; by Psalms 69:21, of the offer of vinegar mingled with gall (according to Mark 15:23, wine mingled with myrrh) which Jesus refused, before the crucifixion, Matthew 27:34, and of the sponge dipped in vinegar which they put to the mouth of the crucified One by means of a stalk of hyssop, John 19:29. When John there says that Jesus, freely and consciously preparing Himself to die, only desired a drink in order that, according to God's appointment, the Scripture might receive its utmost fulfilment, he thereby points back to Psalms 22:16 and Psalms 69:22. And what an amount of New Testament light, so to speak, falls upon Psalms 69:27 when we compare with it Isaiah 53:1-2 Kings : and Zechariah 13:7! The whole Psalm is typically prophetic, in as far as it is a declaration of a history of life and suffering moulded by God into a factual prediction concerning Jesus the Christ, whether it be the story of a king or a prophet; and in as far as the Spirit of prophecy has even moulded the declaration itself into the language of prophecy concerning the future One.
The Psalm falls into three parts, consisting of the following strophes: (1) 3. 5. 6. 6. 7; (2) 5. 6. 7; (3) 6. 6. 6. 6. 6. Does שׁושׁנּים perhaps point to the preponderating six-line strophes under the emblem of the six-leaved lily? This can hardly be the case. The old expositors said that the Psalm was so inscribed because it treats of the white rose of the holy innocence of Christ, and of the red rose of His precious blood. שׁושׁן properly does not signify a rose; this flower was altogether unknown in the Holy Land at the time this Psalm was written. The rose was not transplanted thither out of Central Asia until much later, and was called ורד ( ῥόδον ); שׁושׁן , on the other hand, is the white, and in the Holy Land mostly red, lily - certainly, as a plant, a beautiful emblem of Christ. Propter me , says Origen, qui in convalle eram, Sponsus descendit et fit lilium .
Out of deep distress, the work of his foes, the complaining one cries for help; he thinks upon his sins, which is sufferings bring to his remembrance, but he is also distinctly conscious that he is an object of scorn and hostility for God's sake, and from His mercy he looks for help in accordance with His promises. The waters are said to rush in unto the soul ( עד־נפשׁ ), when they so press upon the imperilled one that the soul, i.e., the life of the body, more especially the breath, is threatened; cf. Jonah 2:6; Jeremiah 4:10. Waters are also a figure of calamities that come on like a flood and drag one into their vortex, Psalms 18:17; Psalms 32:6; Psalms 124:5, cf. Psalms 66:12; Psalms 88:8, Psalms 88:18; here, however, the figure is cut off in such a way that it conveys the impression of reality expressed in a poetical form, as in Ps 40, and much the same as in Jonah's psalm. The soft, yielding morass is called יון , and the eddying deep מצוּלה . The Nomen Hophal. מעמד signifies properly a being placed, then a standing-place, or firm standing (lxx ὑπόστασις ), like מטּה , that which is stretched out, extension, Isaiah 8:8. שׁבּלת (Ephraimitish סבּלת ) is a streaming, a flood, from שׁבל , Arab. sbl , to stream, flow (cf. note on Psalms 58:9). בּוא בּ , to fall into, as in Psalms 66:12, and שׁטף with an accusative, to overflow, as in Psalms 124:4. The complaining one is nearly drowned in consequence of his sinking down, for he has long cried in vain for help: he is wearied by continual crying ( יגע בּ , as in Psalms 6:7, Jeremiah 45:3), his throat is parched ( נחר from חרר ; lxx and Jerome: it is become hoarse), his eyes have failed (Jeremiah 14:6) him, who waits upon his God. The participle מיחל , equal to a relative clause, is, as in 18:51, 1 Kings 14:6, attached to the suffix of the preceding noun (Hitzig). Distinct from this use of the participle without the article is the adverbially qualifying participle in Genesis 3:8; Song of Solomon 5:2, cf. חי , 2 Samuel 12:21; 2 Samuel 18:14. There is no necessity for the correction of the text מיּחל (lxx apo' τοῦ elpi'zein me). Concerning the accentuation of רבּוּ vid., on Psalms 38:20. Apart from the words “more than the hairs of my head” (Psalms 40:13), the complaint of the multitude of groundless enemies is just the same as in Psalms 38:20; Psalms 35:19, cf. Psalms 109:3, both in substance and expression. Instead of מצמיתי , my destroyers, the Syriac version has the reading מעצמותי (more numerous than my bones), which is approved by Hupfeld; but to reckon the multitude of the enemy by the number of one's own bones is both devoid of taste and unheard of. Moreover the reading of our text finds support, if it need any, in Lamentations 3:52. The words, “what I have not taken away, I must then restore,” are intended by way of example, and perhaps, as also in Jeremiah 15:10, as a proverbial expression: that which I have not done wrong, I must suffer for (cf. Jeremiah 15:10, and the similar complaint in Psalms 35:11). One is tempted to take אז in the sense of “nevertheless” (Ewald), a meaning, however, which it is by no means intended to convey. In this passage it takes the place of זאת (cf. οὕτως for ταῦτα , Matthew 7:12), inasmuch as it gives prominence to the restitution desired, as an inference from a false assumption: then, although I took it not away, stole it not.
The transition from the bewailing of suffering to a confession of sin is like Psalms 40:13. In the undeserved persecution which he endures at the hand of man, he is obliged nevertheless to recognise well-merited chastisement from the side of God. And whilst by אתּה ידעתּ (cf. Psalms 40:10, Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:16; Jeremiah 18:23, and on ל as an exponent of the object, Jeremiah 16:16; Jeremiah 40:2) he does not acknowledge himself to be a sinner after the standard of his own shortsightedness, but of the divine omniscience, he at the same time commends his sinful need, which with self-accusing modesty he calls אוּלת (Psalms 38:6) and אשׁמות (2 Chronicles 28:10), to the mercy of the omniscient One. Should he, the sinner, be abandoned by God to destruction, then all those who are faithful in their intentions towards the Lord would be brought to shame and confusion in him, inasmuch as they would be taunted with this example. קויך designates the godly from the side of the πίστις , and מבקשׁיך a from the side of the ἀγάπη . The multiplied names of God are so many appeals to God's honour, to the truthfulness of His covenant relationship. The person praying here is, it is true, a sinner, but that is no justification of the conduct of men towards him; he is suffering for the Lord's sake, and it is the Lord Himself who is reviled in him. It is upon this he bases his prayer in Psalms 69:8. עליך , for thy sake, as in Psalms 44:23; Jeremiah 15:15. The reproach that he has to bear, and ignominy that has covered his face and made it quite unrecognisable (Psalms 44:16, cf. Psalms 83:17), have totally estranged (Psalms 38:12, cf. Psalms 88:9, Job 19:13-Ezra :; Jeremiah 12:6) from him even his own brethren ( אחי , parallel word בּני אמּי , as in Psalms 50:20; cf. on the other hand, Genesis 49:8, where the interchange designedly takes another form of expression); for the glow of his zeal ( קנאהּ from קנא , according to the Arabic, to be a deep or bright red) for the house of Jahve, viz., for the sanctity of the sanctuary and of the congregation gathered about it (which is never directly called “the house of Jahve” in the Old Testament, vid., Köhler on Zechariah 9:8, but here, as in Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1, is so called in conjunction with the sanctuary), as also for the honour of His who sits enthroned therein, consumes him, like a fire burning in his bones which incessantly breaks forth and rages all through him (Jeremiah 20:9; Jeremiah 23:9), and therefore all the malice of those who are estranged from God is concentrated upon and against him.
He now goes on to describe how sorrow for the sad condition of the house of God has brought noting but reproach to him (cf. Psalms 109:24.). It is doubtful whether נפשׁי is an alternating subject to ואבכּה ( fut. consec. without being apocopated), cf. Jeremiah 13:17, or a more minutely defining accusative as in Isaiah 26:9 (vid., on Psalms 3:5), or whether, together with בּצּום , it forms a circumstantial clause ( et flevi dum in jejunio esset anima mea ), or even whether it is intended to be taken as an accusative of the object in a pregnant construction (= בּכה ושׁפך נפשׁו , Psalms 42:5; 1 Samuel 1:15): I wept away my soul in fasting. Among all these possible renderings, the last is the least probable, and the first, according to Psalms 44:3; 83:19, by far the most probable, and also that which is assumed by the accentuation.
(Note: The Munach of בצום is a transformation of Dechî (just as the Munach of לחרפות is a transformation of Mugrash), in connection with which נקשי might certainly be conceived of even as object (cf. Psalms 26:6); but this after ואבכּה (not ואבכּה ), and as being without example, could hardly have entered the minds of the punctuists.)
The reading of the lxx ואענּה , καὶ συνέκαψα (Olshausen, Hupfeld, and Böttcher), is a very natural (Psalms 35:13) exchange of the poetically bold expression for one less choice and less expressive (since ענּה נפשׁ is a phrase of the Pentateuch equivalent to צוּם ). The garb of mourning, like the fasting, is an expression of sorrow for public distresses, not, as in Psalms 35:13, of personal condolence; concerning ואתּנה , vid., on Psalms 3:6. On account of this mourning, reproach after reproach comes upon him, and they fling gibes and raillery at him; everywhere, both in the gate, the place where the judges sit and where business is transacted, and also at carousals, he is jeered at and traduced (Lamentations 3:14, cf. Lamentations 5:14; Job 30:9). שׂיח בּ signifies in itself fabulari de ... without any bad secondary meaning (cf. Proverbs 6:22, confabulabitur tecum ); here it is construed first with a personal and then a neuter subject (cf. Amos 8:3), for in Psalms 69:13 neither הייתי (Job 30:9; Lamentations 3:14) nor אני (Lamentations 3:63) is to be supplied. Psalms 69:14 tells us how he acts in the face of such hatred and scorn; ואני , as in Psalms 109:4, sarcasmis hostium suam opponit in precibus constantiam (Geier). As for himself, his prayer is directed towards Jahve at the present time, when his affliction as a witness for God gives him the assurance that He will be well-pleased to accept it ( עת רצון בעת רצון , Isaiah 49:8). It is addressed to Him who is at the same time Jahve and Elohim, - the revealed One in connection with the history of redemption, and the absolute One in His exaltation above the world, - on the ground of the greatness and fulness of His mercy: may He then answer him with or in the truth of His salvation, i.e., the infallibility with which His purpose of mercy verifies itself in accordance with the promises given. Thus is Psalms 69:14 to be explained in accordance with the accentuation. According to Isaiah 49:8, it looks as though עת רצון must be drawn to ענני (Hitzig), but Psalms 32:6 sets us right on this point; and the fact that ברב־חסדך is joined to Psalms 69:14 also finds support from Psalms 5:8. But the repetition of the divine name perplexes one, and it may be asked whether or not the accent that divides the verse into its two parts might not more properly stand beside רצון , as in Psalms 32:6 beside מצא ; so that Psalms 69:14 runs: Elohim, by virtue of the greatness of Thy mercy hear me, by virtue of the truth of Thy salvation.
In this second part the petition by which the first is as it were encircled, is continued; the peril grows greater the longer it lasts, and with it the importunity of the cry for help. The figure of sinking in the mire or mud and in the depths of the pit ( בּאר , Ps 55:24, cf. בור , Psalms 40:3) is again taken up, and so studiously wrought out, that the impression forces itself upon one that the poet is here describing something that has really taken place. The combination “from those who hate me and from the depths of the waters” shows that “the depths of the waters” is not a merely rhetorical figure; and the form of the prayer: let not the pit (the well-pit or covered tank) close ( תּאטּר with Dagesh in the Teth, in order to guard against its being read תּאטר ; cf. on the signification of אטּר , clausus = claudus, scil. manu) its mouth (i.e., its upper opening) upon me, exceeds the limits of anything that can be allowed to mere rhetoric. “Let not the water-flood overflow me” is intended to say, since it has, according to Psalms 69:3, already happened, let it not go further to my entire destruction. The “answer me” in Psalms 69:17 is based upon the plea that God's loving-kindness is טּוב , i.e., good, absolutely good (as in the kindred passion-Psalm, Psalms 109:21), better than all besides (Psalms 63:4), the means of healing or salvation from all evil. On Psalms 69:17 cf. Psalms 51:3, Lamentations 3:32. In Psalms 69:18 the prayer is based upon the painful situation of the poet, which urgently calls for speedy help ( מהר beside the imperative, Psalms 102:3; Psalms 143:7; Genesis 19:22; Esther 6:10, is certainly itself not an imperative like הרב , Psalms 51:4, but an adverbial infinitive as in Psalms 79:8). קרבה , or, in order to ensure the pronunciation ḳorbah in distinction from ḳārbah , Deuteronomy 15:9, קרבה (in Baer,
(Note: Originally - was the sign for every kind of o6 , hence the Masora includes the חטוף also under the name קמץ חטף ; vid., Luther. Zeitschrift, 1863, S. 412,f., cf. Wright, Genesis, p. xxix.))
is imperat. Kal; cf. the fulfilment in Lamentations 3:57. The reason assigned, “because of mine enemies,” as in Psalms 5:9; Psalms 27:11, and frequently, is to be understood according to Psalms 13:5: the honour of the all-holy One cannot suffer the enemies of the righteous to triumph over him.
(Note: Both נפשׁי and איבי , contrary to logical interpunction, are marked with Munach; the former ought properly to have Dechî, and the latter Mugrash. But since neither the Athnach -word nor the Silluk -word has two syllables preceding the tone syllable, the accents are transformed according to Accentuationssystem, xviii. §2, 4.)
The accumulation of synonyms in Psalms 69:20 is Jeremiah's custom, Jeremiah 13:14; Jeremiah 21:5, Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 32:37, and is found also in Ps 31 (Psalms 31:10) and Ps 44 (Psalms 44:4, Psalms 44:17, Psalms 44:25). On הרפּה שׁברה לבּי , cf. Psalms 51:19, Jeremiah 23:9. The ἅπαξ γεγραμ , ואנוּשׁה (historical tense), from נוּשׁ , is explained by ענוּשׁ from אנשׁ , sickly, dangerously ill, evil-disposed, which is a favourite word in Jeremiah. Moreover נוּד in the signification of manifesting pity, not found elsewhere in the Psalter, is common in Jeremiah, e.g., Psalms 15:5; it signifies originally to nod to any one as a sign of a pity that sympathizes with him and recognises the magnitude of the evil. “To give wormwood for meat and מי־ראשׁ to drink” is a Jeremianic (Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:14; Jeremiah 23:15) designation for inflicting the extreme of pain and anguish upon one. ראשׁ רושׁ ) signifies first of all a poisonous plant with an umbellated head of flower or a capitate fruit; but then, since bitter and poisonous are interchangeable notions in the Semitic languages, it signifies gall as the bitterest of the bitter. The lxx renders: καὶ ἔδωκαν εἰς τὸ βρῶμά μου χολήν, καὶ εἰς τὴν δίψαν μου ἐπότισάν με ὄξος . Certainly נתן בּ can mean to put something into something, to mix something with it, but the parallel word לצמאי (for my thirst, i.e., for the quenching of it, Nehemiah 9:15, Nehemiah 9:20) favours the supposition that the בּ of בּברוּתי is Beth essentiae, after which Luther renders: “they give me gall to eat.” The ἅπαξ γεγραμ . בּרוּת (Lamentations 4:10 בּרות ) signifies βρῶσις , from בּרה , βιβρώσκειν (root βορ , Sanscrit gar , Latin vor-are ).
The description of the suffering has reached its climax in Psalms 69:22, at which the wrath of the persecuted one flames up and bursts forth in imprecations. The first imprecation joins itself upon Psalms 69:22. They have given the sufferer gall and vinegar; therefore their table, which was abundantly supplied, is to be turned into a snare to them, from which they shall not be able to escape, and that לפניהם , in the very midst of their banqueting, whilst the table stands spread out before them (Ezekiel 23:41). שׁלומים (collateral form of שׁלמים ) is the name given to them as being carnally secure; the word signifies the peaceable or secure in a good (Psalms 55:21) and in a bad sense. Destruction is to overtake them suddenly, “when they say: Peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). The lxx erroneously renders: καὶ εἰς ἀνταπόδοσιν = וּלשׁלּוּמים . The association of ideas in Psalms 69:24 is transparent. With their eyes they have feasted themselves upon the sufferer, and in the strength of their loins they have ill-treated him. These eyes with their bloodthirsty malignant looks are to grow blind. These loins full of defiant self-confidence are to shake ( המעד , imperat. Hiph. like הרחק , Job 13:21, from המעיד , for which in Ezekiel 29:7, and perhaps also in Daniel 11:14, we find העמיד ). Further: God is to pour out His wrath upon them (Psalms 79:6; Hosea 5:10; Jeremiah 10:25), i.e., let loose against them the cosmical forces of destruction existing originally in His nature. זעמּך has the Dagesh in order to distinguish it in pronunciation from זעמך . In Psalms 69:26 טירה (from טוּר , to encircle) is a designation of an encamping or dwelling-place (lxx ἔπαυλις ) taken from the circular encampments (Arabic ṣı̂rât , ṣirât , and dwâr , duâr ) of the nomads (Genesis 25:16). The laying waste and desolation of his own house is the most fearful of all misfortunes to the Semite ( Job, note to Psalms 18:15). The poet derives the justification of such fearful imprecations from the fact that they persecute him, who is besides smitten of God. God has smitten him on account of his sins, and that by having placed him in the midst of a time in which he must be consumed with zeal and solicitude for the house of God. The suffering decreed for him by God is therefore at one and the same time suffering as a chastisement and as a witnessing for God; and they heighten this suffering by every means in their power, not manifesting any pity for him or any indulgence, but imputing to him sins that he has not committed, and requiting him with deadly hatred for benefits for which they owed him thanks.
There are also some others, although but few, who share this martyrdom with him. The psalmist calls them, as he looks up to Jahve, חלליך , Thy fatally smitten ones; they are those to whom God has appointed that they should bear within themselves a pierced or wounded heart (vid., Psalms 109:22, cf. Jeremiah 8:18) in the face of such a godless age. Of the deep grief ( אל , as in Psalms 2:7) of these do they tell, viz., with self-righteous, self-blinded mockery (cf. the Talmudic phrase ספר בלשׁון הרע or ספר לשׁון הרע , of evil report or slander). The lxx and Syriac render יוסיפוּ ( προσέθηκαν ): they add to the anguish; the Targum, Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome follow the traditional text. Let God therefore, by the complete withdrawal of His grace, suffer them to fall from one sin into another - this is the meaning of the da culpam super culpam eorum - in order that accumulated judgment may correspond to the accumulated guilt (Jeremiah 16:18). Let the entrance into God's righteousness, i.e., His justifying and sanctifying grace, be denied to them for ever. Let them be blotted out of ספר חיּים (Exodus 32:32, cf. Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1), that is to say, struck out of the list of the living, and that of the living in this present world; for it is only in the New Testament that we meet with the Book of Life as a list of the names of the heirs of the ζωὴ αἰώνιος . According to the conception both of the Old and of the New Testament the צדיקים are the heirs of life. Therefore Psalms 69:29 wishes that they may not be written by the side of the righteous, who, according to Habakkuk 2:4, “live,” i.e., are preserved, by their faith. With ואני the poet contrasts himself, as in Ps 40:18, with those deserving of execration. They are now on high, but in order to be brought low; he is miserable and full of poignant pain, but in order to be exalted; God's salvation will remove him from his enemies on to a height that is too steep for them (Psalms 59:2; Psalms 91:14). Then will he praise ( הלּל ) and magnify ( גּדּל ) the Name of God with song and thankful confession. And such spiritual תּודה , such thank-offering of the heart, is more pleasing to God than an ox, a bullock, i.e., a young ox (= פּר השּׁור , an ox-bullock, Judges 6:25, according to Ges. §113), one having horns and a cloven hoof (Ges. §53, 2). The attributives do not denote the rough material animal nature (Hengstenberg), but their legal qualifications for being sacrificed. מקרין is the name for the young ox as not being under three years old (cf. 1 Samuel 1:24, lxx ἐν μόσχῳ τριετίζοντι ); מפריס as belonging to the clean four-footed animals, viz., those that are cloven-footed and chew the cud, Lev. 11. Even the most stately, full-grown, clean animal that may be offered as a sacrifice stands in the sight of Jahve very far below the sacrifice of grateful praise coming from the heart.
When now the patient sufferers ( ענוים ) united with the poet by community of affliction shall see how he offers the sacrifice of thankful confession, they will rejoice. ראוּ is a hypothetical preterite; it is neither וראוּ ( perf. consec.), nor יראוּ (Psalms 40:4; Psalms 52:8; Psalms 107:42; Job 22:19). The declaration conveying information to be expected in Psalms 69:33 after the Waw apodoseos changes into an apostrophe of the “seekers of Elohim:” their heart shall revive, for, as they have suffered in company with him who is now delivered, they shall now also refresh themselves with him. We are at once reminded of Psalms 22:27, where this is as it were the exhortation of the entertainer at the thank-offering meal. It would be rash to read שׁמע in Psalms 69:23, after Psalms 22:25, instead of שׁמע (Olshausen); the one object in that passage is here generalized: Jahve is attentive to the needy, and doth not despise His bound ones (Psalms 107:10), but, on the contrary, He takes an interest in them and helps them. Starting from this proposition, which is the clear gain of that which has been experienced, the view of the poet widens into the prophetic prospect of the bringing back of Israel out of the Exile into the Land of Promise. In the face of this fact of redemption of the future he calls upon (cf. Isaiah 44:23) all created things to give praise to God, who will bring about the salvation of Zion, will build again the cities of Judah, and restore the land, freed from its desolation, to the young God-fearing generation, the children of the servants of God among the exiles. The feminine suffixes refer to ערי (cf. Jeremiah 2:15; Jeremiah 22:6 Chethîb). The tenor of Isaiah 65:9 is similar. If the Psalm were written by David, the closing turn from Psalms 69:23 onwards might be more difficult of comprehension than Psalms 14:7; 51:20f. If, however, it is by Jeremiah, then we do not need to persuade ourselves that it is to be understood not of restoration and re-peopling, but of continuance and completion (Hofmann and Kurtz). Jeremiah lived to experience the catastrophe he foretold; but the nearer it came to the time, the more comforting were the words with which he predicted the termination of the Exile and the restoration of Israel. Jeremiah 34:7 shows us how natural to him, and to him in particular, was the distinction between Jerusalem and the cities of Judah. The predictions in Jeremiah 32:1, which sound so in accord with Psalms 69:36., belong to the time of the second siege. Jerusalem was not yet fallen; the strong places of the land, however, already lay in ruins.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Psalms 69". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12