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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 70

The Pulpit CommentariesThe Pulpit Commentaries

Verses 1-5


This psalm is a detached fragment of Psalms 40:1-17, separated off, probably, for liturgical purposes. Except in the last clause, the name "Elohim" is substituted for "Jehovah." A few omissions are made, and one alteration which affects the sense.

Psalms 70:1

Make haste, O God, to deliver me. In Psalms 40:13 we find, "Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;" and this would seem to be the right way of supplying the ellipse here. Make haste to help me, O Lord.

Psalms 70:2

Let them be ashamed and confounded. Psalms 40:14 adds, "together." That seek after my soul. Psalms 40:1-17 adds, "to destroy it." Let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Identical with Psalms 40:14, and translated more literally.

Psalms 70:3

Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame. Psalms 40:15 has, "Let them be desolate," but this difference seems to arise from a corruption. That say, Aha, aha! Psalms 40:15 has, "that say to me, Aha, aha!" which is better.

Psalms 70:4

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. Psalms 40:16 has, "Let the Lord be magnified."

Psalms 70:5

But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God. Instead of this last clause, Psalms 40:17 has, "Yet the Lord thinketh upon me," which cannot be ascribed to a corruption, but must be an alteration made deliberately. Thou art my Help and my Deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying. Identical with Psalms 40:17, except that here once more "Jehovah" replaces "Elohim."


Psalms 70:1-5


This is the cry of many. By sea and land, in times of peril, this call is made. That gun "booming loud" is the signal of a ship in distress. That flag held up from the boat is a silent appeal. That cry, rising loud and shrill, above the turmoil of storm, tells of "some strong swimmer in his agony," who still hopes for succour. And as brother cries to brother, so the soul cries to God. There are cases when we can help ourselves. There are other cases where friends and brethren can help us. For this we should thank God and take courage. The more the Spirit of Christ prevails, the more there will be both of self-help and mutual help. But there are other cases when God alone can help. Let us turn to him. There is every reason to hope that we shall not seek him in vain. He has power (2 Chronicles 25:8). He has the disposition (Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 44:2). He has pledged his word (Hosea 13:9). Well, therefore, might the psalmist say, "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help" (Psalms 146:5)! This psalm is entitled, "To put God in remembrance;" and it is rich in light and comfort to all who make their prayer to God for help. Mark—

I. THE CRY. "Help!" It is the sign of weakness and of fear. God seems to delay. The peril increases, and therefore the cry becomes more urgent. Soon it will be too late. "Make haste!" Who is there who has not felt the pain of need, and the greater pain of anxiety and fear. The more grievous our straits, the more earnest should be our prayers.

II. THE RESPONSE. The chief pleas are three, and God's answer always meets our necessities.

1. The malice of foes. Men are to be found who actually take pleasure in pain, and especially when the pain falls upon those they hate. The more of trouble, the greater their joy. This is the very spirit of hell. Such as persist in this kind of life must perish. God will disappoint the malice of the wicked by his deliverance of the good.

2. The benefit of God's people. The good delight in good. Happy themselves in God, they would have all others share in the same happiness. Especially have they sympathy with all of like spirit with themselves (1 Corinthians 12:26). Hence when the godly conquer their troubles by bearing them patiently, or are rescued as by the hand of God, their hearts are refreshed. What is done to others is as if done to themselves.

3. Personal necessity. God looks to individuals. None are so "poor" that he will despise them. None are so "needy" that he cannot satisfy their wants. He delighteth in mercy. Each one of us may put himself in the place of the psalmist, and cry, as he did, with lively hope, "I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God!" When we thus trust in God, hope rises to assurance. We feel as if what we asked was given, as if what we sought was done. "Thou art my Help and my Deliverer." But still, so long as we are in distress, and God has not yet perfected that which concerneth us, we urge the prayer, "Make no tarrying."—W.F.


Psalms 70:1-5

This psalm is substantially a repetition of the last five verses of Psalms 40:1-17 (which see). It was most likely detached and altered for a special occasion.—S.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 70". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/psalms-70.html. 1897.
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