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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 130

Verses 1-8

Psalms 130:1-8.

V. 1,2. David is generally supposed to have been the writer of this psalm ; though his name is not prefixed to it. Some think, that it was composed, when he was convinced of his exceedingly heinous guilt, in the matter of Uriah, and was in deep distress of mind on that account; (Notes, Psalms 6:1-7 - Psalms 32:1-5. 2 Samuel 12:1-14 ;) while others are of opinion, that he wrote it, when in danger of being overwhelmed by the persecuting rage of Saul : and indeed the general acknowledgment of criminality, in common with other men, does not well accord with David’s state of mind, when crying for mercy after his most deplorable fall. It seems, however, that inward distresses, arising from the consciousness of sin, concurred with outward troubles and dangers, in sinking him into those depths, from whence, (like Jonah from the whale’s belly,) he earnestly cried unto the Lord, and was heard and delivered; and therefore it is reckoned one of the penitential psalms. (Notes, Psalms 40:1-5. Psalms 42:6-8; Psalms 69:1-3; Psalms 69:14-15; Psalms 71:20-21; Psalms 88:5-9. Lamentations 3:52-57. Jonah 2:1-7 Hebrews 5:7-10.) ’ In the greatest straits, ’ when I can see ... no end of my troubles, but I still ’ sink lower and lower into them ; I never despair of thy 1 mercy, O LORD ; but cry unto thee most earnestly to ’ deliver me.’ Up. Patrick.

V. 3, 4. ’ If I were the most innocent person in the ’ world ; yet if thou, LORD, shouldest strictly examine my ’ life, and proceed against me according to my deserts, ... ’ I should certainly be condemned.’ Bp. Patrick. (Note, Job 9:14-21.) To " mark iniquity," in this connexion, implies, to observe strictly a man’s conduct, comparing every part of it with the holy law, and punishing all deviation from that perfect standard, according to the strict demands of impartial justice. This will be the measure of the Lord’s dealings with all the impenitent and unbelieving : but he does not so " mark iniquity," as to exclude the penitent and believing from mercy and forgiveness, according to the gospel. " For there is forgiveness with " him : " or a propitiation, as the original word may signify, and as it is translated by the Septuagint; for " without " shedding of blood there is no remission ; " and " it is " not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats can " take away sin." (Notes, Luke 18:9-14, v: 13. Hebrews 9:18-23; Hebrews 10:3-4.) But with God there is forgiveness, through a propitiatory sacrifice, for those who avail themselves of this gracious provision of his love and mercy : He alone can pardon ; forgiveness belongs to him ; and he " is ready to forgive," and delights in mercy.

(Notes,Psalms 86:3-5; Psalms 86:14-15. Exodus 34:5-7 Is. 55: 6- 9. Daniel 9:7-10. Micah 7:18-20. Romans 3:19-26.) "That " thou mayest be feared." ’ Thou most graciously invitest ’ us unto thy service, by thy readiness to pardon all that ’ are truly penitent ; without the hope of which we could ’ not so much as think of becoming religious.’ Bp. Patrick. Without the hope of forgiveness, no humble and contrite sinner could escape despair ; and none else " have the " fear of God before their eyes." So that without this hope, there could be no genuine piety among the fallen descendants of Adam. (Note, Genesis 22:11-12.) For if there were no forgiveness with God, men would not only be " without hope," but without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and so be given up to the desperate enmity of their fallen nature. But the consciousness of guilt, and the fear of wrath, united with the hope of mercy, bring the sinner into a proper disposition to seek and wait for salvation : and as hope and filial love dispel slavish fear; humble reverence and a dread of dishonouring his gracious Friend, gather strength in the believer’s soul. (Note, 1 Joliniv. 18.)

V. 5, 6. ’ The repetitions here do beautifully express ’ that ardent desire which the contrite soul hath for the ’ salvation of God.’ Bp. Home. The word of God reveals and promises forgiveness to the penitent, through the great Redeemer : faith credits this revelation, and waits with humble expectation the fulfilment of the promises, and of obtaining " the joy of God’s salvation." ’Notes,Psalms 51:12-13; Psalms 62:1-2; Psalms 62:5-7. Genesis 49:18. Lamentations 3:24-30. Luke 2:25-32.) Thus the Psalmist " waited for the " Lord, more than they that watch for the morning." Some understand this of the Psalmist’s being earlier at his devotions, than the watchers were at the sanctuary, who resorted thither at the break of day. But perhaps it means, that he longed for some tokens of God’s pardoning love, more eagerly than the bewildered benighted traveller, or the endangered mariner, looks out for the dawn. (Acts 27:29.) ’ My soul waiteth for the Lord, and longs for ’ his comfortable presence, more than the watchman, who ’ is forced to wake the whole night, waiteth for the break ’ of day, that he may be discharged.’ Bp. Hall.

’ I wait for thy salvation, Lord,

’ With strong desires I wait ;

’ My soul, invited by thy word,

Stands watching at thy gate.

Just as the guards that keep the night

’ Long for the morning skies,

’ Watch the first beams of breaking light,

’ And meet them with their eyes :

’ So waits my soul to see thy grace,

’ And, more intent than they,

’ Meets the first openings of thy face,

’ And finds a brighter day.’ Waltt.

V. 7, 8. ’ The church of Israel was exhorted to hope ’ in JEHOVAH, because " with him there was mercy, and ’ " plenteous redemption." And of what nature was that * redemption ? A redemption from sin : " He shall redeem Israel from all his sins ; " and consequently from ’ all trouble and misery, which are but the effects of sin, ’ and will cease when their cause shall be finally taken ’ away. Now what is this but the gospel itself ? ’ Bp. Home.

(Notes, Psalms 115:9-13. Psalms 131:3. Matthew 1:20-21. Romans 5:20-21. Ephesians 1:3-8. 1 Timothy 2:5-7. Titus 2:11-14. 1 John 2:1-6; 1 John 3:4-10. Revelation 5:8-10.)


While sin is plunging millions of unbelievers into the depths of hell to rise no more ; even believers are often brought by it under deep distress of conscience, fears of wrath, outward calamities, and sore temptations. What need then have we to watch against every approach of this only evil ! Yet, even from those depths, into which sin has cast us, we should without delay, and with extraordinary earnestness, cry unto the Lord : nor can any deep dungeon or cavern, or even deep guilt, exclude the relenting sinner from the presence of his merciful God; who will raise all that make supplication to him, from the depths of distress, from the gates of hell, from the borders of the grave, and at length from the grave itself. Indeed should the Lord so mark all our iniquities according to his holy law, as to deal with us in the rigour of strict justice, what man could endure the trial, or venture into his awful presence ? But there is abundant forgiveness with him, which he can exercise in such a manner, as to glorify his justice, holiness, wisdom, and power, as well as mercy and truth ; so that the chief of sinners may now bow before his mercy-seat, become his acceptable worshipper, and at length stand accepted before his holy tribunal. And faith in his sure testimony and faithful promise, confirmed by experience, forms the soul to the holy fear and love of the Lord our God. Happy then are they, who hope in his word, and wait for the discoveries of his pardoning mercy, in the appointed way. Their anxious fears may indeed greatly disquiet them, while the Lord proves their faith, sincerity, and humility, by salutary delays. But the clay will dawn, and the Sun of Righteousness arise upon them to set no more. (Notes, Is. 12: 1- 3. Mai. 4: 2, 3.) Then they will rejoice, and encourage their brethren to hope and wait for the Lord, and exhort all their fellow sinners to seek his salvation ; seeing that " with him there is mercy, " and plenteous redemption," through the atoning blood of Jesus, " who shall redeem his people from all their iniquities." (Note, Titus 2:14.)

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 130". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.