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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 32

 

 

Verses 1-11

Psalm 32

A Psalm of David, Maschil

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no guile.

3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old

Through my roaring all the day long.

4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me:

My moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee,

And mine iniquity have I not hid.

I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord;

And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found:

Surely in the floods of great waters

They shall not come nigh unto him.

7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble;

Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:

I will guide thee with mine eye.

9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding:

Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle,

Lest they come near unto thee.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked:

But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.

11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous:

And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Its Contents and Composition. Respecting maskil vid. Introduction. This is the second of the seven Penitential Psalm [vid. Psalm 6]. It was a favorite of Augustine. It is cited by the Apostle Paul in Romans 4:6-8. According to Luther it is “an extraordinary doctrinal Psalm, which teaches us what sin Isaiah, how we may be free from it and be righteous before God. For the reason knows not what sin is and thinks to render satisfaction for it with works; but he says here that all the saints are likewise sinners, and can be holy and blessed in no other way, than by recognizing that they are sinners before God, and that they are regarded as righteous before God by faith alone without merit and without works.” The doctrine however does not appear here as a result of universal religious consideration, but as an immediate result of personal experience. For the blessedness of the justified sinner ( Psalm 32:1-2) is based upon the description of a twofold experience, first the pain and distress of the Psalmist so long as he held back his confession of sins ( Psalm 32:3-4); then the forgiveness of sins, directly received with the confession of sins. On this foundation likewise arises not only an encouragement of all those in the covenant of grace to similar action in behalf of similar blessings ( Psalm 32:5), but it takes directly in Psalm 32:6, a thoroughly personal turn in the description of the saving consequences which are to be expected in the future. Then comes the exhortation and warning ( Psalm 32:8-9), that they may not be compelled to, but may of their own accord take this way to Go; and then the general contrast in the consequences of pious and ungodly conduct ( Psalm 32:10). These form the transition to the final summons to rejoice ( Psalm 32:11), which is in a form which refers back to the beginning of the Psalm and thus rounds off the whole.—The assertion of some after Amyraldus, that this Psalm which like Psalm I. begins with “blessed” is yet in irreconcilable conflict with it, because the blessedness there appears as a reward of righteousness, but here as a consequence of forgiveness of sins, leaves out of view the circumstance, not only that the same thing may be represented from different stand-points without internal conflict, but that already in the Old Testament the intermediate members of these different representations, are in many ways brought into view, e.g. that no flesh is righteous before God and no one could stand before God if He should impute sin; that all human innocence and righteousness is merely relative; that righteousness is not the work of merit of the man himself, but a gracious work of God, etc. However we must not overlook that side of the Old Testament economy of salvation which is here very striking, which is related to the Gospel and in its direction. Hupfeld very properly remarks, that the confession of sins in itself, and indeed publicly expressed, was an ancient legal part of the sin offering ( Leviticus 5:5; Leviticus 16:21; Numbers 5:7), and that here this requirement of the law is merely made more internal, as a requirement of the conscience, and is shown in its internal necessity.—Related thoughts are found in Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:8-9.—There are no tenable grounds for giving up its composition by David and with Hitzig hit upon Jeremiah. The prevailing supposition, that this Psalm refers particularly to the great sin of David with Bathsheba and against her husband, is less certain. Venema already regarded its circumstances as more general, and Stier, Clauss, and Hitzig with De Wette find the circumstance doubtful from the fact, that here the emphasis is put upon the anxiety of conscience and the free confession of sins which sprang from it, whilst in 1 Samuel 12:7 sq. this anxiety is not described, and the confession follows the disclosure of Nathan which shook him and chastised him. Yet we may say with Hengst, that the address of Nathan was not the cause, but the occasion of the confession of David. Many particular features of that history correspond entirely with the Psalm, and the Psalm has grown entirely from personal experience.[FN3] Delitzsch very well remarks that the words of Augustine might be placed as the motto of the Psalm: intelligentia prima Esther, ut te noris peccatorem. Selnekker narrates of Augustine, that he “often read this Psalm with weeping heart and eyes, and before his death had it written upon the wall which was over against his sick bed, that he might be exercised and comforted by it in his sickness.” There is no historical support for the conjecture of Grotius that this Psalm was the prayer of the Jewish people on the great day of atonement.

Str. I. Psalm 32:1-2. Blessed is he whose transgression is taken away,etc.—Sin is here designated by those three names, after Exodus 34:7, whose etymologies lead to the ideas of falling away or breaking faith, deviation or failure and perversion (in usage frequently of guilt). Their forgiveness is likewise mentioned in three forms as lifting up, (to take away their burden), as covering (whereby they are removed from the eyes of the judge and therefore from punishment), as not imputing (with reference to their guilt). According to the grammatical form, however, that which is designated as taken away and covered is not, as usually elsewhere, the sin, but the person of the sinner, “because the forgiveness of sins is not merely a transaction with men, but in men, in their personal life.” (Delitzsch). Psalm 32:2 b. mentions not the sanctification of the heart (some more ancient interpreters) as a fruit of justification, but contains actually already the statement of the condition of forgiveness of sins, particularly carried out in the following verses, and is regarded by some (Isaki, Flamin, Seb. Schmidt, Stier) as a conditional clause, but usually as a relative clause.

Str. II. Psalm 32:3-4. For I kept silence,etc. This silence is not the quiet and patience of contrition as the internal beginning of penitence (Venema), but the holding back of confession of sins as an effect and a manifestation of the guile just mentioned. For although the Psalmist howled and groaned (the same word is used as in Psalm 22:1; hence there might be included likewise lamentation and prayer in the cries of anxiety and pain), during the long time in which the chastening hand of God was heavy upon him without interruption (day and night), yet he failed to admit his guilt; and this silence was the cause as well of the continuance of the Divine chastisement as of the increase of his torment of soul. It makes no essential difference whether the כּי of Psalm 32:3, is translated like the כּי of Psalm 32:4 as giving the reason and explanation “for” (Stier, Hengst, Hupf.) or as introducing the following clause “because” or “since” (Hitzig, Delitzsch). [The Rabbins, Olsh, Ewald and the A. V. translate “when” which gives a better sense.—C. A. B.]. In any case Psalm 32:3 carries out more clearly the fundamental thought expressed in Psalm 32:1-2, so far as it is based on personal experience. The “for” takes up directly the thought involved in the mention of guile and Psalm 32:4 at all events gives the reason of Psalm 32:3. The Divine hand is the efficient cause of the sufferings which affect at the same time the body and the soul, the silence is the conditional cause. In this connection it is not probable, that the decay of the bones was occasioned by the roaring (Delitzsch), or crying, that is the bodily sickness by the violent expressions of sorrow (Hupf.); or that the anxiety of conscience had produced in the Psalmist a violent fever (Hitzig). The heat of summer into which the sap of life becomes changed, might much more easily be taken as a figurative designation of anxiety and heat, which would afterwards be regarded as the heat of Divine anger (Stier; similarly Calvin, Geier, De Wette, Hengst.). Yet it is more natural to supply a כ of comparison (Luther after Symm, Chald.); or to suppose a silent comparison (Hupf.); unless it is preferred with Delitzsch to take the בְּ as that of the condition, in which the change, that is the deterioration, took place ( Job 20:14) The meaning “sap of life” which most interpreters after the Chald. and Aben Ezra, give to לְשַׁד and derive from the Arabic, is disputed by Hengst. and Olsh. The former explains the word of the heart, comp. Psalm 102:4, properly, a compact mass according to Numbers 11:8; the latter explains it of the tongue. The Vulgate after the Sept. translates entirely different: conversus sum in ærumnam (corrected reading instead of ærumna mea) in infigendo spinam.

Str. III. [My sin I will make known to Thee, and my guilt I did not conceal,etc. Alexander: “Most interpreters explain the future verb of the first clause as a preterite, because all the other verbs of the first clause are preterites; but this only renders the future form of the first verb more remarkable, and makes it harder to explain why a past tense was not used in this, as in all the other cases, if the writer intended to express past time. The only consistent method of solution is to understand the first clause as a reminiscence of the Psalmist’s resolution in the time of his distress, repeated in the second clause, and in both cases followed by a recital of the execution of his purpose. (I said,) my sin I will make known to Thee and my guilt I (accordingly) did not conceal, I said, I will make confession to Jehovah. And Thou didst take away the guilt of my sin.” Moll translates as past with most interpreters.[FN4] The clauses of this verse stand in beautiful contrast with those of Psalm 32:1-2 in an inverse order. The sin is acknowledged that it may not be imputed, the iniquity is uncovered that it may be covered, the transgression is confessed that it may be taken away, which latter the closing clause of the verse expresses with emphasis: And Thou, Thou takest away, etc, thus turning back to the opening clause of the Psalm.—C. A. B.] At the close of this verse many ancient Psalteries after Cod. Alex. of the Sept. have instead of impietatem peccati mei, impietatem cordis mei.

Str. IV. Psalm 32:6. Therefore let every favoured one supplicate Thee at the time of finding,—that is so long as it may be found, namely that which is sought, here grace (Ruding, De Wette, Hupf.),=time of grace ( Psalm 69:13; Isaiah 49:8; Isaiah 60:1-2), in which sense the Arabic version translates: time of hearing; or Jehovah, (Isaki, Calv, most interpreters), according to Isaiah 55:6, comp Deuteronomy 4:29; Jeremiah 29:12-14; Psalm 145:18, with essentially the same sense, yet to be preferred on this account, because, what Hupfeld overlooks, this object may easily be supplied from the אליך which is very near, and prayer is a seeking God (Hitzig). Luther after the Sept. explains, at the right time Ewald, at the time of reaching, comp. aptus,ίκανός. Knapp after Schröder, Schnurrer and Michælis, leaving the connection of words given by the accents, still seek the object of the finding in the following רק, to which after an Arabic etymology they give the meaning of compassion. But this verb is the usual adverb, yet not merely a particle of limitation and exception, but likewise of general contrast and hence of contrary assertion or assurance (Hupfeld).—That the flood and waves in general have become a figure of great trouble and danger, particularly of Divine punishments, has with the geographical position and geological formation of Palestine, its ground and reason in the Flood. There is no occasion however with Hengst. to think particularly of that, here.—The “therefore” at the beginning of the verse is usually after the Chald. and Calvin regarded as a statement of the motive; others however after the Vulg. and Luther find expressed here the object of the supplication and translate: for this.

Psalm 32:7. Here there is an assonance scarcely to be mistaken. If רָנֵּי is genuine and not to be derived from the last three letters of תצרני as a repetition according to J. D. Mich, Jahn and Hitzig, then we must suppose, that the infinitive רֹן, Job 38 has here been treated as a substantive and that the פַּלֵּטּ, which is likewise made a substantive, is the second member of the stat. const. The expression, “surrounded with shouts of deliverance” is unusual, it is true, yet it is inadmissible to seek in “shouting” a metonymy instead of salvation or grace (Olsh, Hupfeld). We may either think of the congratulations and songs of praise of those who participate in the celebration (or even who share in the deliverance) (Stier), or of the manifold deliverances with the occasions for shouting which flow together at the same time from all sides (Calvin, Geier, Hengst.). The Vulg. and Sept. are entirely different: Thou art my exultation, deliver me from those who surround me.

Str. V. Psalm 32:8. I will instruct thee.—Most of the older interpreters, even Luther and Seb. Schmidt, among recent interpreters Clauss, Stier, finally Hitzig, regard Psalm 32:8-9, Ewald at least Psalm 32:8, as the words of God, wherein the most particular protection and the most faithful spiritual preservation and guidance are promised to the sinner who has turned to God and received pardon. Almost all recent interpreters however, with Calvin and Geier, regard these verses as the words of David, which point all sinners to the God, who has pardoned him, comp. Psalm 51:14.—Will give advice (directing) mine eye upon thee.—Ewald translates this with the Sept. “I will fix my eye upon thee,” and rejects the meaning of advice, here. [Hupfeld contends that there is here an instance of a double subject of the person and the instrument, as in Psalm 3:5. The use of על comes from a verb of watching, preserving and protecting which is understood. He translates, mine eye is to advise (watch advising) over thee. Perowne, regards the words “mine eye upon thee” as merely added as “a further explanation of the manner in which the counsel would be given. According to the accents, however עָלֶיךָ must be connected with אִיעֲצָה, ‘I will consult upon, or concerning thee, i.e. for thy good;’ and then עֵינִי, ‘with mine eye,’ will be equivalent to ‘watching thee with mine eye.’ ” The translation of Moll Isaiah, however, better.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 32:9. In bridle and bit (consists) its harness to tame it, (they will) not approach thee.—Hitzig again upon Ezekiel 16:7 contends for the meaning of cheek for עדי and translates here with Sept, Vulg, Aben Ezra; whose cheek to constrain with bridle and bit, (then he changes the vowels and translates: rather draw thyself in, rein thyself in). Luther has, “in the mouth” as he renders the same word in Psalm 103:5, likewise as “mouth,” where the Sept. reads ἐπιθυμίαν and others advise otherwise, sometimes even to accept two entirely different words in these two passages. Ewald, who would change the vowels and explain by the Arabic, Delitzsch who translates the ambiguous “bit,” waver, yet incline to the same explanation. Ewald translates: “bit and bridle must shut the cheeks of those who draw near to thee unfriendly,” and finds in the second supplementary clause likewise the easier transition in the address to God, which formerly most interpreters found here, yet it is very improbable, since the expression leads much more to the continuance of the description of that natural shyness and wildness, which prevents animals from approaching men. There is certainly no reference here to an approach for the purpose of injuring, which some after the Rabbins find here, but of a warning and exhortation not to be like the irrational and obstinate animals, which do not approach men unless tamed by compulsory means. The application of the figure is left to the reader, and the address, which in Psalm 32:9 a had gone over into the plural, has returned to the singular, in order that every individual may be referred with the more emphasis to his own person and experience Since בל is used elsewhere only with the finite verb, but here follows an infinitive or a noun, perhaps the verb has been left off; thus, (they will) not approach thee; or, approach to thee (does) not (occur). The first is preferable, because with the second, an “else” must be inserted in order to be clear, as already Seb. Schmidt. If it were not for the difficulty of the construction of בל, the asyndet. clause might be resolved simply by: because or, if. Calvin finds very properly in the comparison, actually two things: shaming by the reproachful comparison and at the same time the fruitlessness of the opposition. As concerns the disputed עדי, it may be derived with Hupfeld from עדה (=draw in) and means then not so much “ornament” (in connection with which ancient interpretation Stier and Hengst. find an irony expressed) as rather “harness,” as already the Chald. paraphrases. Jerome shares with the other more ancient translators the view of fastening together the jaws of those who do not approach thee, with bit and bridle. Instead of the imperative, which most ancient interpreters have after the Cod. Vatic. of the Sept, the Psalter Roman. reads after the Cod. Alex. of the Sept, the finite verb, namely constringes=ἄγξεις.

Str. VI. Psalm 32:10. Many pains,etc.—Instead of “pains,” that Isaiah, plagues, as Exodus 3:7, many older interpreters, after the Sept. and Vulgate, have “scourges.” [Perowne: “The usual contrast between the lot of the ungodly and that of the righteous, as the sum of all that has been said, and as a great religious axiom.”—C. A. B.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. Those are truly to be considered happy who really have received God’s forgiveness of sins, so that the burden of their transgressions no longer presses them to the ground and their conscience is no longer troubled, because punishment for them is no longer threatened and their guilt is no longer imputed to them. How unhappy then must those be who retain this burden, are in constant expectation of the coming judgment, and must regard the punishment as well-deserved and unavoidable, because the sinner cannot himself blot out his guilt, but God is the impartial Judge and the infallible Rewarder, and even now before the final judgment does not allow men to sin unpunished and deceive themselves, although the sinner may cherish deceit in his spirit and hypocritical excuses.

2. The deceit, with which a sinner would cover over, conceal and excuse either the presence or the greatness, or the ill-desert of his sins from himself and others, does not afford any real relief or any true justification, but brings on the opposite of the blessed experience of forgiveness of sins, namely the painful feeling of the pressure of the strong hand of God, pressing upon him, and the torment of anxiety of conscience, which consumes the sap of life. For sins can not be brought to a dead silence, and the conscience cannot be hushed up by false pretences. Even prayer no longer comforts and refreshes the man who cries to God in his anguish, yet is silent before God respecting his sins. He will only become the weaker, even in body, the more he toils in this inconsistency, that he strives to conceal the true cause of his misery from the Omniscient Searcher of hearts, and yet craves relief from his troubles. His sins will not be brought into forgetfulness by intentionally not thinking of them; and they will not remain unpunished although he is full of self-deception and does not consider or weigh the consequences of deception. Hengstenberg remarks very properly: “Deception found in David; notwithstanding the enormity of his transgressions, sufficient points of contact, as always, where the heart is inclined to rely upon them. He had not sought the first sin, but the first occasion to it had been afforded him. It must have been very natural for a king, especially an Oriental, to measure himself in this respect by a special rule. That which was connected with this transgression might very easily present itself more in the light of a sad event than of a severe guilt.” The following remarks of the same scholar are likewise worthy to be pondered: “The roots of this deception, which we meet immediately after the Fall, are pride, lack of trust in God and love of sin. Many are thereby prevented from any knowledge of their sins; in their misery they are satisfied in a Pelagian self-deception and regard themselves as very excellent. Others exhibit the first beginnings of true knowledge of sin, but do not attain the desired end, because deception does not allow them to attain to the knowledge of the great extent of their evil. Likewise those who really have attained to a state of grace are very much troubled by deception in the salvation of forgiveness of sins, in the possession of which they have come by sincerity of heart. What exposes them particularly to this temptation, is their stern view of sin and its condemnation by God and the consciousness of the grace received from God and their condition. Nature struggles violently against the great humiliation which accompanies to them the knowledge and confession of their sins. Therefore it is necessary to take deeply to heart these words: Well for those whose sins are taken away, etc, which David utters from his own painful experience of the misery, which accompanies the sins which are not forgiven on account of deception of heart.”

3. The only way to gain true forgiveness of sins, and the sure way, is therefore, the thorough knowledge and penitent confession of sin; for this leads first to seek and then to find the grace of God. “Since I would not confess that I was nothing but a sinner, my conscience had no rest, so that I must confess and trust alone in the goodness of God.” (Luther, marginal note).—“This must, however, take place with true sincerity of heart, and indeed in all things, that we are altogether guilty before God, that we must stop our mouths and charge ourselves as great sinners before God, in accordance with all the commandments of God, that we are ruined altogether, through and through and in and out.” (Bogatzki). Such a feeling of true contrition and entire condemnation before God in a penitent sinner is very different from the anxiety of soul in a despairing Prayer of Manasseh, as Cain and Judas, where the confession of sin is entirely separated from faith in the possibility of forgiveness, and which, moreover, has not the character of a penitent confession of sin flowing forth from an awakened heart, but more that of an admission forced by circumstances and anguish. “Let us make it very clear, that faith is a necessary part of true and genuine penitence, that without some remnant of trust and faith in God the penitent sinner could never approach God in prayer; then will we see that there is still another kind of impenitence (namely rudeness and dullness of conscience), where not so much the bites of conscience as faith is lacking, where the terrified conscience feels the guilt very well, and even on this account, because it is so deeply felt, fears to make confession of it before God” (Tholuck). Sometimes there is a long interval before the internal conflict is ended and the interchange ceases of those conditions of soul in which accusations and excuses struggle with one another ( Romans 1:15). But God Himself comes to the help of the struggling soul by at once awarding forgiveness, by His grace, to the sincere confession of sin; that Isaiah, adjudging it and imparting it. Absolution follows confession. But where there is forgiveness of sins there is likewise life and blessedness.

4. The personal experience of these states of the soul impels first to an impressive description of them, and then has in itself already not only an interesting, touching and edifying, but even a typical character. Moreover, if the subject of these experiences regards himself on the one side as a member of the congregation, on the other side as a servant and instrument of God, this description will be enlarged in part to a representation of the general and similar condition of all who are similarly disposed, partly will pass over into a direct claim upon his companions, as well in admonition and warning as in consolation and encouragement, yes, will change into a punitive and threatening address to stiff-necked and stubborn sinners. Hengst. very properly remarks, that it must have been infinitely more difficult under the Old Covenant to elevate oneself to the confidence of forgiveness than under the New Covenant, where we behold the mercy of God in Christ and the ground of our justification in His merits. He draws this earnest conclusion from the above: “If we delay to take our refuge in the pardoning grace of God, our guilt is far greater than that of David.”

5. Since God’s infallible punishment follows upon unforgiven sins, which like a flood will break irresistibly upon the sinner, they must seek the forgiveness of sins at the right time, that Isaiah, whilst grace is to be found. And since the pains which are prepared for the ungodly are great and numerous, and man as such is not an irrational and senseless beast, it is as foolish as it is ruinous, and as unworthy as it is unwise, to seek the gracious hand of God only after the arm of the Lord has laid hold upon us in punishment. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Manasseh are historical examples, how God compels and subdues those who will not hearken to His word. It is better to follow willingly than by compulsion.

6. He who uses sincerely the time appointed for penitence, seeks and finds the forgiveness of sins in the way pointed out to him by God, and as a man now justified puts his trust immovably and truly upon God, will not only find one deliverance, but will remain preserved in the future likewise, surrounded and protected by grace, and will make his joyful thanks to be heard, sounding forth and reëchoing without cessation in the shouts of a company surrounding him and praising God. “The joyful exclamation of Psalm 32:1 is only a feeble beginning of the song which resounds after the preservation from the last anxiety. We can see, finally, how the selah, strikingly placed thrice, Psalm 32:4-5; Psalm 32:7, divides exactly the three stages of anxiety, before the wrath of God, the confession unto forgiveness, the joy in complete deliverance” (Stier). There is opened for those who are justified by grace an unlimited prospect of an abiding salvation and an eternal joy.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

How God awakens the slumbering conscience, comforts it when terrified, blesses it when calmed. —The threefold confession of the pious: 1) that he is punishable for his sins and liable to the Divine judgment; 2) that he has obtained forgiveness of sins through the grace of God; 3) that he is to thank God forever for this.—The forgiveness of sins: 1) who need it? 2) who imparts it? 3) who receive it?—The wretchedness of those who conceal their sins; the blessedness of those who confess them.—Deception and sincerity of heart: 1) their characteristics, 2) their consequences.—As we have appropriated our sins, in confessing them as our own, so we must likewise appropriate grace, that we may thereby be justified and blessed.—How necessary and salutary it is to confess our sins, 1) sincerely, 2) at the right time, 3) in trust in God’s mercy.—The salutary comparison of our spiritual experience in the state of forgiveness with those which we previously experienced under the pressure of sin.—It is well for those who do not deceive themselves, 1) with respect to their guilt, 2) with respect to their forgiveness.

Starke: Instruction respecting the justification of a poor sinner: 1) the advantageous condition of justification; 2) the way in which it is attained; 3) the necessary conduct afterwards.—There is no greater treasure than forgiveness of sins; for where there is no sin there is no wrath of God, no curse of the law, the devil cannot injure, death cannot strangle, hell cannot swallow up.—Our righteousness is not that we have no sins, or have sufficient good works, but that God forgives our sins ( Isaiah 44:22).—God alone makes the righteous blessed in heaven, and penitence alone makes the sinner blessed on earth.—All the pious know from their own experience that it is not so easy to suppress the wickedness of the heart; hence their daily crying and murmuring against sin.—Sin is like a violent fever; as long as its heat remains within it consumes the bowels; but when it breaks out upon the lips, it is a sure sign of health.—Do not postpone your penitence, but take heed of the right time; for the time of grace is not in the power of any Prayer of Manasseh, the enemy is not idle, death does not tarry.—Peace with God causes a pious man in all his adversities to be comforted and joyous.—The sincere in heart can never lack reason and impulse to glorify and praise God.—Lange: Although man cannot by his own will make himself fit for the kingdom of God, yet he should not misuse prevenient grace by resisting it.—It is a well-deserved punishment to be chastised by anxiety of conscience; it is a good thing when it leads to penitent knowledge, consequently likewise to the forgiveness of sins.

Osiander: There is no more certain help and no stronger protection than to have a gracious God.—Selnekker: Silence injures the soul and has no consolation.—An evil conscience, which feels its sins and the wrath of God, is a pain of all pains.—The true joy of the godly is the Lord Himself.—Menzel: To be holy and pray for forgiveness of sins appears to be almost absurd, yet we must learn properly to understand it.—Christians should be instructed by the word of God: 1) to know themselves, 2) to believe in Christ, 3) to lead a godly life.—Frisch: Of the blessedness of a justified sinner: 1) In what it consists; 2) whence it arises; 3) to whom it properly belongs; 4) what particularly are its consequences.—With earthly judges it is: repent and be hanged. But it is very different with God’s judgment.—He who would be saved, must betake himself to the order of salvation.—Francke: He who imagines that he has faith and yet has not tasted of any true penitence of heart, has no real faith, but is deceived. But where there is no faith, there is likewise no forgiveness of sins.—Umbreit: The impenitent heart of the sinner must be broken, the deceit with which he conceals his transgressions from God and seeks to palliate and excuse to himself by lying thoughts, must depart from his spirit ere he can be entirely sure of forgiveness of sins in his own soul.—Diedrich: Not to be willing to trust in the Lord God, since He has promised complete forgiveness, is the worst kind of ungodliness; but to confess all to Him in confidence is well-pleasing to Him.—Taube: Our God is much more inclined to forgive us our sins, than we are inclined to confess them and pray for His grace.

[Matth. Henry: The forgiveness of sin is that article of the covenant which is the reason and ground of all the rest.—Some inward trouble is required in repentance, but there is much worse in impenitency.—We must confess sin with shame and holy blushing, with fear and holy trembling.—You may as soon find a living man without breath, as a living Christian without prayer.—It is our honor and happiness that we have understanding, that we are capable of being governed by reason, and of reasoning with ourselves. Let us, therefore, use the faculties we have and act rationally.—Where there is renewing grace, there is no need of the bit and bridle of restraining grace.—Barnes: The pardoned man has nothing to fear, though flood or fire should sweep over the world.—The feeling that we are pardoned fills the universe with melody, and makes the heaven and the earth seem to us to be glad. The Christian is a happy man; and he himself being happy all around him sympathizes with him in his joy.—Wordsworth: God is deaf to the howlings of the impenitent, but the least whisper, and even the unexpressed aspiration of the contrite heart, are a roaring to Him.—God covereth the sin of him who doth not cover his own sin.—The effect of God’s eye on the tender heart, is expressed in the touching words of the Evangelist, “The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord; and Peter went out and wept bitterly” ( Luke 22:61-62). St. Peter’s eyes streamed with tears, responsive to the piercing glance of the Divine eye of Christ.—Spurgeon: What a killing thing is sin! It is a pestilent disease! A fire in the bones! While we smother our sin it rages within, and like a gathering wound swells horribly and torments terribly.—Alas for a poor soul when it has learned its sin but forgets its Saviour, it goes hard with it indeed.—When the soul determines to lay low and plead guilty, absolution is near at hand.—O, dear reader, slight not the accepted time, waste not the day of salvation.—We ought to be as a feather in the wind, wafted readily in the breath of the Holy Spirit; but alas! we lie like motionless logs, and stir not with heaven itself in view. Those cutting bits of affliction show how hard mouthed we are, those bridles of infirmity manifest our headstrong and wilful manners.—Reader, what a delightful Psalm! Have you, in perusing it, been able to claim a lot in the goodly land? If Song of Solomon, publish to others the way of salvation.—C. A. B.]

Footnotes:

FN#3 - Ewald: “We must in any case suppose that the poet does not speak during the change itself, but some time afterwards, after having gained complete internal rest and cheerfulness, looking over all that had transpired and the entire Divine ordinances of grace. With this song he concludes the entire tragedy through which his soul has passed. In this respect the Psalm is particularly distinguished from Psalm 51which was spoken during the change, before he was entirely calmed.” Delitzsch: “David was for an entire year after his sin of adultery as one damned in hell. In this hell Psalm 51was composed, Psalm 32however after his deliverance, the former in the midst of his penitential struggle, the latter after having gained internal peace.”—C. A. B.]

FN#4 - Perowne translates similarly to Alexander: “I cannot see why it may not be designedly employed not to express the past action, but the past resolve, the sentence being somewhat elliptical: ‘(Then I thought, then I resolved) I would acknowledge.’ ”—C. A. B.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 32:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-32.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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