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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 69



Verses 1-36

Psalm 69:1-36.

V:1-3. It is probable that David, in great distress during Absalom"s rebellion, composed this psalm with reference to his own case : but the Holy Spirit evidently spoke of " the sufferings of Christ, and the glory " that should follow." (Note, 1 Peter 1:10-12.) Indeed it is so manifest a prophecy of Christ, that we should consider him as the Speaker in most parts of it. In these verses he compares himself to a man sinking in the mire, while the floods of waters go over his head. (Marg. Ref.

Notes, 14 , 15. Psalm 40:15. Psalm 42:6-8; Psalm 88:6-9.) His sufferings from the hands of wicked men, from the powers of hell beneath, and from the justice of the Father, while external torment united with internal agony to enhance his distress, were thus represented with peculiar propriety. He continued to cry for help, till his throat was parched with thirst, and his eyes grew dim and failed in the agonies of death; while in perfect faith and patience, but in the extremity of conflict, lie waited for his God to deliver him.

(Notes, Matthew 26:36-46; Matthew 27:46-50. John 19:28-30. Galatians 3:10-14. Hebrews 5:7-10.) The floods. (2) " the water-flood" (15). (Note, Judges 12:1-6.)

V:4. The multitudes who hated the Lord Jesus without a cause; nay, though his miracles of unmingled mercy merited their most grateful love; and who demanded his crucifixion, could not be numbered. The rulers of the Jews and of the Romans , who had all the power in their hands, combined to destroy him, being his enemies wrong- fully. Then did he make restitution for our robbery, and satisfaction for our crimes, and restored that honour to the divine law which he had not taken away. (Notes, Psalm 7:3-5. Psalm 25:2-3. Matthew 27:19-25. John 15:22-25. David indeed was hated wrongfully, and in many things receded from his right : but the whole, and especially the concluding words, were far more emphatically verified in Christ.

(Notes, Isaiah 53: 4-7. Zechariah 13:7. 1 Peter 2:18-25.)

V:5. O God, the righteous Judges , I make my appeal " to thee, who knowest the very worst of me; and protest " that, whatever my mistakes or my wilful sins have been, " which cannot escape thy sight, I never did them any in" jury, nor gave them cause to persecute me." Bp. Patrick.

The words, as spoken by David, have no difficulty : yet they may be considered as an appeal to the heart-searching God for his general integrity, as well as a confession of folly and sin. in many instances. If applied to the Lord Jesus, as spoken by him, they must be interpreted of our folly and iniquity being imputed to him; as the debt which he had not contracted, but was required to pay; the robbery which he had not committed, but was made answerable for. (Note, 4.) Thus many expositors understand the verse : though perhaps it should be explained as the language of the type, rather than of the Antitype.

V:6 , 7 The Psalmist fervently prayed, that his sufferings might not prove an occasion of sin or discouragement to his pious brethren; because he was persecuted and reproached, not for his crimes, but for his religion. Thus St. Paul earnestly desired that the Ephesians might not faint, because of his sufferings on their account. (Note, Ephesians 3:13.) But the case of our Lord"s disciples, of those who " trusted that it was he that should redeem " Israel," while they witnessed the contempt and cruelty which he endured, and the ignominious death which he submitted to, and while he lay in the grave, seems most emphatically described. He however foretold and promised them that their sorrow should be turned into joy. (Note, John 16:16-22.) This indeed will assuredly be the case at length with all his true disciples; because " he suffered " once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring

" us to God." (Notes, Psalm 32:6-7. Psalm 35:25-28. Isaiah 1:5-6; Isaiah 53:2-6. Hebrews 12:2-3. 1 Peter 3:17-18.)

V:8 , 9. The Lord Jesus " came to his own, but his " own received him not; " his countrymen called him " a " Samaritan who had a devil; " " neither did his brethren " believe in him," and the inhabitants of Nazareth, where he had been brought up, attempted to destroy him : because his zeal for the honour of the law, and the purity of the worship of God, which entirely occupied his soul, and raised him above all inferior considerations; and his plain reproofs of hypocrisy and iniquity, exasperated the mercenary and worthless teachers and rulers of the Jews, and set all orders of men against him. In calumniating him, they ascribed the miracles, which he wrought by the Spirit of God, to Beelzebub; and in many ways they reproached God, in reproaching his beloved Song of Solomon , who was " the ex" press Image of his person; " for " they both saw and " hated both him and his Father." As two apostles have quoted the ninth verse, with express application to Christ; we are warranted in explaining it as a direct prophecy of him, or even as his words. (Note, Psalm 89:50-51. John 2:14-17; John 7:3-10. Romans 15:1-3.) Yet the usage which David experienced from his son Absalom, his relations, his counsellors, and his subjects, chiefly because of his zeal for the honour of God and true religion, rendered him a striking type of Christ in this respect, and doubtless occasioned this complaint. (Note, Psalm 31:10-13; Psalm 88:6-9. Job 19:5-22. Jeremiah 15:15-18.)

V:10- 12. "The Lord of glory" voluntarily became a " man of sorrows." " In the likeness of sinful flesh," and as a poor Prayer of Manasseh , he appeared in the habit of humiliation, as if he had been a penitent in sackcloth. He wept, and fasted, and prayed; and he was despised and reproached for it. He was called " a Samaritan who had a devil," " a " Nazarene," and " this deceiver; " and he was made a byword and a proverb to the people. (Marg. Ref. b d.)

The chief priests and rulers, who sat as judges in the gate, with deliberate malice conspired his death : and the very drunkards profanely made songs of him, and diverted themselves amidst their intemperate revels, by reviling and ridiculing him. (Notes, Psalm 22:7-8. Psalm 35:15-16. Daniel 5:11 : Hosea 7:5-7. Matthew 27:27-31; Matthew 27:39-44.)

Something of this kind had befallen David; but Jesus was far more derided and abhorred. The Septuagint render the first clause in these verses, " I bowed down " my soul with fasting." The word chastened is not in the original, and seems not so well to suit the case, as afflicted, or humbled, would have done. (Note, Psalm 35:13-14. Psalm 109:22-24.)

V:13. An acceptable time."] Or, A time of good will, or special favour. " Knowing, that albeit I now suffer trouble; " yet thou hast a time wherein thou hast appointed my de" liverance." " I commend myself with the greatest earn" estness unto thee, O LORD who now that I am so disputable, wilt think it, I hope, the fittest time to be favourable to me." Bp. Patrick. When the edeemer was enduring his extremest sufferings, that he might glorify God and save the souls of his people, it was an acceptable time for his prayers in behalf of himself and them. Through him it is " an acceptable time " for our prayers, when his gospel is preached to us, and his Spirit is striving with us. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Is. Psalm 49:7-8. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2. Hebrews 5:7-10.)

The truth of thy salvation."] The faithful promises assuredly to be fulfilled to all, who embrace them in genuine faith, and plead them in prayer. (Note, John 1:17.)

V:14 , 15. The clause, " Let me be delivered from " them that hate me" (14), explains the meaning of the figurative language in these verses, and in the beginning of the Psalm. (Note, 1- 3.) They contain the prayer and expectation of the Redeemer in the depth of his humiliation, when his enemies and sufferings seemed about entirely to overwhelm him : but he knew that his soul would not be left in the place of separate spirits, nor his body in the grave to see corruption; but that his resurrection and exaltation would make way for him to accomplish his purposes of love. (Marg. Ref. Note, Psalm 16:8-11.)

V:16- 20. To understand these verses, and be suitably affected with them, it is peculiarly necessary to compare them with the history, given by the Evangelists, of our Lord"s agony in the garden, and his sufferings on the cross. In the garden, " his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even " unto death," and " being in an agony he prayed more " earnestly : " but so far from having any one to condole with him or comfort him, the apostles themselves " could " not watch with him one hour." Then, having been betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and forsaken by all, he was nailed to the cross, surrounded by his cruel enemies, who reproached and insulted him to the utmost; and in this extremity he exclaimed also, " My God, my God, why " hast thou forsaken me." He had not at this crisis the comfort of his Father"s manifested loving-kindness, which he knew to be good, yea better than life : but " he hid " his face from him." And while he suffered for sinners, that the " multitude of God"s mercies " might be shewn to them, he was excluded from mercy; men shewed him no mercy, and he was smitten with the sword of divine justice. But he prayed " with strong crying and tears;" and he was heard speedily, and rescued from his foes and from death. (Marg. Ref. Hebrews 5:7.)

V:21. The word, rendered "gall," signifies any thing either poisonous, or exceedingly bitter. (Note, Deuteronomy 29:18. Jeremiah 8:14-16. Acts 8:18-24; Acts 5:23.) The literal accomplishment of this verse, in the case of our Lord, is one instance out of many, of the particularity with which the circumstances of his passion were described, by " holy " men of God, who spake as they were moved by the Holy a Ghost." (Preface to Psalm 1:1-6 page, Note, Psalm 22:16-18.; But the vinegar and the gall were but a feeble emblem of that bitter cup which he exhausted, that we might drink

V:22- 28. Some commentators read this awful passage entirely in the future tense, as a prediction and not an imprecation : but most of the verbs are in the imperative; and the apostles quote from it as an imprecation. (Notes, Acts 1:20-22. Romans 11:7-10.) If we consider the whole as the language of Christ, denouncing the doom of his implacable enemies, and as recorded for a warning to others; no reasonable objection can be made to this interpretation : for in reading them, we only assent to the justice of the sentence. (Note, Deuteronomy 27:15.) As our example, Christ on the cross prayed for his crucifiers; and his prayer was answered in the conversion of numbers of them : but, being exalted upon his throne, he asks of the Father, and receives from him, authority to break in pieces with his iron rod all obstinate opposers, as well as to save all humble supplicants. (Note, Psalm 2:7-9.) The case of the Jewish nation in particular, is here prophetically described. Not only were their temporal advantages made an occasion of mischief to them : but, depending on those sacrifices and institutions which were originally appointed for the good of their souls, and ensnared in their own counsels, they persisted both in enmity to Christ, and in resistance to the Romans. Being shut up in Jerusalem, when they were assembled to eat the passover, " their table " became their snare : " infatuated beyond all example, and disunited among themselves, the horrors of intestine massacres weakened and terrified them : at length the Romans , the instruments of the Lord"s indignation, got possession of the city with most dreadful slaughter, destroyed the temple, (the palace here mentioned, 25 , marg.) and desolated their city and habitations, so that none of them were left to dwell there. The remnant of the nation were excluded the church, and left in judicial darkness to " add iniquity to iniquity," without obtaining an interest " in the righteousness of God." Thus they have been blotted out of the register, in which the people of God were enrolled, and were no longer " written among the " righteous : " and all this was laid on them for rejecting and crucifying the Messiah, with the most determined contempt and cruelty. The twenty-fifth verse is applied by St. Peter to the traitor Judas, " who was guide to them " that took Jesus; " and thus a proper representative of the apostate but hypocritical nation, which as with one voice demanded, even while celebrating the passover, the crucifixion of their Prince and Saviour. But, the original word rendered habitation, meaning a palace, the destruction of the temple, the pride of the nation, seems also predicted : and when our Lord said, " Your house is left unto " you desolate," he may be supposed to have referred to this passage. (Note, Matthew 23:37-39.) The twenty- second Psalm , after predicting the sufferings of Christ, closes with the triumphs of his gospel; (Notes, Psalm 22:19-31;) but this first denounces the ruin of his enemies. Some render the words, translated " Add iniquity unto " their iniquity; " " Add punishment to their iniquity : " and the marginal references will shew, that to be given up to wickedness is often the punishment, in awful justice, awarded to obstinate transgressors. (Notes, Psalm 5:10-11. Psalm 109:6-20.) " It were to be wished," says Bp. Home on the twenty-sixth verse, " that the sorrows of the penitent, " when wounded with a sense of sin, never subjected him " to the scorn and contempt of those who would be thought Christians."

V:29. Psalm 40:17. Note, Psalm 22:4-6, Psalm 5:6. Let thy salvation, &c.] Or, " Thy salvation, O God, shall set me up " on high." (Notes, Psalm 88:1-2. Psalm 91:14-16.) Thus the Saviour, in the depth of his passion and humiliation, anticipates his exaltation " far above all heavens, that he might " fill all things." (Notes, Ephesians 1:15-23. Philippians 2:9-11.)

V:30 ,31. Here, as in the twenty-second, and many " other Psalm , the scene changes from sorrow to joy; " from a state of suffering to one of triumph; from the " passion to the resurrection." Bp. Home. The praises of the great Redeemer and of his redeemed church; and indeed his whole work, with the eternal glory thence redounding to the God of salvation; are far more acceptable to him than the sacrifices of the law ever had been in themselves : but when the Jews rejected Christ and preferred their sacrifices, these, even though clean animals offered according to the law, became abominable; being a declaration of their unbelief, and their refusal to " submit to " the righteousness of God."

(Notes, Psalm 40:6-8. Isaiah 66:3-4. Hebrews 10:5-10; Hebrews 10:26-27.)

V:32. (Notes, Psalm 22:26-29.) The meek and humble, hearing of the Saviour"s sufferings and exaltation, rejoice; and the souls of all that seek the Lord, shall through his atonement be made partakers of life spiritual and eternal. In how many millions of instances has this already been fulfilled ! (Notes, 1 Chronicles 16:10-11. Isaiah 556-9.)

V:33. His prisoners.] Those who are bound in prison, as enslaved to sin and condemned for their crimes, when they are alarmed, and stirred up to seek deliverance, shall not be despised; but on the contrary, through the Redeemer"s intercession, shall be brought into " the glorious " liberty of the children of God." Some explain the words, of those who were cast into prison, by such as persecuted the preachers of the gospel and those who followed them; but the figurative meaning seems far more suitable to the general tenour of the Psalm , and indeed to that of the prophecies and promises of the scripture in every part of it.

(Notes, Psalm 102:13-22. Psalm 107:10-16. Isaiah 61:1-3. Zechariah 9:11-12. Luke 4:16-22. Acts 26:16-18.)

V:34. " The mercies of God in Christ are such, that " they cannot worthily be praised by any thing less, than " an universal chorus of the whole... creation." Bp. Home.

" Heaven and earth shall, &c." The future tense is used, and it is a prediction, rather than a pious wish. (Notes, 148: Luke 2:8-14. Revelation 5:11-14; Revelation 19:1-6.)

V:35 , 36. Zion seems to denote the church at large; the cities of Judah, the several divisions of the church throughout the world; evangelical blessings being predicted under allusions taken from the then existing state of things. (Notes, Isaiah 60:4-7; Isaiah 66:19-23. Ezekiel 40:2. Hebrews 12:18-21.) God will preserve his church, and every sound part of it, and all true Christians; continuing to them, and entailing on their posterity, the blessings of the new covnant. Yea, all that love God shall dwell for ever in Zion, in the church militant on earth, without being finally overcome by any enemy, and in the church triumphant in heaven. The future conversion and restoration of the Jews also were here foretold in connexion with the other blessings, which those events will introduce. (Notes, Psalm 22:30-31. Isaiah 53:9-12; Isaiah 65:8-10. Jeremiah 33:17-26. Romans 11:11-15.)



It behoves us carefully to examine, whether the things which pertain to the Lord Jesus form as important a part of our religion, as they do of the holy scriptures; and whether our judgment, experience, and affections are, as it were, imbued with them, as the word of God is in all its parts : that, while the prophecies, as compared with the accomplishment, confirm our belief that the Bible is a divine revelation; our hope may rest on the Foundation laid in it, and our conduct be influenced by the motives proposed in it. We cannot too often be called to contemplate the scene, here again presented to our minds. We should frequently consider the person of the Sufferer spoken of; and enquire wherefore, as well as what, he suffered : that beholding the Son of God incarnate, overwhelmed by his inexpressible sorrows, bereft of comfort, seeming in vain to cry for relief, conflicting with Satan"s horrid temptations, and even bearing the wrath of God for us; that viewing him hated without cause, and apparently left in the power of cruel enemies, treated as a stranger and an alien by his brethren and people; reproached, insulted, derided, condemned by the rulers, and made the sport of the soldiers and the vilest of the multitude; betrayed, denied, or forsaken by his disciples; nailed to the cross, and mocked, when athirst, with vinegar mingled with gall to drink : that meditating, I say, on these scenes, we may be led to deeper humiliation for sin, to a greater admiration of the justice and mercy of our God, a higher valuation of our immortal souls, a clearer conviction of our danger, and the vanity of every other dependence, except on his great atonement; to a fuller perception of our infinite obligations to our gracious Redeemer, and a more lively gratitude and love constraining us to live to his glory. Let us further learn hence, to expect the enmity of the many and the mighty, of our relatives, and of those whom we have most served. We may perhaps plead that they " hate us wrongfully and without cause : " but our foolishness and our sins are not hid from God; and alas ! they too often appear to Prayer of Manasseh , and give malice that occasion which it sought against us. We need not, however, be discouraged, when reproached and put to shame for the Lord"s sake; if our zeal for the truths, precepts, and worship of God, in some small measure resembling that of our Redeemer, should disgust and exasperate our neighbours, and make our former friends treat us as strangers; if those, whose words and works reproach the Lord, should despise and revile us for his sake; if even judges and rulers should speak against us; and " drunkards make songs of " us," and turn our godly sorrow, our tenderness of conscience, our deadness to the world, and even our prayers for them, into derision and mockery. Whatever deep waters of affliction or temptation we are sinking into; whatever floods of trouble, or of ungodly men, seem ready to overwhelm us; we should persevere in prayer, and in waiting on our God to save us; though we be weary, and as it were hoarse, with crying for help, and our eyes be ready to fail with looking for deliverance : and the more men despise and desert us, the more earnest should be our cries unto the Lord to help and comfort us. Such extremities will be found acceptable times of approach to God, if we plead with him the multitude of his mercies, and the truth of those promises, which secure the believer"s salvation : but we should in these emergencies remember others, who seek the Lord; and pray for them, that they may not be ashamed or discouraged, through our afflictions, or our misconduct. He who brought the Redeemer from the grave, and exalted him above all his enemies, will hear those who come in his name : he will deliver them out of temptation and affliction; and with his refreshing lovingkindness he will turn unto them and comfort them, and that speedily; and he will at length receive their souls, and raise their bodies from the grave, and thus rescue them from every enemy. Indeed reproach and contempt are hard to bear, and often fill our hearts with heaviness; and we may, at some times, look in vain for compassion or

comfort from our fellow-creatures. But the Redeemer exhausted that cup of wrath, which contained nothing but vinegar and gall; and he will infuse sweetness into all our sorrows. We need not therefore fear suffering with him, or for him, and should look to him, " lest we be weary and " faint in our minds."


In this our day especially " in this acceptable time," " while it is called to-day," we ought to fear coming short of the salvation set before us; and lest any of us should suffer, as the enemies of Christ, from his awful indignation. For many, besides the nation of the Jews, have had their table made their snare, and the things which should have been for their welfare, a trap to them; because they have opposed, or neglected his salvation : many are given up to judicial blindness, and to desperation : the hot displeasure of God pursues them from their habitation on earth; and, being " driven away in their wickedness," they " add iniquity to iniquity," and that for ever : for they are " blotted out of the book of the living, and are " not written among the righteous. " Let us then fear lest this should be our case, and be careful not to " persecute " those, whom God hath smitten; or to speak to the grief " of those, whom he hath wounded." Let us call upon the Lord without further delay, and persist in calling upon him, as on the " throne of grace," " waiting to be gracious : " and then, though we be not only poor and sorrowful, but guilty and defiled, " the salvation of God will " set us up on high." And not only the atonement of the Redeemer, but the praises of the redeemed, who " magnify the name of the LORD with Thanksgiving," are more pleasing to him " than bullocks with horns and hoofs."

The humble will perceive and rejoice in these encouraging truths; and the souls of those, who seek the Lord according to this blessed gospel, shall live for ever. Through our exalted Advocate, he will hear the prayers of those who have been the prisoners of Satan, when they long for liberty and salvation; and he will not despise the poorest or the most guilty, who come to " trust in him." " Let " then heaven and earth praise him, the seas and every " thing that moveth therein : " for God will protect and save his church, and enlarge her borders; that his people " may dwell there, and have it in possession." He will bless them and their children after them; " a seed shall " serve him " on earth, and his servants shall inherit his heavenly kingdom; and those who love his name, shall dwell before him for ever. " He that spared not his own " Song of Solomon , but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not " with him also freely give us all things ? "


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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 69:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.

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