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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 25



Verse 1

1. Unto thee, O Lord—The address is emphatic. To thee only, exclusive of all trust in false gods, or in men.

Lift up my soul—A Hebraism for, I direct all my desire to thee.

Verse 2

2. My God—The pronoun indicates a still nearer approachthe “Abba, Father,” of the Old Testament. Romans 8:15.

Ashamed—The word radically signifies to be pale, to change colour, and denotes that state of mind which arises from disappointment, the sudden cutting off of hope. It is opposed to the word triumph, exult, in next line. In Psalms 25:3 the psalmist shows that this prayer is not selfish, but grounded in righteousness. Shame and pale-facedness belong to the wicked; exultation and leaping for joy to the righteous.

Verse 3

3. Without cause—Spontaneously, as if they delighted in it.

Verse 4

4. Show me thy ways—Thy methods of grace and judgment with man, thy plan of government and salvation. Knowing these, he desired to adjust himself to them, and act in harmony with God.

Verse 5

5. Lead… in thy truth— “Truth,” here, may be taken either in the sense of doctrine or of faithfulness. The former gives the sense of Psalms 25:4, the latter the experience of divine faithfulness in keeping covenant and promise, and is the more probable sense, according to the connexion.

Verse 6

6. Tender mercies—Literally, bowels, as the supposed seat of the tender emotions of pity and compassion. As this is a psychological term, here occurring for the first time in the psalms, it is proper to note that the passions and feelings of men were named after those internal parts of the human body where the particular phenomena of sensations occasioned by them manifested themselves, and modern physiological science confirms the wonderful agreement of this psychical terminology with the entire ganglionic system. No metaphysical philosophy can avoid this figurative use of language. See on Psalms 16:7.

Ever of old—Literally, from everlasting. The argument is, because the tender mercies of God were from old, or from everlasting, therefore it is in harmony with his settled order of government to show compassion in this case. Hence the phrase, “for thy goodness’ sake,” Psalms 25:7

Verse 7

7. Sins of my youth—This cannot apply to the early life of David, which was proverbial for its innocence and piety. The psalmist speaks for the nation here. See the introduction. But a law of nature and of providence is here disclosed: the sins of early life will reach over to old age, for corrective chastisement, and, if not forgiven, will reappear in the final judgment.

Verse 9

9. The meek—Or, humble. The idea is, that of a teachable, submissive spirit. As God will “teach sinners in the way,” (Psalms 25:8,) it would seem to be spoken for their encouragement.

Verse 10

10. Paths of the Lord—His methods or dispensations.

Mercy and truth—Thus uniting tenderness with firmness, compassion with immutability, answering to “grace and truth:” John 1:17. “Grace is the alpha and truth the omega.”Delitzsch.

Keep his covenant—There is here an undertone of warning to such as break his covenant.

Verse 11

11. For thy name’s sake—The name of Jehovah is identical with himself. For thy sake, is a plea for free grace alone, in honour of the righteousness of God.

Verse 12

12. From the greatness of his sin he turns to the blessedness of those who fear God.

What man—Whosoever, whatsoever man. God makes no personal distinctions.

The way he shall choose—That is, the way God shall choose, as Psalms 25:8

Verse 13

13. His soul shall dwell at ease—Literally, his soul shall abide, or dwell, in goodness, or blessedness. If this does not directly relate to immortal blessedness, as many Jewish and Christian interpreters have supposed, it certainly implies it, for, by the connexion and subject, the goodness or blessedness, which is the reward of “fearing God,” must be as enduring as that “fear;” and goodness, (tobh,) in such connexions as in the text, is the standing word for that blessedness which is the end and design of man’s being. Besides, in the parallelism, “abiding in blessedness” and “inheriting the earth” are in contrast, both as to state and time; while the righteous are in blessedness, their seed shall inherit the earth.

Verse 14

14. Secret of the Lord—The secret counsel of the Lord. See Genesis 18:17-19; and compare John 15:15.

Show them his covenant—Cause them to understand the wisdom, grace, and excellence of his plan of redemption; the substance of his covenant with men.

Verses 15-21

15-21. The psalmist returns to agonizing prayer, mingled with confession of sin, a special reference to the cruel hatred and violence of his enemies, the depth of his distress, and his sole reliance on God that his hope shall not be disappointed nor his integrity be unavailing for his righteous judgment. Psalms 25:22 appears as if it might have been added by a later hand. It sounds like an echo from the captivity, and is a summing up of the petitions of the psalm. Psalms 130:8.


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 25:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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