Psalm 85:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people. Often and often had he done this, pausing to pardon even when his sword was bared to punish. Who is a pardoning God like thee, O Jehovah? Who is so slow to anger, so ready for forgive? Every believer in Jesus enjoys the blessing of pardoned sin, and he should regard this priceless boon as the pledge of all other needful mercies. He should plead it with God -- "Lord, hast thou pardoned me, and wilt thou let me perish for lack of grace, or fall into mine enemies' hands for want of help. Thou wilt not thus leave thy work unfinished."

Thou hast covered all their sin. All of it, every spot, and wrinkle, the veil of love has covered all. Sin has been divinely put out of sight. Hiding it beneath the propitiatory, covering it with the sea of the atonement, blotting it out, making it to cease to be, the Lord has put it so completely away that even his omniscient eye sees it no more. What a miracle is this! To cover up the sun would be easy work compared with the covering up of sin. Not without a covering atonement is sin removed, but by means of the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, it is most effectually put away by one act, for ever. What a covering does his blood afford!

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity. nfv tvn, nasatha avon, Thou hast borne, or carried away, the iniquity. An allusion to the ceremony of the scapegoat. Adam Clarke.

Verse 2. Thou hast covered all their sin. When God is said to cover sin, he does so, not as one would cover a sore with a plaster, thereby merely hiding it only; but he covers it with a plaster that effectually cures and removes it altogether. Bellarmine.

Verse 2. Selah. Rabbi Kimchi regards it as a sign to elevate the voice. The authors of the Septuagint translation appear to have regarded it as a musical or rythmical note. Herder regarded it as indicating a change of note; Mathewson as a musical note, equivalent, perhaps, to the word repeat. According to Luther and others, it means silence. Gesenius explains it to mean, "Let the instruments play and the singers stop." Wocher regards it as equivalent to sursum corda -- up, my soul! Sommer, after examining all the seventy four passages in which the word occurs, recognises in every case "an actual appeal or summons to Jehovah." They are calls for aid and prayers to be heard, expressed either with entire directness, or if not in the imperative, "Hear, Jehovah!" or Awake, Jehovah! and the like, still earnest addresses to God that he would remember and hear, &c. The word itself he regards as indicating a blast of the trumpets by the priests. Selah, itself, he thinks an abridged expression, used for Higgaion Selah -- Higgaion indicating the sound of the stringed instruments and Selah a vigorous blast of trumpets. From the "Bibliotheca Sacra," quoted by Plumer.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2.

  1. The subjects of forgiveness: Thy people.
    1. By choice.
    2. By redemption.
    3. By effectual calling.
    4. The time of forgiveness: Thou hast forgiven, etc.
    5. The method of forgiveness.
    6. Forgiven. Hebrew, borne, same word as in Leviticus 16:22 : "The goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities."
    7. Covered; as the mercy seat covered the law that had been broken.
    8. The extent of forgiveness: all their sin.