Psalm 25 Study Notes


25:1-3 Disgraced (Hb bosh) is used three times in vv. 2-3. The same Hebrew verb occurs in v. 20 as “be put to shame.” The belief of the psalmist was that the Lord would not allow his people to be put to shame because of their faithfulness to him and the fact that his reputation was at stake (69:6; 119:31).

25:4-5 Guide and teach are essentially synonymous in this context, and they refer to the Lord’s directing those who are faithful to him. His truth is the guide for their lives (43:3). The paths are similar to “ways” in v. 10 and are connected not only to God’s truth but also to his faithful love.

25:6-7 The juxtaposition of remember . . . do not remember, and remember in these verses is significant. The first demonstrates that the Lord’s consciousness of his own attributes is the motivation for him to act beneficently toward his people. In contrast to this, the sins of the psalmist must not be remembered, that is, they must be forgiven (vv. 11,18). Only after this has taken place could the Lord remember (act on behalf of) the psalmist (74:2; 106:4; 112:6).

25:8-10 Way and ways are probably not the way of life or conduct of God’s people in this instance, as these terms are commonly used elsewhere (143:8; Dt 5:33; also note this use in Ps 25:12). They are more likely related to vv. 4-5, and they represent the Lord’s instruction of his people in the truth (119:15). In this sense the Lord’s “ways” are equivalent to his covenant and decrees.

25:11 As in the case of v. 6, it is the Lord’s reputation (his name) that is at stake in his forgiveness of the sins of the psalmist. God’s reputation is closely connected with his actions toward his people (Ezk 36:22).

25:12 God is the subject of He will show him the way he should choose.

25:13 The promise of inheriting the land is closely tied with those who are faithful to God. The promise of the land was never a “blank check” for Israel, but it could be realized only when the people were faithful (Dt 4:1,28-30).

25:14 The Hebrew word sod expresses the idea of “confidential,” referring either to the material that is secret or to a “circle of confidants.” Given the parallel of his covenant, it seems better to understand this as the content of God’s secret counsel. God has the right to conceal what he wants (Pr 25:2), but he can also reveal his secret counsel to anyone he chooses. In this case it is revealed to those who fear him (trust in him and are faithful to him).

25:15 Eyes are often used in the context of faith in the sense that a person “looks to” the Lord as his source of help (123:2; 141:8).

25:16 A prayer for God to turn (cp. v. 1) means to look favorably upon one, the opposite of hiding his face (Allen P. Ross).

25:17-19 The Hebrew text of v. 17 is difficult, reading literally “the distresses of my heart, they make wide.” Although the form for “make wide” usually refers to relief from distress (4:1; 18:36), it can also express the meaning of “enlarge,” which would be a figurative expression for increase. This idea is related to numerous enemies who surrounded the psalmist (v. 19).

25:20 Put to shame is similar to “disgrace” (see note at vv. 1-3).

25:21 Integrity and what is right are personified in a similar way as the Lord’s attributes were personified in 23:6. These characteristics will protect those who remain in God’s will (37:37).