Psalm 69 Study Notes
Ps 69 title On The Lilies, see note at Ps 45 title.
69:1-2 The imagery of being trapped in a well and sinking in mud was a common way to describe life-threatening danger (see note at 40:2). A flood is also used to represent disaster (see notes at 18:4-5; 32:6-7).
69:3 Physical exhaustion and suffering are often the result of psychological pain (see note at 6:2-3).
69:4 The righteous being outnumbered by the wicked seems to run counter to the plan of God (see note at 3:1-2). This verse is applied to Jesus and quoted in Jn 15:25.
69:5 This amounts to a confession of sin so that there is no hypocrisy (nothing hidden) that becomes a barrier in the psalmist’s relationship with God (17:1; 26:1; see note at 66:18-20).
69:6-7 Disgraced and humiliated because of me refers not to the psalmist’s sins, which were “not hidden” (v. 5), but to his shame. The point is that others might lose their faith in the Lord if the suffering of this psalmist is not relieved. This is the converse of the principle that a person’s rescue by the Lord leads to the faith of others being strengthened (see notes at 22:22-24; 30:4-5).
69:8 Stranger refers to an outsider (see note at 54:2-3). Alienation by friends and family members was a common experience of those who were suffering (see note at 31:11-12).
69:9 It is unclear how the psalmist’s zeal for God’s house (the sanctuary or temple) was expressed. Some suggest it refers to the rebuilding of the temple in the postexilic period, but this is not clear. It probably refers to his intense desire to be in the Lord’s presence, especially in the context of worship (27:4; 63:1-2; see notes at 42:1-2,4). The insults that were intended for the Lord had fallen on the psalmist because of his close connection to God. He was identified with the Lord, and therefore those who were against the Lord were also against him. This is similar to the fact that God’s enemies and those of his people are the same (139:21). In the NT, both halves of this verse are applied to Jesus and his humiliation (Jn 2:17; Rm 15:3).
69:10-12 On insults and joke (Hb mashal), see note at 44:13-16. On songs, see Jb 30:9 and Lm 3:13-14.
69:13 But as for me contrasts those who insult and make up songs about the psalmist with the psalmist’s own humble prayers to God.
69:14-15 On the imagery in these verses, see note at vv. 1-2. The deep and the Pit are parallel and represent death, which is personified as something that swallows its victims (see note at 28:1).
69:16 The psalmist knows he can count on God being consistent in his faithful love and abundant compassion.
69:17-18 For God to hide his face implies rejection (see notes at 10:1-2; 13:1-2).
69:19-20 The mention of comforters here is similar to Job’s situation where his friends were unsympathetic (Jb 16:2).
69:21 Gall (essentially poison) and vinegar were by no means suitable for quenching thirst. These terms are used figuratively here, but in Jesus’s suffering they were literal (Mt 27:34,48; Jn 19:28-29).
69:22 The table set before them may refer to sacrificial meals rather than ordinary feasts. If that is the case, eating in the Lord’s presence would be a “crime” (v. 27) and an affront to him and a practice worthy of his wrath (vv. 23-25).
69:23-25 These requests are imprecations, calling down God’s judgment on one’s enemies (see note at 109:1-31). The request that their tents be made empty is a request that the enemies be annihilated.
69:26 The wicked were not willing to let the Lord’s discipline of the psalmist stand as correct and complete, but had added further insult and injury to it.
69:27 Crime implies liability for punishment (see note at 32:5). The psalmist’s enemies were deserving of God’s punishment.
69:28 The book of life should be distinguished from the book of remembrance with the prayers of those who suffer (see note at 56:8-9) and the book with a list of everyone’s deeds (see note at 40:6-8). It is probably the book where the names of the righteous are listed (Ex 32:32; Dn 12:1; Rv 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27).
69:29-30 This was most likely a vow made during petition that was fulfilled by a thank offering (see notes at 22:25-26; 50:14-15).
69:31 God is more pleased with loving obedience than with sacrifice (see notes at 40:6-8; 50:7-13). The horns indicate a bull in its prime, and the cloven hooves (Hb prs) designate a ceremonially acceptable animal.
69:32-33 On humble and needy, see notes at 34:6; 35:9-10.
69:34-35 Creation is personified as a witness of God’s workings with his people (see notes at 19:1; 50:4). Here it voices its praise of God’s saving work among them.