Verse 5. O God, thou knowest my foolishness. David might well say this, but not David's Lord; unless it be understood as an appeal to God as to his freedom from the folly which men imputed to him when they said he was mad. That which was foolishness to men was superlative wisdom before God. How often might we use these words in their natural sense, and if we were not such fools as to be blind to our own folly, this confession would be frequently on our lips. When we feel that we have been foolish we are not, therefore, to cease from prayer, but rather to be more eager and fervent in it. Fools had good need consult with the infinitely wise.
And my sins are not hid from thee. They cannot be hid with any fig leaves of mine; only the covering which thou wilt bring me can conceal their nakedness and mine. It ought to render confession easy, when we are assured that all is known already. That prayer which has no confession in it may please a Pharisee's pride, but will never bring down justification. They who have never seen their sins in the light of God's omniscience are quite unable to appeal to that omniscience in proof of their piety. He who can say,
Thou knowest my foolishness, is the only man who can add, "But thou knowest that I love thee."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Thou knowest. The knowledge of God is of a double use to pious men. The first is, as we observe in this place, to console the innocent: the second is, to make them circumspect, since all their thoughts, and words, and deeds are under the very eye of God. Musculus.
Verse 5. Thou knowest my offences, etc., that is to say, that I am not an offender. This verse is not a confession of sin, but a protestation of innocence, The writer maintains that he is a sufferer, not for his sins, but for his piety. See Psalms 69:7 , etc. George R. Noyes, in "A New Translation of the Book of Psalms, with Notes," etc. 1846.
Verse 5. My sins are not hid from thee. The sins of those for whom Christ died, by being imputed to him, no doubt became his in the eyes of the law, in such a sense as to make him answerable for them. But the Scriptures, be it observed, while they speak of him as "wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities," and as "bearing our sins in his own body on the tree," as if afraid to use any forms of expression which would even seem to derogate from his immaculate purity, never speak of the sins of those for whom he died as his own sins. James Anderson's Note to Calvin in loc.
Verse 5. My sins are not hid. Not as the first Adam, do I, the second Adam, hide myself or my sins, especially in thy sight, O God; but lifted up upon the cross I suffered without the gate for sins in such a way, that I desire that my sins should be conspicuous to every creature in heaven, earth, and hell -- my sins which, as they refer to my person, are marked with no taint, and, as they pertain to my people believing in me, are blotted out by my blood. Gerhohus.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. Our foolishness. Wherein it appears generally, how it may display itself in individuals, what it occasions, and what are the divine provisions to meet it.
- God's knowledge of sin is an inducement to repent.
- Because it is foolish to endeavour to hide any sin from him.
- Because it is impossible to confess all our sin to him.
- It is an encouragement to hope for pardon.
- Because, in the full knowledge of sin, he has declared himself to be merciful and ready to forgive.
- Because he has made provision for pardon, not according to our knowledge of sin, but his own.