Psalms 40

Listen to Psalms 40
1 I 1waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and 2heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from 3the pit of destruction, out of 4the miry bog, and 5set my feet upon a rock, 6making my steps secure.
3 He put 7a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will 8see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man who 9makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who 10go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your 11wondrous deeds and your 12thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are 13more than can be told.
6 14In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open 15ear.[a] Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written 16of me:
8 17I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is 18within my heart."
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance[b] in 19the great congregation; behold, I have not 20restrained my lips, 21as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your 22steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
12 For evils have 23encompassed me beyond number; my 24iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot 25see; they are 26more than the hairs of my head; my heart 27fails me.
13 28Be pleased, O LORD, to 29deliver me! O LORD, 30make haste to help me!
14 31Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be 32turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who 33say to me, "Aha, Aha!"
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation 34say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
17 As for me, I am 35poor and needy, but 36the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

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Psalms 40 Commentary

Chapter 40

Confidence for deliverance. (1-5) Christ's work of redemption. (6-10) Prayer for mercy and grace. (11-17)

Verses 1-5 Doubts and fears about the eternal state, are a horrible pit and miry clay, and have been so to many a dear child of God. There is power enough in God to help the weakest, and grace enough to help the unworthiest of all that trust in him. The psalmist waited patiently; he continued believing, hoping, and praying. This is applicable to Christ. His agony, in the garden and on the cross, was a horrible pit and miry clay. But those that wait patiently for God do not wait in vain. Those that have been under religious melancholy, and by the grace of God have been relieved, may apply ver. Verse 2 very feelingly to themselves; they are brought up out of a horrible pit. Christ is the Rock on which a poor soul can alone stand fast. Where God has given stedfast hope, he expects there should be a steady, regular walk and conduct. God filled the psalmist with joy, as well as peace in believing. Multitudes, by faith beholding the sufferings and glory of Christ, have learned to fear the justice and trust in the mercy of God through Him. Many are the benefits with which we are daily loaded, both by the providence and by the grace of God.

Verses 6-10 The psalmist foretells that work of wonder, redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Substance must come, which is Christ, who must bring that glory to God, and that grace to man, which it was impossible the sacrifices should ever do. Observe the setting apart of our Lord Jesus to the work and office of Mediator. In the volume, or roll, of the book it was written of him. In the close rolls of the Divine decrees and counsel, the covenant of redemption was recorded. Also, in all the volumes of the Old Testament something was written of him, ( John 19:28 ) . Now the purchase of our salvation is made, the proclamation is sent forth, calling us to come and accept it. It was preached freely and openly. Whoever undertook to preach the gospel of Christ, would be under great temptation to conceal it; but Christ, and those he calls to that work, are carried on in it. May we believe his testimony, trust his promise, and submit to his authority.

Verses 11-17 The best saints see themselves undone, unless continually preserved by the grace of God. But see the frightful view the psalmist had of sin. This made the discovery of a Redeemer so welcome. In all his reflections upon each step of his life, he discovered something amiss. The sight and sense of our sins in their own colours, must distract us, if we have not at the same time some sight of a Saviour. If Christ has triumphed over our spiritual enemies, then we, through him, shall be more than conquerors. This may encourage all that seek God and love his salvation, to rejoice in him, and to praise him. No griefs nor poverty can render those miserable who fear the Lord. Their God, and all that he has or does, is the ground of their joy. The prayer of faith can unlock his fulness, which is adapted to all their wants. The promises are sure, the moment of fulfilment hastens forward. He who once came in great humility, shall come again in glorious majesty.

Cross References 36

  • 1. Psalms 27:14; Psalms 37:7
  • 2. Psalms 39:12
  • 3. [Jeremiah 38:6]
  • 4. Psalms 69:2, 14
  • 5. Psalms 27:5
  • 6. Psalms 37:23
  • 7. See Psalms 33:3
  • 8. Psalms 52:6; Psalms 64:8, 9; Deuteronomy 13:11
  • 9. See Psalms 2:12
  • 10. Psalms 101:3; Psalms 125:5; Leviticus 19:4; Deuteronomy 29:18; Job 23:11; Hosea 3:1
  • 11. Psalms 9:1; Exodus 15:11
  • 12. Psalms 92:5; Psalms 139:17; Isaiah 55:8
  • 13. Psalms 71:15; Psalms 139:18
  • 14. Psalms 51:16; 1 Samuel 15:22; Cited Hebrews 10:5-7; See Proverbs 21:3
  • 15. See Job 33:16
  • 16. Luke 24:44
  • 17. Ps. 119:16, 24, 35, 92; [John 4:34]
  • 18. See Psalms 37:31
  • 19. See Psalms 22:25
  • 20. Psalms 119:13; [Acts 20:20, 27]
  • 21. Joshua 22:22
  • 22. Psalms 57:3; Psalms 61:7; Proverbs 20:28; See Psalms 36:5
  • 23. Psalms 116:3
  • 24. Psalms 38:4
  • 25. [Psalms 38:10]
  • 26. Psalms 69:4
  • 27. Psalms 73:26
  • 28. For ver. 13-17, see Psalms 70:1-5
  • 29. Psalms 22:20
  • 30. Psalms 22:19; Psalms 38:22; Psalms 71:12; Psalms 141:1
  • 31. Psalms 35:4, 26; Psalms 71:13
  • 32. Psalms 6:10
  • 33. Psalms 35:21, 25; Psalms 70:3
  • 34. Psalms 35:27
  • 35. Psalms 86:1; Psalms 109:22
  • 36. [1 Peter 5:7]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Hebrew ears you have dug for me
  • [b]. Hebrew righteousness; also verse 10

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, a Psalm of David. Jarchi interprets this psalm of the Israelites, and of their deliverance and song at the Red sea. The title of it, in the Syriac version, is, "A psalm of David according to the letter, when Shemaiah brought the names of those who minister in the house of the Lord;" see 1 Chronicles 24:6; according to Kimchi, the subject of this psalm is the same with that of the two preceding; and R. Obadiah thinks it was composed by David, when he was recovered of a leprosy; but though it might be written by David, it was not written concerning himself, or on his own account, but of another. The title of this psalm is somewhat different from others in the order of the words; whereas it is usually put "a psalm of," or "for David"; here it is, "for David, a psalm"; and may be rendered, as Ainsworth observes, "a psalm concerning David"; not literally, but typically understood; not concerning David himself, but concerning his antitype and son, who is called by his name, Ezekiel 37:24; and that it is to be interpreted of him is evident from the application of Psalm 39:6, unto him by the apostle in Hebrews 10:5; and the whole of it is applicable to him; some apply it to Jeremiah in the dungeon, and others to Daniel in the den, as Theodoret observes.

Psalms 40 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.