Psalms 32

Of David. A maskil.

1 [a]Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.[b]
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

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Psalms 32 Commentary

Chapter 32

The happiness of a pardoned sinner. (1,2) The misery that went before, and the comfort that followed the confession of sins. (3-7) Sinners instructed, believers encouraged. (8-11)

Verses 1-2 Sin is the cause of our misery; but the true believer's transgressions of the Divine law are all forgiven, being covered with the atonement. Christ bare his sins, therefore they are not imputed to him. The righteousness of Christ being reckoned to us, and we being made the righteousness of God in him, our iniquity is not imputed, God having laid upon him the iniquity of us all, and made him a sin-offering for us. Not to impute sin, is God's act, for he is the Judge. It is God that justifies. Notice the character of him whose sins are pardoned; he is sincere, and seeks sanctification by the power of the Holy Ghost. He does not profess to repent, with an intention to indulge in sin, because the Lord is ready to forgive. He will not abuse the doctrine of free grace. And to the man whose iniquity is forgiven, all manner of blessings are promised.

Verses 3-7 It is very difficult to bring sinful man humbly to accept free mercy, with a full confession of his sins and self-condemnation. But the true and only way to peace of conscience, is, to confess our sins, that they may be forgiven; to declare them that we may be justified. Although repentance and confession do not merit the pardon of transgression, they are needful to the real enjoyment of forgiving mercy. And what tongue can tell the happiness of that hour, when the soul, oppressed by sin, is enabled freely to pour forth its sorrows before God, and to take hold of his covenanted mercy in Christ Jesus! Those that would speed in prayer, must seek the Lord, when, by his providence, he calls them to seek him, and, by his Spirit, stirs them up to seek him. In a time of finding, when the heart is softened with grief, and burdened with guilt; when all human refuge fails; when no rest can be found to the troubled mind, then it is that God applies the healing balm by his Spirit.

Verses 8-11 God teaches by his word, and guides with the secret intimations of his will. David gives a word of caution to sinners. The reason for this caution is, that the way of sin will certainly end in sorrow. Here is a word of comfort to saints. They may see that a life of communion with God is far the most pleasant and comfortable. Let us rejoice, O Lord Jesus, in thee, and in thy salvation; so shall we rejoice indeed.

Cross References 26

  • 1. Psalms 85:2; Psalms 103:3
  • 2. S Romans 4:7-8*; 2 Corinthians 5:19
  • 3. John 1:47; Revelation 14:5
  • 4. S Job 31:34
  • 5. Psalms 31:10
  • 6. S Job 3:24; Psalms 6:6
  • 7. 1 Samuel 5:6; S Job 9:34; Psalms 38:2; Psalms 39:10; Job 33:7
  • 8. Psalms 22:15
  • 9. Job 31:33
  • 10. Proverbs 28:13
  • 11. Psalms 103:12
  • 12. S Leviticus 26:40; 1 John 1:9
  • 13. Psalms 69:13; Isaiah 55:6
  • 14. S Exodus 15:10
  • 15. Psalms 69:1
  • 16. Isaiah 43:2
  • 17. S Judges 9:35
  • 18. S Psalms 9:9
  • 19. S Judges 5:1; Exodus 15:1
  • 20. S Psalms 25:8
  • 21. Psalms 34:11
  • 22. Psalms 33:18
  • 23. S Job 30:11; S Job 39:10; James 3:3; Proverbs 26:3
  • 24. Romans 2:9
  • 25. Psalms 4:5; Proverbs 16:20
  • 26. Psalms 64:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 5 and 7.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 32

\\<<[A Psalm], of David, Maschil>>\\. This is the first of the psalms that bears this title: some think it is the name of a musical instrument, on which this psalm was sung; others the first word of a song, to the tune of which it was sung, as Aben Ezra; some say it is so called, because it was explained by an interpreter, as Jarchi; and the Rabbins {k} say, that every psalm that is called "Maschil" was dictated by an interpreter: the Targum renders it "a good understanding"; and the word properly signifies "instruction", or "causing to understand" {l}; and it may be the apostle has some reference to this title in 1Co 14:15; It is an instructive psalm; a didascalic ode, as Junius renders it: it gives an account how the psalmist was instructed under a dispensation of Providence; and was brought to a sense of sin, and acknowledgment of it; and was favoured with a discovery of pardoning grace; and in it he takes upon him to instruct others, Ps 32:8,9, and does instruct in the doctrine of the pardon of sin by the grace of God. {k} Elias Levita in Tishbi, p. 271. {l} lykvm "erudiens", Musculus, Munster, Vatablus, Montanus; "informans", Gejerus; "an instructing psalm", Ainsworth.

Psalms 32 Commentaries