Psalms 40

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 [a]I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORDand put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
5 Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened[c] — burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
8 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, LORD, as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.

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 50

  • 1. S Psalms 37:7; Psalms 27:14
  • 2. Psalms 6:9; S Psalms 31:22; Psalms 34:15; Psalms 116:1; Psalms 145:19
  • 3. S Job 9:31; S Psalms 7:15
  • 4. S Job 30:19
  • 5. Psalms 69:14
  • 6. Psalms 31:8
  • 7. Psalms 27:5
  • 8. S Psalms 28:7; S Psalms 96:1; Revelation 5:9; Psalms 33:3
  • 9. Psalms 52:6; Psalms 64:9
  • 10. S Exodus 14:31
  • 11. Psalms 34:8
  • 12. Psalms 84:12
  • 13. Psalms 101:5; Psalms 138:6; Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 16:5; Isaiah 65:5; 1 Peter 5:5
  • 14. S Deuteronomy 31:20; S Psalms 4:2; S Psalms 26:1
  • 15. S Deuteronomy 4:34; Psalms 75:1; Psalms 105:5; Psalms 136:4
  • 16. Psalms 139:18; Isaiah 55:8
  • 17. Psalms 71:15; Psalms 139:17
  • 18. S 1 Samuel 15:22; Jeremiah 6:20; Amos 5:22
  • 19. Exodus 21:6
  • 20. Psalms 50:8; Psalms 51:16; Isaiah 1:11; Hosea 6:6
  • 21. Job 19:23; Jeremiah 36:2; Jeremiah 45:1; Ezekiel 2:9; Zechariah 5:1
  • 22. S Matthew 26:39; John 4:34
  • 23. Hebrews 10:5-7*
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 6:6; S Job 22:22; Romans 7:22; Psalms 37:31
  • 25. S Psalms 22:31
  • 26. S Psalms 22:25
  • 27. S Joshua 22:22; Psalms 119:13
  • 28. Psalms 89:1
  • 29. S Psalms 22:22; Acts 20:20
  • 30. Zechariah 1:12
  • 31. Proverbs 20:28
  • 32. S Psalms 26:3; Psalms 43:3
  • 33. Psalms 61:7
  • 34. S Psalms 25:17; Psalms 116:3
  • 35. Psalms 38:4; Psalms 65:3
  • 36. Psalms 69:4
  • 37. Psalms 73:26
  • 38. Psalms 22:19; Psalms 38:22; Psalms 70:1
  • 39. S 1 Samuel 20:1
  • 40. S Esther 9:2; Psalms 35:26
  • 41. S Psalms 35:4
  • 42. S Psalms 35:21
  • 43. Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 9:10; Psalms 119:2
  • 44. Psalms 9:2
  • 45. Psalms 35:27
  • 46. Psalms 86:1; Psalms 109:22
  • 47. Psalms 144:3
  • 48. S Psalms 20:2
  • 49. S Psalms 18:2
  • 50. Psalms 119:60; Psalms 70:5

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 40:1-17 is numbered 40:2-18.
  • [b]. Or "to lies"
  • [c]. Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts "but a body you have prepared for me"
  • [d]. Or "purification offerings"
  • [e]. Or "come" / "with the scroll written for me"

Chapter Summary

Psalms 40 Commentaries