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Psalm 32

The Joy of Forgiveness

Of David. A Maskil.


Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.


Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.



While I kept silence, my body wasted away

through my groaning all day long.


For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.Selah



Then I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not hide my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and you forgave the guilt of my sin.Selah



Therefore let all who are faithful

offer prayer to you;

at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters

shall not reach them.


You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.Selah



I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.


Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,

else it will not stay near you.



Many are the torments of the wicked,

but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.


Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

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Ps 32:1-11. Maschil—literally, "giving instruction." The Psalmist describes the blessings of His forgiveness, succeeding the pains of conviction, and deduces from his own experience instruction and exhortation to others.

1, 2. (Compare Ro 4:6).

forgiven—literally, "taken away," opposed to retain (Joh 20:23).

covered—so that God no longer regards the sin (Ps 85:3).

2. imputeth—charge to him, and treat him accordingly.

no guile—or, deceit, no false estimate of himself, nor insincerity before God (compare Ro 8:1).

3, 4. A vivid description of felt, but unacknowledged, sin.

When—literally, "for," as in Ps 32:4.

4. thy hand—of God, or power in distressing him (Ps 38:2).

moisture—vital juices of the body, the parching heat of which expresses the anguish of the soul. On the other figures, compare Ps 6:2, 7; 31:9-11. If composed on the occasion of the fifty-first Psalm, this distress may have been protracted for several months.

5. A prompt fulfilment of the purposed confession is followed by a prompt forgiveness.

6. For this—that is, my happy experience.

godly—pious in the sense of Ps 4:3.

a time—(Isa 55:6); when God's Spirit inclines us to seek pardon, He is ready to forgive.

floods, &c.—denotes great danger (Ps 18:17; 66:12).

7. His experience illustrates the statement of Ps 32:6.

8. Whether, as most likely, the language of David (compare Ps 51:13), or that of God, this is a promise of divine guidance.

I will … mine eye—or, My eye shall be on thee, watching and directing thy way.

9. The latter clause, more literally, "in that they come not near thee"; that is, because they will not come, &c., unless forced by bit and bridle.

10. The sorrows of the impenitent contrasted with the peace and safety secured by God's mercy.

11. The righteous and upright, or those conforming to the divine teaching for securing the divine blessing, may well rejoice with shouting.