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Psalm 40

Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.


I waited patiently for the L ord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.


He drew me up from the desolate pit,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.


He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the L ord.



Happy are those who make

the L ord their trust,

who do not turn to the proud,

to those who go astray after false gods.


You have multiplied, O L ord my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you.

Were I to proclaim and tell of them,

they would be more than can be counted.



Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,

but you have given me an open ear.

Burnt offering and sin offering

you have not required.


Then I said, “Here I am;

in the scroll of the book it is written of me.


I delight to do your will, O my God;

your law is within my heart.”



I have told the glad news of deliverance

in the great congregation;

see, I have not restrained my lips,

as you know, O L ord.


I have not hidden your saving help 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.



Do not, O L ord, withhold

your mercy from me;

let your steadfast love and your faithfulness

keep me safe forever.


For evils have encompassed me

without number;

my iniquities have overtaken me,

until I cannot see;

they are more than the hairs of my head,

and my heart fails me.



Be pleased, O L ord, to deliver me;

O L ord, make haste to help me.


Let all those be put to shame and confusion

who seek to snatch away my life;

let those be turned back and brought to dishonor

who desire my hurt.


Let those be appalled because of their shame

who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”



But may all who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you;

may those who love your salvation

say continually, “Great is the L ord!”


As for me, I am poor and needy,

but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God.

17. But I am poor and needy. In this concluding clause he mingles prayer with thanksgiving, although it may be that he records a request which he had made when he was placed in extreme danger. The first clause of the verse might be rendered thus: Although I was miserable and poor, God did think upon me. As according to the extent in which any one is afflicted, so is he despised by the world, we imagine that he is disregarded by God, we must, therefore, steadfastly maintain that our miseries in no respect produce on the part of God a feeling of weariness towards us, so that it should become troublesome to him to aid us. In this way, however, let us rather read the clause: When I was miserable and poor, the Lord looked upon my necessity: So that by this circumstance he enhances the grace of God. If God anticipate us with his goodness, and do not wait till adversity presses upon us, then his favor towards us is not so apparent. This comparison, therefore, illustrates very clearly the glory of God in the deliverance of David, inasmuch as he vouchsafed to stretch forth his hand to a man who was despised and rejected of all men, nay, who was destitute of all help and hope. Now, if it was necessary that David should have been reduced to this extremity, it is no wonder if persons in a more private station are often humbled after this manner, that they may feel and acknowledge in good earnest that they have been delivered out of despair by the hand of God. The simple and natural meaning of the prayer is this, Lord, thou art my help and my deliverer, therefore delay not to come to my aid. As it is a foolish thing to approach God with a doubtful and wavering mind, the Psalmist takes courage, as he was wont to do from his own experience, and persuades himself that the help of God, by which he had been hitherto preserved, would not fail him.

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