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40. Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

4Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

5Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

6Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

9I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

10I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

11Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

12For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

13Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord, make haste to help me.

14Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

15Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.

16Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.

17But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

1. In waiting I waited The beginning of this psalm is an expression of thanksgiving, in which David relates that he had been delivered, not only from danger, but also from present death. Some are of opinion, but without good reason, that it ought to be understood of sickness. It is rather to be supposed that David here comprehends a multitude of dangers from which he had escaped. He had certainly been more than once exposed to the greatest danger, even of death, so that, with good reason, he might be said to have been swallowed up in the gulf of death, and sunk in the miry clay It, nevertheless, appears that his faith had still continued firm, for he ceased not to trust in God, although the long continuance of the calamity had well nigh exhausted his patience. He tells us, not merely that he had waited, but by the repetition of the same expression, he shows that he had been a long time in anxious suspense. In proportion then as his trial was prolonged, the evidence and proof of his faith in enduring the delay with calmness and equanimity of mind was so much the more apparent. The meaning in short is, that although God delayed his help, yet the heart of David did not faint, or grow weary from delay; but that after he had given, as it were, sufficient proof of his patience, he was at length heard. In his example there is set before us this very useful doctrine, that although God may not forthwith appear for our help, but rather of design keep us in suspense and perplexity, yet we must not lose courage, inasmuch as faith is not thoroughly tried, except by long endurance. The result, too, of which he speaks in terms of praise, ought to inspire us with increased fortitude. God may succor us more slowly than we desire, but, when he seems to take no notice of our condition, or, if we might so speak, when he seems to be inactive or to sleep, this is totally different from deceit: for if we are enabled by the invincible strength and power of faith to endure, the fitting season of our deliverance will at length arrive.

2. And he drew me out of the roaring pit. Some translate, from the pit of desolation, 8080     The Septuagint reads, “Εχ λάχχου ταλαιπωρίας.” — “Out of a pit of misery;” and Ainsworth, “the pit of sounding calamity,” or “dungeon of tumultuous desolation, which,” says he, “echoed and resounded with dreadful noises.” “The sufferings of the Psalmist,” observes Bishop Mant, “are here described under the image of a dark subterraneous cavern from which there was no emerging; and where roaring cataracts of water broke in upon him, overwhelming him on every side, till, as it is expressed in the 18th psalm, ‘God sent from above and took him, and drew him out of many waters.’” because the verb שאה, shaah, from which the noun שאום, shaon, is derived, signifies to destroy or to waste, as well as to resound or echo. But it is more appropriate to consider that there is here an allusion to the deep gulfs, where the waters gush with a tumultuous force. 8181     “Un marveilleux bruit.” — Fr. “A marvellous noise.” By this similitude he shows that he was placed in as imminent peril of death as if he had been cast into a deep pit, roaring with the impetuous rage of waters. To the same purpose also is the similitude of the miry clay, by which he intimates that he had been so nearly overwhelmed by the weight of his calamities, that it was no easy matter to extricate him from them. Next, there follows a sudden and incredible change, by which he makes manifest to all the greatness of the grace which had been bestowed upon him. He declares that his feet were set upon a rock, whereas formerly he had been overwhelmed with water; and that his steps were established or upheld, whereas before they were not only unsteady and slippery, but were also stuck fast in the mire.


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