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Psalm Forty

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

waited patiently. Psalm 40 is a Messianic psalm, apparently recounting the innermost thoughts of the Lord Jesus on the cross. It is in this respect a corollary of Psalm 22. Christ suffered patiently the agonies of hell's separation from God for the three long hours of darkness until the Father finally heard His cry. Then He could shout: “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

Psalm 40:2 He 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.

Psalm 40:3 And 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.

new song. Possibly this is the glorious “Song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3).

Psalm 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalm 40:5 Many, 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.

thy wonderful works. Innumerable as are the wonderful works of God in creation, they are exceeded by His marvelous plan of redemption and the future plans for His people yet to be revealed in the “exceeding riches of His grace” in the ages to come (Ephesians 2:7).

Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

mine ears. The “opened ear” refers to the boring of a hole in the ear of a bond servant who, after becoming eligible for freedom, chooses instead to remain forever in the service of his master (see Exodus 21:6). This ritual symbolized the dedication of the servant to hear and obey only his master's orders.

Psalm 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

Lo, I come. That this psalm is a Messianic psalm is certain because of its application in Hebrews 10:5-10. It is prophetic of the thoughts in the heart of Christ, possibly as He hung on the cross, remembering how and why He had come into the world.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

to do thy will. Just as the servant with the “opened ear,” Christ had come solely to do the will of the One who sent Him. It is significant that in quoting the psalm the author of Hebrews translated “mine ears hast thou opened” by “a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5). Not just the ear, but the whole body was to be made an offering for sins forever (Hebrews 10:10-12).

Psalm 40:9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

Psalm 40:10 I 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.

great congregation. See note on Psalm 22:25; note on Hebrews 12:23.

Psalm 40:11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

Psalm 40:12 For 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.

innumerable evils. Surrounding Jesus on the cross was “the assembly of the wicked” (Psalm 22:16), and imposed on Him were all our “iniquities” or “punishments.”

my heart faileth me. Jesus died literally of a broken heart, as evidenced by the remarkable emergence of blood and water (see notes on John 19:34-35).

Psalm 40:13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.

Psalm 40:14 Let 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.

Psalm 40:15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.

Aha, aha. See note on Psalm 35:21.

Psalm 40:16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

Psalm 40:17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.