To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
6 Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Considered a wisdom psalm
The terms heavens and expanse [firmament] in the opening verse are synonyms, the joint use of which alludes back to their initial occurrence in Genesis 1:7-8, where God creates the expanse and calls it “heaven.” The point of this and the ensuing verses is that the heavens and all that God has filled them with, like the entirety of Creation, constitute ongoing testimony (per v.2: “day to day … night to night”) to the existence of the Creator (cf. Psalm 8:3). Even more — when considering how this concept is addressed in Romans — the created order not only testifies to the existence of God and His “eternal power” (i.e., omnipotence), but also, specifically, makes known His “invisible” attributes is Christ Himself (per Colossians 1:15; see also John 1:18). Hence, even without exposure to the revelation of God’s Word, one who is receptive to the image of God revealed in Creation will naturally identify that image with Jesus once introduced to Him through the Gospel. This is precisely the point in Romans 10:18, where the opening verse of this psalm is cited in application to the Gentiles, who up to the time of Christ were without the Word of God. — Wechsler, pages 66-67
heavens declare the glory of God (v.1) — see Romans 1:20
God (v.1) = El = The Strong One
firmament (v.1) = expanse, the visible arch of the sky
day unto day … night unto night (v.2) — day and night continually
line ( v.4) = measure
tabernacle (v.4) = dwelling place
like a bridegroom (v.5) — radiant
like a strong man (v.5) — powerful, like a runner at the beginning of a race, or circuit
perfect (v.7) = without blemish
Lord (vs. 7, 8, 9, 14) = Jehovah
sure (v.7) = faithful
fear (v.9) = worship
clean (v.9) = pure, fair
true (v.9) = true, trustworthy
altogether (v.9) = completely
In verse 11, notably, forms of the two key biblical concepts “worship” (i.e., “worshiper/servant,”) and “obedience” (i.e., “keeping/obeying”) presented at the outset of the Torah, are reiterated. (See Genesis 2:15). — Wechsler, page 67
presumptuous sins (v.13) = sins committed in open arrogance
dominion (v.13) — see Romans 6:14.
David concludes by affirming the way in which God makes Himself known within men, for whether one’s sins are hidden or committed in open arrogance, God from whom nothing is hidden (Deuteronomy 29:28; Ecclesiastes 12:14), brings conviction of that sin as perceived by Him by the conscience He has put within every person (though it may be willfully deadened by repeated sin; see Romans 1:19-23, 28), the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer, and/or the Word of God, which is “living and active … and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). — Wechsler, page 68.
meditation (v.14) — not emptying the mind, but filling the mind with the Word and considering its meaning and application — study
The theme of this psalm is the methods God uses to reveal Himself to humanity.
- creation (vs. 1-6)
- Scripture (vs. 7-11)
- conscience (vs. 12-14)