Psalm 40:1-17

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.

He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.

Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.

I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You Yourself know.

10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.

12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me!

14 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who seek to destroy my life;
Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor
Who wish me evil.

15 Let them be confounded because of their shame,
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”

16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”

17 But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

There is a great contrast between the 22nd Psalm and the 40th one: In the 22nd Psalm we see the crucifixion of the Messiah in all of it’s detail and suffering. It is presented in such a way that there can be no doubt of it; one can stand at the cross of Calvary and read the details.

But when we come to the 40th Psalm, we find in it a submission to the cruel crucifixion that is missing in the 22nd Psalm. God seems to gradually unfold these great truths to David and to all who read. — Phillips, page 93.


In view of the fact that verses 6-7 are cited as the direct utterance of Christ in Hebrews 10:5-10, this entire psalm, which is clearly connected to these two verses as part of the same first-person utterance, should also be taken as the direct expression of Christ concerning His first advent — though at various points also applicable, in a paradigmatic sense, of circumstances in David’s own life. — Wechsler, page 117


heard my cry (v.1) — The expression “(God) heard my cry” here signifies — as does every biblical reference to God “hearing” (or “seeing”) — God’s compassionate fulfillment of human need. In this case that need is that of Christ, in His humanity, being brought up out of the pit (v.2) — i.e., from Sheol (which is parallel to “pit” in Psalm 30:3), thus reiterating the point of Psalm 16:10 in which David explicitly affirms God’s resurrection of the Messiah from the dead before His body would undergo decay.  Further evidence of God’s special solicitude is indicated in v.5, where, speaking now both for Himself and Israel corporately, Christ remarks God’s wonders (referring to His specific acts of deliverance, as in Exodus 34:10; Judges 6:13; Psalm 106:22, etc.) and His “thoughts toward us” — which latter phrase refers not only to God’s paternal “thoughts” of welfare, but, in light of the specific phraseology, to His greatest blessing of justification. — Wechsler, pages 117-118.

horrible pit (v.2) = noisy, rushing pit — a cavity through which waters rush

fear (v.3) = revere, reverentially trust

By saying that God has not desired sacrifice or required burnt offering (v.6) Christ is not repudiating the unchanging divine requirement of substitutionary (i.e., life-for-life) atonement, but rather affirming that (1) when sacrifice is offered, it must be accompanied by right heart attitude (e.g., faith-filled contrition, delight, gratitude) or else it means nothing (see especially Psalm 51:16-19), and (2), as explained by the writer of Hebrews, it was never in fact the animal sacrifices that satisfied God’s requirement for sin, “for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin” (Hebrews 10:4), but only the One sacrifice that was ever qualified by the spiritual purity (i.e., a soul untainted by sin and depravity) to do so — that of Christ Himself. — Wechsler, pages 118-119.


My ears You have opened (v.6) — This is a unique expression in the Bible and for its meaning appeal can be made either to the custom of piercing the ear (consecration to perpetual service, Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17) or to the idiom of opening the ear, signifying the imparting of a revelation from God (e.g., Isaiah 50:5). The common denominator of these two ideas is obedience and it is most likely that this is what the phrase is intended to stress. — Guthrie, page 477.

In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will (vs. 7-8) — Matthew 26:39; John 4:34; 6:38.

my iniquities (v.13) — For the Messiah, these were the imputed sins of the world (Galatians 3:13)

Verses 13-17 are almost identical to Psalm 70.

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