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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 32

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-11

The subject of the Ps. is the happiness that follows the confession of sin and the experience of forgiveness. This is generally set forth at the beginning (Psalms 32:1-2). Then the Psalmist relates his own spiritual history of misery before confession (Psalms 32:3-4), and of relief after it (Psalms 32:5). He next commends the practice of prayer (Psalms 32:6), and expresses his own confidence in God (Psalms 32:7). In Psalms 32:8 God speaks in words of promise, and the closing vv. are devoted to counsel and exhortation (Psalms 32:9-11). The period in David’s life which best fits the references in the Ps. is the time of his impenitence after the murder of Uriah, followed by the rebuke of Nathan, and the king’s acknowledgment of his sin (2 Samuel 11:26 to 2 Samuel 12:23;). The Ps. is one of those for Ash Wednesday.

Title.—A Psalm of David, Maschil] The word Maschil has been generally explained as ’a didactic Psalm,’ a Psalm of instruction. But few of the Pss. so designated have this special character, and the more probable meaning is ’a skilful Psalm’ (see Psalms 47:7; RM), one set to more elaborate music than usual.

1, 2. Note the threefold description of wrongdoing as transgression, breaking beyond bounds; sin, failure to reach the true aim of life; and iniquity, moral deformity or perversity—also the threefold nature of pardon as ’forgiveness,’ literally here the lifting of the burden of guilt ’covering,’ in the sense of hiding the sin from the eye of the judge, or protecting the sinner from punishment; and ’not imputing,’ the cancelling of an obligation to pay the penalty.

2. No guile] This may refer to the sincerity of repentance, or, more probably, to the changed character of the forgiven heart.

3, 4. These vv. may be taken as a description either of actual sickness, which brought sin home to the conscience, or of spiritual suffering represented in physical terms. 4. Is turned into] RV ’was changed as with.’

5. Have I not hid] lit. ’covered,’ as in Psalms 32:1. It is only when man does not cover his sin that God does cover it. Selah] see on Psalms 3:4.

6. Shall every one] RV ’let every one.’ The Psalmist wishes others to take his experience as an example. In a time when thou mayest be found] Another possible rendering is, ’in the time of finding out sin’ (RM). In the floods, etc.] RV ’when the great waters’ (of trouble, and especially of God’s wrath) ’overflow they shall not reach unto him.’

7. Songs of deliverance] possibly songs sung by others. God’s grace to one brings joy to many. Selah] see on Psalms 3:4.

8. Guide thee with mine eye] RV ’counsel thee with mine eye upon thee.’ God does not leave those whom He counsels to walk in their own strength, but watches over their way.

9. Lest they come near.. thee] RVElse they will not come near.. thee.’ The horse and mule are thought of not as dangerous, but only as obstinate and stupid—incapable of being brought where they are wanted except by force. Men ought to draw near to God in unconstrained obedience.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 32". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/psalms-32.html. 1909.
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