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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 32

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-11

This Psalm, as well as Psalms 51:0., is generally understood to have been composed after the prophet Nathan had alarmed the conscience of David for the sin against Uriah. It is a psalm of praise for pardoning grace, though a pardon connected with punishment.

Psalms 32:1 . Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven. נשׂוי nesui, carried away, alluding to the scape-goat, and to the sin-offerings, on which the sin of the culprit was laid, and borne away. By consequence, the socinian notion of pardon without atonement, is altogether illusive. The iniquity of us all was laid on the Saviour; and our sin being imputed to him, shall no longer be imputed to us, who fly for refuge to his wounds. It is “covered” in his grave, and when sought for it shall not be found. All the promises of pardon are couched in diversified language, which operates as balm to the wounded conscience. This text is the more remarkable, being cited by St. Paul against the pharisees, to show that the Lord imputes righteousness without works. It is God that justifieth; it is Christ that died; and whom he justifies, those he also glorifies by sanctifying grace, and by investiture with all the privileges of the sons of God.

Psalms 32:3 . When I kept silence, dreading the disclosure of sin. Yet his heart swelled like a tumor, seeking to discharge its anguish in confessions to God and men, that the wound might be washed and healed.

Psalms 32:6 . For this (pardon) shall every one that is godly pray unto thee. Hebrews Every one that is merciful; for if we forgive not men their trespasses, our heavenly Father will not forgive us. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. No man can ask a pardon with confidence, without the fruits meet for repentance. The word godly quite destroys the spirit of the text.


David uniformly connected his sins and his troubles; and it is safe and happy so to do, for though there may not on many occasions be any particular or obvious connection between our sin and our punishment, yet it is salutary at all times to be humbled by the recollection of our sins. Blessed and happy indeed is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, for the sense of God’s displeasure is removed by a sense of his pardoning love; terror and anguish of conscience are superseded by serenity and peace. Yea, he is doubly blessed, for his sin is not only forgiven, but pardon is accompanied with the gift of righteousness by faith.

The blessedness of pardon is farther apparent from the remarkable expressions in which it is conveyed. Is sin attended with shame; is it loathsome as a wound? The Lord will cover our sin by the cloud of his mercy, and cast it as a burden into the depth of the sea. Does it criminate us at his bar? Having laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all, he will enable us by faith to embrace the atonement, and consequently our sin shall not be imputed. And so great is his mercy that he will blot out our transgressions as a cloud, and our iniquities as a thick cloud. Does sin exclude us from the church? God, after true repentance, will be our hidingplace. Gross backsliders must expect little mercy from the dogs; but He whose mercy is as his majesty, will be our hidingplace, and will guard us from a relapse. How admirably is the language of pardon adapted to the anguish of the conscience.

The blessing of pardon is very great, because when God cleanses the conscience from guilt, he purifies the heart from guile, and makes the soul as a little child full of simplicity and love. Thus the rich doctrines of pardoning grace are guarded by the sanctity of justice. Hence pardon is always preceded by sorrow, by prayer, and sometimes by roaring or crying for mercy in deep distress.

The way to obtain remission and deliverance is, to make Christ our hidingplace and sure defence; so will he preserve us, and compass us about with songs of salvation.

Men who have found pardon, have the best right to warn the wicked not to go on stubbornly, as the horse and the mule, for sorrow shall come upon them; while they, who on repentance have obtained mercy, shall shout for joy, and exult in the Lord.

This is an ode or a new song, composed after some victory, as appears from Psalm 32:16, 17, 19. The words were also accompanied with a grand concert of music. They went not to war without consulting God; therefore he says, Psalms 32:4, “The word of the Lord is right.” For the Lord is merciful in all his ways, and just in all his works. Psalms 145:17.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 32". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-32.html. 1835.
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