George Booker
Psalms Studies - Book 2

Psalm 69

1. Structure

A sea of troubles

Suffering reproach

A cry for help

Suffering reproach

Let God’s justice operate

A final prayer for help

A Hezekiah appendix (probably added when the psalm was adapted into the temple psalter)

2. Title

It is, very evidently, a psalm of David at the time of Absalom’s rebellion. The links with the history in 2 Samuel 15 and 16 are very easy. The LXX adds also a most unusual phrase which probably means: “On behalf of the alienated ones”. This can be read either with reference to the rebels, estranged from their king, or concerning those who shared David’s plight and all who continued to give him loyalty — even in desperately trying circumstances.

3. Links with Psalms 69 and 40

Psalm 69

Psalm 68
God of Israel
Praise the name of God
His prisoners
Dwell there (i.e. Zion)

Psalm 69

Psalm 40
In the mire
Mine iniquities
Sacrifice and offering

4. Links with Lamentations

Psalm 69 is one of the best examples in the Bible of a personal lament, and as such is closely paralleled by Jeremiah in his Lamentations:

Psalm 69

The waters are come into my soul
I sink in deep mire
The floods overflow me
I am weary of my crying
1:2,16; 2:18,19

My throat is dried

Mine eyes fail
2:11; 3:48,49

I wait for my God
Without a cause
My sins are not hid from thee
3:39,42; 5:16
I have borne reproach
A stranger... an alien
I was the song of the drunkards
The pit
3:55; 4:20
The multitude of thy tender mercies
Hide not thy face from thy servant

I am in trouble
I looked... for comforters, but I found none
1:2,7,9, 17,21
Imprecations against enemies
1:21,22; 3:64-66; 4:21,22

5. Historical background

A psalm of David, at the time of Absalom’s rebellion. The rebellion sprang directly, although after an appreciable lapse of time, from the Bathsheba/Uriah episode; verses 5,10, and 19 especially have this as their background. The contacts of this psalm with 2 Samuel 15-19 are considerable.

The waters are come in unto my soul. Here is an eloquent figure for the insuperable adversities which beset the king (cp. 40:2; 18:4,16; 32:6; 42:7; Jonah 2:3). Or, is it merely an eloquent figure for tears (v. 3)?
I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. David was a very sick man at this time (cp. 41:3,8). So these words are not just another expanded metaphor.
They that hate me without a cause. This is true of all but a handful of the rebels. They were his enemies wrongfully.

They... are more than the hairs of mine head. This figure describes the rapid and numerous growth of the rebellion: 2 Sam. 15:12,13. Is there an indirect allusion to Absalom himself, with his seemingly narcissistic regard for his hair (2 Sam. 14:26)?

Mine enemies... are mighty. David had allowed them to become mighty, by acting the part of a doting father and treating the young Absalom far too lightly, and by giving Ahithophel high honor and nearly as much power as the king himself.

I restored that which I took not away. An allusion to the sending back of the ark at the time of David’s flight from Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:24,27)?
My foolishness... my sins. David, and all the nation also, saw all these afflictions as a direct retribution for his own sins, especially regarding Bathsheba and Uriah. Certainly, then, these sins were not hid from God. The words for sins (asham) links with the word for trespass-offering (Lev. 5:2-6, etc.), and implies the usurping of the rights of others. The Greek for transgressions in the LXX implies notes out of tune — an apt figure for a musician like David to use about his own faults.
Them that wait on thee were David’s godly friends and faithful bodyguard, many of whom were converts to the faith of Israel from pagan origins (2 Sam. 15:15-21). Hence the allusion to the Lord God of hosts. In the inevitable struggle David would surely need the hosts of the Lord on his side. He was concerned lest those who maintained loyalty to the Lord’s anointed be engulfed in his ruin. He could have added that the honor of God Himself was being involved (2 Sam. 12:14).
For thy sake I have borne reproach (cp. Jer. 15:15). Here is the converse of v. 6, which is also true. Was David’s great zeal for God one of the reasons Ahithophel set himself against him (v. 9; 55:13,14)? The LXX for borne reproach is almost identical with Heb. 13:13, where “go forth unto him” echoes the action of the faithful Zadok and Abiathar. Also in Hebrews, “without the camp” hints at (1) Absalom’s undermining work outside the gate of the city (2 Sam. 15:2; cp. v. 12 here), and (2) Mahanaim (literally, “the two camps”), where David fled (2 Sam. 17:27).

Shame hath covered my face alludes to 2 Sam. 15:30, when “David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered”. Was this done because of the leprosy that afflicted David at this time (cp. Lev. 13:45)?
A stranger to my brethren. So David was ostracized because of his evil disease, or for the reason in v. 9a (cp. 31:11). Note how v. 9 begins with “For”. Thus v. 8 could also refer to the failure of the tribe of Judah to support him against the rebels (2 Sam. 19:14,42).
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. This is the language of the burnt offering, which was wholly consumed on the altar. David was wholly involved with the honor of God and the intensive preparations for His temple (1 Chron. 28:11-19), and was undoubtedly concerned that this rebellion would deal that project a serious setback. (For the same figure of speech in general, compare Jer. 20:9 — a fire in the bones!)

Reproaches, of which Shimei was probably but one outstanding example (2 Sam. 16:5-13).
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting. Sneers at David’s intense repentance for his sins; and sneers at his joy in the Lord also (2 Sam. 6:20). “The fast of my soul” seems to allude to a recent Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29).
I made sackcloth also my garment. David certainly had faults, but he was nonetheless a man without pride. Yet instead of imitation, there was only mockery from his observers.

A proverb. As his sin had been a cause for sarcasm and taunts, and even blasphemy — so also men made jokes about his repentance and the sincerity thereof.
This verse covers the highest and lowest in the nation:

In the gate = Absalom (2 Sam. 15:2). The gate — like the marketplace — was the scene of assembly, where people (often influential people) decided important matters in a public forum: Gen. 23:10; 34:20; 1 Sam. 4:18; Job 29:7; Psa. 127:5; Prov. 1:21; etc.

The song of the drunkards, the “low-life” of the city, boozily singing David’s temple psalms in a ribald and demeaning manner?
As for me. A pointed contrast with v. 12.

My prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time. This word not infrequently describes an acceptable sacrifice; another allusion to the Day of Atonement? See v. 10; cp. 2 Sam. 17:27-29, with its hints of harvest-time and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Thy mercy... and truth and lovingkindness (v. 16) commonly refer to God’s covenants of promise. The way events were going against David, how could 2 Sam. 7:12-16 ever be fulfilled? That promise evidently remained the anchor of the king’s faith, no matter what trials he found himself in.
Them that hate me clearly interprets the figures of the rest of the verse: the mire and the deep waters. It is, of course, Absalom’s rebellion.
Turn unto me implies a consciousness that God’s face was turned away: cp. v. 17a, 18a. Of all David’s hardships at this time, this was certainly the worst.
Thy servant was a title in which David gloried: see Psa. 18, title.

Hear me speedily. Note the urgency of the imperatives in vv. 14-18.
Redeem. The Hebrew ga’al implies a near kinsman. The true Redeemer must be near kin to David and to God, the other party to the reconciliation! Notice Psa. 110:1 and the use Jesus makes of it in the New Testament: the Messiah would be, at one time, both Son of David and Son of God!
Mine adversaries are all before thee. This implies that God could read their souls even as He knew David’s so intimately. Or, more explicitly, this is an allusion to 2 Sam. 15:2,12 — the rebels going through the motions of keeping a feast to the Lord.
Reproach hath broken my heart. In the Bible “heart” does not describe the emotions, but the mind and the will. This suggests, therefore, that David at this time lacked all spirit of resistance (2 Sam. 15:14; 16:11).

I am full of heaviness, or “despair” (RSV).

I looked... for comforters, but I found none. He had men who were loyal, but not a comforting optimist among them! David now saw “dark gray” as “black”!
Gall for my meat... vinegar to drink. Being a sick man, he has no appetite at all for his food and drink; and he sees this as symbolic of how the rebels have turned all the pleasures of life into bitterness.
It is true that most of these imprecations can be read as futures, declarations of what will happen: “Their table will become a snare... their eyes will be darkened... ”; but this does not affect the emphatic imperatives in vv. 24a, 27a, or the problem of similar passages in other psalms. For further discussion on this question of the “imprecatory psalms”, see Introduction, Chapter 3.
Their table is either the altar at which they worship (Mal. 1:7,8,12; Ezek. 44:16; 23:41), or their festive meal at Passover or Tabernacles. The word for welfare suggests peace offerings (their holy meal). A man’s table is usually his “sanctuary”, the safest and most comfortable place he knows. But, in this case, David prays that the place (and the situation) of his enemies where they naturally feel the most protected will prove treacherous to them.
Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Is it possible that David is, in effect, saying: ‘Bring upon them the kind of afflictions which Thou hast brought upon me so deservedly’?

Perhaps eyes... darkened implies, again, the covering of the head (i.e. 2 Sam. 15:30).
Let none dwell in their tents. This suggests the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (cp. 2 Sam. 16:22).
Him... those. The switch from singular to plural probably takes in those who maintained loyalty to David.

Those whom thou hast wounded. The rebels’ hatred for David is like a sword thrust to his friends and supporters.
Add iniquity unto their iniquity. The Hebrew word avon also means ‘punishment for iniquity’ (see AV mg.). This suggests: ‘Add deserved punishment to their iniquity’, a reading which makes more sense. The punishment duly happened (2 Sam. 18:14,15). Yet David could hardly have meant these imprecations (and v. 28) for his own son, but rather for evil men like Ahithophel and Shimei who sought to make use of his ambition and folly.

Thy righteousness, meaning probably thy salvation (v. 29).

6. The Hezekiah addition: verses 30-36

This paragraph presents the fewest difficulties when read as an appendage to the psalm added in the time of Hezekiah (cp. Psa. 68:28-35; 51:18,19; 20:7-9). At verse 30 there is a perceptible change in both style and subject. The direct address to God (as in v. 29 and earlier) is now abandoned.

Praise the name of God with a song... with thanksgiving. Hezekiah’s gladness at being able to worship in the temple after recovery from his leprosy (Isa. 38:20).
This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock. Psa. 50:9-13.

An ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs would be a whole burnt offering: cp. Exod. 12:9.
The humble is Hezekiah himself.

Your heart. The plural pronoun indicates the faithful remnant emulating the king’s godliness. They sought the Lord by going to Jerusalem for Passover, and found safety there in the only city not captured by the Assyrians; hence your heart shall live!
The Lord heareth the poor. This refers to the ready response of God to Hezekiah’s prayers, first for his own health (Isa. 38:2-19), and then for deliverance from the Assyrian invaders (37:15-20).

And despiseth not his prisoners. (1) The righteous king Hezekiah shut up because of his evil disease; (2) The people besieged in Jerusalem; and (3) The 200,150 captives (according to the Taylor Prism) taken by Sennacherib (Mic. 4:10; Psa. 79:11; 137; Isa. 5:13; 6:12; Amos 9:9,11).
Heaven... earth... seas. (1) The destroying angel (Isa. 37:36); (2) The Land saved from the invader; and (3) The surrounding nations who first helped the Assyrians and then humbly marveled at the might of God (2 Chron. 32:23).
For God will save Zion. See note on v. 32. This is the mighty deliverance of Isa. 37:36.

And will build the cities of Judah. Sennacherib destroyed 46 of the “fenced cities” of Judah (2 Kings 18:13; Taylor prism). After this, there would naturally be an era of busy rebuilding — this seems to have occurred in the astonishing year of Jubilee described by Isaiah in Isa. 61:4,5. Every detail of this verse is appropriate to Hezekiah’s time, and inappropriate to the time of Absalom’s rebellion — when Zion was taken over intact by rebels, and no cities needed to be rebuilt.
The seed also of his servants. Hezekiah had no son until two to three years after his recovery and the Assyrian overthrow (cp. 2 Kings 20:6 with 21:1).

7. A psalm of Messiah

This is where the real study of the psalm begins.

Here are insights into the psychology of Jesus when faced with cynical skepticism, bitter opposition, and the prospect of intense suffering. These verses (and others in this psalm) do not describe what might be called the Lord’s normal reaction to these situations, but rather the occasional sense of futility and defeat when even he was not immune from. These words, along with verses 14-20, should be ap-plied to Gethsemane. For the close parallel between David and Christ, see H.A. Whittaker, Studies in the Gospels, pp. 730-732.
My throat is dried (v. 21). Psa. 22:15; John 19:28,29 (“I thirst”).

Mine eyes fail. The verb, in the LXX, is the same as Luke 22:32:

“But I [Jesus] have prayed for thee [Peter], that thy faith fail not.”

And in v. 2 overflow is the s.w. (LXX) as in Matt. 14:30:

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid: and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

In both places, Peter! The disciple was being like his Lord.

While I wait for my God. So there is not utter hopelessness. But there is the problem of this seeming abandonment, as in Psa. 22:1 (see notes there).
They... hate me without a cause. John 15:25 is usually referred to this place, but 35:19 is just as likely to be the original. Compare “seen and hated” (John 15:24) with “them that wink the eye” (Psa. 35:19). On the other hand, “for my sake” is common to v. 6 here and John 15:21. So each verse has some reasons on its side.

They would destroy me. This intention began with Herod the Great in Matt. 2:13, and it intensified in the persons of Christ’s numerous enemies throughout his ministry.

Without a cause was literally true of Christ, the one against whom no cause could be rightly brought: John 8:46; 4:34; 14:30; 15:10; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 2 Cor. 5:21.

I restored that which I took not away. Fellowship with God was lost by the first Adam, but restored by the last Adam: “the just for the unjust” (1 Pet. 3:18). The LXX uses the same word as in Phil. 2:6, where four separate phrases allude to Adam. On a moral level, this is the foundation for Christ’s teachings — i.e.:

“If a man sue thee at law and take away thy cloak, let him have thy coat also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matt. 5:40,41).
My foolishness... my sins. Christ had neither foolishness nor sins, in the ordinary sense, although “foolishness” may signify the basic perversity of all human nature — to which he was heir along with the rest of us. So this verse could be read as meaning that his enemies attributed foolishness and sins to him. But this explanation will hardly hold in 38:4,5; 40:12; 41:4; and Mic. 7:9. The better explanation is to see such passages as referring to the “sin” of Christ’s nature (Psa. 6, Par. 3; Psa. 38, Par. 5; Psa. 40:12, notes; Psa. 41, Par. 4; Psa. 51, Par. 4).

The LXX for sins means “sounding wrong notes, being out of tune”. This might be applied to the ministry of Jesus, at least as it was perceived by the leaders of the nation!
Let not them that wait on thee... be ashamed for my sake. Matt. 26:31; Luke 24:21; John 17:11,12; 18:8,9.
For thy sake. Compare Acts 5:41:

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”

I have borne reproach. 22:7,8; Mark. 15:29-32. Heb. 13:13 quotes LXX of this verse.

Shame hath covered my face. Mark 14:65 is surely intended to look back to this verse:

“And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.”

Also, Isa. 50:6:

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
A stranger unto my brethren. (1) The failure of Christ’s own brethren in the flesh to support him: Mark 3:21,31,32; Matt. 4:13; 10:36; John 7:3-5; Deut. 33:9. (2) Differently, and more generally, the rejection of Christ by the whole nation of his fellow-Jews: John 1:11; 8:48; 9:29; 18:40; 19:15; Isa. 53:3; Luke 4:23,24,28,29).

My mother’s children. A remarkable — and indirect — hint of the virgin birth of Jesus: for he could not call his brethren his Father’s children. And a useful detail to counter Catholic insistence on the perpetual virginity of Mary: The men named in Matt. 13:55, and the women alluded to in v. 56, were not just foster-brothers and sisters of the Lord — they were his half-brothers and sisters!
For the zeal of thine house. An apt prophecy of how the Lord’s ministry began — in the enthusiastic cleansing of his Father’s house (John 2:11,17). The “for”, linking with v. 8, suggests that this was the reason (or one of the reasons) for Jesus’ early alienation from his family.

Hath eaten me up. That is, it hath consumed me as a burnt offering (Lev. 1:9). Zeal for God must lead to his death as a sacrifice. Thus, this verse marked out the beginning and end of his ministry.

And the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me (cp. 109:25). Offending God, they now turn upon His Son likewise. So also in Rom. 15:1-7, where the context emphasizes that those who are hostile to Christ will gladly turn against his disciples also. But also, here, those that are an offence to God are an offence to His Son also. Note the lesson of Matt. 25:40,45. “Reproach is a bitter thing to bear, but when suffered for the name of Christ, it has promise of great sweetness for the day that is even now at the door” (Robert Roberts).
When I wept. The tears of Christ in the Psalms: 6:6; 39:12; 42:3; 56:8; 116:8. When he wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35,36), or over the inevitable fate of the city which he loved (Luke 19:41), they laughed at Christ for it. Were there other occasions?

And chastened my soul with fasting. Matt. 17:21. The Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:31)?
Sackcloth... my garment. When? and why? There is no hint of this in the gospels.

A proverb unto them.

“And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country” (Luke 4:23).

And compare also Luke 23:35: “And the rulers also with them derided him.” Also, Deut. 28:37; Jer. 24:9; Psa. 44:14.
They that sit in the gate. “In the temple, in Solomon’s porch” (John 10:23). Compare Peter’s experience at the “gate” of the high priest’s house (John 18:15-18,25-27).

The song (satire: Delitzsch) of the drunkards. This verse takes in the highest (102:8) and the lowest in the Land: the rulers and the scum of the city. What a picture — the elite of the palaces plotting his eminent demise, and the men of the taverns singing bawdy songs about him! Contrast Luke 2:13,18, where mighty angels and lowly shepherds worship him. Isa. 28:9 continues the idea with reference to the disciples. (Note how vv. 10-12 here add details in the Psalmist’s Life of Christ, in addition to what the gospels record.)
Mercy... truth are words which describe the covenants of promise, to be fulfilled in the ultimate sense through Jesus Christ. Also prayer... acceptable time... salvation: all details in Isa. 49:8.
This is Gethsemane: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”
Let not the pit shut her mouth upon me, that is, eternally. The great stone at the door of the sepulchre.
Draw nigh unto my soul and redeem it. See earlier note on v. 18. How could David know that the promised Redeemer would need to have the Almighty as a Goel, a near-kinsman, to redeem him? This is what the language implies.

Deliver me = “Set me free” (RSV).
Reproach... shame... dishonour. A terrible trio of words. “Of all forms of death devised by perverted humanity, crucifixion is outstanding in its shamefulness. Socrates drank hemlock with dignity. King Charles I was kingly even as he laid his head on the block. Many an aristo[crat] was able to meet ‘Madame Guillotine’ with customary imperturbability and elegance. But the long lingering humiliation of crucifixion has no parallel” (H.A. Whittaker, Studies in the Gospels, p. 720). Compare also Isa. 50:6; Heb. 6:6; 12:2.

Mine adversaries are all before thee, not only in the sense that God knew all about them, but also in the more specific sense that they were priests ministering at Passover in the sanctuary of the Lord!
Reproach in plenty (Matt. 27:39-44), but...

Comforters... none. So it was at his trial (Matt. 26:56).
Gall for my meat. “Gall” = rosh (cp. 68:21?), literally, “head”, i.e. of the poppy, a stupefying and even poisonous narcotic (Deut. 29:18; Hos. 10:4). Figuratively, it stands for anything that is extremely bitter — the sting of a serpent, for example (s.w. in Deut. 32:32,33; Job 20:16).

The Talmud says that a group of kind women sought to fulfill Prov. 31:6 by providing doped drink to men being crucified. Such a drink was offered to Jesus, but, having tasted it, he refused to drink (Matt. 27:34). Why? (a) In Gethsemane he had learned afresh that the “cup” of suffering on behalf of others must not be avoided — and so the cup that would blot out the pain must be declined; (b) Jer. 23:15 says that God would appoint gall and wormwood for false prophets. Eagle eyes watched to see if Jesus drank the gall (poppy) drink, and had he done so his enemies would have been quick to proclaim this Jesus of Nazareth a false prophet, so designated by God!

Vinegar to drink. This Jesus does drink (John 19:29), because it was not narcotic. Thus, this v. 21 is not a true parallelism: these are two very different drinks. In its fulfillment this verse covers the beginning and the end of the crucifixion.
See earlier comments on this section. These are reinforced by the way in which Paul (calling it a psalm of David) quotes in Rom. 11:9,10 (LXX) (see Par. 8), and in v. 8 says: “God hath given them... ” So these imprecations are now pronouncements by Christ the Judge.
Their table now means both altar and Passover meal table (see earlier note), for the two were closely related. Is it coincidence that the A.D. 70 siege of Jerusalem began at Passover?

For the last phrase, RSV mg. has: Let their security (i.e. that in which they trust) be a trap. Their sacrificial system had now lost its effectiveness (vv. 30,31). It trapped them now in an old way that could not give life.

All this sounds a stern warning for believers today: For us, the “table” of the Lord can become a “snare” also, if we are lulled into thinking that mere attendance at, and participation in, the memorial feast is sufficient. So Paul warns, “Let a man examine himself, and so (and only so) let him eat” (1 Cor. 11:28,29).
Let their eyes be darkened; that they see not. Matt. 13:13-15; John 12:39,40. The judgment of Isa. 6:9,10 on a stubborn and rebellious nation.

Make their loins continually to shake. This has been true of Israel during the time when “cast off” by God: cp. Jer. 30:6.
Pour out thine indignation (79:6; Isa. 42:25; Jer. 10:25; Lam. 2:4; 4:11; Ezek. 7:8; 9:8; Hos. 5:10; Zeph. 3:8). But one day this will be matched by a different sort of outpouring: i.e. of the Spirit of grace (Zech. 12:10) and of cleansing (13:1).

Let thy wrathful anger take hold of them, or overtake them. An anger already foretold (s.w. Deut. 28:15,45).
Let their habitation be desolate. Compare the “desolation” of Dan. 9:27. Jesus alluded to this place in Matt. 23:38 — “Your house is left unto you desolate” — soon after his second cleansing of the temple (v. 9 here). (Note the eloquent and sarcastic “your” — not “my” or “our” — of this verse; and compare it with the two-fold “their” of Psa. 69:25!) Christ’s invective in the Olivet prophecy matches the imprecations here.

Peter changed the pronoun, and applied the words (along with Psa. 109:8) to Judas (Acts 1:20) — as prototype of those bringing about the condemnation of Jesus. If these words apply especially to Judas, they imply that he had ambitions about his own material prosperity, since habitation = palace!

Let none dwell in their tents. The emphasis here is on “dwell”, with security or permanence. This describes, not Judas, but the awful insecurity of cast-off Israel over the long centuries.
Him whom thou hast smitten is explained by Isa. 53:4,6,10: “Smitten of God... it pleased the Lord to bruise him”.

They talk to makes little sense. The LXX has add to (s.w. v. 27) — apparently following a different Hebrew text: ‘They add to the grief of those whom God has already wounded’.
Add iniquity to their iniquity is either immoral or meaningless. But see earlier note on this: adding commensurate punishment to their iniquity makes perfect sense. “His blood be upon us, and on our children” (Matt. 27:25).

Let them not come into thy righteousness. “May they have no acquittal from thee” (RSV).
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living. Moses’ prayer (Exod. 32:32) means, in effect: ‘If thou wilt blot them out of thy book (because of apostasy), then blot me out of it also.’ This verse looks back to that incident but reverses the prayer: ‘Blot them out — they are utterly unworthy.’ Rev. 3:5 clearly has both passages in mind. Note there the contrast with Exod. 32:25: Aaron (representing the Law) exposed their nakedness, or sin. Moses (representing the Saviour) sought their forgiveness. Luke 10:20 is another, less obvious, allusion to this verse. For the Lord’s “book” in general, see references at Psa. 56:8.
But I am poor. The Lord’s suffering servant (cp. 22:24; 40:17, notes; 109:16,22; etc.).

Let thy salvation... set me up on high. An unexpected emphasis that even Messiah needed the salvation of God.

The scene moves to Messiah’s kingdom.

I will praise the name of God. This looks in faith to a great deliverance.
Better than an ox or bullock. No comparison can be made between this sacrifice of the Lamb of God and all the temple sacrifices ever offered (Heb. 9:11-14; 10:1-14). This is reality; they were all nothing but elaborate “shadows”. Compare also Rom. 12:1.

Horns and hoofs, emphasizing that this offering is mature and also clean in the sight of God (Lev. 11:3).
His prisoners. A link with Zech. 9:11. Also see Psa. 68:6.
Let the heavens and earth praise him, through the ministration of a new Melchizedek priesthood. See 103:20; 148:2.
For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah; that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. This verse speaks of the Holy Land saved from its final desolation (which has not even happened yet).
The seed also of his servants shall inherit it. 22:30,31; Gen. 13:15.

8. New Testament quotations

Along with Psalm 22, Psalm 69 is the most quoted Old Testament Scripture in the New Testament.

a.         Verse 4a = John 15:25

They hated me without a cause. This quotation is the perfect conclusion to an exceedingly somber warning (15:18-25) by the Lord Jesus to his disciples that they would inherit the hatred and persecution which had followed him. The repeated emphasis in these eight verses must have been a shock to the disciples, turned to more intense reality when within an hour or two they all forsook him and fled.

b.         Verse 9a = John 2:17

The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. The words embody the figure of a burnt-offering, the fire of God consuming (and destroying) the sacrifice utterly. Not, of course, these animal sacrifices, but this one all-sufficient offering (69:31). So the sacrificial animals were driven out of the temple by a Jesus ablaze with a mighty indignation against hypocrites who had turned holy worship into cold formality and base gain. Jesus was never forgiven this first public act of his ministry. From that day his own violent death was inevitable. The Passover lamb was to be “roast with fire, his head with his legs” (Exod. 12:9). At this first Passover of his ministry, this Passover lamb, consumed with burning indignation on his Father’s behalf, prepared the way for the last Passover.

c.         Verse 9b = Romans 15:3

For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The re-proaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. In the context of the psalm, behavior which was essentially a reproach against God, or an offence unto Him, had the same effect on David and on Christ. As with v. 4 (= John 15:25), what was valid for the Master is valid also for disciples — certainly this attitude to fellow-disciples, even when the way of life they follow is not such as to command approval. This is the carryover of the context from Romans 14. This principle applies both ways: Those who took lightly their loyalty to God also took lightly their loyalty to His king; and those whose lack of spirituality was offensive in God's sight, were also a provocation to His Son. How often he must have muzzled his indignation. And so also it must be in the life of sincere disciples: many things which they observe in their fellow-believers which are unpleasing to God, must (contrary to all human nature) be borne patiently for fellowship’s sake.

d. Verse 22 = Romans 11:9,10

And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. Paul’s application of the psalm’s imprecations is more extreme than would be expected. Here he does not comment on the aggressive hostility of Judaists to faith in Jesus, but rather on “the spirit of slumber” — the sheer lack of spiritual perception — afflicting the nation of Israel. The consequence is the same as in David’s time — sin meets with corresponding retribution: they are given a spirit of slumber, and their “table” (their altar) becomes “a snare and a trap”. Instead of leading them to Christ, the altar and the sacrifices thereon become a hindrance and even a fatal ob-session and delusion — and thus those very sacrifices led them further and further away from the One to whom they pointed.

e.         Verse 25 = Acts 1:20 (see also Matthew 23:38)

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be deso-late, and let no man dwell therein. These words, true of the generation which crucified Christ, are specially true regarding Judas, for “to whom men have committed much, of them they will ask the more.” Israel lost its “habitation” (the temple) and its “tents” (the synagogues scattered throughout the Roman empire). In an even more dire fashion the spirit of this denunciation came home in the experience of Judas.

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