George Booker
Psalms Studies - Book 2

Psalm 70

1. Title

To bring to remembrance suggests several possibilities:

To bring to remembrance Psalm 40, with which 70 is so closely linked.
To call to mind the difficult circumstances of David’s experience when these words were written.
The Day of Atonement — bringing iniquity to remembrance (Num. 5:15). Here is a possible link with Psalm 69 (see 69:10,13,22,25 and notes there). David pictures the high priest returning from the Most Holy: the iniquities of David and his men have been put away (vv. 4,5), but the iniquities of his enemies are remembered (vv. 2,3)!

More than one of these may fit the case simultaneously.

2. Links with other psalms

These five verses are virtually the same as 40:13-17 (see the commentary there). There are slight verbal variations and a couple of omissions, which heighten the urgency of this brief prayer. There are also some changes in the names of God. The duplication (as with 14/53) probably came about through the original compiling of separate collections of psalms (see Introduction, Chapter 2).
There is also a very close similarity to 35:10,25-27.
Verse 5 (cp. v. 1 also) = 71:12 (= 40:13).

These details suggest that Psalms 35, 40, 70, and 71 were all written at about the same time, and with reference to the same experiences of David.

The variant names of God (in vv. 4 and 5) from those found in Psalm 40 are noteworthy:

vv. 4,5:


But why? Are we being told, perhaps, that the names of God are to be considered (with some exceptions) as generally interchangeable — and that some of the profound metaphysical discussions of their derivations and usages are really beside the point?

3. Historical setting

Psalm 71:9,18 clearly intimate David’s old age. The mention in all these psalms of enemies and persecution points to Absalom’s rebellion; and the association of 70 with 69 might suggest the same.

Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord. There is here a sense of personal helplessness: cp. 2 Sam. 16:11,12.
Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha. These imprecations can also be read as future indicative: i.e. this is what will happen to them. When the rebellion collapsed, this turning of the tables duly took place (2 Sam. 19:16-40).
Those that seek thee. David’s supporters were, of course, those who shared his godliness. Loyalty to David and loyalty to David’s God were inseparable.

Let God be magnified. Here David is encouraging his supporters to emulate his example, and to depend not so much on military resistance as on faith in God.
But I am poor and needy. Notice the link with 69:29. Here is a man who had been a powerful king for years — now brought to the brink of destitution.

O Lord, make no tarrying. A wonderful expression of a conviction that he has a right to call God to his aid.

4. Messianic fulfillment

Make haste, O God. Note AV italics. The translators have borrowed the words from Psalm 40. If Jesus prayed this prayer in Gethsemane, he had to wait to the third day for the answer!
Let them be turned backward, and put to confusion. This happened literally at his arrest in Gethsemane (John 18:6; see Psa. 27:2, notes).
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. The disciples were made to rejoice and be glad, in the day of the Lord’s resurrection.
But I am poor and needy. See 40:17, notes.

O Lord, make no tarrying. The words are a measure of Jesus’ desperation in his agony in the garden.

The time comes for most believers when it appears that God is delaying His purpose, that He has turned away and forgotten His children’s needs. At one time or another we all may ask, “How long, O Lord?” (13:1; 74:10; 79:5; 89:46). It is then that we must remember that, whatever our present affliction, it is in fact — in the divine perspective — momentary and light when compared with the eternal glory that awaits us (2 Cor. 4:17,18). God’s “delays” are, in reality, only “a little while” (Heb. 10:37) — and then He will send His Son “quickly” (Rev. 22:20)!

5. Prayer

Make haste, O God, Thy child to bless!
My help and my deliv’rer Thou;
Make haste, for I’m in deep distress,
My case is urgent; help me now.

Make haste, O God! make haste to save!
For time is short, and death is nigh;
Make haste e’en when I’m in my grave,
So with the lost I’ll never lie.

Make haste, for I am poor and low;
And scorners mock my prayers and tears;
O God, in mercy be not slow,
But snatch me from my horrid fears.

Make haste, O God, and hear my cries;
Then with the glad who seek Thy face,
And those who Thy salvation prize,
I’ll magnify Thy matchless grace.
Next Next Next