Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye.
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(8) I will guide thee with mine eye.—The Hebrew may be rendered either “I will advise—with mine eye upon thee,” or “I will fix mine eye upon thee,” which is the translation by the LXX., and to be preferred. This verse changes so abruptly to the first person that it is better, with most of the old interpreters and, among moderns, with Ewald, Hitzig, and Reuss, to suppose them the words of deliverance that sound so sweet in the psalmist’s ears.

Psalm 32:8. I will instruct thee — Whoever thou art that desirest instruction; and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go — That is, in which thou oughtest to walk. Thus, in another of his penitential Psalms, he resolves that when God should restore to him the joy of his salvation, he would teach transgressors his ways, and do what he could to convert sinners to God, as well as comfort those that were converted, Psalm 51:12. Those are best able to teach others the grace of God who have themselves had the experience of it. And those who are themselves taught of God ought to tell others what he hath done for their souls, and so to teach them. I will guide thee with mine eye — This may be understood of God’s conduct toward, and direction of, his people. He guides them with his eye, by his clear sight and discernment of the way in which they ought to go, giving them information in his word, and secret intimations of his will and their duty, by his Spirit and the turns of his providence, which he enables his people to understand and take directions from, as a master makes a servant know his mind by the look or motion of his eye. But the words are rather, to be considered as David’s declaration or promise to those who were willing to be directed by him. Poole paraphrases them, “I will lend thee the eyes of my mind: or I will be to thee instead of eyes, (see Numbers 10:31,) to advise, direct, and caution thee. I will guide thee, as the rider doth his horse, (to which the person guided is compared Psalm 32:9,) or as a master doth his scholar, or as a guide doth him who knows not the right way.” Or the words may be rendered, I will give thee counsel, mine eye shall be upon thee: see Genesis 44:21; Jeremiah 24:6; Jeremiah 40:4. I will instruct, admonish, and watch over thee. I will give thee the best counsel I can, and then observe whether thou takest it or not. “Those that are taught in the word,” says Henry, “should be under the constant inspection of those that teach them; spiritual guides must be overseers.”32:8-11 God teaches by his word, and guides with the secret intimations of his will. David gives a word of caution to sinners. The reason for this caution is, that the way of sin will certainly end in sorrow. Here is a word of comfort to saints. They may see that a life of communion with God is far the most pleasant and comfortable. Let us rejoice, O Lord Jesus, in thee, and in thy salvation; so shall we rejoice indeed.I will instruct thee - Many interpreters have understood this to refer to God - as if he were now introduced as speaking, and as saying that he would be the guide of those who thus submitted to him, and who sought him by penitence and confession. But it is more natural to regard the psalmist as still speaking, and referring to his own experience as qualifying him to give counsel to others, showing them how they might find peace, and with what views and feelings they should come before God if they wished to secure his favor. He had himself learned by painful experience, and after much delay, how the favor of God was to be obtained, and how deliverance from the distressing consciousness of guilt was to be secured; and he regards himself as now qualified to teach others who are borne down with the same consciousness of guilt, and who are seeking deliverance, how they may find peace. It is an instance of one who, by personal experience, is fitted to give instruction to others; and the psalmist, in what follows, does merely what every converted man is qualified to do, and should do, by imparting valuable knowledge to those who are inquiring how they must be saved. Compare Psalm 51:12-13.

And teach thee in the way which thou shalt go - The way which you are to take to find pardon and peace; or, the way to God.

I will guide thee with mine eye - Margin, I will counsel thee, mine eye shall be upon thee. The margin expresses the sense of the Hebrew. The literal meaning is, "I will counsel thee; mine eye shall be upon thee." DeWette, "my eye shall be directed toward thee." The idea is that of one who is telling another what way he is to take in order that he may reach a certain place; and he says he will watch him, or will keep an eye upon him; he will not let him go wrong.

8. Whether, as most likely, the language of David (compare Ps 51:13), or that of God, this is a promise of divine guidance.

I will … mine eye—or, My eye shall be on thee, watching and directing thy way.

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye.

9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

Psalm 32:8

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go." Here the Lord is the speaker, and gives the Psalmist an answer to his prayer. Our Saviour is our instructor. The Lord himself deigns to teach his children to walk in the way of integrity, his holy word and the monitions of the Holy Spirit are the directors of the believer's daily conversation. We are not pardoned that we may henceforth live after our own lusts, but that we may be educated in holiness and trained for perfection. A heavenly training is one of the covenant blessings which adoption seals to us: "All thy children shall be taught by the Lord." Practical teaching is the very best of instruction, and they are thrice happy who, although they never sat at the feet of Gamaliel, and are ignorant of Aristotle, and the ethics of the schools, have nevertheless learned to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. "I will guide thee with mine eye." As servants take their cue from the master's eye, and a nod or a wink is all that they require, so should we obey the slightest hints of our Master, not needing thunderbolts to startle our incorrigible sluggishness, but being controlled by whispers and love-touches. The Lord is the great overseer, whose eye in providence overlooks everything. It is well for us to be the sheep of his pasture, following the guidance of his wisdom.

Psalm 32:9

"Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding." Understanding separates man from a brute - let us not act as if we were devoid of it. Men should take counsel and advice, and be ready to run where wisdom points them the way. Alas! we need to be cautioned against stupidity of heart, for we are very apt to fall into it. We who ought to be as the angels, readily become as the beasts. "Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee." It is much to be deplored that we so often,iced to be severely chastened before we will obey. We ought to be as a feather in the wind, wafted readily in the breath of the Holy Spirit, but alas! we lie like motionless logs, and stir not with heaven itself in view. Those cutting bits of affliction show how hard-mouthed we are, those bridles of infirmity manifest our headstrong and wilful manners. We should not be treated like mules if there were not so much of the ass about us. If we will be fractious, we must expect to be kept in with tight rein. Oh for grace to obey the Lord willingly, lest like the wilful servant, we are beaten with many stripes. Calvin renders the last words, "Lest they kick against thee," a version more probable and more natural, but the passage is confessedly obscure - not, however, in its general sense.

This and the next verse are the words, either,

1. Of God; whom David brings in as returning this answer to his prayers, and the profession of his trust in God. Or rather,

2. Of David himself; who having received singular favours from God, and having declared what the godly would do upon that occasion, Psalm 32:6, he now undertakes to instruct the wicked what they should do; which he doth, partly to express his thankfulness to God for delivering himself, and his, zeal to advance the honour and service of God in the world; partly, as an act of justice, that he might make some amends to those whom he had injured, and provoke them to repentance, whom by his sins he had scandalized, and either drawn to sin, or encouraged and hardened in sin, which he was obliged and did promise to do upon this or the like occasion, Psalm 51:13; and partly, for the discharge of his office and duty, as he was both a king and a prophet, and a good man; in all which capacities he was obliged to endeavour the conversion and salvation of sinners.

Thee; thee, O sinner, whosoever thou art, who hast no understanding, but art a wicked man, as the two following verses explain it. He speaks this to the generality of impenitent sinners, as the next verse shows, which begins in the plural number, Be not ye, &c.; only he expresseth it here singularly, as appealing and applying himself particularly to the conscience of every individual person, which he thought the most effectual way of proceeding, as he had found in himself, when Nathan applied his indefinite discourse to him, saying, Thou art the man.

In the way which thou shalt go, i.e. in which thou oughtest to walk; the future tense oft noting a man’s duty, as Genesis 20:9 Malachi 1:6.

I will guide thee with mine eye; I will lend thee the eyes of my mind. Or, I will be to thee instead of eyes, as the phrase is, Numbers 10:31, to advise, and direct, and caution thee; which I am able to do, not only by those gifts and graces which God hath given me, but also from my own experience. I will guide thee as the rider doth his horse, to which the person to be guided is compared, Psalm 32:9; or as a master doth his scholar; or as a guide doth him who knoweth not the right way. Or the words may be thus rendered, I will give thee counsel, mine eye shall be upon thee, as it is more fully expressed, Genesis 44:21 Jeremiah 24:6 40:4, i.e. I will watch over thee, and instruct or admonish thee, as I have occasion. I will instruct thee,.... Or "cause thee to understand" (q). These are by many thought to be the words of the Lord, who gives to a man an understanding of spiritual things; he instructs by his providence, and even by afflictive dispensations of providence; and by his word, which is written for the learning of men, and is profitable for doctrine and instruction in righteousness, and by the ministers of it, who are therefore called instructors in Christ; and by his Spirit, when he instructs effectually and to purpose; by him he instructs men in the knowledge of themselves, and of himself in Christ, and of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by Christ; and leads into all truth as it is in Jesus; and opens the understanding to understand the Scriptures, and the doctrines contained in them;

and teach thee in the way which shall go; the path of duty, from whence men are apt to wander; when the Lord hedges up the way they would go with thorny providences, and by his ministers, word, and Spirit, directs them in the right way; saying, this is the way, walk in it; and the way of truth, which is clearly pointed to in the Scriptures of truth, and by the Spirit of truth; and also the way of life and salvation by Christ, revealed in the Gospel and which the preachers of it show to the sons of men;

I will guide thee with mine eye; as a master guides his scholar; or as "mine eye" (r): with as much care and tenderness as if thou wert the apple of mine eye; see Deuteronomy 32:10; or the words may be rendered, "I will counsel", or "give counsel"; as he does, who is wonderful in counsel, and that by his Son, who is the wonderful Counsellor; and by his word and testimonies, which are the delight of his people, and the men of their counsel: "mine eye is upon thee" (s); as the eye of the Lord is upon the righteous, to watch over them for good, to provide for them, guide and direct them. These words may very well be considered as the words of David, in which he determines to act a part, agreeable to the title of the psalm, "Maschil"; which signifies instructing, or causing to understand; and as he thought himself bound in duty to do, under the influence of the grace and mercy he had received from the Lord, in the forgiveness of his sins; and which he elsewhere resolved to do in a like case, and which is an instance parallel to this, Psalm 51:13; he here promises to "instruct" men in the way of attaining to the blessedness he had been speaking of, by directing them to take the steps he did; namely, to go to the, Lord, and acknowledge and confess their sins before him, when they might expect to find pardoning mercy and grace, as he did; and to "teach" them the way of their duty upon this, to fear the Lord and his goodness, and to serve him in righteousness and holiness all the days of their lives; and to "guide them with his eye"; by declaring to them the gracious experiences he had been favoured with, by telling them what he himself had seen and known.

(q) "intellectum tibi dabo", V. L. Musculus; "intelligere faciam te", Pagninus, Montanus; so Ainsworth. (r) "consulam tibi sicut oculo meo", Drusius. (s) "Consulam, super te est oculus meus", Cocceius, Gejerus, Ainsworth; so the Targum.

I will {h} instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

(h) David promises to make the rest of God's children partakers of the benefits which he felt, and that he will diligently look and take care to direct them in the way of salvation.

8. Who is the speaker? The Psalmist or God? Most commentators suppose that it is the Psalmist, who now assumes the part of teacher, as in Psalm 34:11, and fulfils the promise of Psalm 51:13. But surely it must be God who speaks in answer to the Psalmist’s profession of trust.

Would any human teacher venture to say, I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee, as the last line must be rendered with R.V.? For the ever-wakeful ‘eye’ of God’s loving Providence see Psalm 33:18; Psalm 34:15; Jeremiah 24:6. The view that God is the speaker is confirmed by the parallels in Psalm 25:8; Psalm 25:12; Psalm 16:7; Psalm 73:24; and it avoids the abruptness of the transition from Psalm 32:7 to Psalm 32:8, and the awkwardness of the change to the plural in Psalm 32:9, which the other explanation involves.Verses 8, 9. - St. Jerome, and others after him, including Dr. Kay, have regarded this passage as an utterance of God, who first admonishes David, and then passes on to an admonition of the Israelites generally. But such a sudden intrusion of a Divine utterance, without any notice of a change of speaker, is without parallel in the Psalms, and should certainly not be admitted without some plain necessity. Here is no necessity at all. The words are quite suitable in the mouth of David, as an admonition to the Israelites of his time; they accord with the title, which he himself seems to have prefixed to the psalm, and explain it; and they fulfil the promise made in Psalm 51:15. Verse 8. - I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. We must suppose the "godly man" of ver. 6 addressed, if we regard David as the speaker. Such a man was not beyond the need of instruction and teaching, since he was liable to sins of infirmity, and even to grievous falls, as had been seen by David's example. I will guide thee with mine eye; i.e. "I will keep watch over thee with mine eye, and guide thee as I see to be necessary." The Psalm begins with the celebration of the happiness of the man who experiences God's justifying grace, when he gives himself up unreservedly to Him. Sin is called פּשׁע, as being a breaking loose or tearing away from God; חטאה, as a deviation from that which is well-pleasing to God; עון, as a perversion, distortion, misdeed. The forgiveness of sin is styled נשׂא (Exodus 34:7), as a lifting up and taking away, αἴρειν and ἀφαιρεῖν, Exodus 34:7; כּסּה (Psalm 85:3, Proverbs 10:12, Nehemiah 4:5), as a covering, so that it becomes invisible to God, the Holy One, and is as though it had never taken place; לא חשׁב (2 Samuel 19:20, cf. Arab. ḥsb, to number, reckon, ου ̓ λογίζεσθαι, Romans 4:6-9), as a non-imputing; the δικαιοσύνη χωρὶς ἔργων is here distinctly expressed. The justified one is called נשׂוּי־פּשׁע, as being one who is exempted from transgression, praevaricatione levatus (Ges. ֗135, 1); נשׂוּי, instead of נשׁא, Isaiah 33:24, is intended to rhyme with כּסוּי (which is the part. to כּסּה, just as בּרוּך is the participle to כּרך); vid., on Isaiah 22:13. One "covered of sin" is one over whose sin lies the covering of expiation (כּפּר, root כף, to cover, cogn. Arab. gfr, chfr, chmr, gmr) before the holy eyes of God. The third designation is an attributive clause: "to whom Jahve doth not reckon misdeed," inasmuch as He, on the contrary, regards it as discharged or as settled. He who is thus justified, however, is only he in whose spirit there is no רמיּה, no deceit, which denies and hides, or extenuates and excuses, this or that favourite sin. One such sin designedly retained is a secret ban, which stands in the way of justification.
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