|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
40:11-17 The best saints see themselves undone, unless continually preserved by the grace of God. But see the frightful view the psalmist had of sin. This made the discovery of a Redeemer so welcome. In all his reflections upon each step of his life, he discovered something amiss. The sight and sense of our sins in their own colours, must distract us, if we have not at the same time some sight of a Saviour. If Christ has triumphed over our spiritual enemies, then we, through him, shall be more than conquerors. This may encourage all that seek God and love his salvation, to rejoice in him, and to praise him. No griefs nor poverty can render those miserable who fear the Lord. Their God, and all that he has or does, is the ground of their joy. The prayer of faith can unlock his fulness, which is adapted to all their wants. The promises are sure, the moment of fulfilment hastens forward. He who once came in great humility, shall come again in glorious majesty.
Verse 12. - For innumerable evils have compassed me about; literally, for evils have gathered upon me until there is no number (comp. vers. 1, 2). The exact nature of the "evils" is not mentioned; but the worst of them appears to be "the deep and bitter consciousness of sin" revealed in the next clause. Another was, beyond all doubt, the continued animosity of enemies (ver. 14). Mental and bodily weakness may have been added, and have completed the crushing load whereof complaint is made. It is noted that the exceedingly deep consciousness of sin here displayed "belongs altogether to a late part of David's life" (Canon Cook). Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; rather, so that 1 am not able to see. An actual failure of sight seems to be intended (comp. Psalm 6:7; Psalm 31:9; 28:10). They are more than the hairs of my head; i.e. they are more in number. Therefore my heart faileth me; i.e. "my courage" and "my strength of mind" (comp. Psalm 38:10).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For innumerable evils have compassed me about,.... Like floods of water all around him; see Psalm 18:4; these are the evils of punishment inflicted on him, as the surety and Saviour of his people; such as the sorrows and griefs he bore all his days; the cruel mockings and scourges he endured; his being buffeted and spit upon; his head crowned with thorns, and his hands and feet pierced with nails; insulted by men and devils; crucified between two thieves, and so died the shameful and painful death of the cross;
mine iniquities have taken hold upon me; not any committed by him; he was conceived, born, and lived without sin, knew none, nor did he any; but the sins of his people, which were imputed to him, laid upon him, and which he voluntarily took and bore; and which he reckoned as his own and was responsible for them; these, when he hung upon the cross, came upon him from all quarters, and he bore them in his own body upon the tree;
so that I am not able to look up; or "cannot see" (p); either the end of these iniquities, they being so numerous, as is after related; or he could not bear to look upon them, they were so filthy and nauseous, and he so pure and holy; or he could not behold his Father's countenance, which these sins that were upon him separated him from, and caused to be hid from him; or, like one pressed down with the guilt of sin, as the poor publican was, could not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, Luke 18:13;
they are more than the hairs of mine head; as they must needs be, since they were the iniquities of all the elect of God, of the whole general assembly ad church of the firstborn, written in heaven, Isaiah 53:6;
therefore my heart faileth me; as man; see Psalm 22:14; though being supported by his divine nature, and by his divine Father and eternal Spirit, he failed not, nor was he discouraged, Isaiah 42:4; this is said to show the truth of the human nature, the greatness of men's sins, the strictness of divine justice, and what strength was necessary to accomplish man's salvation.
(p) "non potai videre", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; "cernere", Cocceius; "intueri", Gejerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. evils—inflicted by others.
iniquities—or penal afflictions, and sometimes calamities in the wide sense. This meaning of the word is very common (Ps 31:11; 38:4; compare Ge 4:13, Cain's punishment; Ge 19:15, that of Sodom; 1Sa 28:10, of the witch of En-dor; also 2Sa 16:12; Job 19:29; Isa 5:18; 53:11). This meaning of the word is also favored by the clause, "taken hold of me," which follows, which can be said appropriately of sufferings, but not of sins (compare Job 27:20; Ps 69:24). Thus, the difficulties in referring this Psalm to Christ, arising from the usual reading of this verse, are removed. Of the terrible afflictions, or sufferings, alluded to and endured for us, compare Lu 22:39-44, and the narrative of the scenes of Calvary.
my heart faileth me—(Mt 26:38), "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death."
cannot look up—literally, "I cannot see," not denoting the depression of conscious guilt, as Lu 18:13, but exhaustion from suffering, as dimness of eyes (compare Ps 6:7; 13:3; 38:10). The whole context thus sustains the sense assigned to iniquities.
Psalm 40:12 Parallel Commentaries
Psalm 40:12 NIV
Psalm 40:12 NLT
Psalm 40:12 ESV
Psalm 40:12 NASB
Psalm 40:12 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible