Psalm 32:10
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusts in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 32:10. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked — This is an argument to enforce the preceding admonition; as if he had said, If any will be refractory or unruly, God hath many ways to curb and chastise them, and bring them to be subject to his will. “They,” says Dr. Horne, “who are not to be reformed by gentler methods, must learn righteousness under the rod of affliction, in the school of the cross; and happy are they if their sorrows may so turn to their advantage. But happier are those who, led by the goodness of God to repentance and faith, enjoy the light and protection of mercy.” For, He that trusteth in the Lord, &c. — Who relies upon his providence and promise, for his preservation and deliverance, and commits himself to God’s care and conduct, waiting upon him in his way, and not turning aside to crooked or sinful paths for safety or comfort; mercy shall compass him about — Namely, on every side, and preserve him from departing from God on the one hand, and shall prevent any real evil from assaulting him on the other. 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.Many sorrows shall be to the wicked - The meaning here is, probably, that those who will not submit themselves to God in the manner which the psalmist recommends; who are like the horse and the mule, needing to be restrained, and who are to be restrained only by force, will experience bitter sorrows. The psalmist may refer here, in part, to sorrows such as he says he himself experienced when he attempted to suppress the convictions of guilt Psalm 32:3-4; and partly to the punishment that will come upon the impenitent sinner for his sins. The sorrows referred to are probably both internal and external; those arising from remorse, and those which will be brought upon the guilty as a direct punishment.

But he that trusteth in the Lord - He that has faith in God; he that so confides in him that he goes to him with the language of sincere confession.

Mercy shall compass him about - Shall surround him; shall attend him; shall be on every side of him. It shall not be only in one respect, but in all respects. He shall be "surrounded" with mercy - as one is surrounded by the air, or by the sunlight. He shall find mercy and favor everywhere, at home, abroad; by day, by night; in society, in solitude; in sickness, in health; in life, in death; in time, in eternity. He shall walk amidst mercies; he shall die amidst mercies; he shall live in a better world in the midst of eternal mercies.

10. The sorrows of the impenitent contrasted with the peace and safety secured by God's mercy.10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.

11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Psalm 32:10

"Many sorrows shall be to the wicked." Like refractory horses and mules, they have many cuts and bruises. Here and hereafter the portion of the wicked is undesirable. Their joys are evanescent, their sorrows are multiplying and ripening. He who sows sin will reap sorrow in heavy sheaves. Sorrows of conscience, of disappointment, of terror, are the sinner's sure heritage in time, and then for ever sorrows of remorse and despair. Let those who boast of present sinful joys, remember the shall be of the future, and take warning. "But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about." Faith is here placed as the opposite of wickedness, since it is the source of virtue. Faith in God is the great charmer of life's cares, and he who possesses it, dwells in an atmosphere of grace, surrounded with a body-guard of mercies. May it be given to us of the Lord at all times to believe in the mercy of God, even when we cannot see traces of its working, for to the believer, mercy is as all-surrounding as omniscience, and every thought and act of God is perfumed with it. The wicked have a hive of wasps around them, many sorrows; but we have a swarm of bees storing honey for us.

Psalm 32:11

"Be glad." Happiness is not only our privilege, but our duty. Truly we serve a generous God, since he makes it a part of our obedience to be joyful. How sinful are our rebellious murmurings! How natural does it seem that a man blest with forgiveness should be glad! We read of one who died at the foot of the scaffold of overjoy at the receipt of his monarch's pardon; and shall we receive the free pardon of the King of kings and yet pine in inexcusable sorrow? "In the Lord." Here is the directory by which gladness is preserved from levity. We are not to be glad in sin, or to find comfort in corn, and wine, and oil, but in our God is to be the garden of our soul's delight. That there is a God and such a God, and that he is ours, ours for ever, our Father and our reconciled Lord, is matter enough for a never-ending Psalm of rapturous joy. "And rejoice, ye righteous," redouble your rejoicing, peal upon peal. Since God has clothed his choristers in the white garments of holiness, let them not restrain their joyful voices, but sing aloud and shout as those who find great spoil. "And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart." Our happiness should be demonstrative; chill penury of love often represses the noble flame of joy, and men whisper their praises decorously where a hearty outburst of song would be far more natural. It is to be feared that the church of the present day, through a craving for excessive propriety, is growing too artificial; so that enquirers' cries and believers' shouts would be silenced if they were heard in our assemblies. This may be better than boisterous fanaticism, but there is as much danger in the one direction as the other. For our part, we are touched to the heart by a little sacred excess, and when godly men in their joy overleap the narrow bounds of decorum, we do not, like Michal, Saul's daughter, eye them with a sneering heart. Note how the pardoned are represented as upright, righteous, and without guile; a man may have many faults and yet be saved, but a false heart is everywhere the damning mark. A man of twisting, shifty ways, of a crooked, crafty nature, is not saved, and in all probability never will be; for the ground which brings forth a harvest when grace is sown in it, may be weedy and waste, but our Lord tells us it is honest and good ground. Our observation has been that men of double tongues and tricky ways are the least likely of all men to be saved: certainly where grace comes it restores man's mind to its perpendicular, and delivers him from being doubled up with vice, twisted with craft, or bent with dishonesty.

Reader, what a delightful Psalm! Have you, in perusing it, been able to claim a lot in the goodly land? If so, publish to others the way of salvation.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: this is an argument to enforce the foregoing admonition; if any men will be refractory and unruly, God hath many ways to curb and chastise them, and bring them to his will.

He that trusteth in the Lord; who relies upon his providence and promise for his preservation and deliverance, and commits himself to God’s care and conduct, waiting upon him in his way, and not turning aside to crooked or sinful paths for safety or satisfaction. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked,.... Who will not be instructed and reformed, but are like the horse and mule, without understanding; many outward sorrows or afflictions attend them; loathsome and consuming diseases come upon their bodies by intemperance and debauchery; and they and their families are brought to a piece of bread, through their vicious courses; and inward sorrows, horror and terror of mind, seize them when their consciences are at any time awakened, and are open to conviction; when a load of guilt lies on them, what remorse of conscience they feel! and what severe reflections do they make! and how are they pierced through with many sorrows! And though indeed, for the most part, wicked men have their good things in this life, and are in prosperous circumstances, and are not in trouble, as other men; yet what they have is with a curse; and they have no true peace, pleasure, and satisfaction in what they enjoy; and the curses of a righteous law; and everlasting destruction is prepared for them in the other world, when they will have many sorrows indeed; their worm will not die, and the fire of divine fury will not be quenched; there will be for ever indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil;

but he that trusteth in the Lord; not in his wealth and riches, in his wisdom and strength, in himself, and his own righteousness; for such are wicked persons; but in the Lord; in his righteousness to justify him, in his blood to pardon him, in his strength to support him, and in his grace to supply him with everything necessary for him;

mercy shall compass him about; not only follow him and overtake him, but surround him; he shall be crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercies: the phrase denotes the abundance of mercies that shall be bestowed upon him here and hereafter, as both grace and glory.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. The warning given in the preceding verse is confirmed by the contrast between the lot of the ungodly and the faithful.

many sorrows] Calamities and chastisements. The LXX has μάστιγες, scourges. Cp. Job 33:19.

mercy] Lovingkindness (Psalm 31:7; Psalm 31:16; Psalm 31:21; Psalm 33:5; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 33:22). The clause may also be rendered, with lovingkindness will he compass him about. Cp. Psalm 32:7.Verse 10. - Many sorrows shall be to the wicked. A further warning to those addressed in the preceding verse. The LXX. emphasize this by substituting for the generic "sorrows" the specific μάστιγες, "lashes," the usual punishment of the horse and mule. But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about (comp. Deuteronomy 32:10). For, as his own experience has taught the poet, he who does not in confession pour out all his corruption before God, only tortures himself until he unburdens himself of his secret curse. Since Psalm 32:3 by itself cannot be regarded as the reason for the proposition just laid down, כּי signifies either "because, quod" (e.g., Proverbs 22:22) or "when, quum" (Judges 16:16; Hosea 11:10. The שׁאגה was an outburst of the tortures which his accusing conscience prepared for him. The more he strove against confessing, the louder did conscience speak; and while it was not in his power to silence this inward voice, in which the wrath of God found utterance, he cried the whole day, viz., for help; but while his heart was still unbroken, he cried yet received no answer. He cried all day long, for God's punishing right hand (Psalm 38:3; Psalm 39:11) lay heavey upon him day and night; the feeling of divine wrath left him no rest, cf. Job 33:14. A fire burned within him which threatened completely to devour him. The expression is בּחרבני (like בעשׂן in Psalm 37:20; Psalm 102:4), without כ, inasmuch as the fears which burn fiercely within him even to his heart and, as it were, scorch him up, he directly calls the droughts of summer. The בּ is the Beth of the state or condition, in connection with which the change, i.e., degeneration (Job 20:14), took place; for mutare in aliquid is expressed by הפך ל. The ל (which Saadia and others have mistaken) in לשׁדּי is part of the root; לשׁד (from לשׁד, Arab. lsd, to suck), inflected after the analogy of גּמל and the like, signifies succus. In the summer-heat of anxiety his vital moisture underwent a change: it burned and dried up. Here the music becomes louder and does its part in depicting these torments of the awakened conscience in connection with a heart that still remains unbroken. In spite of this διάψαλμα, however, the historical connection still retains sufficient influence to give אודיעך the force of the imperfect (cf. Psalm 30:9): "I made known my sin and my guilt did I not cover up (כּסּה used here as in Proverbs 27:13; Job 31:33); I made the resolve: I will confess my transgressions to the Lord (הודה equals חתודּה, Nehemiah 1:6; Nehemiah 9:2; elsewhere construed with the accusative, vid., Proverbs 28:13) - then Thou forgavest," etc. Hupfeld is inclined to place אמרתי before חטאתי אודיעך, by which אודיעך and אודה would become futures; but ועוני לא כסיתי sounds like an assertion of a fact, not the statement of an intention, and ואתה נשׂאת is the natural continuation of the אמרתי which immediately precedes. The form ואתה נשׂאת is designedly used instead of ותּשּׂא. Simultaneously with his confession of sin, made fide supplice, came also the absolution: then Thou forgavest the guilt (עון, misdeed, as a deed and also as a matter of fact, i.e., guilt contracted, and penance or punishment, cf. Lamentations 4:6; Zechariah 14:19) of my sin. Vox nondum est in ore, says Augustine, et vulnus sanatur in corde. The סלה here is the antithesis of the former one. There we have a shrill lament over the sinner who tortures himself in vain, here the clear tones of joy at the blessed experience of one who pours forth his soul to God - a musical Yea and Amen to the great truth of justifying grace.
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