Psalm 69:5
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) My foolishness.—This does not conflict with a true Messianic application of the Psalm, but is fatal to that which would see in the author not an imperfect type, but a prophetic mouthpiece of Christ.

Psalm 69:5. O God, thou knowest my foolishness — Hebrew, אולתי, ivalti, rendered in the Liturgy version, my simpleness. As if he had said, Thou knowest the simplicity and uprightness of my heart, that I have never intentionally injured those that thus cruelly hate and persecute me, but have always designed and endeavoured to act right toward them. And my sins are not hid from thee — But, O Lord, although I have been innocent toward mine enemies, yet I must confess I am guilty of many sins and follies against thee, and have given thee just cause to punish me by giving me up into their hands, and by denying or delaying to help me.

69:1-12 We should frequently consider the person of the Sufferer here spoken of, and ask why, as well as what he suffered, that, meditating thereon, we may be more humbled for sin, and more convinced of our danger, so that we may feel more gratitude and love, constraining us to live to His glory who died for our salvation. Hence we learn, when in affliction, to commit the keeping of our souls to God, that we may not be soured with discontent, or sink into despair. David was hated wrongfully, but the words far more fully apply to Christ. In a world where unrighteousness reigns so much, we must not wonder if we meet with those that are our enemies wrongfully. Let us take care that we never do wrong; then if we receive wrong, we may the better bear it. By the satisfaction Christ made to God for our sin by his blood, he restored that which he took not away, he paid our debt, suffered for our offences. Even when we can plead Not guilty, as to men's unjust accusations, yet before God we must acknowledge ourselves to deserve all that is brought upon us. All our sins take rise from our foolishness. They are all done in God's sight. David complains of the unkindness of friends and relations. This was fulfilled in Christ, whose brethren did not believe on him, and who was forsaken by his disciples. Christ made satisfaction for us, not only by putting off the honours due to God, but by submitting to the greatest dishonours that could be done to any man. We need not be discouraged if our zeal for the truths, precepts, and worship of God, should provoke some, and cause others to mock our godly sorrow and deadness to the world.O God, thou knowest my foolishness - The errors and follies of my life. Though conscious of innocence in this case - though he felt that his enemies hated him "without cause," and that they took what belonged to him and not to them, yet he was not insensible to the fact that he was a sinner, and he was not unwilling to confess before God, that, however conscious of uprightness he might be in his dealings toward people, yet toward God, he was a sinful man. From him he deserved all that had come upon him. Indeed the very calamities which had been permitted to come upon him were proof to his own mind that he was a sinner, and served, as they were doubtless designed, to turn his mind to that fact, and to humble him. The effect of calamities coming upon us, as reminding us of the fact that we are sinners, is often referred to in the Psalms. See Psalm 38:2-4; Psalm 40:12.

And my sins are not hid from thee - Margin, "guiltiness." The word used here has always attached to it the idea of "guilt." The meaning is, that God knew all his life; and that however unjust the conduct of "men" toward him might be when they treated him as if he had wronged them, yet considered as a part of the dealings of God, or as having been suffered to come upon him from God, all that had occurred was right, for it was a proper expression of the divine displeasure against his sins. We may feel that we have not wronged our fellow-men; yet even the treatment which we receive from them, however unjust so far as they are concerned, may be regarded as deserved by us at the hand of God, and as proper on his part as an expression of his displeasure for our transgressions against him, and as a proof that we are sinners. Trial never comes to us from any quarter except as founded on the fact that we are sinners; and even where there is entire innocence toward our fellow-men, God may make use of their passions to rebuke and discipline us for our sins toward himself.

5. This may be regarded as an appeal, vindicating his innocence, as if he had said, "If sinful, thou knowest," &c. Though David's condition as a sufferer may typify Christ's, without requiring that a parallel be found in character.5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins axe not hid from thee.

6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.

7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered face.

8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children.

9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.

11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.

12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.

Psalm 69:5

"O God, thou knowest my foolishness." David might well say this, but not David's Lord; unless it be understood as an appeal to God as to his freedom from folly which men imputed to him when they said he was mad. That which was foolishness to men was superlative wisdom before God. How often might we use these words in their natural sense, and if we were not such fools as to be blind to our own folly, this confession would be frequently on our ips. When we feel that we have been foolish we are not, therefore, to cease from prayer, but rather to be more eager and fervent in it. Fools had good need consult with the infinitely wise. "And my sins are not hid from thee." They cannot be hid with any fig leaves of mine: only the covering which thou wilt bring me can conceal their nakedness and mine. It ought to render confession easy, when we are assured that all is known already. That prayer which has no confession in it may please a Pharisee's pride, but will never bring down justification. They who have never seen their sins in the light of God's omniscience are quite unable to appeal to that omniscience in proof of their piety. He who can say, "Thou knowest my foolishness," is the only man who can add, "But thou knowest that I love thee."

Psalm 69:6

"Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake." If he were deserted, others who were walking in the same path of faith would be discouraged and disappointed. Unbelievers are ready enough to catch at anything which may turn humble faith into ridicule, therefore, O God of all the armies of Israel, let not my case cause the enemy to blaspheme - such is the spirit of this verse. Our blessed Lord ever had a tender concern for his people, and would not have his own oppression of spirit become a source of discouragement to them. "Let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel." He appealed to the Lord of hosts by his power to help him, and now to the God of Israel by his covenant faithfulness to come to the rescue. If the captain of the host fail, how will it fare with the rank and file? If David flee, what will his followers do? If the king of believers shall find his faith unrewarded, how will the feeble ones hold on their way? Our Lord's behaviour during his sharpest agonies is no cause of shame to us; he wept, for he was man, but he murmured not, for he was sinless man; he cried, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;" for he was human, but he added, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt," for his humanity was without taint of rebellion. In the depths of tribulation no repining word escaped him, for there was no repining in his heart. The Lord of martyrs Witnessed a good confession. He was strengthened in the hour of peril, and came off more than a conqueror, as we also shall do, if we hold fast our confidence even to the end.

Psalm 69:7

"Because for thy sake I have borne reproach." Because he undertook to do the Father's will, and teach his truth, the people were angry; because he declared himself to be the Son of God, the priesthood raved. They could find no real fault in him, but were forced to hatch up a lying accusation before they could commence their sham trial of him. The bottom of the quarrel was, that God was With him, and he with God, while the Scribes and Pharisees sought only their vhf own hour. Reproach is at all times very cutting to a man of integrity, and it must have come with acute force upon one of so unsullied a character as our Lord: yet see, how he turns to his God, and finds his consolation in the fact that he is enduring all for his Father's sake. The like comfort belongs to all misrepresented and persecuted saints. "Shame hath covered my face." Men condemned to die frequently had their faces covered as they were dragged away from the judge's seat, as was the case With the wicked Haman in Esther 7:8 : after this fashion they first covered our Lord with a veil of opprobious accusation, and then hurried him away to be crucified. Moreover, they passed him through the trial of cruel mockings, besmeared his face with spittle, and covered it with bruises, so that Pilate's "Ecce Homo" called the world's attention to an unexampled spectacle of woe and shame. The stripping on the cross must also have suffused the Redeemer's face With a modest blush, as he hung there exposed to the cruel gaze of a ribald multitude. Ah, blessed Lord, it was our shame which thou wast made to bear! Nothing more deserves to be reproached and despised than sin, and lo, when thou wast made sin for us thou wast called to endure abuse and scorn. Blessed be thy name, it is over now, but we owe thee more than heart can conceive for thine amazing stoop of love.

continued...

This is added, either,

1. As a proof of his innocency, which he had now asserted by way of appeal to God. Do thou, O Lord, judge between me and them, whether I be guilty of those rallies and sins which they lay to my charge. And such appeals indeed David useth, Psalm 7:3,4, and elsewhere; but then they are delivered in form of a supposition, and not a positive assertion, as this is. Or rather,

2. As an exception to what he last said. But, O Lord, although I have been innocent to mine enemies, and have given them no cause to hate or persecute me, as they do; yet I must confess I am guilty of many sins and follies against thee, and have given thee just cause to punish me, and to give me up into their hands, and to deny or delay thine help unto me. By foolishness he means sin, as he explains it, which is commonly so called in Scripture; or by his

foolishness he means lesser sins, committed through ignorance or inconsiderateness, and by sins those of a grosser nature.

O God, thou knowest my foolishness,.... Not that there was real foolishness in him, who, as man, from his infancy was filled with wisdom, and increased in it; and, as Mediator, had the spirit of wisdom on him, and the treasures of wisdom in him; and, as a divine Person, he is the Wisdom of God, and the only wise God; and, as in our nature, there was no foolishness in his heart, nor in his words, nor in his actions: but this is to be understood either of what was accounted so by others; he and his followers were reckoned foolish and illiterate men, and the Gospel preached by him and his apostles was foolishness to them that perished; or of what he was charged with by his enemies; even with immorality, heresy, blasphemy, and sedition; of all which he was innocent, and therefore could appeal to his divine Father, who knows all things, that he was clear of all such folly; for it may be rendered, "thou knowest as to my foolishness" (x), with respect to what he was charged with, that there was none in him; or else it regards the foolishness of his people imputed to him, the sin that folly of follies, together with all the foolishness in the heart, lip, and lives of his people, before and after conversion; these were all reckoned to him, and reckoned by him, as his own in some sense; and which is confirmed by what follows:

and my sins are not hid from thee; meaning not any committed by him; for then he could not have said what he does in Psalm 69:4; but the sins of his people imputed to him, which be calls his own; see Gill on Psalm 40:12, these must be known to his divine Father, since he is God omniscient, and since he laid them upon him, and he made satisfaction for them to him; and which he observes to enforce his petition, Psalm 69:1; with this compare Isaiah 53:11.

(x) "tu nosti ut res se habeat quoad stultitiam meam", Gussetius, p. 312.

O God, thou knowest my {g} foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

(g) Though I am guilty toward you, yet I am innocent toward them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5, 6. Chastisement is not undeserved; but he commits himself to the mercy of the Omniscient, and pleads for a hearing on the ground that the cause of all God’s servants is bound up with his cause. If he is abandoned they must be discouraged and exposed to the contempt of the world.

Thou is emphatic. Similar appeals to God’s omniscience are characteristic of Jeremiah (ch. Jeremiah 12:3; Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:16; Psalm 18:23). Sin is designated as ‘foolishness’ in Psalm 38:5, where, as here, the Psalmist acknowledges that his sufferings are the chastisement of his sin. This is the only other passage in which the word occurs, except in the Book of Proverbs, where it is common.

sins] Lit. guiltinesses; cp. Psalm 68:21.

Verses 5-12. - David follows up his complaint by a confession of sin (ver. 5), which shows that his sufferings are, at any rate, in some measure, deserved; but, at the same time, he pleads that, as his enemies are really persecuting him for his righteous deeds and his adherence to God (vers. 74 11), God is bound to come to his aid, in order that his own honour may be vindicated, and that the godly may not be put to shame on his (David's) account. Verse 5. - O God, thou knowest my foolishness (see Psalm 38:5). According to the teaching both of the Old Testament (Proverbs, passim) and of the New (Mark 7:22; Romans 1:21, 22; Galatians 3:1, etc.), folly is a form of sin. And my sins are not hid from thee. The rebuke of Nathan and the death of his child (2 Samuel 12:7-19) had fully convinced David of this. Thenceforward his sins were ever before him (Psalm 51:3), continually confessed by him, and felt to be as well known to God as to himself. Compare the opening of Psalm 139:, "Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether" (vers. 1-4). Psalm 69:5Out of deep distress, the work of his foes, the complaining one cries for help; he thinks upon his sins, which is sufferings bring to his remembrance, but he is also distinctly conscious that he is an object of scorn and hostility for God's sake, and from His mercy he looks for help in accordance with His promises. The waters are said to rush in unto the soul (עד־נפשׁ), when they so press upon the imperilled one that the soul, i.e., the life of the body, more especially the breath, is threatened; cf. Jonah 2:6; Jeremiah 4:10. Waters are also a figure of calamities that come on like a flood and drag one into their vortex, Psalm 18:17; Psalm 32:6; Psalm 124:5, cf. Psalm 66:12; Psalm 88:8, Psalm 88:18; here, however, the figure is cut off in such a way that it conveys the impression of reality expressed in a poetical form, as in Psalm 40, and much the same as in Jonah's psalm. The soft, yielding morass is called יון, and the eddying deep מצוּלה. The Nomen Hophal. מעמד signifies properly a being placed, then a standing-place, or firm standing (lxx ὑπόστασις), like מטּה, that which is stretched out, extension, Isaiah 8:8. שׁבּלת (Ephraimitish סבּלת) is a streaming, a flood, from שׁבל, Arab. sbl, to stream, flow (cf. note on Psalm 58:9). בּוא בּ, to fall into, as in Psalm 66:12, and שׁטף with an accusative, to overflow, as in Psalm 124:4. The complaining one is nearly drowned in consequence of his sinking down, for he has long cried in vain for help: he is wearied by continual crying (יגע בּ, as in Psalm 6:7, Jeremiah 45:3), his throat is parched (נחר from חרר; lxx and Jerome: it is become hoarse), his eyes have failed (Jeremiah 14:6) him, who waits upon his God. The participle מיחל, equal to a relative clause, is, as in 18:51, 1 Kings 14:6, attached to the suffix of the preceding noun (Hitzig). Distinct from this use of the participle without the article is the adverbially qualifying participle in Genesis 3:8; Sol 5:2, cf. חי, 2 Samuel 12:21; 2 Samuel 18:14. There is no necessity for the correction of the text מיּחל (lxx apo' τοῦ elpi'zein me). Concerning the accentuation of רבּוּ vid., on Psalm 38:20. Apart from the words "more than the hairs of my head" (Psalm 40:13), the complaint of the multitude of groundless enemies is just the same as in Psalm 38:20; Psalm 35:19, cf. Psalm 109:3, both in substance and expression. Instead of מצמיתי, my destroyers, the Syriac version has the reading מעצמותי (more numerous than my bones), which is approved by Hupfeld; but to reckon the multitude of the enemy by the number of one's own bones is both devoid of taste and unheard of. Moreover the reading of our text finds support, if it need any, in Lamentations 3:52. The words, "what I have not taken away, I must then restore," are intended by way of example, and perhaps, as also in Jeremiah 15:10, as a proverbial expression: that which I have not done wrong, I must suffer for (cf. Jeremiah 15:10, and the similar complaint in Psalm 35:11). One is tempted to take אז in the sense of "nevertheless" (Ewald), a meaning, however, which it is by no means intended to convey. In this passage it takes the place of זאת (cf. οὕτως for ταῦτα, Matthew 7:12), inasmuch as it gives prominence to the restitution desired, as an inference from a false assumption: then, although I took it not away, stole it not.

The transition from the bewailing of suffering to a confession of sin is like Psalm 40:13. In the undeserved persecution which he endures at the hand of man, he is obliged nevertheless to recognise well-merited chastisement from the side of God. And whilst by אתּה ידעתּ (cf. Psalm 40:10, Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:16; Jeremiah 18:23, and on ל as an exponent of the object, Jeremiah 16:16; Jeremiah 40:2) he does not acknowledge himself to be a sinner after the standard of his own shortsightedness, but of the divine omniscience, he at the same time commends his sinful need, which with self-accusing modesty he calls אוּלת (Psalm 38:6) and אשׁמות (2 Chronicles 28:10), to the mercy of the omniscient One. Should he, the sinner, be abandoned by God to destruction, then all those who are faithful in their intentions towards the Lord would be brought to shame and confusion in him, inasmuch as they would be taunted with this example. קויך designates the godly from the side of the πίστις, and מבקשׁיךa from the side of the ἀγάπη. The multiplied names of God are so many appeals to God's honour, to the truthfulness of His covenant relationship. The person praying here is, it is true, a sinner, but that is no justification of the conduct of men towards him; he is suffering for the Lord's sake, and it is the Lord Himself who is reviled in him. It is upon this he bases his prayer in Psalm 69:8. עליך, for thy sake, as in Psalm 44:23; Jeremiah 15:15. The reproach that he has to bear, and ignominy that has covered his face and made it quite unrecognisable (Psalm 44:16, cf. Psalm 83:17), have totally estranged (Psalm 38:12, cf. Psalm 88:9, Job 19:13-15; Jeremiah 12:6) from him even his own brethren (אחי, parallel word בּני אמּי, as in Psalm 50:20; cf. on the other hand, Genesis 49:8, where the interchange designedly takes another form of expression); for the glow of his zeal (קנאהּ from קנא, according to the Arabic, to be a deep or bright red) for the house of Jahve, viz., for the sanctity of the sanctuary and of the congregation gathered about it (which is never directly called "the house of Jahve" in the Old Testament, vid., Khler on Zechariah 9:8, but here, as in Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1, is so called in conjunction with the sanctuary), as also for the honour of His who sits enthroned therein, consumes him, like a fire burning in his bones which incessantly breaks forth and rages all through him (Jeremiah 20:9; Jeremiah 23:9), and therefore all the malice of those who are estranged from God is concentrated upon and against him.

He now goes on to describe how sorrow for the sad condition of the house of God has brought noting but reproach to him (cf. Psalm 109:24.). It is doubtful whether נפשׁי is an alternating subject to ואבכּה (fut. consec. without being apocopated), cf. Jeremiah 13:17, or a more minutely defining accusative as in Isaiah 26:9 (vid., on Psalm 3:5), or whether, together with בּצּום, it forms a circumstantial clause (et flevi dum in jejunio esset anima mea), or even whether it is intended to be taken as an accusative of the object in a pregnant construction ( equals בּכה ושׁפך נפשׁו, Psalm 42:5; 1 Samuel 1:15): I wept away my soul in fasting. Among all these possible renderings, the last is the least probable, and the first, according to Psalm 44:3; Psalm 83:19, by far the most probable, and also that which is assumed by the accentuation.

(Note: The Munach of בצום is a transformation of Dech (just as the Munach of לחרפות is a transformation of Mugrash), in connection with which נקשי might certainly be conceived of even as object (cf. Psalm 26:6); but this after ואבכּה (not ואבכּה), and as being without example, could hardly have entered the minds of the punctuists.)

The reading of the lxx ואענּה, καὶ συνέκαψα (Olshausen, Hupfeld, and Bttcher), is a very natural (Psalm 35:13) exchange of the poetically bold expression for one less choice and less expressive (since ענּה נפשׁ is a phrase of the Pentateuch equivalent to צוּם). The garb of mourning, like the fasting, is an expression of sorrow for public distresses, not, as in Psalm 35:13, of personal condolence; concerning ואתּנה, vid., on Psalm 3:6. On account of this mourning, reproach after reproach comes upon him, and they fling gibes and raillery at him; everywhere, both in the gate, the place where the judges sit and where business is transacted, and also at carousals, he is jeered at and traduced (Lamentations 3:14, cf. Lamentations 5:14; Job 30:9). שׂיח בּ signifies in itself fabulari de... without any bad secondary meaning (cf. Proverbs 6:22, confabulabitur tecum); here it is construed first with a personal and then a neuter subject (cf. Amos 8:3), for in Psalm 69:13 neither הייתי (Job 30:9; Lamentations 3:14) nor אני (Lamentations 3:63) is to be supplied. Psalm 69:14 tells us how he acts in the face of such hatred and scorn; ואני, as in Psalm 109:4, sarcasmis hostium suam opponit in precibus constantiam (Geier). As for himself, his prayer is directed towards Jahve at the present time, when his affliction as a witness for God gives him the assurance that He will be well-pleased to accept it (עת רצון equals בעת רצון, Isaiah 49:8). It is addressed to Him who is at the same time Jahve and Elohim, - the revealed One in connection with the history of redemption, and the absolute One in His exaltation above the world, - on the ground of the greatness and fulness of His mercy: may He then answer him with or in the truth of His salvation, i.e., the infallibility with which His purpose of mercy verifies itself in accordance with the promises given. Thus is Psalm 69:14 to be explained in accordance with the accentuation. According to Isaiah 49:8, it looks as though עת רצון must be drawn to ענני (Hitzig), but Psalm 32:6 sets us right on this point; and the fact that ברב־חסדך is joined to Psalm 69:14 also finds support from Psalm 5:8. But the repetition of the divine name perplexes one, and it may be asked whether or not the accent that divides the verse into its two parts might not more properly stand beside רצון, as in Psalm 32:6 beside מצא; so that Psalm 69:14 runs: Elohim, by virtue of the greatness of Thy mercy hear me, by virtue of the truth of Thy salvation.

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