Verse 1. - Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord (comp. Psalm 69:2, 14; Isaiah 51:10; Ezekiel 27:34). "The depths" are the lowest abysses of calamity. They have not, however, separated Israel from God, but have rather brought him to God.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
Verse 2. - Lord, hear my voice; i.e. "hear and grant my request;" or, as explained in the next clause, let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
Verse 3. - If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities. The Prayer-book paraphrase gives the true sense, "If thou, Lord, shouldest be extreme to mark what is done miss." If thou didst not "hide our transgressions" and "cover up" half our sins - then, O Lord, who shall stand? (comp. Psalm 76:7, "Who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?").
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
Verse 4. - But there is forgiveness with thee (comp. Exodus 34:7; 1 Kings 8:30, 34, 36, 39. etc.; Psalm 25:13; Psalm 32:1, etc.; Daniel 9:9; 1 John 1:9, etc.). That thou mayest be feared. Milton makes his Satan say, "Then farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear!" ('Paradise Lost,' canto 1.). And certainly the true fear of God, which Scripture requires in us - a reverential, loving fear - could not exist, unless we had a confident hope in God's mercy and willingness to forgive us our trespasses, if we turn to him.
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
Verse 5. - I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait. "Waiting for the Lord" is patiently bearing our affliction, whatever it may be, and confidently looking forward to deliverance from it in God's good time. The expression, "my soul doth wait," is stronger than "I wait;" it implies heart-felt trust and confidence. And in his word do I hope; i.e. his word of promise.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Verse 6. - My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning; i.e. more eagerly, more anxiously, than even the night watchman, tired with his long vigil. Again the repetition adds force.
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
Verse 7. - Let Israel hope in the Lord; or, "O Israel, hope in the Lord;" i.e. continue to hope, even though in the "depths" of calamity (see ver. 1). For with the Lord there is mercy (see above, ver. 4, and the comment ad loc). And with him is plenteous redemption (comp. Psalm 111:9). Enough and to spare for all (see Isaiah 55:1).
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.