PSALMS 40      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


To him that presides over the music, a Psalm of David.

  1. I waited patiently for jehovah, and he inclined to me, and heard my cry.
  2. And he brought me up out of the pit of devastation, out of the mire of clay, and set my feet upon a rock; he has established my steps.
  3. And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our god; many shall see it and fear, and shall put their trust in jehovah.
  4. Blessed is the man that makes jehovah his confidence, and respects not the proud, and such as turn aside to a lie.
  5. Many are your wonderful works, O jehovah, my god, which you have done, and many are your thoughts towards us; no one can be compared with you; I would declare and speak of them, but they exceed all enumeration.
  6. In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted; mine ears have you opened; burnt-offering and sin-offering have you not required.
  7. Then said I, Lo! I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me.
  8. I delight to do your will, O my god, and your law is in my inner parts.
  9. I preach the glad tidings of justice in the great congregation; behold, my lips I will not refrain, O jehovah, you know.
  10. Your justice I have not hid in the midst of my heart; your faithfulness and your salvation I have declared; I have not concealed your mercy and your truth from the great congregation.
  11. You, O jehovah, will not withhold your mercies from me; your loving-kindness and your truth will continually preserve me.
  12. For innumerable evils have encompassed me; mine iniquities have taken hold of me, so that I am not able to see; they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
  13. Be pleased, O jehovah, to deliver me; O jehovah, make haste to help me.
  14. Let them be ashamed and blush together that seek my soul to destroy it; let them be turned backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
  15. Let them be desolate as the reward of their shame, that say to me, Aha! Aha!
  16. Let all those that seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let such as love your salvation say continually, may jehovah be magnified!
  17. As for me, I am afflicted and needy, but the lord cares for me; you are my help and my deliverer, O my god, do not tarry.

The Internal Sense

A thanksgiving and celebration of the father because he had assisted him, verses 1 to 5; that he came into the world as it is written in the Word, that he might do the will of the father, verses 6 to 8; that he also preached the kingdom of god and taught, verses 9, 10; his confidence through his Divine principle as to those who seek his life, verses 11 to 15, 17; they will have joy in the lord, who worship him, verse 16.


Verse 2. He brought me up out of the pit of devastation, out of the mire of clay, and set my feet upon a rock. By a pit of devastation is signified the false principle of doctrine, and by the mire of clay the evil of life; and by setting the fact upon a rock the like is signified as above by making the feet to stand in the breadth, or in a broad place, since by rock is signified the Truth of doctrine from the Word, and in the supreme sense the lord as to Divine Truth. The very life itself, when it is in its fullness, is signified by standing on the feet, and it is then in its fullness, when the natural principle lives from the spiritual; for the ultimate of the life of man is in his natural principle; this ultimate is as a basis to his interior and superior principles, for these close in the ultimate and there subsist; wherefore unless the life be in the ultimate, it is not full, thus neither is it perfect; and moreover, all interior and superior principles exist together in the ultimate, as in their simultaneous principle, hence, such as the ultimate is, such are interior and superior principles, for these accommodate themselves to the ultimate, because it receives them. AE 666.

Verse 3. And he has put a song into my mouth, even praise to our god. Songs in the ancient church, and afterwards in the Jewish, were prophetic, and treated of the lord, especially of his coming into the world, and destroying the diabolical crew at that time more raging than ever, and liberating the faithful from their assaults; and inasmuch as the prophetics of songs contained such things in the internal sense, hence by them is signified the glorification of the lord, that is, the celebration of him from gladness of heart, is especially expressed by a song, inasmuch as gladness in a song, breaks forth as it were of itself into sound: hence it is that jehovah, that is, the lord, in songs is called hero, a man of war, the God of armies, the conqueror, strength, defence, the only shield; and the diabolical crew, which was destroyed, is called the enemy which was smitten, swallowed up, overwhelmed, cast into hell. AC 8261.

Verses 6, 8. In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted; burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required: I delight to do your will, O god, and your law is in my inner parts. It is evident from these Words, that burnt-offerings and sacrifices were merely representative of internal worship, and that when they were separated from internal worship, they were idolatrous; this must be plain to every man of sound reason, for what is an altar, but something of stone, and what is burnt-offering and sacrifice but the slaying of a beast? If worship be Divine, it must represent the celestial principle which should be known and acknowledged, and from which worship should be paid to him whom they represent. AC 922.

That sacrifices were by no means acceptable to jehovah, consequently that they were only tolerated and permitted for the reason just now mentioned, appears plainly from the prophets, as in Jeremiah, "Thus says jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, put your burnt-offerings on your sacrifices and eat flesh. I did not speak with your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings and sacrifices; but this word I commanded them, saying, obey my voice, and I will be your god."Jer 7:21, 22, 23. And in David, "In sacrifice and offering have you not delighted; burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin have you not required; I have desired to do your will O my God," Psalm 40:6, 8. AC 2180.

Verse 7. In the volume of the book it is written of me. It is to be noted that here, and in other passages in the Word, mention is made of a book, but that by it is meant a volume; for in ancient times writing was on parchment which was rolled together, and the parchment was called a book, and the volume [or roll] of a book. AE 299.

The Word is Divine Truth, which in common constitutes heaven and the church, and in particular each angel, that heaven may be in him, and man, that the church may be in him. That by the book is understood the Word, may be seen in the Psalms of David, "In the volume of the book it is written of me," Psalm 40:7; and Ezekiel, "I looked, and behold a hand was put forth to me, and in it was a volume of a book, written within and without," Ezek 2:8, 9. AR 256.

Verse 8. I delight to do your will, O my God. To do the will [or good pleasure] of god signifies to live according to his precepts; this is his good pleasure, or will, because from his Divine love he wills that all should be saved, and by it they are saved. The term good pleasure, in the Hebrew language, also signifies will, for whatever is done according to his. will, this is well-pleasing, and the Divine love wills nothing else then that love from him should be with angels and men, and his love is then with them, when they love to live according to his precepts. AE 293.

Verse 17. I am poor and needy, remember me, O lord, [adonai]. That by poor and needy are not meant poor and needy as to worldly riches, but as to spiritual riches, is evident, since David, who was a king, speaks this of him-self, wherefore also he said, "O jehovah, incline your ear and answer." AE 238.

THE translator's notes and observations.

Verse 14. Let them be ashamed and blush together that seek my soul to destroy it. It will appear that there is tautology in these words, until it be recollected, that to be ashamed has relation to the will, and to blush to the understanding and that both terms are here applied to denote that those two faculties are in the closest connection with each other.

Verse 17, O my god do not tarry. god never tarries, because he is in the continual act of exercising his divine mercy and providence for the general good of his creatures, but he appears to tarry when his creatures are in trial and temptation, on which occasion they cannot discern the rapidity with which he hastens for their deliverance.

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