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Psalm chapter 32

New International Version

1 Of David. A maskil. Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.' And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
English Standard Version

1 A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. 10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. 11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
King James Version

1 {A Psalm of David, Maschil.} Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. 6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. 8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. 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.
New American Standard Bible

1 How blessed is he whose wrongdoing is forgiven, Whose sin is covered! 2 How blessed is a person whose guilt the LORD does not take into account, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! 3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality failed as with the dry heat of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And I did not hide my guilt; I said, 'I will confess my wrongdoings to the LORD'; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah 6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; Certainly in a flood of great waters, they will not reach him. 7 You are my hiding place; You keep me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will advise you with My eye upon you. 9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you. 10 The sorrows of the wicked are many, But the one who trusts in the LORD, goodness will surround him. 11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.
New Living Translation

1 A psalm of David. Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude
8 The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. 9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.'
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD. 11 So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
Christian Standard Bible

1 How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
2 How joyful is a person whom the Lord does not charge with iniquity and in whose spirit is no deceit! 3 When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer's heat. Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah 6 Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to you immediately. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance. Selah 8 I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel.
9 Do not be like a horse or mule, without understanding, that must be controlled with bit and bridle or else it will not come near you. 10 Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the Lord will have faithful love surrounding him. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

What does Psalm chapter 32 mean?

When David committed sin with Bathsheba, then sinned further trying to cover up his crimes, God brought intense misery into his life. It was not until Nathan, a prophet, rebuked David that he finally admitted his guilt before the Lord and found forgiveness (2 Samuel 11—12). This psalm corresponds to Psalm 51, which was David's initial response to Nathan's righteous accusation. In Psalm 32, David reflects on the blessing of divine forgiveness. That self-examination is likely part of the meaning of the Hebrew term Maskiyl, likely referring to a specific type of musical arrangement.

The psalm begins with David expressing the relief which comes with being forgiven of sin. This can only come when a person confesses to God and accepts that their actions were wrong. Resisting that admission cost David intense emotional and physical distress. God's conviction is unpleasant, but it's part of His mercy (Hebrews 12:6). Forcing a person to confront their own sin leads to repentance, restoration, and growth (1 John 1:8–10). When there is no admission of sin, that relationship remains strained (Psalm 32:1–4).

Confession before God leads to relief. Those who sincerely seek God (John 3:36) can anticipate being forgiven when they acknowledge sin and repent. David encourages others to do the same as he has done (Psalm 32:5–7).

The advice offered next is subject to some level of debate. Interpreters disagree as to whether verses 8 and 9 are "spoken" from the perspective of David, or as God. Neither option changes the truth, meaning, or application of the verses. True wisdom starts with an acknowledgement of God's truth (Proverbs 1:7). Reacting negatively to good counsel is foolish and leads to even more suffering. Those who trust in God's knowledge are not free from all troubles (John 16:33), but they can be assured of His loving care amid those circumstances (Psalm 32:8–9).

The psalm concludes with an encouragement for praise. Compared to those who stubbornly refuse to admit their sin, humble and godly people have every reason to rejoice in God. Receiving forgiveness of sin not only results in an immediate restoration of our relationship with God, but it also gives reasons for us to celebrate (Psalm 32:10–11).