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Psalm chapter 40

English Standard Version

1To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 4Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! 5You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. 6In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: 8I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” 9I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. 11As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! 12For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. 13Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! 14Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 15Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!” 16But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!” 17As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

1I waited patiently for the Lord; And He reached down to me and heard my cry. 2He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud; And He set my feet on a rock, making my footsteps firm. 3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord. 4How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who become involved in falsehood. 5Many, Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is no one to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. 6You have not desired sacrifice and meal offering; You have opened my ears; You have not required burnt offering and sin offering. 7Then I said, 'Behold, I have come; It is written of me in the scroll of the book. 8I delight to do Your will, my God; Your Law is within my heart.' 9I have proclaimed good news of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, Lord, You know. 10I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your mercy and Your truth from the great congregation. 11You, Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your mercy and Your truth will continually watch over me. 12For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My guilty deeds have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me. 13Be pleased, Lord, to rescue me; Hurry, Lord, to help me. 14May those be ashamed and humiliated together Who seek my life to destroy it; May those be turned back and dishonored Who delight in my hurt. 15May those be appalled because of their shame Who say to me, 'Aha, aha!' 16May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; May those who love Your salvation continually say, 'The Lord be exalted!' 17But I am afflicted and needy; May the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my savior; Do not delay, my God.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Psalm chapter 40 mean?

David experienced danger many times in his life, often as threats from men who marked him out, specifically, for death. In those moments, he prayed to God and was rescued. In some moments, the danger seemed so dire that David saw no way out—like a person trapped in a deep, slimy hole with no escape. Poetically, David describes God saving him from that fate, resulting both in praise and an example from which others can learn (Psalm 40:1–3).

Old Testament books such as Psalms and Proverbs often extol the value of godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 19:7–10). David echoes those themes here, warning against arrogance and lies. He also praises God for the many examples of mercy shown to His people, more than any one person could tell (Psalm 40:4–5).

Psalm 40:6–7 is cited in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:5–9). In that text, the passage is used to explain how God's ultimate plan for humanity involved the obedient use of a specially prepared body: that of Jesus Christ. Hebrews quotes the Septuagint Greek translation, resulting in slightly different phrasing than the Old Testament Hebrew. David notes that God's primary desire is for obedience, and that the Lord had specifically created him with an ability to hear and obey. In response, David plans to honor God's will as explained in the written Word of God (Psalm 40:6–8).

Many of the psalms were written by David—he was not at all afraid to share his praise for God (Psalm 40:9–10).

After celebrating what God had done, David then turns to what God will do. In part, that includes forgiving David of his sins. Despite all his success, David was not ignorant to his own need for mercy. This prayer also asks God to continue to save him from his enemies. The phrasing here asks that those who mockingly hate David will be devastated by their own shame. Maintaining the attitude of humility, David praises God in advance for His response and celebrates the joy which should come naturally to all believers (Psalm 40:11–17).
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