Psalm 32:1-6 “Get Forgiveness!”

Translation & Sermon By Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 28 Jan 2018

INTRO: A thought-provoking one by David.

v     This is the first time that the word “Maskiyl” appears in the Bible.

v     The only places it occurs is in the titles of thirteen Psalms.

v     It is a form of poetry which David - as well as Asaph, Ethan, and the Sons of Korah - used,

v     the root meaning of the word has to do with intelligent, wise thought.

Ø      The ancient versions in Greek and Latin and English translated this word according to its meaning, so,

§         Brenton’s English translation of the Greek Septuagint, as well as the 16th Century Geneva English Bible read “instruction,”

§         and Douay-Rheims’ English translation of the Vulgate reads “understanding,”

§         and Wycliffe’s English version (which also followed the Vulgate) reads “lernyng.”

v     This Hebrew word is spelled in the Hebrew causative (Hiphil) stem, so it indicates that this Psalm will cause us to do some deep thinking, so I’m translating this word as “thought-provoking.” Most modern English versions, however, simply transliterate the Hebrew word as Maskil.

Ø      Perhaps it is akin to the pensées written by French philosophers,

Ø      or like the more-philosophical songs by popular singers, which tend to use a slower tempo and scale back on the drum track and maybe add more orchestration or BGV’s to fit the deep thoughts they’re conveying.

v.1 Oh the blessings of the one whose transgression is being lifted away, whose sin is being covered over!

v     This Psalm starts with the plural noun “blessings,” so, not only is it in the Maskil (thought-provoking) genre of Psalms, it also is in the beatitude genre of writing, like

Ø      Psalm 1 (“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly…”),

Ø      Matthew 5 (“Blessed are the poor in heart, for they shall see God…”),

Ø      and Deuteronomy 28 (“Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country [if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God]”),

Ø      to name a few of the approximately 63 beatitude passages in the Bible.

v     The Hebrew word ashrey (“blessed”) incorporates two ideas that are not exactly both found in any one English word:

Ø      one is the idea of guidance,

Ø      and the other is the idea of happiness.

Ø      To put the two ideas together in a longer phrase, this blessed person has “divine direction that puts them in the right path that will give them happiness.”

Ø      The pagans called it “good fortune,” but when it is a gift from the One True God, it is more than impersonal luck, it is an expression of personal love in relationship with a personal God Who provides what will make us genuinely happy forever.

v     The first beatitude of Psalm 32 is proclaimed over the person

Ø      whose transgression (pesha’ - the guilt of having crossed the line into disobedience and rebel­lion) is literally “being lifted off” (passive participle of Hebrew verb nasa) - thus “forgiven,”

Ø      and, in parallel words, whose “sin is being covered over.” The word for “sin” is khata’ah, and it means to “miss the target,” or, in the words of Rom. 3:23, to “fall short of the glory of God.”

v     It’s like you borrowed your Dad’s car, accidentally ran off the road and smashed it into a tree, totaling it, but then your brother cleaned up the mess, bought a brand-new car of the same make and model, and gave it to you to drive home so that your Dad would never even know that you had wrecked his car. That’s the kind of “covering over” we’re talking about –

Ø      this is not hiding sin so that you can continue doing it

Ø      this “covering” is dealing with sin so effectively that the sin and its consequences are no more to be seen.

v     In Psalm 85, the sons of Korah, after the Babylonian exile, used the same two phrases to speak of forgiveness, and they expounded on it a little more: “LORD, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah You have taken away all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.” (Psalm 85:1-3, NKJV)

v     This makes it clear that the covering of sin is not merely covering it up temporarily and kicking the can down the road in terms of the bad consequences, but this is a covering that actually makes amends, a covering done, not by us, by God’s own hand to create a people for himself,

Ø      as it says in Isaiah 51:16, “I set my words in your mouth, and in the shadow of my hand I covered you, to plant the heavens and to found the earth and to say to Zion, ‘You are my people!’” (NAW).

Ø      David uses the same verb in v.5 to say, “I did not cover my sin” but in verse 1, he says his sin is nevertheless “covered” by God (Unfortunately the KJV and NASB render this verb “cov­ered” in v.1, and and then render the same verb “hid” in v.5 but it’s the same Hebrew word).

v     “Covered” like

Ø      the blood covered the mercy seat in Leviticus on the day of Atonement –

Ø      like when a living soul was interposed between holy God and sinful man, and that innocent party absorbed all of God’s wrath against the sinners, leaving no sin for God to see and to hate in those people anymore – it’s gone!

Ø      Covered like the saints in heaven sing: “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood… to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever!” (Rev. 1:5-6, NKJV)

v     Stop and consider what a stupendous blessing you have been given by God to be loved so much that He would lay down His own life to forgive all your sins and failures! The blessing of not having to carry your own guilt but to have that burden lifted off of you is absolutely wonderful!

Ø      The burden that drives thinking persons into the depths of depression, insanity, and death – that burden will not squash you!

Ø      (Now, we’ll see in a moment that God does put pressure on you to get you right with Him, but it’s nothing like the ponderous weight of unforgiven sin which loads down the unbeliever utterly unable to escape from its relentlessly-increasing mass.)

2 Oh the blessings of the person to whom Yahweh will not count iniquity and in whose spirit there is nothing misleading.

v     The last word in v.2, Remiyah,

Ø      is translated “guile, deceit” in most English versions.

Ø      Its root meaning has to do with “throwing off” or being “pointed in the wrong direction” or being “out of commission.”

Ø      Half the time it refers to speech, and the other half to actions or character, so it’s a fairly broad word for wrongdoing that parallels the word “iniquity” earlier in this verse.

§         It parallels the word for “wickedness” (‘olah) in Job 13:7 and 27:4,

§         The word for “mischief” (havvah) in Psalm 52:2,

§         The word for “unfaithful” (begad) in Psalm 78:57,

§         The word for “lies” (sheqer) in Psalm 101:7 and 120:2 (as well as Micah 6:12),

§         And the word for “slothfulness” (atzlah) in Prov. 19:15.

v     Can any of you claim to have no wickedness, no mischief, no unfaithfulness, no lies, and no laziness in your life? No wonder the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 130:3-4 “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (NKJV) We are all beguiled, thrown off, out of commission, and pointed in the wrong direction, at least from time to time, so none of us can claim the blessing of having no deceit. Our only hope is to find a God who will see all this wrong stuff in us and still not count it against us.

v     Thank God for the good news, “But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.” (Psalm 130:4,  NKJV)

v     Psalm 32:2 is also quoted in Romans 4:3-8 “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.’” (NKJV)

v     How do we become blessed people in whom there is nothing misleading? 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 explains, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (NKJV)

v     What did God do with our sin? He couldn’t just erase it from his accounting, He had to do something with it.

Ø      Isaiah explained in 53:12b “He poured out His soul to the death and was numbered with rebels. And He Himself carried the sin of many, and will interpose for the rebels.” (NAW)

Ø      and Jesus confirmed this meaning in Luke 22:37 (“For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: 'AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH THE TRANS­GRES­SORS.' For the things concerning Me have an end."” ~NKJV).

Ø      But this forgiveness of sin is done by the action of God together with human action as we con­fess our sin and trust God to save us. When humans don’t cooperate, we get the situation in v.3:

3 When I kept silence, my bones wore out by my groaning all day long.

v     “When I kept silence” in v.3 is the opposite of “I acknowledged… confessed” in v.5.

v     In v.3 we have the “before” picture of a man wallowing in his sin, not ready to repent of it – and what a miserable life that is, leaving him groaning all day long!

v     We saw a picture of someone suffering the consequences of sin like that back in Psalm 22 as well, “My God, My God for what reason did You forsake me? My groaning words [come] from [being] far away from my salvation. My God, I call out daily – yet you do not answer, and nightly – yet there is no rest for me.” (Psalm 22:1-3, NAW)

v     v.4 describes the same misery as v.3, except v.4 describes what’s going on from a divine perspective, whereas v.3 described it from a human perspective.

Ø      In v.3, David realizes that he’s miserable when he hides his sin and suffers under the natural consequences.

Ø      In v.4, David reveals the other side of the story, which is God in heaven wanting to bless David, but doing that through a process of putting pressure on David in order to bring David to the point of repenting from hiding his sin so that he will ask God to forgive him and bless him.

Ø      The Jewish Soncino commentary by Rabbi Cohen on this Psalm underscores this same point: “…his suffering was the result of pressure from God to accept the one way of release: confession and repentance.”

Ø      In the Gospel of John[1], Jesus explains that this is the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians to “convict them of sin and righteousness and judgment.”

v     The prophet Jeremiah also explored in-depth this sovereignly-guided process of bringing beloved sinners to repentance and into blessing, using some of the same words from Psalm 32 in his acros­tic poem in Lamentations 3: “1. I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath. He has led me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. Surely He has turned His hand against me Time and time again throughout the day. He has aged my flesh and my skin, And broken my bones. He has besieged me And surrounded me with bitterness and woe. He has set me in dark places Like the dead of long ago. He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He has been to me a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in ambush. He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces; He has made me desolate... 17 You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity. And I said, "My strength and my hope Have perished from the LORD."... 22 Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed... 31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willing­ly… 38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed? Why should a living man complain, A man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search out and ex­am­ine our ways, And turn back to the LORD; Let us lift our hearts and hands To God in heaven…” (NKJV)

4 when Your hand was heavy upon me day and night, my juice was changed into droughts of summer. Selah.

v     The English versions follow the Masoretic text, which literally reads “juice,” thus the KJV “moisture” and the figurative “strength/vitality” in the NAS & NIV.

Ø      We talk about a battery having (or not having) “juice” in it, by which we mean “potential energy,” and I think that’s the idea here too.

Ø      Although the more ancient Greek and Latin and Syriac versions say something kinda different, the contrast offered by the Masoretic Hebrew text between juicy energy and the dry, energy-sapping heat of summer makes good sense to me.

v     The word kharbonay, is defined in Strong’s and BDB’s lexicons as “drought,” following the KJV, but the NASB and NIV translate it “[fever] heat,” the ESV translates this noun as though it were a verb: “dried up.” The Hebrew word is plural, by the way, so I translated it “droughts.”

v     The word qayitz is translated “summer” in some versions and “thorn” in others. The Hebrew words for “thorn” (קוץ) and “summer” (קיץ) are very closely related both in spelling and in the feelings they create in humans:

Ø      My former pastor in Denver, Dr. Leonard Coppes, pointed out in his entry for קוץ in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the root idea is a “deep emotional reaction of the subject issuing in a desired repulsion (or destruction) of the object.”

Ø      The reaction to a thorn piercing your skin is akin to what we feel about heat-waves or hot flashes. I tell you, when I’m showering and somebody flushes the toilet in the other bathroom, diverting all the cold water so that my shower water goes burning hot, wow, that gets a strong reaction from me!

Ø      So, even though they get different translations, there are still commonalities in the way we feel about them[2], and it is that scary, dismaying, painful feeling that David is talking about here.

v     Where are you in this process? Are there areas of your life where God is putting on the pressure and you are “roaring/groaning” and feeling “wasted/worn out” over?

Ø      Do you see that it is the love of God that doesn’t allow you to perish in your sins but rather that guides you into repentance? (Romans 2:4b “ the goodness of God leads you to repentance” NKJV)

Ø      Are you ready to acknowledge the ways you are

§         missing the mark God has set for you

§         or stepping over the lines God has drawn for you

§         or where you have been deceitful or flat-out wrong?

Ø      Are you ready for the guilt of your sin to be lifted off and for your sins to be covered over and amended?

v     What about your friends? My childhood pastor’s wife, Mrs. Barker, tells the story of a rebellious young college student that she became concerned for. It’s been long enough ago that I might not be remember all the details and names correctly, but the story in its broad strokes is true: He was a hellion, but he would ask Mrs. Barker to pray for him when he was doing poorly in school because of his drunkenness or whatever or when he was having relationship problems due to his carousing and so forth, but she would just tell him, “Tommy, I’m praying that God will make you so miserable that you’ll repent of those sins and turn to Jesus!” And he would say, “Oh Mrs. Barker, I don’t want to be any more miserable. Just pray that everything will get better.” And the next time she’d see him, she’d ask, “How are you doing, Tommy? I’m still praying that God will make you so miserable that you’ll repent and turn to Jesus.” And he’s say, “Oh Mrs. Barker, you’re killing me; I wish you’d stop praying that way!” But you know what? It worked! Pastor Barker eventually hired Tommy to be his assistant pastor, God wrought such a change in his life! And the man who is now Reverend Caradine credits the prayers of Mrs. Barker, who understood how God works to bring repentance into our lives. How will this understanding from Psalm 32:4 of how God works influence the way you yourself will pray for people you are concerned about?

v     Also notice that when God’s children sin, He doesn’t leave us alone, even if it might feel like we’re alone and forsaken. Verse 4 says that God’s “hand” was still there with David – even when he was in anguish and not seeing any blessings.

Ø      God never leaves His children. Sometimes it’s not a particularly reassuring presence, but it is God’s loving relationship with us nonetheless, putting pressure on us, “changing” our energetic rush into sin into a sharp, painful, and draining experience so that we will change our attitude toward that sin and come out hating that sin and confessing it as sin and loving and praising God instead!

Ø      And that’s exactly what this brought about in David’s life in v.5:

5 My sin I acknowledge[3] to you, and my iniquity I do not cover over; I talk; I hand against myself my transgres­sions to you, Yahweh, and you will lift away the iniquity of my sin.

v     Notice that this whole Psalm so far is addressed to God in the second person: “Your hand was heavy…  You Yourself forgave.” There is an emphasis on talking to God here in verse 5.

Ø      The imperfect verb translated, “I said” in most English versions could just as well be translated, “I talk.”

Ø      Talk to God. “Keeping silent” is “miserable.” “Covering up” sin is insane! Talk! If nothing else, talk to God about what He’s doing to you that you don’t like, but talk about it!

Ø      (Come to think of it, this is good advice for marriage relationships too!)

Ø      Now, God knows the sins you’ve done. He’s the one that gets offended each time you break His rules for right and wrong, so again, it’s more about you wanting to talk to God because you no longer want to shut down the relationship and rebel against Him. You want to enjoy a blessed relationship with Him, so you talk openly about the ways you have offended Him and acknowledge that you were wrong. “I will respond to the LORD over my transgressions” -  “confess” them.[4]

v     Bible scholars throughout early church history read the preposition [עלי] as, “against myself” – and I think I agree with them over against the more modern scholars on this point. You’ve got to be willing to incriminate yourself and justify God.

v     But of course you can only really do that if you are sure of the final phrase in verse 5, “you will forgive [again, literally ‘lift away’] the iniquity/perversity/guilt of my sin.”

Ø      As 1 John 1 says, “…the blood of Jesus His Son is cleansing us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we lead ourselves astray, and the truth is not in us. If we are confessing concerning our sins, He is faithful and righteous in order to send away from us the sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9, NAW).

Ø      If you are certain of the forgiveness of God, then it’s easy to drop your guard around God and confess – yadah ‘aley - literally put your hand against yourself -  because you don’t have to protect yourself against someone who is willing to be that generous and loving toward you!

Ø      Instead of putting your hand palm-out to God to keep Him at a distance, you turn your palms to yourself to confess your sin and plead for mercy. Have you ever tried using your hands like that when you pray? It’s not the only way to pray, but our body language can be part of how we pray.

6 On account of this, let every godly one pray to You for a time of finding, so at least [when it comes] to a flood of torrential waters, they will not make an impact on him.

v     The certainty of God’s forgiveness is a reason why the godly pray. That much is clear from the beginning of verse 6,

v     but what does it mean “while you may be found”? What is this “time of finding”?[5]

Ø      The way that most English translations take it is along the lines of Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek Yahweh while He is to be found, call Him while He is to be near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and a man of iniquity his thoughts, and let him turn to Yahweh, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will be great to pardon.” (NAW)

§         That interpretation, however, requires adding a couple of words which are not in the Hebrew text of Psalm 32:6 – particularly changing the active participle to a passive meaning and adding the word “you,”

Ø      so I looked for other possibilities and discovered that the only other time that “praying” and “finding” occur together in the same verse in the Old Testament is 2 Samuel 7:27 “For You, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, 'I will build you a house.' Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You… You have promised this goodness to Your servant. Now therefore, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue before You forever...” (NKJV).

§         The parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 17:25 is even more succinct: “For You, O my God, have revealed to Your servant that You will build him a house. Therefore Your servant has found to pray to You.”

§         Perhaps the poetry in Psalm 32 crunches it down into an even more terse statement that can be unpacked if you roll it back to 2 Samuel 7:27 which spells out the logical sequence in full:

·         First, God made a promise to David,

·         then David “found” the courage (or found it in his heart) to pray in a way that claimed that promise,

·         and he trusts God to answer his prayer positively.

§         This is what I see in Psalm 32, too:

·         First there is the assurance that God will forgive sins if they are confessed,

·         then the godly respond by praying to find the courage to act on that promise and claim forgiveness for themselves,

·         and then they can sing and declare to others that they will be forgiven, but I’ll save that for the next sermon!

Comparison of editions and versions of Psalm 32:1-6[A]

Vaticanus (31)

Brenton (LXX)

DouayRheims (Vulgate 31)




1 Τῷ Δαυιδ· συνέσεως. Μακάριοι ὧν ἀφ­έθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι καὶ ὧν ἐπεκαλύφ­θησαν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι·

1 A Psalm of instruction by David. Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and who sins are covered.

1 To David himself, understanding. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin[s] are covered.

1 A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose trans­gres­sion is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

1 A thought-pro­voking one by David. Oh the blessings of the one whose trans­gression is being lifted away, whose sin is being covered over!

א) לְדָוִד מַשְׂכִּיל[B] אַשְׁרֵי[C] נְשׂוּי פֶּשַׁע כְּסוּי חֲטָאָה.[D]

2 μακάριος ἀνήρ, οὗ οὐ μὴ λογίσ­ηται κύριος ἁμαρ­τίαν X X, οὐδὲ ἔστιν ἐν τῷ στό­ματι αὐτοῦ δόλος.

2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin, and whose mouth there is no guile.

2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord hath not im­puted sin, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

2 Blessed is the man unto[E] whom the LORD im­puteth not iniqui­ty, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

2 Oh the blessings of the person to whom Yahweh will not count iniquity and in whose spirit there is nothing mis­leading.

ב) אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם לֹא יַחְשֹׁב יְהוָה לוֹ עָו‍ֹן וְאֵין בְּרוּחוֹ[F] רְמִיָּה[G].

3 ὅτι ἐσίγησα, ἐπαλαιώθη τὰ ὀστᾶ μου ἀπὸ τοῦ κράζειν με ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν·

3 Because I kept silence, my bones waxed old, from my crying all the day.

3 Because I was silent my bones grew old; whilst I cried out all the day long.

3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roar­ing all the day long.

3 When I kept silence, my bones wore out by my groaning all day long.

ג) כִּי הֶחֱרַשְׁתִּי בָּלוּ עֲצָמָי בְּשַׁאֲגָתִי כָּל הַיּוֹם.

4 ὅτι ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς ἐβαρύν­θη ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ χείρ σου, ἐστρά­φ­ην εἰς ταλαι­πω­ρ­ίαν ἐν τῷ ἐμπαγῆναι ἄκ­αν­θαν διάψαλμα

4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: I became thoroughly mis­er­able while a thorn was fast­ened [in me]. Pause.

4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: I am turned in my ang­uish, whilst the thorn is fastened.

4 For[H] day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into [the] drought of summer. Selah.

4 when Your hand was heavy upon me day and night, my juice was changed into droughts of summer. Selah.

ד) כִּי יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה תִּכְבַּד עָלַי יָדֶךָ נֶהְפַּךְ לְשַׁדִּי בְּחַרְבֹנֵי קַיִץ[I] סֶלָה.

5 τὴν ἁμαρτίαν μου ἐγνώρισα καὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν μου οὐκ ἐκάλυ­ψα· εἶπα Ἐξ­αγορ­εύσω κατ᾿ ἐμοῦ τὴν ἀνομ­ίαν μου τῷ κυρίῳ· καὶ σὺ ἀφῆκας τὴν ἀσέβειαν τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου. διάψαλμα.

5 I acknowledged my sin, and hid not mine iniqui­ty: I said, I will confess mine in­iquity to the Lord against myself; and thou forgav­est the ungodli­ness of my heart. Pause.

5 I have acknow­ledged my sin to thee, and my in­justice I have not concealed. I said I will confess against my self my injustice to the Lord: and thou hast forgiven the wickedness of my sin.

5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will con­fess X X my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgav­est the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

5 My sin I ack­nowledge to you, and my iniquity I do not cover over; I talk; I hand against myself my transgres­sions to you, Yahweh, and you will lift away the iniquity of my sin.

ה) חַטָּאתִי אוֹדִיעֲךָ וַעֲו‍ֹנִי לֹא כִסִּיתִי אָמַרְתִּי אוֹדֶה עֲלֵי[J] פְשָׁעַי לַיהוָה וְאַתָּה נָשָׂאתָ עֲו‍ֹן חַטָּאתִי סֶלָה.

6 ὑπὲρ ταύτης προσεύξεται πᾶς ὅσιος πρὸς σὲ ἐν καιρῷ εὐθέτῳ· πλὴν ἐν κατακλυσμῷ ὑδάτων πολλῶν πρὸς αὐτὸν οὐκ ἐγγιοῦσιν.

6 Therefore shall every holy one pray to thee in a fit time: only in the deluge of many waters they shall not come nigh to him.

6 For this shall every one that is holy pray to thee in a seasonable time. And yet in a flood of many waters, they shall not come nigh unto him.

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when [thou may­est be] found: surely in the flood[s][K] of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

6 On account of this, let every godly one pray to You for a time of finding, so at least [when it comes] to a flood of torren­tial waters, they will not make an impact on him.

ו) עַל זֹאת יִתְפַּלֵּל כָּל חָסִיד אֵלֶיךָ לְעֵת מְצֹא[L] רַק לְשֵׁטֶף מַיִם רַבִּים[M] אֵלָיו לֹא יַגִּיעוּ.



[1] John 16:7-8 NKJV  Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

[2] for instance, even the root of the word kharbonay can be translated “sword” or “piercing dry-heat”

[3] “The [Imperfect] tense of the verb… its literal meaning is: ‘I began to make known to Thee.’” ~A. Cohen

[4] “Moreover, as the same method of confession ought to be in use among us at this day, which was formerly employed by the fathers under the law, this sufficiently refutes that tyrannical decree of the Pope, by which he turns us away from God, and sends us to his priests to obtain pardon.” ~John Calvin

[5] “…he who feels not his disease refuses the remedy… David here particularly intimates the critical seasons when believers are stimulated by a sense of their own need to have recourse to God.” ~John Calvin

“i.e. when the mercy of God is most accessible to us… Alternatively when he finds an opportune moment free from other thoughts, he can fully pour out his heart to God (Ibn Ezra).” ~A. Cohen

[A] My original chart includes the NASB and NIV, but their copyright restrictions force me to remove them from the publicly-available edition of this chart. I have included the ESV only where it employs a word not already used by the KJV, NASB, or NIV. NAW is my translation. When a translation adds words not in the Hebrew text, but does not indicate it has done so by the use of italics (or greyed-out text), I put the added words in [square brackets]. When one version chooses a wording which is different from all the other translations, I underline it. When a version chooses a translation which, in my opinion, either departs too far from the root meaning of the Hebrew word or departs too far from the grammar form of the original Hebrew, I use strikeout. And when a version omits a word which is in the Hebrew text, I insert an X. (I also place an X at the end of a word if the original word is plural but the English translation is singular.) I occasionally use colors to help the reader see correlations between the various editions and versions when there are more than two different translations of a given word. Hebrew text that is colored purple matches the Dead Sea Scrolls, and variants between the DSS and the MT are noted in endnotes with the following exceptions: When a holem or qametz-hatuf or qibbutz pointing in the MT is represented in the DSS by a vav (or vice versa), or when a hireq pointing in the MT is represented in the DSS by a yod (the corresponding consonantal representation of the same vowel) – or vice versa, or when the tetragrammaton is spelled with paleo-Hebrew letters, I did not record it a variant. No Dead Sea Scrolls have been found containing Psalm 32.

[B] This word is only found in Psalms 32, 42; 44; 45; 52; 53; 54; 55; 74; 78; 88; 89; 142, in each case only in the heading.

[C] The full list of beatitudes in the Bible would be: Deut. 33:29; 1 Kings 10:8; 2 Chron. 9:7; Job 5:17; Psalms 1:1; 2:12; 32:1-2; 33:12; 34:8; 40:4; 41:1; 65:4; 84:4-12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1,2; 127:5; 128:1,2; 137:8,9; 144:15; 146:5; Proverbs 3:13; 8:32&34; 14:21; 16:20; 20:7; 28:14; 29:18; Ecclesiastes 10:17; Isaiah 30:18; 32:20; 56:2; Daniel 12:12, Matthew 5:3-11; 11:6; 13:16; 16:17; 24:46; Luke 1:45; 6:20-22; 7:23; 10:23; 11:27-28; 12:37-43; 14:14-15; 23:29; John 13:17; 20:29; Acts 20:35; 26:2; Romans 4:7-8; 14:22; 1 Cor. 7:40; James 1:12,25; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:14; Revelation 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7-14. The NT word, by the way is makarios.

[D] Septuagint, Vulgate, and NIV render “transgressions” and “sins” in the plural, whereas it is singular in the MT. This is not substantially different; the burden of guilt from many sins can be referred to as one burden of guilt. Since it is feminine, it is not the subject of the masculine participle casui – i.e. “blessings of sin being covered over” but the object of it i.e. “blessings of the man whose sin is covered over.”

[E] ESV=against, Septuagint=omits

[F] Greek(LXX&Symmachus)=mouth; Syriac=heart; Hebrew, Latin & English=spirit. All are connected, so no real difference in meaning.

[G] Only occurs 15 times in the OT (the first dozen of which are in the wisdom literature).

[H] It seems inconsistent to translate ci as “when” in v.3 and as “for” in v.4 when the two verses are making parallel statements.

[I] לְשַׁדִּי בְּחַרְבֹנֵי קַיִץ These three words are difficult to translate, so there are several ways it has been interpreted throughout history.  Practically all the ancient manuscripts in Greek and Latin predating the modern Masoretic text translate the first word (leshaddiy) “into my misery” – as in, “I tossed and turned in my misery,” but that would require an aleph instead of a nun as the first letter of the verb nehfac, so I’m skeptical of that translation. The Syriac offers another alternative, reading shaddai as “The Almighty One,” as in, “it [His hand?] was changed for the Almighty into droughts of summer,” but that would not leave us with a meaningful subject. For some reason, the Septuagint and Vulgate translated the second word, becharbonay “fastened” instead of “dry/heat.” The fact that this word only occurs once in the whole Old Testament explains the reason for the confusion over translation, however. (It’s not even in Davidson’s analytical lexicon!)

[J] Davidson, in the Masoretic tradition, labels this a preposition in the plural construct form with no suffix, but I can‘t come up with a reason for it to be plural or construct. The ancient Greek and Latin versions interpreted it as a simple preposition with a first person pronoun (“against myself”), and that makes more sense to me. The spelling is the same in the ancient Hebrew without vowel pointings. Likewise, without the Masoretic vowel pointings, the next word could just as well be interpreted “my transgressions” (plural) as “my transgression” (singular). The original (unpointed) text leaves this up to the translator to interpret, and, while the plural emphasizes the fact that there is more than one sin, the singular doesn’t deny that fact, but rather treats all the sins as one bundle of sin which God will deal with, so either is fitting.

[K] NIV=rise, ESV=rush

[L] Literally “a time of finding” – the Greek and Syriac versions render it a “good/fitting/seasonable” time, while English versions generally add “you may be.”

[M] Four of the seven times that this phrase ravim mayim occurs in the Psalms, it is pretty clearly speaking of the ocean (Psalms 18:16; 29:3; 32:6; 77:19; 93:4; 107:23; 144:7).