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Ps 40:1-17. In this Psalm a celebration of God's deliverance is followed by a profession of devotion to His service. Then follows a prayer for relief from imminent dangers, involving the overthrow of enemies and the rejoicing of sympathizing friends. In Heb 10:5, &c., Paul quotes Ps 40:6-8 as the words of Christ, offering Himself as a better sacrifice. Some suppose Paul thus accommodated David's words to express Christ's sentiments. But the value of his quotation would be thus destroyed, as it would have no force in his argument, unless regarded by his readers as the original sense of the passage in the Old Testament. Others suppose the Psalm describes David's feelings in suffering and joy; but the language quoted by Paul, in the sense given by him, could not apply to David in any of his relations, for as a type the language is not adapted to describe any event or condition of David's career, and as an individual representing the pious generally, neither he nor they could properly use it (see on Ps 40:7, below). The Psalm must be taken then, as the sixteenth, to express the feelings of Christ's human nature. The difficulties pertinent to this view will be considered as they occur.
1-3. The figures for deep distress are illustrated in Jeremiah's
Patience and trust manifested in distress, deliverance in answer to
prayer, and the blessed effect of it in eliciting praise from God's
true worshippers, teach us that Christ's suffering is our example, and
His deliverance our encouragement
(Heb 5:7, 8; 12:3;
3. a new song--(See on
5. be reckoned up in order--(compare Ps 5:3; 33:14; Isa 44:7), too many to be set forth regularly. This is but one instance of many. The use of the plural accords with the union of Christ and His people. In suffering and triumph, they are one with Him.
6-8. In Paul's view this passage has more meaning than the mere
expression of grateful devotion to God's service. He represents Christ
as declaring that the sacrifices, whether vegetable or animal, general
or special expiatory offerings, would not avail to meet the demands of
God's law, and that He had come to render the required satisfaction,
which he states was effected by "the offering of the body of Christ"
for that is the "will of God" which Christ came to fulfil or do, in
order to effect man's redemption. We thus see that the contrast to the
unsatisfactory character assigned the Old Testament offerings in
is found in the compliance with God's law (compare
Ps 40:7, 8).
Of course, as Paul and other New Testament writers explain Christ's
work, it consisted in more than being made under the law or obeying its
precepts. It required an "obedience unto death"
and that is the compliance here chiefly intended, and which makes the
7. Then--in such case, without necessarily referring to order of time.
12. evils--inflicted by others.
13. (Compare Ps 22:19).
14, 15. The language is not necessarily imprecatory, but rather a confident expectation (Ps 5:11), though the former sense is not inconsistent with Christ's prayer for the forgiveness of His murderers, inasmuch as their confusion and shame might be the very means to prepare them for humbly seeking forgiveness (compare Ac 2:37).
15. for a reward--literally, "in consequence of."
17. A summary of his condition and hopes.