Psalms 69 Commentary

Psalm 69 Undeserved suffering

As a person sinking in a muddy pit, or someone drowning in swirling floodwaters, so the psalmist fears he is being overwhelmed by his sufferings. No human help is near (1-3). His enemies cruelly injure him, forcing him to suffer for sins that he did not commit (4). He knows he is not sinless, but he also knows that he has tried to live uprightly before God. On the basis of this he cries out to God to rescue him. He does not want his enemies to triumph over him, in case other believers are discouraged (5-6).

This suffering is for God’s sake. The psalmist is an outcast even among his own family (7-8). His zeal for God, his fasting, and his other acts of devotion are merely an excuse for others to mock him and insult God (9-12).

At this point the psalmist turns to consider God’s steadfast love. Although his sufferings and dangers are not lessened, he believes God will rescue him from them (13-18). He has nothing but disappointment from those he thought were his friends. They have all deserted him. His enemies increase his torture by the poisoned food and bitter drink they give him (19-21). The psalmist prays that his persecutors themselves will taste something of the tortures that they have been giving him – the poisoned food, the


dark hiding places, the weakness the fear, the loneliness (22-25). As they have heaped sorrow on the godly, may God heap his punishment on them (26-28).

Although in pain and despair, the psalmist still trusts in God, believing that God will hear him. He promises that his worship will be thankful and sincere, far more than the mere sacrifice of animals (29- 31). His deliverance will encourage others who are harshly treated to put their whole trust in God (32-33). And if God can save the individual, he can also save the nation and make it a fitting dwelling place for the righteous (34-36).

For the wider meaning of many sections of the psalm in the experience of Jesus Christ, see Background. See also introductory and closing notes to Psalm 22. For quotations of this psalm in the New Testament cf. v. 4 with John 15:25; cf. v. 9 with John 2:17, Rom 15:3; cf. v. 21 with Matt 27:34,38; cf. v.

22-23 with Rom 11:9-10; cf. v. 24 with Rev 16:1; cf. v. 25 with Acts 1:20; cf. v. 28 with Rev 20:15.

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