PSALM ONE HUNDRED THIRTY
TITLE: A Song of Ascents ( ryv
The Sinning Psalmistís Surety (vv.1-4)
The Psalmistís Vigil (vv.5,6)
Encouragement from the One to the Many (vv.7,8)
Analysis: Title and Introduction
1. Psalm 130 is classified as a kind of individual lament.
2. Psalm 130, in Christian tradition, became one of the penitential
(Rebound) psalms along with Pss.6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 143 (there are
3. The songís progress, from its opening line, moves from despair to
assurance to encouragement for corporate Israel.
4. The steady climb to assurance compliments its title: A Song of Ascents.
The Psalmistís Surety (vv.1-4)
The Depths of Reversionsim (v.1)
VERSE 1 Out of the depths I have cried
to You, O LORD ( ~yQim;M;mi
ma-amaqqim, depths; 5X: Pss.69:3; 130:1; Isa.51:10; Ezek.27:34]) ^ytiar'q.
[Qal.pf.1.c.s.w/2.m.s.sf., qara, call; "cried"].
The Plea (v.2)
VERSE 2 Lord, hear my voice
( yn"doa [pr.n.]
shama, hear] yliAqb.
[prep.w/n.m.s.w/1.c.s.sf., qol, voice])!
Let Your ears be attentive ( ^yn<z>a'
[n.f.dual.w/2.m.s.sf., ozen, ear] hn"yy<h.Ti
[Qal.impf.3.f.p., hayah, be; "be attentive"]) tAbVuq;
[adj.f.p., qashshubh, attentive])
To the voice of my supplications (
qol, voice] `yn"Wnx]T; [n.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf.
If God Acted in a Certain Way (v.3)
VERSE 3 If You, LORD, should mark iniquities ( tAnwO-~ai
[part. + n.m.p., awon, iniquity] Hy"-rm'v.Ti
[Qal.impf.2.m.s., shamar, keep, observe; "mark", + pr.n., yah]),
O Lord, who could stand ( yn"doa]
[interrog.pro.] `dmoy: [Qal.impf.3.m.s.,
The Reality and Aim of Forgiveness (v.4)
VERSE 4 But there is forgiveness with You ( ^M.[i-yKi
[conj., for; "But there", + prep., "with"] hx'yliS.h;
[def.art.w/n.f.s., selachah, forgiveness; 3X: Neh.9:17; Ps.130:4; Dan.9:9;
noun is intensive, as in absolute forgiveness]),
That You may be feared ( ![;m;l.
[conj., to the end that, with the result that] `areW"Ti
[Niphil.impf.2.m.s., yare, fear]).
ANALYSIS: VERSES 1-4
The Psalmistís Vigil (vv.5,6)
The songís opening line reflects the psalmistís low-point, as indicated
by the word "depths".
For the modern reader, the word suggests despair.
In its Biblical setting, it evokes the sea of troubles in which the psalmist
is engulfed (cf. Ps.69:1ff; 14ff).
This believer was engulfed in a deadly situation of separation from the
The description of calamity is presented in general and brief terms.
The situation of this psalm is that of a believer in reversionism and under
extreme divine discipline.
This situation is reflective of a high percentage of the psalms we have
Some believers have to be "brought low" before they turn to God (cp. Ps.116:6).
Believers are capable of the same STA activities as unbelievers (cp. Eph.4:17ff).
Whatever his predicament, he was at rock-bottom when he "cried" to the
It is clear from what follows that his sufferings were deserved in nature
His positive volition surfaced under conditions of terror and foundering.
From his miserable situation he confessed his sins (implied) and prayed
with great intensity ("supplications") for God to deliver him from the
SUD (implied; vv.1,2).
As noted above, there are quite a number of psalms which are reflective
of this same situation.
There is hope for believers who abandon God and His +R (as detailed in
No matter how awful the STA activity, there is forgiveness for all who
turn to God in repentance.
The timing of the verbal tenses in verses 1 ("I have cried") and 5 ("I
wait") suggest that he has been praying for relief and continues to wait
upon the Lord to deliver him "out of the depths" (v.1).
The verbs should be interpreted as being past tense.
He has prayed in the past and continues to pray, according to verse 2.
It is important that when a believer is in such a crisis of faith that
he/she keeps on praying for relief.
The psalmist continues to pray for a favorable hearing.
He is acutely conscious that he has no claim upon God based on his recent
This is in contrast to the believer who has been faithful to doctrine and
who is in a crisis of undeserved suffering.
To date he has proved himself to be an unprofitable servant, and the onus
of restoration to a state of acceptability lies with the Lord.
He draws out attention for the first time to the reason why he is in the
predicament he is in.
His present suffering is due to his personal wrongdoing.
The rhetorical question of v.3 concerning his miserable state expects a
If God kept a strict tally of human sin and acted upon it in speedy punishment,
none would survive very long upon this earth.
The verb "mark" is the common Hebrew word shamar, meaning "to keep/guard/retain
The point of the question is, if God kept in His memory or kept a tally
with respect to human sinning, no one "could stand" before His anger.
If there were no other factors within the character and essence of God
but +R, then no one "could stand" before the onslaught of His wrath.
Such is not the case, as God has found a way around condemning all
who have broken His law (10 commandments).
God does not proceed according to the legal stringency of recompensive
The psalmist, under the extreme mental pressure of his self-induced sufferings,
provides the answer in v.4.
He boldly proceeds to remind God that "there is forgiveness with" Him (v.4a).
The conjunction "But" (Hebrew, ki) introduces the opposite viewpoint,
as hypothesized in v.3.
With God is the willingness to forgive.
Godís primary wish is not to condemn, but to forgive (cp. Ezek.18:32; 33:11).
Godís greater glory is served when men repent and embrace Godís righteous
Those who stubbornly refuse to make the adjustments face His lesser glory-His
Other verses clearly affirm this appeal to Godís essence: Neh.9:17; Dan.9:9;
cp. Mt.26:28; Mk.1:4; Lk.1:77; 24:47).
Forgiveness of all pre-salvation sins takes place at the moment of faith
in Christ (Acts.10:43; 26:18).
Since all believers sin (Eccl.7:20; 1Jn.1:8, 10), all stand in need of
Ph2 forgiveness (1Jn.1:9; Mt.6:12).
Even the worst kinds of sins of believers can be forgiven where there is
Believers under the SUD can be forgiven (Jam.5:15).
The OT and the NT know about unconditional forgiveness (Ps.32:1; Rom.4:7).
The psalmist understood this grace principle and appealed to it in his
Deliverance from the jeopardy he was in was proof positive that God had
forgiven him when he turned to God in reversionism.
The nature of his sufferings is not specified (sickness, prison, persecution,
Whenever a believer is so restored, his obligation to steer clear of his
past activities is increased, according to v.4b.
Spiritual and physical deliverance should give the sinner (reversionist)
occasion for sober thinking and behavior for the free grace given.
Those who are inclined to return to great transgression should give pause
and reflect upon their testing of Godís patience.
He can and will put them in even greater depths.
The worst thing that can happen is to die under the SUD.
Again, the fallen believer obligation is increased, and greater obedience
is enjoined (v.4:b).
VERSE 5 I wait
for the LORD, my soul does wait ( ytiyWIq
[Piel.pf.1.c.s., qawah, wait, look for] hw"hy>
[n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf., nephesh, soul] ht'W>qi
[Piel.pf.3.f.s., qawah, wait]),
And in His word do I hope ( Arb'd>liw>
[conj.w/prep.w/n.m.s.w/3.m.s.sf., dabhar, word] `yTil.x'Ah
(Hiphil.ppf.w/1.c.s.sf., yachal, wait, hope for]).
VERSE 6 My soul waits for the Lord ( yvip.n:
More than the watchmen for the morning
( ~yrIm.Vomi; [prep.,
min, w/Qal.pt.m.p., shamar, guard, watch for; "watchmen"] rq,Bol;
[prep.w/n.m.s., boqer, morning, break of day]);
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the
morning ( ~yrIm.vo
[Qal.pt.m.p., shamar, watch for] `rq,Bol;
[prep.w.n.m.s., boqer, morning]).
ANALYSIS: VERSES 5,6
Encouragement from the One to the Many (vv.7,8)
It is sometimes thought that the psalmist is waiting for forgiveness.
Forgiveness occurs the moment we rebound.
However, the effects of the DD may last for an unspecified period of time.
As we saw in the case of David, he was forgiven the moment he acknowledged
his sins, but the crisis his sinning got him into was prolonged.
Davidís intense life-threatening DD did not start the moment he sinned,
but was dropped upon him later and continued for some months after his
confession (cf. Pss.32:5,6; 38:18).
So his confession of trust in the Lord and His promises ("His word") is
that God will deliver him from the crisis He was in.
At this point in the story, he was as forgiven as he would ever be.
He had to ride out the suffering in faith that God would hear his prayer
for physical deliverance.
Verse 5a deals with Faith-Rest.
He recognizes that everything is in Godís hands and timing (v.5a).
He claims certain promises for the repentant suffering believer (v.5b).
His confidence is in the One whom He did not trust in when he went his
In v.6 he mentions by simile how ardently he longs for relief.
He is like a night watchman who, in the darkness, waits for the morning
light when he can relax and go home.
The night may seem endless, but it always gives way to the day.
Morning is certain and its time determined, so God will give relief to
all who trust in Him.
Around him lurks the dark night of trouble, but the promise of deliverance
steadies his soul.
His vigil transcends that of any watchman of the night.
VERSE 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD
( laer'f.Yi [pr.n.]
yachal, wait] hw"hy>-la,
[prep. + pr.n.]);
For with the LORD there is lovingkindness
[conj. + prep. + pr.n.] ds,x,h;
[n.m.s., chesed, loyalty, devotion]),
And with Him is abundant redemption
( hBer>h;w> [conj.w/Hiphil.infin.abs.,
rabhah, be great; cause to be great; "abundant"] AM[I
[prep.w/3.m.s.sf.; "with Him"] `tWdp.
[n.f.s., pedhudh, ransom; "redemption"]).
VERSE 8 And He will redeem Israel ( aWhw
[conj.w/pro.; "And He"] hD,p.yI
[Qal.impf.3.m.s., padhah, redeem, ransom] laer'f.yI-ta,
[dir.obj. + pr.n.])
From all his iniquities ( lKomi
[prep.w/n.m.s., kal, all] `wyt'nOwO
[n.f.p.w.3.m.s.sf., awon, iniquity]).
ANALYSIS: VERSES 7,8
His wait for the Lord (vv.5,6) was not in vain.
As the morning dispels the blackness of night, so he survived to tell about
it and to encourage his people who would find themselves in jeopardy due
to their horrendous sins.
He is lead to call upon His people, present and future, to "hope/wait in
the LORD" in all and every future crisis (v.7a).
But for relief to be there, the people must, like the psalmist, turn to
God in accordance with His directive will (WOG).
Verse 7b,c is akin to v.4a.
"Loyal-love" is at the heat of the covenant with Israel and guarantees
that God will always forgive those who call upon Him in truth.
Israel as a race has fallen into the "depths" of unbelief and apostasy.
Yet "with the LORD" is "loyal-love" and "abundant redemption".
Israel certainly illustrates the principal that "where sin abounds, grace
does much more abound".
"Redemption" is employed here in a soteriological sense.
"Abundant redemption" is seen in the doctrine of unlimited atonement.
This doctrine affirms that Christ died for all men, even those who treated
Him the worst and should have, of all people, known better!
The psalm ends with a dogmatic assertion that God "will redeem Israel from
all his iniquities".
What was provided in grace in the past will be provided for Israel in the
Said redemption is through the rejected Messiah (cf. Lk.1:66).
This anonymous psalmistís experience as a restored reversionist is set
forth as an example and encouragement to the chosen people in the last
Strictly speaking, the race deserves annihilation (v.3), but Godís capacity
to forgive is greater than all our sins.
It is very important that we all remember this when it comes to our attitude
towards others who have wronged us!
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED THIRTY
JACK M. BALLINGER
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church Inc.