Psalms 130


The prayer of a penitent to God, with confession of sin, 1-3.

Confidence in God's mercy, and waiting upon him, 4-6.

Israel is encouraged to hope in the Lord, because of his

willingness to save, 7, 8.


This Psalm has no title nor author's name, either in the Hebrew,

or in any of the Versions; though the Syriac says it was spoken of

Nehemiah the priest. It was most probably composed during the

captivity; and contains the complaint of the afflicted Jews, with

their hopes of the remission of those sins which were the cause of

their sufferings, and their restoration from captivity to their

own land. This is one of those called penitential Psalms.

Verse 1. Out of the depths] The captives in Babylon represent

their condition like those who are in a prison-an abyss or deep

ditch, ready to be swallowed up.

Verse 2. Lord, hear my voice] They could have no helper but God,

and to him they earnestly seek for relief.

Verse 3. If thou-shouldest mark iniquities] If thou shouldst set

down every deviation in thought, word, and deed from thy holy law;

and if thou shouldst call us into judgment for all our

infidelities, both of heart and life; O Lord, who could stand? Who

could stand such a trial, and who could stand acquitted in the

judgment? This is a most solemn saying; and if we had not the

doctrine that is in the next verse, who could be saved?

Verse 4. But there is forgiveness with thee] Thou canst forgive;

mercy belongs to thee, as well as judgment. The doctrine here is

the doctrine of St. John: "If any man sin, we have an Advocate

with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the

propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the

sins of the whole world." "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;

for the Lord hath spoken!" Jesus has died for our sins; therefore

God can be just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in


Verse 5. I wait for the Lord] The word kavah, which we

translate to wait, properly signifies the extension of a cord from

one point to another. This is a fine metaphor: God is one point,

the human heart is the other; and the extended cord between both

is the earnest believing desire of the soul. This desire, strongly

extended from the heart to God, in every mean of grace, and when

there is none, is the active, energetic waiting which God

requires, and which will be successful.

Verse 6. More than they that watch for the morning.] I believe

the original should be read differently from what it is here. The

Chaldee has, "More than they who observe the morning watches,

that they may offer the morning oblation." This gives a good

sense, and is, perhaps, the true meaning. Most of the Versions

have "From the morning to the night watches." Or the passage may

be rendered, "My soul waiteth for the Lord from the morning

watches to the morning watches." That is, "I wait both day and


Verse 7. Let Israel hope in the Lord] This, to hope for

salvation, is their duty and their interest. But what reason is

there for this hope? A twofold reason:-

1. With the Lord there is mercy] hachesed, THAT mercy,

the fund, the essence of mercy.

2. And with him is plenteous redemption.]

veharabbah immo peduth; and that abundant redemption, that to

which there is none like, the Fountain of redemption, the Lamb of

God which taketh away the sin of the world. The article , both in

harabbah and hachesed, is very emphatic.

Verse 8. He shall redeem Israel] καιαυτοςλυτρωσει, "He will

make a ransom for Israel," He will provide a great price for

Israel, and by it will take away all his iniquities. I would not

restrict this to Israel in Babylon. Every believer may take it to

himself. God perfectly justifies and perfectly sanctifies all that

come unto him through the Son of his love.


In this Psalm the Spirit of God proposes to us the case of a

person oppressed with the wrath of God against sin, yet flying to

him for comfort, remission, and purification.

I. Acknowledging his miserable condition, he prays to be heard,

Ps 130:1, 2.

II. He desires remission of sin, Ps 130:3, 4.

III. He expresses his hope and confidence, Ps 130:5, 6.

IV. He exhorts God's people to trust in him, Ps 130:7, 8.

I. The psalmist likens himself to a man in the bottom of a pit:-

1. "Out of the depths have I cried," &c. A true penitent cries

out of the depth of his misery, and from the depth of a heart

sensible of it.

2. "Lord, hear my voice." Although I be so low, thou canst hear


3. "Let thine ears be attentive," &c. Or I cry in vain.

II. But there was a reason why God should not hear. He was a

grievous sinner; but all men are the same; therefore,

1. "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity." And I have nothing

of my own but it to bring before thee, yet execute not thy just

anger on account of my transgressions; for,

2. "There is mercy with thee," &c. True repentance requires two

things, the recognition of our own misery and the persuasion of

God's mercy. Both are needful; for if we know not the former, we

shall not seek mercy; and if we despair of mercy, we shall never

find it.

3. "That thou mayest be feared." Not with a servile but a filial

fear, which involves prayer, faith, hope, love, adoration, giving

of thanks, &c. This fear leads to God's throne as a merciful and

pardoning God.

III. The method of God's servants in their addresses to heaven

is, that they believe, hope, pray, and expect. Thus did the


1. "I expect the Lord." In faith.

2. "My soul doth wait." His expectation was active and real, and

proceeded from fervency of heart.

3. His expectation was not presumptive, but grounded upon God's

word and promise: "In his word is my hope."

4. "My soul waiteth for the Lord." Which he illustrates by the

similitude of a watchman who longs for the morning.

5. "I wait for the Lord more than they," &c. It was now night

with him, darkness and misery were upon his soul; the morning he

expected was the remission of his sins, which must come from God's

mercy. For this he eagerly waited.

IV. He proposes his own example to God's people:-

1. "Let Israel hope in the Lord," like me, and cry from the


2. "For with the Lord there is mercy." This is the reason and

encouragement for the hope. Mercy flows from him.

3. "And with him is redemption." Which we need, being all sold

under sin; and this redemption was purchased for us by the death

of his Son.

4. And this redemption is plentiful; for by it he has redeemed

the whole world, 1Jo 1:2.

5. And this is to take effect upon Israel: "For he shall redeem

Israel," &c. It is not, as the Jews expected, a temporal

redemption, but a spiritual, as the angel told Joseph: "His name

shall be called Jesus; for he shall save his people from their


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