Psalm 70 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of Psalm 70)
To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David, to bring to remembrance. This psalm, according to Kimchi, was composed by David when he fled from Saul, or from Absalom; so Theodoret; but if at either of those times, it is most likely to be the latter, since the following psalm, it is certain, was penned when he was an old man, Psalm 69:9; the word translated "to bring to remembrance" is thought, by Aben Ezra, to be the first word of some pleasant song; see Psalm 38:1. The Targum paraphrases it, to remember the use of the frankincense; alluding to Leviticus 2:2; Jarchi says it signifies prayer, and refers to Psalm 20:7, as instances of the use of the word in such a sense; and so this psalm is composed by the psalmist in a petitionary way, to put the Lord in remembrance of his afflictions, and of his promises of help and deliverance, which he prays for; see Psalm 132:1; and that he would avenge him on his enemies, and show respect to his friends; or it was written to refresh his own memory with his present state, and to put him in mind from whence he might expect help and salvation. The title of the psalm in the Arabic version is, and so in the Vulgate Latin, following the Septuagint, "a remembrance that the Lord had saved him:" and in the Syriac version, "a psalm of David as to the letter, when he sent Joab to take Shemuah (Sheba), who rebelled; also a supplication of the righteous, and even of Christ himself." And seeing this follows upon the preceding, and may be reckoned an appendix to it, and there are some things in it which manifestly refer to the latter part of that, and the whole is detached from the fortieth psalm, with which it agrees, a few words only excepted, which manifestly belongs to the Messiah; it is right to understand this of him; Psalm 40:13.

Verse 1. [Make haste], O God, to deliver me,.... The phrase, "make haste," is supplied from the following clause in Psalm 40:13; it is, "be pleased, O Lord," or "Jehovah." The Targum renders it, "to deliver us"; very wrongly;

make haste to help me, O Lord; See Gill on "Ps 22:19."

Verse 2. Let them be ashamed and confounded,.... In Psalm 40:14 it is added, "together"; See Gill on "Ps 40:14";

that seek after my soul; or "life"; in Psalm 40:14 it is added, "to destroy it"; for that was the end of their seeking after it;

let them be turned backward, &c. See Gill on "Ps 40:14."

Verse 3. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame,.... In Psalm 40:15 it is, "let them be desolate"; which seems to respect their land and houses, here their persons; See Gill on "Ps 40:15";

that say; in Psalm 40:15 it is added, "to me"; not to his people, but himself,

aha, aha: rejoicing at his calamity and distress. The Targum is, "we are glad, we are glad;" See Gill on "Ps 40:15," and compare with this Ezekiel 25:3.

Verse 4. Let all those that seek thee,.... The Targum is, "that seek doctrine (or instruction) from thee."

rejoice and be glad in thee; the Targum paraphrases it, "rejoice and be glad in thy word."

and let such as love thy salvation say continually, let God be magnified; the Targum is, "let the glory of the Lord be increased;" and in Psalm 40:16, instead of "God," it is "the Lord," or "Jehovah": See Gill on "Ps 40:16."

Verse 5. But I [am] poor and needy,.... In Psalm 40:17 it follows, yet "the Lord thinketh on me"; instead of which it is here, See Gill on "Ps 40:17";

make haste unto me, O God; which repeats for sense the same petition as in Psalm 71:1;

thou [art] my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying; in Psalm 40:17 it is, "O my God."