PSALM SIXTY-NINE


[Pss 69:1] Save me, O God; For the waters are come in unto my soul.
[Pss 69:2] I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
[Pss 69:3] I am weary with my crying; my throat is dried: Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
[Pss 69:4] They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: They that would cut me off, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: That which I took not away I have to restore.
[Pss 69:5] O God, thou knowest my foolishness; And my sins are not hid from thee.
[Pss 69:6] Let not them that wait for thee be put to shame through me, O Lord Jehovah of hosts: Let not those that seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
[Pss 69:7] Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; Shame hath covered my face.
[Pss 69:8] I am become a stranger unto my brethren, And an alien unto my mother's children.
[Pss 69:9] For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; And the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me.
[Pss 69:10] When I wept, [and chastened] my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach.
[Pss 69:11] When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword unto them.
[Pss 69:12] They that sit in the gate talk of me; And (I am) the song of the drunkards.
[Pss 69:13] But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Jehovah, in an acceptable time: O God, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness, Answer me in the truth of thy salvation.
[Pss 69:14] Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
[Pss 69:15] Let not the water flood overwhelm me, Neither let the deep swallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me.
[Pss 69:16] Answer me, O Jehovah; for thy lovingkindness is good: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies turn thou unto me.
[Pss 69:17] And hide not thy face from thy servant; For I am in distress; answer me speedily.
[Pss 69:18] Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: Ransom me because of mine enemies.
[Pss 69:19] Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor: Mine adversaries are all before thee.
[Pss 69:20] Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: And I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none.
[Pss 69:21] They gave me also gall for my food; And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
[Pss 69:22] Let their table before them become a snare; And when they are in peace, let it become a trap.
[Pss 69:23] Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see; And make their loins continually to shake.
[Pss 69:24] Pour out thine indignation upon them, And let the fierceness of thine anger overtake them.
[Pss 69:25] Let their habitation be desolate; Let none dwell in their tents.
[Pss 69:26] For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; And they tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded.
[Pss 69:27] Add iniquity unto their iniquity; And let them not come into thy righteousness.
[Pss 69:28] Let them be blotted out of the book of life, And not be written with the righteous.
[Pss 69:29] But I am poor and sorrowful: Let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
[Pss 69:30] I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify him with thanksgiving.
[Pss 69:31] And it will please Jehovah better than an ox, (Or) a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
[Pss 69:32] The meek have seen it, and are glad: Ye that seek after God, let your heart live.
[Pss 69:33] For Jehovah heareth the needy, And despiseth not his prisoners.
[Pss 69:34] Let heaven and earth praise him, The seas, and everything that moveth therein.
[Pss 69:35] For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah; And they shall abide there, and have it in possession.
[Pss 69:36] The seed also of his servants shall inherit it; And they that love his name shall dwell therein.


The Blendings Of The Sufferings Of David, The Servant Of Jehovah,
And Penitent Israel.

I. Some preliminary considerations.
II. David's sufferings (vss. 1-12).
III. Messiah's sufferings (vss. 13-21).
IV. The psalmist's prayer for divine vengeance (vss. 22-28).
V. The prayer of the penitent remnant of Israel for deliverance (vss. 29-36).


Psalm 69 is a very important portion of the word. It blends the suffering of David with those of Him whom he, David, did typify and the final sufferings of Israel and her deliverance.

I. Some Preliminary Considerations

Some expositors, not knowing the law of double reference and the law of recurrence, have misunderstood this marvelous composition and have strained points in order to make it fit some preconceived theory. It is never proper and right to warp or twist any passage in order to make it fit some human hypothesis. If the normal meanings--either the literal or metaphorical--must be twisted in order to make Scriptures harmonize, we may be certain that such a distortion of a passage cannot yield truth.

We are told in the superscription that David was the writer of the psalm. Some critics, however, do not understand that the name of David appearing in this superscription is sufficient warrant for our understanding that he was the human author. To my way of thinking this supposition is purely arbitrary. These critics, ignoring the appearance of his name, seek to find some other human author than the King of Israel. Thus these critics look at the contents of the psalm and find many traits that were also dominant in the life and the ministry of Jeremiah. Thus they conclude that he was the human author of Psalm 69. So far as these characteristics which are common both to the psalm and to the life and ministry of Jeremiah are concerned, this psalm could have been written by Jeremiah. The fact that these similarities exist is no proof at all that this prophet was the author. In this connection let me say that it matters little who the human author was in many instances. Just so we get the message that was intended by the Holy Spirit, we should be satisfied. Yet it is quite gratifying to know and understand who the human author was. But since the psalm is attributed to David in the superscription unhesitatingly I accept the Davidic authorship.

Psalms 22, 35, 69 and 109 are very similar in many respects. Each of these speak of the sufferings of Christ. It is a well-known fact that Psalm 22 is Messianic. In the first twenty-one verses we have the life and execution of King Messiah, who expires on the cross with a prayer for deliverance upon His lips. In verses 21-31 we see the risen Messiah with the strength of His eternal life in the midst of the great assembly of Israel, recounting the wonderful works of God. In Psalm 35 we see the sufferings of Messiah, which are blended with those of the human author. The same thing is true with reference to Psalms 69 and 109. These four psalms should be studied very carefully together in order to get the picture which is presented by the prophets concerning the Messiah of Israel and His sufferings in behalf of humanity.

Psalm 40, which is attributed to David as the human author, bears some similarities to Psalm 69. Because of this fact, some critics believe that Jeremiah wrote Psalm 40 and 69. But their reasoning is inconclusive. It is far better for us to accept the information that is given concerning the authorship which appears in the superscription of many of the psalms.

The natural division of Psalm 69 is: David's sufferings (vss. 1-12); Messiah's sufferings (vss. 13-21); the psalmist prayer for divine vengeance (vss. 22-28); and the prayer of the penitent remnant of Israel for deliverance (vss. 29-36).

The relationship which exists between verses 1-12 and the second block of this passage, verses 13-21, may be illustrated by the law of double reference. In fact, this is a perfect illustration of that principal which obtains throughout the prophetic word. In verse 1-12 we see the picture of David, the human author, as he was suffering unjustly and unrighteously because of his devotion and loyalty to God. Then in verse 13-21 we see that the psalmist moved out into a larger circle of experiences through which David never passed. When we compare the various things mentioned in this section of the psalm with the New Testament and with other predictions for telling the sufferings of the Messiah, we see that in verses 13-21 appears a prediction concerning the sufferings of King Messiah. Thus the sufferings of David, the type (vss. 1-12), blend most beautifully with the sufferings of Messiah, the antitype (vss. 13-21). Moreover the relationship of verses 1-21 to verses 22-36 may be illustrated by what is known as the law of recurrence. This law might be pictured to us by the work of an artist. When a person posses for his portrait, the artist usually, at the first sitting, blocks out the picture, giving the main features of the person. At the second and subsequent sittings, these features that are already put on the canvas at the first sitting are brought out in more detail and new ones are added. Thus the portrait of the sufferings of King David on the one hand and those of King Messiah on the other are set forth at the first sitting (vss. 1-21). The work done at the second sitting is found in verses 22-36. When we understand these facts, we are in a position to study the psalm scientifically and intelligently.

In view of what has been said we may be certain that everything that is found in verses 1-12 was fulfilled in the days of King David of Israel. The predictions found in verse 13-21 were fulfilled at the first coming of our Lord. The predictions found in verse 22-28 apply to those of Israel's number who deliberately rejected the Messiah at His first coming and who would not accept the truth. The same principal holds true today with respect to those who will not see the truth and accept it. In verses 29-36 we see a vision of the penitential remnant of Israel who are given the facts concerning the execution of King Messiah who accept Him.

Another thing that we should notice before we approach the study of the psalm is this: In verses 1-21 we see the personal pronouns I, me, and mine. Naturally a person, realizing that David was the human author, thinks that these pronouns refer to David. But when he analyzes the thought of the first twelve verses, he sees that everything recounted there normally apply to David in his own personal experiences. But the things mentioned in verses 13-21 did not. Thus in this second section of the psalm David describes experiences that he himself never had. We should not be surprised at this; because, in Psalm 16 for instance, we see that David used the personal pronouns I, me, and mine. In the first seven verses he was talking about his own experiences. But in verses 8-11 he went far beyond anything that he ever experienced. These last four verses are clearly a prediction of the resurrection of the Messiah and are thus interpreted in the New Testament. So we can see that there was a blending in this psalm of the experiences of David, the type of the Messiah, with those of Messiah himself. The same principal obtains in Psalm 69.

II. David's Sufferings

"Save me, O God; For the waters are come in unto my soul.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing;
I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
I am weary with my crying my throat is dried: Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: They that would cut me off, Being my enemies wrong-fully, are mighty: That which I took not away I have to restore.
O God, thou knowest my foolishness; And my sins are not hid from thee.
Let not them that wait for thee be put to shame through me, O Lord Jehovah of hosts:
Let not those that seek thee be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.
Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; Shame hath covered my face.
I am become a stranger unto my brethren, And an alien unto my mother's children.
For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up;
And the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me.
When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach.
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword unto them.
They that sit in the gate talk of me:
And I am the song of the drunkards (vss. 1-12).

In the first two verses David speaks of himself as if he were in literal waters and was sinking in deep mire. This figure is found in Psalm 40:1f. One of the reasons that the critics assign this psalm to Jeremiah instead of to David is the fact that Jeremiah was put into a pit and remain there some time. There would have to be positive evidence to attribute to Jeremiah the authorship of this psalm, since it is attributed to David in the superscription. Did David have any such experience as this? Was he put into a miry pit or thrown overboard and was engulfed by the waves? Such an inference is not necessary. The writers of the Scriptures very frequently thought of some difficult experience through which they were passing and compared it to their being in water and about to drown. For example see the following passages: Psalms 18:15; 32:6; 124:4; 66:12; 88:7,17. There is nothing in the history of David that will lead us to believe that he was ever put down into a pit as was Jeremiah. And yet he could use such a graphic representation to set forth the trouble through which he was caused to pass.

On the other hand, there are those who try to explain Jonah's experiences mentioned in Jonah chapter 2, by the figurative meaning of waters in the passages just referred to. And examination of the facts of the Book of Jonah shows us that the prophet was fleeing from the Lord, when he purchased the ticket and went on board a ship bound for Tarshish. When the lot which had been cast to discover the guilty person fell upon Jonah, the sailors threw him overboard into the water. This was literal water, the sea. All the facts presented in the Book of Jonah shows that these waters are to be taken literally. But the waters mentioned in the passages mentioned above are not literal waters, but are used metaphorically. One must know and apply the golden rule of interpretation in all instances. This rule requires us to take everything at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the context indicate clearly a departure from the literal meaning. In such a case we are to attach a symbolic or metaphorical meaning, according to the usage of the language.

When we reach verse 3, we see that the psalmist has dropped the figure as being cast into waters and speaks of his being weary and exhausted. In his distress he has cried out to God until his throat is dry and his eyes, weeping, fail him as he waits for God to answer his petition by delivering him.

In verse 4 David speaks of the multitude of enemies that are against him and of their might and strength. Moreover, they require him to restore that which he had not taken away from anyone. These enemies assume this hostile attitude without any basis or reason for doing so.

In verse 5 the psalmist, looking over his past life, confesses that he has acted very foolishly and that his sins are not hidden from God. David was conscious of his sins. The closer one lives to God, the more do his sins loom before him. If it were not, however, for the fact that God blots out the sins and transgressions of His people and remembers them against them no more, the child of God who is living close to the Lord will be overcome with despair. But praise God, when He forgives the sins of His children, they are forgiven, never to be remembered again!

King David did not want any reproach to be heaped upon the name of God because of anything that he had done. He did not want to be a stumbling block to anyone. He did not want to be the occasion of any dishonor to anyone who was sincerely seeking God. May we ever be eager to live properly and to walk circumspectly that we may not cause others to stumble or to bring reproach on anyone who is serving the Lord.

From verse 7 we see that David had borne reproach for the name of God and shame had been heaped upon him. His own family did not understand him. They thought that he was rather fanatical. This reminds one of Joseph and of the attitude that his brothers took toward him. David loved the Lord supremely. It was his meat and drink to do the will of God and to do those things that pleased God. When the Lord selected David out of the house of Jesse to be prince over His people, He passed by all of his older brothers and selected the young shepherd lad. Doubtless God's selection of David caused jealousy to rankle in the hearts of his brothers. When David therefore proved to be such a devout, pious man, who was zealous for God and His glory, his own family was alienated from him. This seems to be reflected in verses 8 and 9. Especially in the later we see that David put spiritual things first and he was willing to spend and be spent in the Master's cause.

The king realized that by fasting and prayer one could get closer to God and could obtain His favor, humanly speaking. Of course we cannot merit or win the favor of God by anything that we may do or say. But by our taking this attitude sincerely and engaging in fasting and prayer, we can get closer to the Lord than we could otherwise. When David had seasons of fastings and prayer, he was misunderstood and his people made it the occasion of rebuke and shame. This is also reflected in verses 11 and 12. If the king set a time for prayer, fasting, and meditation, and real true spiritual worship, those who were less spiritual or who are walking according to their carnal nature began to talk about him and to ridicule him. Even the drunkard took him up as a song and tore him to pieces. If a man wills to live for God, people who are following the Lord afar off and sinners will misunderstand him in every way, every time, and will heap reproach, ignominy, and shame upon him. Yea, all who live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution and shall be misunderstood.

III. Messiah's Sufferings

"But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Jehovah in an acceptable time:
O God, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness,
Answer me in the truth of thy salvation.
Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink:
Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
Let not the water flood overwhelm me, Neither let the deep swallow me up;
And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me.
Answer me, O Jehovah; for thy lovingkindness is good:
According to the multitude of thy tender mercies turn thou unto me.
And hide not thy face from thy servant;
For I am in distress; answer me speedily.
Draw neigh unto my soul, and redeem it:
Ransom me because of mine enemies.
Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor:
Mine adversaries are all before thee.
Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness:
And I looked for some to take pity, but there was none;
And for comforters, but I found none.
They gave me also gall for my food;
And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (vss. 13-21).

By the time we reach verse 12 the picture of David has faded out, figuratively speaking, and the dim outlines of another picture begin to appear. Soon the first picture in verses 1-12 has completely faded and the portrait of David's Greater Son stands before us on this spiritual screen. Verse 13 marks this transition from David to his Greater Son.

David's Greater Son was none other than God manifested in the flesh. He assumed the form of man. He was every inch a man. The New Testament emphasizes His human nature, as well as recognizing His Divine Essence. For the doctrine of the incarnation one should read John 1:1-18 and Hebrews chapters 1 and 2, as well as many other passages on the same subject.

Though Jesus of Nazareth was God in human form, He lived the normal life of a perfect man--apart from all sin. The records of the Gospel, especially Luke, lay emphasis upon the prayer of the Lord Jesus. Often when others where asleep, He was in private, communing with God in intercession. That He would do this was clearly foretold by Isaiah the prophet (Isa. 50:4-9).

In verse 14 David speaks of the sufferings of the Messiah and compares them to the mire in which he is placed and into which he is sinking. That this mire is not literal is seen from the parallel in the same verse: "Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep water." The same figure is continued in the first two lines of verse 15, but in the last line of this verse, "And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me," the figure is changed somewhat. Messiah is represented as being in the water and sinking. If he continues to sink, loosing His strength in His struggles in the water, He will drown. When a person drowns, dies, his spirit leaves the body. Prior to the death of Christ, the spirit always went to Sheol--regardless of whether the person was saved or lost. There were two apartments in the underworld--one to which the righteous went and the other to which the wicked went. In verse 15 the praying Messiah realizes that He is going to pass out of this life and that His spirit is going down into Sheol, the pit; but he prays very earnestly that the pit may not shut its mouth upon Him. In this petition He is asking that, though He goes down into Sheol, He might be released and return, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel. This petition was literally fulfilled. When our Lord died, being put to death in the flesh, in the spirit He went and made an announcement to the spirits that were in prison. On the third day, however, He came back from Sheol, His spirit re-entered the body in which it had been during His earthly lifetime, and He appeared with His glorified humanity.

Continuing His prayer in verse 16, the suffering Messiah, through Himself upon the goodness of God and asks that the Lord would answer Him according to His tender mercies. In verse 17, we see a rather strange petition--strange until we read it in light of Psalm 22:1; "My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me?" Here in 69:16 we see the Messiah in great distress and praying to God not to hide His face from Him, He is in distress and wants to be speedily answered.

This verse was literally fulfilled during the three hours of our Lord's being upon the cross. God and the Holy Spirit turn their backs upon on Him and He, as the second Adam, a man, championed the cause of humanity. Darkness veiled the struggle. Satan with all his hosts was there in full force, trying to break the morale of the Messiah and cause Him to deviate in His loyalty and allegiance to God. During that short period of three hours our Savior fought the battle, won the victory, and accomplished Satan's defeat and man's deliverance.

In verse 18 we see a continuation of this prayer. Of course we may believe that the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane prayed these same thoughts. In fact, we know it. He prayed that, that if possible, the cup of suffering might pass from Him. Nevertheless, He did not wish His will to be done, but that of the Father. Thus on the cross He, as our Kinsman-Redeemer, prayed God to draw near unto His soul, to redeem it, and to ransom Him from His enemies. The fundamental conception of the ransom as it is seen in the Scriptures is found in the idea of God's ransoming or redeeming His people Israel from Egyptian bondage. With a strong hand and an outstretched arm He redeemed or ransomed them. That is the thought expressed in verse 18. Thus the Messiah prays to God to use His strong hand and outstretched arm to redeem Him from His enemies, the enemies of hostile men and the forces of evil under Satan.

God was thoroughly cognizant of what was going on when the Lord Jesus in fulfillment of this passage was nailed to the cross. During the first three hours of the crucifixion His enemies were present and were hurling every type of indignity and reproach at Him. The climax was reached in the last three hours--the time of the supreme effort of the powers of darkness. But our Lord was triumphant.

IV. The Psalmist's Prayer For Divine Vengeance

"Let their table before them become a snare;
And when they are in peace, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see;
And make their loins continually to shake.
Pour out thine indignation upon them,
And let the fierceness of thine anger overtake them.
Let their habitation be desolate;  Let none dwell in their tents.
For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten;
And they tell of the sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded.
Add iniquity unto their iniquity;
And let them not come into thy righteousness.
Let them be blotted out of the book of life,
And not be written with the righteous (Ps. 69:22-28).

As we have already seen, David, throughout the first twenty one verses of this psalm, uses the personal pronouns I, me, my and mine. In the first twelve verses he is speaking of his own experiences. But, in verses 13-21, being a prophet and speaking as such, he sets forth the sufferings of Messiah, his Greater Son, continuing by the use of the personal pronouns the same as he had done in the section in which he described his own sufferings and sorrows. The Apostle Paul, in Romans, chapter 7, in a figure transferred the sufferings and the sinful nature of mankind to himself; hence he used the personal pronouns, I, me and mine, even though he was not speaking of his own experience as such--neither his pre-Christian nor his Christian experience.

But when the psalmist reaches 69:22 he drops the impersonation which he has been carrying on in verses 13-21.

Let us remember that, at this junction of the composition, David, following the law of recurrence, changes the viewpoint. He no longer impersonates Messiah; but seeing what the people of Israel would do in rejecting Him and in putting Him to death, he, in a sympathetic attitude, prays for God's punishment to come upon those who willfully reject the Messiah. As I set forth in the first section of this discussion, David blocked out the picture of his sufferings and those of the Messiah in the first twenty-one verses of the psalm. Then in verses 22-28, he went back over the picture and added some details that were not given in the first part of Psalm 69. In doing this, King David simply spoke as an observer who is standing off and seeing the sufferings of the Messiah. Knowing that what they do to Him is unjust and seeing things from the divine standpoint, he prays that the Lord would take the situation in hand and deal with those who thus execute King Messiah.

There are some people who cannot understand the imprecatory psalms. They tell us that the spirit of these compositions is entirely foreign to the spirit that is set forth in the New Testament. Whereas the writers of the different psalms prayed God's avenging power upon evil doers. The Lord Jesus and Stephen, for instance, prayed God not to lay the sin of their enemies to their charge. Thus we are told that the spirit of the Old Testament is that of vengeance, whereas that of the New Testament is kindness and love, pity, compassion, and mercy toward those who mistreat others. Such a deduction is a very hasty and immature one. The psalmist and the other men of God who prayed for God to deal with sinners upon the basis of the merits of their conduct were enabled by the Spirit of God to see things exactly as they are and to view them from the standpoint of God's holiness. Moreover, by the inspiration of the Spirit, they could see the people who had sinned against light and had deliberately rejected the truth. Hence they could pray God's avenging wrath upon them.