Psalm 40 - overcomer - A Body You Have Prepared For Me
of this psalm are quoted and explained in Hebrews 10:5-9
. According to the divinely inspired Book of Hebrews, verse 6-8 were spoken by Christ regarding His incarnation. The entire Psalm however cannot be Christ speaking because v12
mentions "my sins", and vv1-2
do not fit Christ.
3 Background of how David received this new song.
Are what the results of this new song will be.
Beginning of the new song
Christ coming to end the sacrifices by fulfilling them
Christ's earthly ministry
Christ's and David's prayer of dependence upon God
- "noisy" means it was full of different voices with no clarity on what was from the Lord. This goes along with v12
, where I could not see.
The Lord not only lifted me out of the pit, but 1st He turned to me and heard my plea. This shows fellowship with the Lord.
God will hear His people at the beginning of their prayers if the condition of their heart is ready for it. - Charles Spurgeon
v2- "miry" means there was nothing to stand upon, no solid truth.
"gave me to sing" is literally "put in my mouth".
The "new song" that God gave to David is this Psalm. A "new song" is one that has never been sung before. This song contains New Testament revelation that had never before been spoken. It may not have been understood until the New Testament book of Hebrews was written.
"who trusts" is literally "who makes the Lord his trust".
This word prepares us to receive the New Testament message. To receive Christ, we need to fear the Lord, put our trust in Him and not believe the proud religious authorities or scholars. (We should listen to religious authorities and scholars, but not take their word for it even if most of them agree. They need to prove their case from the Word, logic and facts. We do not believe something just because a lot of scholars say it.)
- Verses 1-2 were the background of the song. Verses 3-4 are the result that the song will bring. This verse is the beginning of the song.
The Lord's works are so many they are beyond our human capacity to even count, and they are too wondrous for us to understand in full. The Lord's thoughts to us are even more so. These cannot be explained even close to what they are in words. It took the incarnation of God as man in the next verse to show how much the Lord acts and thinks for us (Joh 1:18; etc
This is in contrast to the proud in the previous verse. They are proud because they think they know so much (1 Cor 3:18-20; etc
"God's thoughts of you are many, let not yours be few in return." - Charles H. Spurgeon
- According to Heb 10
, Jesus spoke verses 6-8 concerning His "coming into the world", that is, His incarnation.
In the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT), the words "but a body" is replaced by "ears". This is a mistake in the MT, as will be explained a little later in detail.
The Hebrew word for "prepared" is literally "digged", as in "digged a well". This word can have the more abstract meaning of "prepared" or "bought" (Deu 2:6; 1 Ki 6:23; Job 41:6; Hos 3:2
) as digging a well or grave is also preparing or paying the price for such through hard work. This means that it was a great effort on God's part to prepare Christ's body. God had to become a man and live in Mary's womb for 9 months. This is too wondrous to explain in words as in v5
The word "digged" also implies the crucifixion since it is used that way in Ps 22:16
MT Hebrew text says "ears
You have digged (or prepared) for Me", but Heb 10:5
quote of this verse says "but
You have prepared for Me".
There is no other Hebrew text available for Ps 40 except MT. Ps 40 has not been preserved in DSS.
The 1st half of the LXX 1903 Greek text for Ps 40:6 agrees exactly with Heb 10:5. (The 1931 Rahlfs' critical edition of the LXX Greek text, differs from the 1903 in that it says "ears" instead of "body". The only existing LXX Greek manuscripts say "body", not "ears". The 1931 edition "corrected" the LXX text to read "ears" based on Jerome's Latin Gallican Psalter, assuming that Jerome translated from an older version of the LXX, but he likely translated directly from the Hebrew as he did the Vulgate. More detail in this B-Greek discussion
The correct text is Heb 10:5 and LXX. The MT is in error because:
1. Heb 10:5, being part of the New Testament, is inerrant. This does not necessarily mean that in all differences between the NT and MT quotes, the MT is in error. The NT quotation may not be an exact translation. However in this case the meaning of "but a body you have prepared for me" is entirely different from "ears you have digged (or prepared) for me." The 1st refers to the incarnation of the Messiah, the second supposedly means that God opened David's or Christ's ears to hear.
If the Hebrew text said "ears" Paul could not have written as he did to a suspicious Jewish audience saying "body", which he used to make his point in 10:10
2. The MT text, "Ears You digged (or prepared at high price) for me", does not make sense. If the meaning was that God had opened Christ's or David's ears, this would be a very obtuse way of saying something simple. The Hebrew verb karah, "digged", is never used to mean "opened". If the meaning was "to open" then another verb should have been used. It also should have said "my ears", not just "ears".
There is no thought in this psalm of giving me ears to hear, but the message of the Messiah's incarnation is continued in the next verse, "Behold, I come".
Some Christians interpret the MT to mean that Christ's ear was figuratively bored through as in Exo 21:6
& Deu 15:17 to be a slave to God forever. This cannot be the meaning here. If that was the intended meaning then it should say "my ear", singular with possessive pronoun, not "ears". The verbs in Exo 21:6 and Deu 15:17 are not karah
. If karah
was used then that would mean that it was a very painful procedure, which is not at all implied by Exo 21 nor Deu 15
3. The error here in the MT is typical of the MT errors as seen by comparison to the DSS.
Unlike modern translations, the LXX was very accurate about translating Hebrew conjunctions. In the LXX and Hebrews 10:5, the conjunction "but" is there, but in the MT there is no conjunction. It does seem that a conjunction is missing for the MT to make sense.
The Hebrew word for "ears" is aznaim
which bears no resemblance to the Hebrew word for body, goof
. However, if the missing Hebrew conjunction above was az,
then az goof
or az gveyah
could be mistakenly (accidentally or on purpose) copied as aznaim
. (The Hebrew "g" gimel
, looks much like the Hebrew "n", nun
. The Hebrew "v", vav
, looks much like the Hebrew "y", yod
. So az gevah
could have been read as azneih
, which is close to aznaim
.) Ref. Adam Clarke's Commentary on Psalms.
The post 70 AD Jewish council would be biased against "body" because of it's referring to the Messiah's incarnation and for this reason may have chosen "ears" over "but a body" when deciding on the right text between 2 manuscripts as they did in a few other places such as Isa 7:14
and Ps 22:16
, which changes are evidenced by the DSS.
The MT is amazingly accurate as seen by comparison to the DSS, which is about 1,000 years older. The texts match up word for word, the vast majority of the differences being the spellings of a few words, which can change the meaning. The type of MT errors that we see when comparing the MT to the DSS with the LXX and NT is the same kind of error we see here.
The 2nd part of v6
is quoted in Heb 10:6.
Hebrews 10:6 says ".... You did not take pleasure in
", but the LXX says "... You did not ask for
". Here, I think, Paul gave a better translation of the Hebrew text than the LXX gave. The Hebrew word shaul
literally means "ask for", but that is not a good translation of the word in this context. How could it be said that God did not ask for burnt offerings and sin offerings because He did command them to be given in the Old Testament? In English or Greek the words "asked for" include commanding something to be given, but the Hebrew word does not include that. There is only one instance in the Old Testament where the verb shaul
is used with God as the subject, Deu 10:12
, where it is something God truly desired and would take pleasure in. Though it is a different verb, it has more the meaning of "seek for" as in the similar verse in Mic 6:8
. Paul would have been intimately familiar with this Hebrew word since it was his former name, Saul (Hebrew shaul
), meaning "desired", "sought after", "asked for", but not "commanded".
I added the words "to take away the offerings" from Paul's interpretation of these verses in Hebrews 10:8-10
- I added "man, once for all, to sanctify" from Heb 10:10
This verse cannot apply to David, as it is not prophesied about David throughout the Old Testament. Throughout the Old Testament are prophesies about the Messiah.
- These 2 sentences perfectly describe the Lord's life on earth.
According to Hebrews 10:9
, "to do Your will" can be taken as the predicate of "Behold I come" in v7 as well as the subject of "delights My heart" in v8.
"To do Your will" is mainly suffering on our behalf, bearing our sins and ultimately being crucified.
Of no other man before Christ's coming could it be said that God's laws were written in his inward parts. David and other psalmists wrote much of their love for God's law, but they never said that God's law was written in their inward parts. Jesus was the 1st God-man. He had God's righteous laws written on His heart and mind. Now, we become Christians by being born of God to be sons of God, also with God's righteous laws being written in our inward parts (Heb 8:10
could be both Christ and David speaking, but I think it is Christ speaking more so than David because He preached to the "great congregation". The "great congregation" is used twice in this Psalm (v 9-10
), and only in 2 other places (Ps 22:25
"Behold" indicates that this is a big thing, which the universe was able to behold.
"LORD, Thou knowest" shows that everything that Jesus did, He did with the Father.
- In v9, Jesus preached what is righteous. Here in v10 Jesus made known God's attributes and works.
In v9, Jesus says, "I've not refrained my lips". In v10, He says, "I have not hid within my heart" and "I've not concealed". The triple repetition of this same thought seems like too much. What Jesus preached in His earthly ministry had been hidden since the foundation of the earth (Matt 13:35
- From this verse to the end of the psalm is David's prayer. Verses 11 - 12a could just as well be Christ's prayer.
- When I am in trouble, I usually just have one trouble, and it is bad enough. Christ had so many troubles all at once. The Lord measures to each of us what we are able to bear.
In 12b, the speaker changes from Christ to David.
- David had no way to overcome his sins. So he prayed for Christ to come quickly, as also in v17
Here and in v17, David prays for God to help him quickly. We should have this kind of faith. We should not procrastinate the Lord's help and salvation.
From v13 to the end of the psalm is almost identical to the entirety of Ps 70
- lit. magnify the LORD
- The word "Lord" in this verse is Adonai
, not Jehovah
as in previous verses. Adonai
(Lord) and Adoni
(my Lord) refer to Christ, David's Lord. David here is praying for Christ to come quickly.
-copyright Steve Miller 9/29/2011
Psalm 40 For the Overcomer. Through David a Psalm
I was waiting enduringly
for the LORD, and He turned to me.
He heard my plea and lifted me
up from the pit which was noisy.
from the clay, which was
upon a rock, He set my feet.
Established He all
and a new song gave me to sing.
2 Praise to our God many shall see,
and fear the LORD and trust in Thee.
The man who trusts, how bless'd is he,
but all the proud, respects not he,
nor such as turn aside to lies,
thinking they have become more wise.
Your works, LORD God, are so many,
which You have wrought so wondrously.
3 Thy thoughts to us, they cannot be
told in order back unto Thee.
If these I would speak and declare,
they are more than can be numbered.
Sacrifices and offering
delight You not, else I would bring,
but a body You prepared Me
to take away the offerings.
4 You've not pleasure in burnt off'rings
nor even in sin offerings.
"Behold, I come", then declared I,
men, once for all, to sanctify.
Throughout the Book it is written
how I would be the Son of Man.
To do Your will delights My heart.
Your law is in My inward parts.
What is righteous I have proclaimed
among the great congregation.
Behold, I've not refrained My lips.
LORD, Thou knowest, LORD, Thou knowest.
I have not hid Your righteousness
within My heart. Your faithfulness
and salvation I have declared.
Your mercy and Your truth I shared.
6 I've unconcealed what You have done
unto the great congregation.
Withhold not Your tender pity,
O LORD, from Me continually.
Also Thy truth and Thy mercy,
always cause these to preserve Me
for about Me there are troubles
so many they're innum'rable.
7 My sins have overtaken me
so I am not able to see.
They are more than hairs of my head.
Therefore my heart leaves me for dead.
Be pleased, O LORD. Deliver me.
Make haste, O LORD. Help me quickly.
14 Shamed and confused now let them be
that together seek to take me.
8 As they seek to destroy my soul
and delight to do me evil,
let them turn back and be ashamed
and never come this way again.
15 As a reward for all their shame,
desolated let them be made,
that say, "Aha, aha" to me,
shouting they have found fault with me.
Let all who seek the LORD
be glad in Thee with joyful noise.
Let such as love Thy salvation
continually magnify God.
But I am poor and so
yet my great Lord thinketh on me.
You are my Help and Savior.
Make no delay, O God, my Lord.
For finding fault with them, He says, Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, says the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Therefore, coming into the world, He says, ``Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not delight. 7 Then I said, Behold, I have come (in the roll of the book it is written concerning Me) to do Your will, O God.''
8 Saying above, ``Sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not desire nor delight in'' (which are offered according to the law), 9 He then has said, ``Behold, I have come to do Your will.'' He takes away the first that He may establish the second, 10 By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Ye shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and ye shall also buy
water of them for money, that ye may drink.
2Kings 6:23 And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.
Job 41:6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?
Hosea 3:2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley:
Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
Deuteronomy 15:17 Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.
ĎAnd now, Israel, what is Jehovah thy God asking from thee, except to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD seek of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 5:8 But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
1John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
1Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1 Corinthians 3:18
Let no one deceive himself; if anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, ``He grasps the wise in their craftiness''; 20 And again, ``The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are vain.''
8:1b Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he has not yet come to know as he ought to know; 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
10:12 So then let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to every one who is among you, not to think more highly than he ought to think, but to think so as to be sober-minded, as God has apportioned to each a measure of faith.
Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
« To the overcomer, A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. » Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD.
2 Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.
3 Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.
4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
5 But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.
-copyright Steve Miller 9/29/2011