Psalm 40:9
I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
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(9) I have preached.—Literally, I have made countenances glad.

Notice the rapid succession of clauses, like successive wave-beats of praise, better than any elaborate description to represent the feelings of one whose life was a thanksgiving.

Psalm 40:9-10. I have preached righteousness — Namely, thy righteousness, as it is expressed in the next verse; that is, thy faithfulness, as it is there explained; or, righteousness properly so called; for both were fully declared and demonstrated in Christ; the former in God’s sending him into the world, according to his promise, Acts 13:23; and the latter in inflicting death upon him for man’s sin, Romans 3:25-26. In the great congregation — In the most public and solemn assemblies; not only to the Jews, but also to all nations; to whom Christ preached by his apostles, as is observed, Ephesians 2:17. I have not refrained — From preaching it, even to the face of mine enemies, though I knew my preaching would cost me my life. O Lord, thou knowest — I call thee to witness the truth of what I say. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart — I had it there, Psalm 40:8; but did not shut it up there, but spread it abroad for thy glory and the good of mankind. I have declared thy salvation — Which thou hast wrought both for me and by me.

40:6-10 The psalmist foretells that work of wonder, redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Substance must come, which is Christ, who must bring that glory to God, and that grace to man, which it was impossible the sacrifices should ever do. Observe the setting apart of our Lord Jesus to the work and office of Mediator. In the volume, or roll, of the book it was written of him. In the close rolls of the Divine decrees and counsel, the covenant of redemption was recorded. Also, in all the volumes of the Old Testament something was written of him, Joh 19:28. Now the purchase of our salvation is made, the proclamation is sent forth, calling us to come and accept it. It was preached freely and openly. Whoever undertook to preach the gospel of Christ, would be under great temptation to conceal it; but Christ, and those he calls to that work, are carried on in it. May we believe his testimony, trust his promise, and submit to his authority.I have preached righteousness in the great congregation - I have main tained and defended the principles of righteousness and truth among assembled multitudes. it would be difficult to see how this could be applied to David himself, or on what occasion of his life this could be said of him; but no one can doubt that this is applicable to the Messiah:

(a) He was a preacher.

(b) He addressed vast multitudes.

(c) Before them all, and at all times, he maintained and illustrated the great principles of "righteousness" as demanded by the law of God, and unfolded the way in which all those multitudes might become righteous before God.

Lo, I have not refrained my lips - I have not closed my lips. I have not kept back the truth.

O Lord, thou knowest - He could make this solemn appeal to God as the Searcher of hearts, in proof that he had faithfully uttered all that had been required of him in making known the will of God. Compare John 17:4, John 17:6,John 17:8, John 17:14, John 17:26.

9, 10. I have preached—literally, "announced good tidings." Christ's prophetical office is taught. He "preached" the great truths of God's government of sinners. Righteousness, to wit, thy righteousness, as it is expressed in the next verse, i.e. thy faithfulness, as it is there explained; or righteousness properly so called; for both were fully declared and demonstrated in Christ, the former in sending him into the world according to his promise, Acts 13:23, and the latter in inflicting death upon him for man’s sin, Romans 3:25,26. In the great congregation; in the most public and solemn assemblies; not only to the Jews, but also to all other nations; to whom Christ preached by his apostles, as is observed, Ephesians 2:17.

I have not refrained my lips, to wit, from preaching it, out of sloth, or fear, or self love, but have preached it publicly, and even to the face of mine enemies, though I knew my preaching would cost me my life.

Thou knowest; I call thee to witness the truth of what I say.

I have preached righteousness in the great congregation,.... Not the righteousness which the law requires men to do; but the righteousness which Christ himself wrought out, for the justification of them that believe; this he was a preacher, as well as the author of, and is part of the glad tidings he was anointed to preach, Isaiah 61:1; and the word (n) here used signifies, for the most part, the publishing of good tidings; and this our Lord did publicly, before all the people, in the synagogues of the Jews, and in the temple, whither the people in great numbers resorted; especially at the three great festivals in the year; the feasts of passover, pentecost, and tabernacles, when all the males were obliged to appear, and made up a great congregation indeed; see John 2:23;

lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest; Christ appeals to his divine Father, the searcher of hearts, and trier of reins, for the truth of this; that he had not laid any restraint upon his lips, nor kept back anything in his ministry that was profitable; but had taught the way of God in great integrity and sincerity; had opened his mouth, and spoke freely and fully, and used great plainness of speech.

(n) Sept. "evangelizavi", Schmidt, Michaelis; "I have preached the glad tidings of justice", Ainsworth.

I have preached righteousness in the {h} great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

(h) In the Church assembled in the sanctuary.

9. I have preached righteousness] R.V. I have published: better, as R.V. marg., I have proclaimed glad tidings of, εὐηγγελισάμην δικαιοσύνην (LXX). His theme was ‘righteousness;’ all the facts which are the concrete manifestation and evidence of God’s righteousness (Psalm 40:10). The good news which he can proclaim is the certainty of the just moral government of the world, and Jehovah’s faithfulness to His people. And this he has done in the great congregation, with the utmost publicity (Psalm 22:25; Psalm 35:18), perhaps, as the prophets often delivered their messages, on some festival (Jeremiah 26:2).

I have not refrained] R.V. restores Coverdale’s I will not refrain: but the words refer rather to what he did in the past than to what he resolves to do in the future. By rendering I did not restrain, the connexion with Psalm 40:11 may be brought out.

thou knowest] For the appeal to God’s omniscience, cp. Psalm 69:5; Jeremiah 15:15.

9–11. Beside the sacrifice of himself, he has not failed to render the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, by the fullest public proclamation of Jehovah’s goodness, which he trusts he will still continue to experience.

Verse 9. - I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: rather, I have proclaimed righteousness. David has sung the praises of God in the "great congregation," and extolled his righteousness and truth (Psalm 35:18). He has not "preached," in the modern sense of the word, since the preaching office was reserved for the priests and Levites. Lo, I have not refrained my lips; or, I will not refrain my lips. I will continue to glorify thee openly, and praise thy Name while I have my being (Psalm 104:33). O Lord, thou knowest; i.e. thou knowest the truth of my statement as to the past, and the sincerity of my promise as to the future. Psalm 40:9The connection of the thoughts is clear: great and manifold are the proofs of Thy loving-kindness, how am I to render thanks to Thee for them? To this question he first of all gives a negative answer: God delights not in outward sacrifices. The sacrifices are named in a twofold way: (a) according to the material of which they consist, viz., זבח, the animal sacrifice, and מנחה, the meal or meat offering (including the נסך, the wine or drink offering, which is the inalienable accessory of the accompanying mincha); (b) according to their purpose, in accordance with which they bring about either the turning towards one of the good pleasure of God, as more especially in the case of the עולה, or, as more especially in the case of the הטּאת (in this passage חטאה), the turning away of the divine displeasure. The fact of the זבח and עולה standing first, has, moreover, its special reason in the fact that זבח specially designates the shelamı̂m offerings, and to the province of these latter belongs the thank-offering proper, viz., the tôda-shelamı̂m offering; and that עולה as the sacrifice of adoration (προσευχή), which is also always a general thanksgiving (εὐχαριστία), is most natural, side by side with the shalemim, to him who gives thanks. When it is said of God, that He does not delight in and desire such non-personal sacrifices, there is as little intention as in Jeremiah 7:22 (cf. Amos 5:21.) of saying that the sacrificial Tra is not of divine origin, but that the true, essential will of God is not directed to such sacrifices.

Between these synonymous utterances in Psalm 40:7 and Psalm 40:7 stands the clause אזנים כּרית לּי. In connection with this position it is natural, with Rosenmller, Gesenius, De Wette, and Stier, to explain it "ears hast Thou pierced for me" equals this hast Thou engraven upon my mind as a revelation, this disclosure hast Thou imparted to me. But, although כּרה, to dig, is even admissible in the sense of digging through, piercing (vid., on Psalm 22:17), there are two considerations against this interpretation, viz.: (1) that then one would rather look for אזן instead of אזנים after the analogy of the phrases גּלה אזן, חעיר אזן, and פּתח אזן, since the inner sense, in which the external organs of sense, with their functions, have their basis of unity, is commonly denoted by the use of the singular; (2) that according to the syntax, חפצתּ, כּרית, and שׁאלתּ are all placed on the same level. Thus, therefore, it is with this very אזנים כרית לי that the answer is intended, in its positive form, to begin; and the primary passage, 1 Samuel 15:22, favours this view: "Hath Jahve delight in whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in one's obeying the voice of Jahve? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to attend better than the fat of rams!" The assertion of David is the echo of this assertion of Samuel, by which the sentence of death was pronounced upon the kingship of Saul, and consequently the way of that which is well-pleasing to God was traced out for the future kingship of David. God - says David - desires not outward sacrifices, but obedience; ears hath He digged for me, i.e., formed the sense of hearing, bestowed the faculty of hearing, and given therewith the instruction to obey.

(Note: There is a similar expression in the Tamul Kural, Graul's translation, S. 63, No. 418: "An ear, that was not hollowed out by hearing, has, even if hearing, the manner of not hearing." The "hollowing out" meaning in this passage an opening of the inward sense of hearing by instruction.)

The idea is not that God has given him ears in order to hear that disclosure concerning the true will of God (Hupfeld), but, in general, to hear the word of God, and to obey that which is heard. God desires not sacrifices but hearing ears, and consequently the submission of the person himself in willing obedience. To interpret it "Thou hast appropriated me to Thyself לעבד עולם," after Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17, would not be out of harmony with the context; but it is at once shut out by the fact that the word is not אזן, but אזנים. Concerning the generalizing rendering of the lxx, σῶμα δὲ κατηρτίσω μου, following which Apollinaris renders it αὐτὰρ ἐμοί Βροτέης τεκτήναο σάρκα γενέθλης, and the Italic (which is also retained in the Psalterium Romanum), corpus autem perfecisti mihi; vide on Hebrews 10:5, Commentary, S. 460f. transl. vol. ii. p. 153.

The אז אמרתּי, which follows, now introduces the expression of the obedience, with which he placed himself at the service of God, when he became conscious of what God's special will concerning him was. With reference to the fact that obedience and not sacrifice has become known to him as the will and requirement of God, he has said: "Lo, I come," etc. By the words "Lo, I come," the servant places himself at the call of his master, Numbers 22:38; 2 Samuel 19:21. It is not likely that the words בּמגלּת ספר כּתוּב עלי then form a parenthesis, since Psalm 40:9 is not a continuation of that "Lo, I come," but a new sentence. We take the Beth, as in Psalm 66:13, as the Beth of the accompaniment; the roll of the book is the Tra, and more especially Deuteronomy, written upon skins and rolled up together, which according to the law touching the king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20) was to be the vade-mecum of the king of Israel. And עלי cannot, as synonymous with the following בּמעי, signify as much as "written upon my heart," as De Wette and Thenius render it-a meaning which, as Maurer has already correctly replied, עלי obtains elsewhere by means of a conception that is altogether inadmissible in this instance. On the contrary, this preposition here, as in 2 Kings 22:13, denotes the object of the contents; for כּתב על signifies to write anything concerning any one, so that he is the subject one has specially in view (e.g., of the judicial decision recorded in writing, Job 13:26). Because Jahve before all else requires obedience to His will, David comes with the document of this will, the Tra, which prescribes to him, as a man, and more especially as the king, the right course of conduct. Thus presenting himself to the God of revelation, he can say in Psalm 40:9, that willing obedience to God's Law is his delight, as he then knows that the written Law is written even in his heart, or, as the still stronger expression used here is, in his bowels. The principal form of מעי, does not occur in the Old Testament; it was מעים (from מע, מעה, or even מעי), according to current Jewish pronunciation מעים (which Kimchi explains dual); and the word properly means (vid., on Isaiah 48:19) the soft parts of the body, which even elsewhere, like רחמים, which is synonymous according to its original meaning, appear pre-eminently as the seat of sympathy, but also of fear and of pain. This is the only passage in which it occurs as the locality of a mental acquisition, but also with the associated notion of loving acceptance and cherishing protection (cf. the Syriac phrase סם בגו מעיא, som begau meajo, to shut up in the heart equals to love). That the Tra is to be written upon the tables of the heart is even indicated by the Deuteronomion, Deuteronomy 6:6, cf. Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 7:3. This reception of the Tra into the inward parts among the people hitherto estranged from God is, according to Jeremiah 31:33, the characteristic of the new covenant. But even in the Old Testament there is among the masses of Israel "a people with My law in their heart" (Isaiah 51:7), and even in the Old Testament, "he who hath the law of his God in his heart" is called righteous (Psalm 37:31). As such an one who has the Tra within him, not merely beside him, David presents himself on the way to the throne of God.

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