Psalms 32 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
With a fervour which is unmistakably the fruit of experience the Psalmist describes the blessedness of forgiveness, and teaches that penitence is the indispensable condition for receiving it (Psa 32:1-2). He had sinned grievously, and so long as he refused to acknowledge his sin he suffered inward torture (Psa 32:3-4). But confession brought instant pardon (Psa 32:5). Arguing then from his own experience he exhorts the godly to timely prayer (Psa 32:6). Professing his trust in Jehovah, he receives from Him a gracious promise of guidance (Psa 32:7-8). Then addressing himself to men in general, he warns them against the folly of resisting God’s will (Psa 32:9), and contrasts the lot of the godly and the wicked (Psa 32:10). The Psalm concludes with an exhortation to the righteous to rejoice (Psa 32:11).
This Psalm is generally thought to have been composed by David after his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. For almost a year he stubbornly refused to acknowledge his sin, in spite of the accusing voice of conscience, and, it may be, the admonitions of sickness ( Psa 32:3-4); until the prophet’s message struck home to his heart, and opened the fountain of penitential tears. Psalms 51 may be the first heartfelt prayer for pardon; while this Psalm, written somewhat later, when he had had time calmly to survey the past, records his experience for the warning and instruction of others, in fulfilment of the promise in Psa 51:13.
It is the second of the seven ‘Penitential Psalms’ (see Introd. to Psalms 6), and is appointed for use on Ash-Wednesday. It was a favourite with St Augustine, who “often read this Psalm with weeping heart and eyes, and before his death had it written upon the wall which was over against his sick bed, that he might be exercised and comforted by it in his sickness.” His words “intelligentia prima est ut te noris peccatorem” the beginning of knowledge is to know thyself to be a sinner might be prefixed to it as a motto.
On the title Maschil see Introd. p. xix.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".