69:0We do not know if David wrote this psalm. Some Bible students think that Jeremiah wrote it. Jeremiah was a prophet that lived 400 years after David. Jeremiah told people what he thought God was saying to them. They did not like it. They hurt Jeremiah but there was no reason to hurt him. What he said was true. Maybe David did write the psalm and Jeremiah wrote some more verses for it. Both David and Jeremiah had enemies.
At the top it says:
– Use lilies. Lilies are beautiful flowers. Maybe it is the name of beautiful music also.
– For David. Maybe this means ‘for the set of psalms that David started.’ We call the psalms ‘The Psalms of David’ today, when we know that he did not write them all.
Our name for the psalm is The Whipping Boy. What does this mean? The son of a king is a prince. Princes had teachers. When the prince made a mistake, the teacher did not hit (or whip) the prince, but he hit a boy that had lessons with the prince. The boy had done nothing wrong, but the teacher whipped him. He was a whipping boy, someone for the teacher to whip, hit or beat instead of the prince. Today, a whipping boy is anyone that is hurt when someone else has done wrong!
They often hurt David and Jeremiah when they had done nothing wrong. They were both ‘whipping boys.’ But the most important ‘whipping boy’ of all was Jesus. They hurt him and killed him when he had done nothing wrong. Everybody that has ever lived has done wrong, and God should punish us all. Punish means ‘hurt someone for doing wrong.’ But God punished Jesus for what we did wrong. In Psalm 69 are several things that happened to Jesus, as well as to David or Jeremiah. The psalm is not only about Jesus, but it makes Christians think about Jesus. That is why many Christians sing it on Good Friday, the day when we remember Jesus' death.
The Whipping Boy
Psalm 69: Verses 1-4
This is for the music leader.
Use the music that they call ‘Lilies.’
It is for David.
1 Save me, God! Because the waters have come to take my life.
2 I am going down into deep mud and there is nowhere to put my feet.
I have come into deep waters and floods rush over me.
3 I have shouted so much for help that I am weak.
My mouth is hot and dry. My eyes hurt from looking for God.
69:3In verses 1-3 the psalmist (maybe David or Jeremiah) gives us a picture. It is of a man drowning. He shouts to God, ‘Save me.’ He wants God to pull him out of the water.
4 More people hate me than I have hairs on my head. They have no reason to be my enemies.
Many people try to destroy me with their lies.
They made me give back something that I did not rob them of.
69:4In verse 4 he tells us that the water is a picture of his enemies. His enemies are trying to destroy him just like the water tried to drown the man in the picture. He tells us two other things:
– There is no reason for them to try to kill him
– They made him give back something they say he took.
We do not know what this was. The psalmist says that he did not take it from them.
Psalm 69: Verses 5-12
5 You, God, know that I am a fool. I cannot hide my sin from you.
6 Master, do not let the people that put their hope in you
be ashamed because of me.
You are the LORD of Many Armies.
Do not let the people that follow you
be ashamed because of me.
You are the God of Israel.
69:6In verses 5-6 the psalmist says that he has sinned, or broken God's rules. He asks that other people will not get hurt because of this. The armies (of heaven) are, maybe, angels not people. Heaven is where God lives and angels live there with him.
7 Because I love you people say bad things about me.
They make me feel ashamed.
8 I have become a stranger to my brothers
and my own mother's sons do not know me.
9 I am angry for your house and it burns me up inside.
People insult you, but they do it by insulting me!
69:9In verses 7-9 enemies of God want to say bad things to him. But they cannot see God. So they do and say bad things to God's servants instead! In verses 22-29 the psalmist says what he wants God to do to these enemies.
10 When I cry and eat no food people still insult me.
69:10In verse 10 we call ‘eating no food’ fasting. They thought that it made God answer their prayers.
11 When I wear clothes made from sacks people laugh at me.
69:11In verse 11 people wore clothes made from sacks (‘sackcloth’) when they wanted to say ‘sorry’ to God.
12 People that sit by the gate talk about me
and people that are drunks sing songs about me.
69:12In verse 12 the leaders of the people sat by the gate of their town. It was the place where they decided what to do.
Psalm 69: Verses 13-18
13 But me – I am praying to you, LORD, at a time when you will hear me. God, because you have so much kind love, answer me and make me really safe.
69:13The psalmist repeats some of what he said in verses 1-4. In verse 13 ‘the time when you will hear me’ maybe is a special meeting of God's people.
14 Take me out of the mud
and do not let me fall into it any more.
Save me from the people that hate me
and from the very deep waters.
69:14‘Any more’ in verse 14 means that he does not want a bigger lot of mud over him.
15 Do not let:
· floods of waters pour over me
· the deep seas drown me
· the pit close its mouth round me.
69:15In verse 15 the pit was a special place. The Jews thought that when they died they went to a place under the ground called Sheol. In one corner of Sheol was a pit, or deep hole. Very bad people went there and never came out again! That is why the psalmist talks about his soul in verse 18. He is thinking about the part of him that will live when his body dies. He does not want it to live in Sheol and its pit. It is difficult to say who God will buy his soul back from at the end of the verse. Maybe he means Sheol. Christians say that Jesus bought our souls back from hell and that the enemy was the devil. The psalmist did not know this.
16 Answer me, LORD, because your kind love is so good.
Turn to me because you have so much mercy.
17 And do not hide your face from your servant.
Because of my trouble, answer me very soon.
18 Come near to my soul and make it safe.
Buy it back because of my enemies.
Psalm 69: Verses 19-22
19 You God know that people insult me
and say that I am a disgrace and make me ashamed.
69:19The insults (or bad things that people say about someone) in verse 19 have broken the heart of the psalmist in verse 20. This means that they have made him so sad that he wants to die. He looked for someone to listen to him and give him some help, but nobody did. Rather, they gave him a poison called gall and vinegar to drink. This is where we have some imprecations. They are in verses 22-29. Here, the idea of his enemies giving him poison makes him want them to eat poison! So he says in verse 22 that he wants their food (on their table) to trap them and their friends.
20 Insults have broken my heart. I feel helpless.
I looked for sympathy, but there was none.
I wanted someone to comfort me, but did not find anyone.
21 But they put poison in my food
and they gave me vinegar to drink.
69:21The poison that they gave him in verse 21 was gall. It had a bad taste, the opposite of sweet. Maybe it came from a plant, or a snake. Matthew 27:34 says that they gave Jesus vinegar and gall to drink just before they crucified (killed) him. But he did not drink it. Mark 15:23 says there was myrrh in the vinegar, which would make the pain less.
22 I want the food on their table to be a trap for them
and a trap for all their good friends!
Psalm 69: Verses 23-29
23 I want their eyes to be in the dark so that they cannot see.
I want their bodies to bend over always,
24 because you are so angry with them.
Pour out your anger on them!
25 I want the places where they stay to be empty
and nobody to be in their tents.
69:25By verse 25, they are not in their towns but in Sheol where no one can see them.
26 For they persecute the people that you God hurt
and talk about more pain for the people that you punish.
27 Make a note of all their sins
and do not let them have your righteousness.
28 Take their names out of the book of life.
Take them off the list of righteous people.
69:28Verses 27-28 are the worst imprecations we could ask! Not only does the psalmist ask that his enemies die and go to Sheol (verse 23). He asks more! He asks that God will not make them righteous and that he will take away their names from the book of life. To Christians, this means that he is asking God never to let these enemies become Christians. Jesus said that we must pray for our enemies. He showed us what words to say, when his enemies killed him. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them.’ When God forgives us he makes us righteous and puts our names into his book of life. Look at Psalms of Imprecation for more.
29 But I have pain in my body and trouble in my mind.
God, protect me and make me safe.
Psalm 69: Verses 30-36
30 I will praise God's name with songs
and I will say how great he is by giving thanks.
31 This will bring more pleasure to the LORD
than an ox or a bull with horns and hooves.
69:31The ox and the bull in verse 31 were sacrifices. This means that they burnt them to bring pleasure to God. He told them to do this in the Book of Leviticus. But God wants us to thank and praise him more than giving him sacrifices. The only sacrifice Christians have is Jesus. That happened when people crucified (killed) him. When Christians thank and praise God, God gives them help.
32 Poor people will see it and be happy.
People that are looking for God will have brave hearts again.
69:32They become brave again when life is difficult, verse 32.
33 For the LORD hears what people need
and he does not think bad things about his people in captivity.
69:33Even people in prison because they love God and Jesus may become brave again, verse 33.
34 Let the skies and the earth praise him!
And let the seas and everything that moves through them praise him!
69:34Some Bible students think that verses 35-36 came later than the first 34 verses. Someone wrote them after they came back to their land from Babylon, where they had been prisoners.
35 For God will make Zion safe.
He will build again the cities of Judah.
Then his servants will live there and it will be theirs.
36 As for the children of his servants,
it will stay their inheritance also.
The people that love God's name will always remain there.