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Psalm 130


Hope in the Lord's Forgiving Love
MT Intro
A Song of Ascents
Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord A Prayer for Deliverance From Personal Trouble A Prayer For Help Out of the Depths
130:1-4 130:1-2 130:1-2 130:1-4 130:1-2
  130:3-4 130:3-4   130:3-4
130:5-8 130:5-6 130:5-6 130:5-6 130:5-7a
  130:7-8 130:7-8 130:7-8 130:7b-8

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. This is one of those Psalms that speaks to the deepest desires and hopes of faithful followers.

1. there are problems, sins, and disappointments

2. the believer cries out to his/her only hope, YHWH

3. He hears and forgives

4. He is faithful to His character and word even when humans are not (cf. Ps. 51:1)

B. There are several names for Israel's Deity used in the Psalm.

1. YHWH, Ps. 130:1,5,7 (twice)

2. Yah, Ps. 130:3 (abbreviation of YHWH)

3. Adon, Ps. 130:3,6


C. This Psalm expresses both individual and corporate yearning for restoration (cf. Ps. 130:7-8).

D. Notice the grammatical theological emphasis of Ps. 130:7-8.

1. Ps. 130:7, "abundant redemption" (BDB 915 I, KB 1176, Hiphil infinitive absolute)

2. He (and He alone) will redeem - personal pronoun added to verb for emphasis



 1Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
 2Lord, hear my voice!
 Let Your ears be attentive
 To the voice of my supplications.
 3If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
 O Lord, who could stand?
 4But there is forgiveness with You,
 That You may be feared.

130:1 "Out of the depths" This noun (BDB 771) has several figurative uses. It basically means "deep."

1. distress described as a flood of waters, cf. Ps. 69:1-2,14-15 (similar metaphor to Ps. 42:7a; 88:7)

2. YHWH as champion of watery chaos, cf. Isa. 51:9-10 (similar to Ps. 74:12-17; 89:9-10)

3. the defeat of Tyre's sea power (i.e., sunk into the sea), cf. Ezek. 27:34

4. possibly a reference to Sheol, cf. Jonah 2:2-6; Ps. 18:4-5)


▣ "I have cried to You" The exact nature of the psalmist's distress is not stated but it is related to his sense of sin (cf. Ps. 130:3-4). He feels alienated but knows God will forgive and restore a repentant, patient follower (cf. Ps. 130:5-6)!

130:2 This verse reflects the psalmist's prayer mentioned in Ps. 130:1.

1. hear - BDB 1033, KB 1570, Qal imperative

2. let Your ears be attentive - BDB 224, KB 243, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense


130:3-4 Several English translations make these two verses a separate strophe (i.e., NKJV, NRSV, NJB).

The reality of the sinfulness of all humans after the Fall of Genesis 3 is a recurrent truth throughout the Bible.

1. Genesis 3:17-19; 6:5,11-12; 8:21

2. 1 Kings 8:46

3. 2 Chronicles 6:36

4. Ezra 9:15

5. Job 4:17; 9:2; 15:14-16; 25:4

6. Psalm 51:5; 76:7; 130:3; 143:2

7. Proverbs 20:9

8. Ecclesiastes 7:20

9. Isaiah 53:6

10. Nahum 1:6

11. Malachi 3:2

12. Romans 3:9-18,19,23; 11:32

13. 1 John 1:8-10

14. Revelation 6:17

All need forgiveness! Humans do not sense a need for forgiveness until the Spirit clearly reveals our need. There is no need for a savior until there is a sense of lostness! See SPECIAL TOPIC: FORGIVENESS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.

Forgiveness is possible because of

1. the gracious, unchanging character of God (see SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD [OT])

2. the finished work of the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 53; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:21)

3. the drawing, wooing of the Spirit (cf. John 6:44,65; 16:8-15)


130:3 "mark" This verb (BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal imperfect) denotes, in this context, the preserving of a record. This is reflected in the "two books" of God (i.e., book of deeds/remembrances and the book of life, see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE TWO BOOKS OF GOD of God). This is a metaphor for the memory of God.

It is ironic but God is asked again and again to forget our sins (i.e., Ps. 79:8; 106:6; Isa. 64:9; Micah 7:18) but remember His promises. On Judgment Day the books will be opened (cf. Dan. 7:10; Rev. 20:12)!

130:4 "feared" The outcome of a free and full forgiveness by a gracious God is the restoration of the personal relationship with God (i.e., lost in the Fall of Genesis 3), which is/was/will be the goal of creation. We were created by Him and for Him. Fear is the appropriate awe that He is due. Forgiveness results in fellowship! See Special Topic: Fear (OT).

 5I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
 And in His word do I hope.
 6My soul waits for the Lord
 More than the watchmen for the morning;
 Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
 7O Israel, hope in the Lord;
 For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
 And with Him is abundant redemption.
 8And He will redeem Israel
 From all his iniquities.

130:5-8 This strophe emphasizes the theme of the patience of faithful followers in God and trust in His word (cf. Ps. 130:5). The concept of "waiting in faith" is expressed in this strophe by two words.

1. BDB 875, KB 1082 - Ps. 130:5 (twice) and assumed in Ps. 130:6, cf. Ps. 25:3,21; 27:14; 40:1; 56:7

2. BDB 403, KB 407 - Ps. 130:5,7, cf. Ps. 38:15; 42:5; 43:5

This is the place where the sovereignty of God intercedes the required volitional response of fallen mankind. Faithful followers choose to wait, hope, trust in God and His promises, even when circumstances and feeling scream to take a different path!

130:6 This metaphor of longing anticipation is similar to Ps. 42:1-2. God's people long for Him!

▣ "soul" See full note at Gen. 35:18 online at

130:7 As the psalmist longs, waits, hopes, and trusts in YHWH, he now calls on God's people collectively to do the same.

Notice how YHWH is characterized.

1. in Him is lovingkindness (i.e., covenant, loyal love, see Special Topic: Lovingkindness [hesed])

2. in Him is "abundant redemption" (Ps. 130:7c)

3. in Him (and no other, cf. REB) is redemption (noun in Ps. 130:7 and verb in Ps. 130:8, see SPECIAL TOPIC: RANSOM/REDEEM) for all those who trust in Him (i.e., the covenant people, see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT and Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan)

Remember biblical faith is corporate. It is a family! Be careful of the modern western over-emphasis on the individual. Salvation has a corporate focus! We are saved to serve. The goal of individual salvation is the health and growth of the body of believers!


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What feelings come to your mind/heart after reading Ps. 130:1-4?

2. What do you think "depths" means?

3. Does God keep a record of sins?

4. Does Ps. 130:5-6 describe how you feel about God and His word?

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