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Psalm 32[a]

By David; a well-written song.[b]

32 How blessed[c] is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven,[d]
whose sin is pardoned.[e]
How blessed is the one[f] whose wrongdoing the Lord does not punish,[g]
in whose spirit there is no deceit.[h]

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  1. Psalm 32:1 sn Psalm 32. The psalmist recalls the agony he experienced prior to confessing his sins and affirms that true happiness comes when one’s sins are forgiven. He then urges others not to be stubborn, but to turn to God while forgiveness is available, for God extends his mercy to the repentant, while the wicked experience nothing but sorrow.
  2. Psalm 32:1 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.” The term occurs in the superscriptions of Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142, as well as in Ps 47:7.
  3. Psalm 32:1 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 34:9; 41:1; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15). Here it refers to the relief that one experiences when one’s sins are forgiven.
  4. Psalm 32:1 tn Heb “lifted up.”
  5. Psalm 32:1 tn Heb “covered over.”
  6. Psalm 32:2 tn Heb “man.” The word choice reflects the perspective of the psalmist, who is male. The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, the gender and age specific “man” has been translated with the more neutral “one.”
  7. Psalm 32:2 tn Heb “blessed [is] the man to whom the Lord does not impute wrongdoing.”
  8. Psalm 32:2 sn In whose spirit there is no deceit. The point is not that the individual is sinless and pure. In this context, which focuses on confession and forgiveness of sin, the psalmist refers to one who refuses to deny or hide his sin, but instead honestly confesses it to God.