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Deeper Commentary

Psa 69:1

For the Chief Musician. To the tune of Lilies. By David-
Paul confirms this Davidic authorship (Rom. 11:9). But the Psalm seems so relevant to Jeremiah sinking in the mud. Perhaps David's Psalm was edited under inspiration to be relevant to Jeremiah, or was prayed by him and then rewritten by him. It is clearly appropriate to the Lord's crucifixion and is cited several times about Him in the New Testament. The parallels with Ps. 22 mean that it likely has the same original context- in the sufferings experienced by David as a result of his sin with Bathsheba. The Lord Jesus on the cross was so identified with sinners that although personally innocent, He fully entered into the feelings of condemned sinners. And therefore the words and thoughts of David when at this point are appropriated to Him on the cross.

Save me, God, for the waters have come up to my neck!-
David was at a point where he felt death was imminent. But as suggested above, it could well be that the Psalm was rewritten by Jeremiah on reflection at his experiences in the dungeon.

Psa 69:2

I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold. I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me-
This is the picture of a man treading water with the last of his strength as he faces death by drowning. The exact historical reference within David's life isn't clear. It could be, as suggested on :1, that his general sense of being overcome by troubles has been developed by Jeremiah. 

Psa 69:3

I am weary with my crying. My throat is dry. My eyes fail, looking for my God-
The idea seems to be that he has put his last energy into appealing for God's salvation, but this had not been forthcoming. The Lord's desire for a drink because "I thirst" was therefore only so that He could continue praying. Ps. 119:82 has the same idea, in that David's eyes failed for looking for the fulfilment of God's word that he would become king and his kingdom be established. Perhaps that was the original reference here, as David faced the loss of his kingdom to usurpers like Absalom and Adonijah.

Psa 69:4

Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head-
See on :8. The continued emphasis in David's psalms upon "without cause" surely reflects a self righteousness (Ps. 35:19; 69:4; 109:3; 119:161), and a refusal to accept that what happened to him was a result of his sin with Bathsheba- as Nathan had explained. For David's righteousness was only impressive relative to the wickedness of his enemies; before God, it was filthy rags. It was true that Saul persecuted David "without cause" (s.w. 1 Sam. 19:5), but the experience of "without cause" persecution can lead us to an inappropriate self-righteousness. This is what happened to Job, who also suffered "without cause" (s.w. Job 2:3), and had to be convicted of self-righteousness at the end of the story. And it seems this happened to David. David himself intended to shed blood "without cause" and was only saved from it by grace (s.w. 1 Sam. 25:31).

In the context of the consequences of his sin with Bathsheba, David says that his sins and their consequences are "more than the hairs of my head" (Ps. 40:12). But he uses the same phrase in saying that his "without a cause" enemies are "more than the hairs of my head" (Ps. 69:4). But again we note that he considers those consequences of his sin to be "without cause", and we wonder at the depth of his repentance and sense of culpability.

Those who want to cut me off, being my enemies wrongfully, are mighty-
It is inevitable that to someone of the Lord’s intellectual ability as the Son of God, to a man with His sense of justice and with His knowledge of the Jews and their Law, everything within Him would have cried out at the protracted injustices of His trials. He had the strong sense within Him at this time that He was hated without cause, that the Jews were "mine enemies wrongfully" (Ps. 69:4). I suggested on Ps. 22 that this struggle with injustice and the apparent inconsistency of God was the Lord's final struggle in the moments before He died, and was required to bring Him to the acme of humility required for His final moment of death (Phil. 2:7-10). However, on the level of David, he was wrong to consider that it was somehow unfair that he was suffering the results of his sin with Bathsheba; for such troubles were exactly what Nathan had predicted would happen.

I have to restore what I didn’t take away-
"Take away" is the term used for stolen or lost goods which were to be restored. Perhaps there is reference to some false accusation against David which he felt aggrieved about. The allusion is to Jacob having to make good for the lost cattle of Laban during his time of exile, which David often looked to as representative of his experiences. But I suggested on :1 that this Psalm may have been rewritten by Jeremiah, so maybe there was some such incident in his life, perhaps concerning the property be redeemed. But these possible incidents are all typical of the way the Lord Jesus restored salvation and ultimately the garden of Eden, suffering in order to restore that which He took not away, and epitomized in the way He restored the ear of Malchus just before His death. That incident was perhaps providentially used by the Father to prepare His Son for His death to restore that which He had not taken away.

Psa 69:5

God, You know my foolishness. My sins aren’t hidden from You-
I noted on :4 that David was failing to accept the consequences of his sins with Bathsheba and Uriah. But true to our own experience, we can in one breath struggle to accept consequences of sin, minimizing what we did long ago- and yet almost in the same breath, accept full responsibility for them. But again, we may well enquire whether "foolishness" is not rather a mild term for what he had done (also used in Ps. 38:5); surely "wickedness" would have been more appropriate. "Foolishness" is often used in Proverbs to refer to unwisdom and even silliness. But what David did surely requires more extreme language. We note that David has been quick to use a wide range of harsh adjectives and ideas in describing the wickedness of others like Saul who had tried to murder the innocent. And David had actually done so.

"Why (oh why) hast Thou forsaken me?" is surely the Lord Jesus searching His conscience with desperate intensity, finding nothing wrong, and crying to God to show Him where He had failed, why the Father had forsaken Him. It may be that initially He assumed He had sinned (Ps. 69:5), going through the self-doubt which David went through at the time of Absalom's rebellion (Ps. 3:2). As David had felt then that God had cast him off, even though "my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail", so the Lord felt (Ps. 89:33,38). But then with an unsurpassedly rigorous self-examination, He came to know that He really hadn't. This means that once over the crisis, our Lord died with a purity of conscience known by no other being, with a profound sense of His own totality of righteousness. Again, this enables us to better enter into the intensity of "It is finished".

Psa 69:6

Don’t let those who wait for You be shamed on my account, Lord Yahweh of Armies. Don’t let those who seek You be brought to dishonour through me, God of Israel-
"Wait" is better "hope". Perhaps David has in view those who were hoping for the fuller establishment of God's Kingdom on earth under his kingship, which hope appeared to be dashed whilst he was now exiled during the rebellion of Adonijah or Absalom. David had supporters at the time of Absalom's rebellion, who remained in Jerusalem pretending to be on Absalom's side, but working to bring down his coup. And David here prays for them.

Psa 69:7

Because for Your sake I have borne reproach. Shame has covered my face-
But David's shame was surely because of his own sake, and not for God's sake. He always seems to struggle in taking full responsibility for the consequences of his sins. But it could be argued that he means that his reproach was because his enemies were jealous of his spirituality, and therefore they reproached him for the sake of his relationship with God.

Psa 69:8

I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s children-
Absalom's rebellion had been orchestrated over many years, and it seems he got David's own brothers onside with him. Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather and it seems he too had fomented opposition to David amongst his own family. But suffering consequences of his sin within his own family was exactly what Nathan had said would happen; and now it happens, David appears to rail against it. But the human pain of it all must not be thereby minimized. David loved his parents, especially caring for their safe keeping in his wilderness years; only to be forsaken by them (the Hebrew means just that), and to be rejected by his brothers and sisters (Ps. 27:10; 38:11; 69:8; 88:18). All this was after the pattern of Job, to whom David here alludes (see on Job 19:12-14).

The essence of all this happened to the Lord Jesus, whose brothers initially did not believe in Him. "Stranger" implies a Gentile. The Lord Jesus was accused of being the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier. The way He compared Himself to a Samaritan, half Jew and half Gentile, shows that especially on the cross, this is how He felt. He was mindful of both Jewish and Gentile aspects of His future body as He died. Mary was a woman, a real mother, and her special love for Jesus would have been noticed by the others. This probably had something to do with the fact that all her other children had rejected Jesus as a "stranger", i.e. a Gentile; perhaps they too believed that this Jesus was the result of mum's early fling with a passing Roman soldier.

In Gethsemane the Lord spoke of drinking the cup of His final death and suffering. But earlier He had spoken in the present tense: “the cup that I drink of... the baptism that I am baptized with" (Mk. 10:38). The drinking of the cup of death was ongoing. Likewise there are several verses in Psalms 22 and 69 which are evidently relevant to both the Lord's life and also His final hours on the cross. "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" is in the context of the cross, but is applied to an earlier period of the Lord's life (Ps. 69:9 cp. Jn. 2:17). "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children" is another example (Ps. 69:8); it is a prophecy about the final sufferings of the Lord in crucifixion, and yet it is elsewhere quoted about the experiences of His ministry. And “they hated me without a cause" (Ps. 69:4) was true throughout the Lord’s life (Jn. 15:25) as well as particularly in His death.

Psa 69:9

For the zeal of Your house consumes me-
See on :8. On a human level, David seems to have become obsessed with preparing for the physical building of the temple in his old age. He truly commented: " The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" (Ps. 69:9). The RV margin of 1 Chron. 28:12 makes us wonder whether the dimensions of the temple were in fact made up within David’s own mind: “David gave to Solomon his son the pattern… the pattern that he had in his spirit  [AV “by the spirit”] for the… house of the Lord”. But here David cites his obsession with building a temple as a kind of reason for considering that his suffering the consequence of sin was unreasonable. But the New Testament reapplies these words to the Lord's zeal for cleansing the temple.

The Law taught that a man had to bring a burnt offering, of his own voluntary will, in symbol of his own dedication to his God. It was to be consumed by the flames of the Christ-altar, until all that was left was a pile of ashes. And he was to see in this a parable of his own life; totally consumed in service, until at the end, we're left a pile of ashes. We are as water spilt upon the ground that cannot be gathered again. The Man we follow is the supreme example. He knew himself that "the zeal of Your house consumes me"; the same Hebrew word is used as in Lev. 6:10: "take up the ashes which the fire has consumed".

The idea of deferral of fulfilment is common enough in Scripture once you look for it. “The wrath of the Lord was upon Judah” in Hezekiah’s time; but he made a covenant with God and cleansed the temple “that his fierce wrath may turn away from us” (2 Chron. 29:8,10). But this day of the Lord’s wrath was deferred until 90 years later (Zeph. 1:18; 2:2). Hezekiah’s zealous cleansing of the temple (2 Chron. 29:12-16) cannot fail to have been one application of Ps. 69:9 “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”- and yet these words are applied to the Lord’s cleansing of the temple and His death in the first century. Could it not be that the Lord Jesus cleansed the temple fully understanding these things, and seeking to defer God’s wrath upon Judah, to give them a chance to repent? And it was delayed- in that there was no immediate wrath from Heaven against the Jews for murdering the Son of God. And yet the days were shortened as well as deferred for the elect’s sake. An amazing Father somehow builds all these various factors into His time periods. Truly everything happens in our lives at the ‘right’ time!

The reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me-
Scriptures which were relevant to Christ are actually directly applicable to us too, who are in Christ. Thus Paul reasons: "Christ pleased not himself, but as it is written (he quotes Ps. 69:9), The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning...." (Rom. 15:3,4). So here Paul points out a well known Messianic prophesy, applies it to Christ, and then says that it was written for us. This is exactly Peter's point, when he says that the words which were spoken to Christ at the transfiguration were also for our benefit, and that the word of prophecy which we have is to be treated in the same manner as if we had been cowering with Peter on the mount, hearing the words which Moses and Elijah spoke to Jesus.  

Psa 69:10

When I wept and I fasted, that was to my reproach-
I suggested on :7 that the subconscious reason for David's reproach was his relationship with God. And this was certainly true for the Lord Jesus whom he typified, as it was true for Jeremiah (see on :1). David had earlier observed that when Saul was sick he had wept and fasted for him (Ps. 35:13), and he did so again at Saul's death; and perhaps this was being politically used against him.

Psa 69:11

When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them-
In the context of the Lord Jesus, we see this fulfilled in the continual usage of the words "Jesus" and "Christ" as bywords to this day. Becoming a byword was the punishment for breaking the covenant (s.w. Dt. 28:37). The Lord Jesus was therefore suffering as representative of a sinful, condemned Israel. The exiles ought to have found comfort in these prophecies. On the level of David, he was mocked as one suffering for breaking the covenant. When in fact it was quite the other way around.

Psa 69:12

Those who sit in the gate talk against me; I am the song of the drunkards-
This is another allusion to Job, whom David continually sees as his pattern (see on Job 19:12-14). It was David's own son who stood in the gate talking against his own father (2 Sam. 15:2-6). This was the typical consequence of David's sin with Bathsheba which Nathan had predicted; and yet when it happened, David complains about it, as if still struggling to accept Nathan's words, and not focused enough upon the simple wonder of the fact he had been forgiven and his life preserved by God's amazing grace.

Psa 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is to You, Yahweh, in an acceptable time. God, in the abundance of Your grace, answer me in the truth of Your salvation-
In the context, these are the thoughts of Christ on the cross. As He prayed on the cross, so we should arm ourselves with the same attitude of mind in prayer (cp. 1 Pet. 4:1). These words are alluded to in 2 Cor. 6:2, where we are told to draw near to God (and encourage others to do so), because now is the accepted time and the day of our salvation. The crucified Lord reflected there that His prayer was offered to God "in an acceptable time". And yet this very passage is taken up in 2 Cor. 6:2 concerning the necessary vigour of our crying to God for salvation. That the intensity of the Lord's prayerfulness and seeking of God on the cross should be held up as our pattern... the very height of the ideal is wondrous.

Psa 69:14

Deliver me out of the mire, and don’t let me sink. Let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters-
This suggests a man at the very end of life, facing imminent death. I suggested on :1 that there is no particular time in David's life where this is recorded of him. Yet the words are so relevant to Jeremiah, who it seems reused this Psalm. Perhaps Jonah did likewise, for death in "the deep waters" applied to him. And they were exactly relevant to the Lord Jesus on the cross. These words are alluded to in Ps. 18:17, where at the end of his life David reflects that he has been delivered from those who hated him (s.w.). At the time, he wept bitterly for Absalom's death; but in maturity he realized that this was in fact an answer to his prayers.

Psa 69:15

Don’t let the flood waters overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up. Don’t let the pit shut its mouth on me-
The reference may be to Ahithophel's plan to swallow up David at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 17:12,16 s.w.). David's prayer of Ps. 35:25; 69:15; 124:3 not to be swallowed up / destroyed was answered, but he was devastated at the answer- for it meant the death of his son Absalom. Again David has Job in mind, who had his 'brethren' arguing that he should be swallowed up / destroyed without cause (Job 2:3 s.w.).

Psa 69:16

Answer me, Yahweh, for Your grace is good. According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, turn to me-
Although earlier David has complained that he is suffering unfairly (see on :4), he again returns to his awareness that he can only be saved by grace; for he is indeed a sinner suffering the consequence of his sins. True to our own experience, we can in one breath struggle to accept consequences of sin, minimizing what we did long ago- and yet almost in the same breath, accept full responsibility for them (see on :5).

Psa 69:17

Don’t hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me speedily!-
David feels that his suffering at the hands of Absalom and his group was because God was hiding His face. But this was not the case. He is failing to give due weight to the words of Nathan. He was to suffer these consequences for his sin, but that didn't mean God was hiding His face from him; for he was really and truly forgiven and restored before God. The exiles appear to have likewise struggled with the issue of consequence for sin. David had asked God not to hide his face from him, David personally, (Ps. 27:9; 69:17; 102:2; 143:7), but to hide His face from David’s sins (Ps. 51:9). But it seems that in crisis he wondered whether he had in fact been forgiven.

Psa 69:18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it. Ransom me because of my enemies-
David often speaks of drawing near to God, and yet he invites God to draw near to him (Ps. 69:18). Yet David also recognizes that God “is” near already (Ps. 75:1). I take all this to mean that like us, David recognized that God “is” near, and yet wished God to make His presence real to him. Truly can we pray David’s prayers. So often, prayer is described as coming near to God (Ps. 119:169 etc.)- and yet God “is” near already. Prayer, therefore, is a way of making us realize the presence of the God who is always present. You are not alone, I am not alone; “For I am with you”. God is with us for us in His Son. Of course, we must draw near to Him (Ps. 73:28); and yet He is already near, not far from every one of us (Acts 17:27).

And yet it could be argued that God had already forgiven David, ransoming and redeeming him. But he was left to suffer the consequences of those sins, and because of that, in crisis he starts to wonder whether he has indeed been forgiven. And we can do the same so easily. The consequence of sin is death, and we can squirm against this when we or others face it... forgetting the wonder of the fact that we are indeed redeemed and ransomed from the power of the grave, although we must still take the consequences. The exiles likewise had to understand that they had been redeemed (s.w. Ps. 74:2) but were suffering the consequence of sin. God was indeed their redeemer (Is. 41:14; 43:1 s.w.). At the very end of his life, David realized that he had in fact been redeemed (s.w. 1 Kings 1:29). He could give up his spirit to God in death, knowing that He was redeemed from the power of the grave (s.w. Ps. 31:5; 49:15). His sure hope in the resurrection of the body looked ahead to the attitude with which the Lord Jesus died.

Psa 69:19

You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonour; my adversaries are all before You-
The tone of the Psalm begins to change from this point. This so often happens in the Psalms; David begins by praying desperately for help, and then within the same Psalm, becomes calmer, and ends up rejoicing. Perhaps there was some dramatic Divine revelation to him during the prayer. But rather I suggest that this is simply true to our spiritual experience in prayer; we too within the course of prayer become calmer, seeing God's hand, aware that He does know precisely all our situation, better than we do; and shall finally bring us to the great salvation of His eternal Kingdom. And thus we conclude the prayer in joy and peace before Him.

Psa 69:20

Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness-
The Lord didn't just passively enduring the polemics of the Pharisees; they were His chicks, He really wanted them under His wings (cp. Israel dwelling under the wings of the cherubim). We must ever remember this when we read the records of Him arguing with them and exposing their hypocrisy. He wasn't just throwing back their questions, playing the game and winning, just surviving from day to day with them. He was trying to gather them, and their rejection of His words really hurt Him. Their reproach broke His heart; He didn't just brazenly endure it as we might the ravings of a drunken man (Ps. 69:20). David here alludes to Job's experiences (see on Job 19:12-14).

The shame of the cross is a theme of the records. The reproach broke the Lord's heart (Ps. 69:20). It could even be that He suffered a heart rupture, a literal broken heart, some hours prior to His death- hence when His side was pierced, blood flowed out- and corpses don’t usually bleed. It has been commented that severe emotional trauma is enough to cause such a rupture. He wasn't hard and impervious to it all. He knew who He was, and where He was going. To be treated as He was, was such an insult to the God of all grace. And He keenly sensed this. Heb. 12:2,3 parallels the Lord's enduring of the cross with His enduring "such contradiction of sinners against Himself".

It is likely that the Lord was crucified naked, thereby sharing the shame of Adam's nakedness. The shame of the cross is stressed (Heb. 11:26; 12:2; Ps. 31:17; Ps. 69:6,7,12,19,20). And we are to share those sufferings. There must, therefore, be an open standing up for what we believe in the eyes of a hostile world. Preaching, in this sense, is for all of us. And if we dodge this, we put the Son of God to a naked shame; we re-crucify Him naked, we shame Him again (Heb. 6:6). He was crucified naked, and the sun went in for three hours. He must have been cold, very cold (Jn. 18:18). Artemidorus Daldianus (Oneirokritika 2.53) confirms that the Romans usually crucified victims naked. Melito of Sardis, writing in the 2nd century, writes of “his body naked and not even deemed worthy of a clothing that it might not be seen. Therefore the heavenly lights turned away and the day darkened in order that he might be hidden who was denuded upon the cross" (On the Pasch 97). The earliest portrayals of the crucified Jesus, on carved gems, feature Him naked.

I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; for comforters, but I found none-
"But there stood by the cross..." makes the connection between Mary and the clothes. It seems that initially, she wasn't there; He looked for comforters and found none (Ps. 69:20- or does this imply that the oft mentioned spiritual difference between the Lord and His mother meant that He didn't find comfort in her? Or she only came to the cross later?). His lovers, friends and kinsmen stood far off from Him (Ps. 38:11), perhaps in a literal sense, perhaps far away from understanding Him. If Mary wasn't initially at the cross, John's connection between the dividing of the clothes and her being there would suggest that she had made the clothes. In any case, the four women at the cross are surely set up against the four soldiers there- who gambled over the clothes. Perhaps the other women had also had some input into the Lord’s clothing.

Psa 69:21

They also gave me gall for my food; in my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink-
It is hard to find an occasion in David's life which would have been relevant to this. But I suggested on :1 that the Psalm was rewritten by Jeremiah. Perhaps they passed down gall and vinegar to him in the dungeon. But the Psalm clearly refers to the Lord Jesus, supremely. The Hebrew can stand the translation ‘poison’ (see RSV). Given the extended, agitated torture of crucifixion, there was a custom for close friends to get close enough to the cross to lift up a poisonous substance which the crucified would lick, and thereby die quickly. It is just possible that a friend (or even his mother?) or a sympathetic soldier did this. Again, in this case it would seem that the Lord chose the highest level; our salvation would surely have been theologically achievable if He had taken it. But He chose to attain for us not only salvation, but “such great salvation" by always taking the highest level. He became obedient not only to death, but “even the death of the cross".

Psa 69:22

Let their table before them become a snare, may it become a retribution and a trap-
A "table" is literally that which was spread forth, and need not refer to a piece of wood with legs. The idea is that their table, in the sense of a piece of material unrolled and spread upon the ground, was to turn into an animal trap into which they themselves would fall. The verse is quoted from the LXX in Rom. 11:9 and applied to the Jews who refused to accept the Lord Jesus as Messiah and king. Those who treated David likewise represented the Jews of the first century. Thus again David at this point is understood as a type of the Lord Jesus.

Psa 69:23

Let their eyes be darkened, so that they can’t see; may their backs be continually bent-
This is quoted in Rom. 11:10 about the Jews who rejected the kingship of the Lord Jesus, whom David typified. This darkening of Jewish hearts / eyes has been spoken of in Rom. 1:21 (s.w.), and I have argued on Romans 1 that 'Jews' and 'Gentiles' refer specifically to the Jewish and Gentile Christian converts within the church at Rome- rather than to Jews and Gentiles in some generic, global sense. As noted on Rom. 11:10, what is in view here is the stumbling of Jewish Christian believers out of the way, leading to their being cut off from the Christ-olive tree. '"Bend the back" uses the same word as just used in Rom. 11:4 for those who bowed the knee to Baal. They would be confirmed in their idolatry. And perhaps the reference is to how the Christian Jews who fell away from faith would eternally bow down at the last judgment (Rev. 3:9).

Psa 69:24

Pour out Your indignation on them; let the fierceness of Your anger overtake them-
This is the language used about God's judgment upon the Gentiles (Ps. 79:6; Jer. 10:25). David often sees the apostate within Israel as no better than Gentiles. And yet when Absalom did die, David was heartbroken, even though it was the answer to prayers like this. Being "overtaken" suggests being overtaken by military defeat, which is what happened to Absalom.

Psa 69:25

Let their habitation be desolate, may no one dwell in their tents-
These words are quoted about Judas in Acts 1:20, who is clearly typified by Ahithophel, who was a main mover in Absalom's rebellion. The condemnation of Jewry for crucifying Christ in Ps. 69:25 ("let their habitation be desolate") is quoted in the singular about Judas in Acts 1:20. What was true of Judas was also true of Israel in general; in the same way as the pronouns used about Judas merge from singular into plural in Ps. 55:13-15 ("a man mine equal... let death seize upon them"), as also in Ps. 109:3 cp. :8.

Psa 69:26

For they persecute him whom You have wounded. They tell of the sorrow of those whom You have hurt-
The parallel between "him" and "those" reflects David's awareness that his sufferings were representative of those of God's people. This is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus on the cross, who was "wounded" for our sins on the cross (s.w. Is. 53:5; Zech. 13:6), with the "wound" of the judgment for sin which was the just desert of His people (s.w. Jer. 30:14; Lam. 2:12). 

Psa 69:27

Add iniquity to their iniquity; don’t let them come into Your righteousness-
It is a feature of God's dealings with men that He confirms the degree of spiritual success or failure which we achieve or aim for by our own freewill effort. Thus we read nine times that Pharaoh hardened his own heart; but ten times that God hardened his heart. Similarly, God adds iniquity unto the iniquity of those who willfully sin (Ps. 69:27; Rev. 22:18). Conversely God imputes righteousness, adding His own righteous characteristics to us, in response to our faith. This is the key idea of 'justification by faith', being counted righteous although personally we are not.

Psa 69:28

Let them be blotted out of the book of life, and not be written with the righteous-
The suggestion is that they had been in the book of life, they were part of the Israel of God, but David wishes for them to be removed from it. This wishing of condemnation upon enemies, even when they include your own son [Absalom], seems so far from the spirit of the God who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and instead wishes that all men come to repentance. Desire for repentance in his enemies is rarely seen in David; we find only death wishes, and even a desire for their eternal damnation. He continues to divide his world into the sinners and "the righteous", forgetting that he was only righteous after his sins of adultery and murder because he was counted righteous. The spirit of Moses was so different, wishing himself blotted out of the book of life so that sinful Israel might enter the land (Ex. 32:32).

Psa 69:29

But I am in pain and distress. Let Your salvation, God, protect me-
"Protect me" is AV "set me up on high". David sees the contrast between his present lowness and the height of his ultimate exaltation. David again sees himself as following the pattern of Job (s.w. Job 5:11). This was ultimately true of the Lord Jesus in His ascent to Heaven and Divine nature. Solomon presents his father David's being 'set on high' (Ps. 69:29) as programmatic for the exaltation of all the righteous; he sees David as the epitome of the righteous, and thereby justifies the Davidic dynasty (s.w. Prov. 18:10; 29:25).

Psa 69:30

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving-
Again we note the change in tone of the Psalm. As noted on :19, David begins by praying desperately for help, and then within the same Psalm, becomes calmer, and ends up rejoicing. Perhaps there was some dramatic Divine revelation to him during the prayer. But rather I suggest that this is simply true to our spiritual experience in prayer; we too within the course of prayer become calmer, seeing God's hand, aware that He does know precisely all our situation, better than we do; and shall finally bring us to the great salvation of His eternal Kingdom. And thus we conclude the prayer in joy and peace before Him.

Psa 69:31

It will please Yahweh better than an ox, or a bull that has horns and hoofs-
David had earlier come to realize that a broken and contrite heart was worth more to God than any animal sacrifice (Ps. 51:17). Here he develops the idea to say that praising God for His grace (:30) was worth more than sacrifices; and that praise offered from a humble heart is hugely valuable to God. Hence the theme of humility continues in :32.

Psa 69:32

The humble have seen it, and are glad. You who seek after God, let your heart live-
As noted on :31, a humble heart full of praise of grace is so valuable to God. The idea may be that the humble "see" or perceive that God wants praise of His Name rather than sacrifices; and this is what God had Himself wanted. It was this attitude of heart which would live for ever (Heb.). Although we have no immortal soul, the righteous have an immortal spirit in that who we are in our hearts now is who we shall eternally be.

Psa 69:33

For Yahweh hears the needy, and doesn’t despise His captive people-
This has clearly been rewritten with reference to the captive exiles; see on :35. The captives were despised (s.w. Neh. 2:19) as David was for his sin (s.w. Ps. 22:6,24), and as was the Lord Jesus on the cross (s.w. Is. 53:3), but God did not despise them and would destroy that opposition. Yet perhaps it had a historical basis in David appreciating that although he had despised God in his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (s.w. 2 Sam. 12:10), God by grace had not despised him. Because God did not despise David's contrite and broken heart (s.w. Ps. 51:17, a passage also alluded to in :31). The exiles had likewise despised God (s.w. Ez. 16:59) but would not be despised by God.

Psa 69:34

Let heaven and earth praise Him; the seas, and everything that moves therein!-
David associates the salvation of Zion with the "seas" praising God, the Gentiles beyond the "earth" / land promised to Abraham. This is the prophetic vision; of Zion's redemption being a powerful example for the Gentiles to accept Israel's God.

Psa 69:35

For God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah. They shall settle there, and own it-
David saw his sufferings as being bound up with those of Israel; those who hated him hated Zion, those who blessed him blessed Zion, and God's salvation of Israel was being expressed through God's deliverance of him in the daily vicissitudes of life; as God had chosen Zion, so He had David His servant; David's joy was Zion's joy, and her exaltation would be David's  (Ps. 51:18; 69:35; 87:2; 106:5; 121:3,4; 125:1; 128:5; 146:10; 149:2). This is how we are to make sense of suffering- by understanding that it plays a role in the salvation of others, and is part of a wider nexus of Divine operation. We suffer so that we may be able to minister the comfort we receive to others (2 Cor. 1:4). Job likewise came to realize that his sufferings were not so much for his personal maturing, but for the teaching and salvation of the friends.

Or we can understand this reference to Zion as an example of a Psalm of David being rewritten and reapplied, under Divine inspiration, to a later historical situation- perhaps to the restoration, when the exiles again lived in the cities of Judah. See on :33. "Own it" is the word for "Drove out" in Ps. 44:2. It is the word for "inherit" in the promises that Abraham's seed would "inherit" the land (Gen. 15:7,8; 28:4). As in our experience, there is always a primary fulfilment of God's promises and eternal covenant, which was based around the promises to Abraham. This was of particular comfort to the exiles. Although God appeared not to be coming through for them at the time, they were to take comfort in the covenant with Abraham; God's hand had worked in the past and would do so again, and the land was ultimately theirs. Even if at the moment their enemies were in the ascendancy.

Psa 69:36

The children also of His servants shall inherit it. Those who love His name shall dwell therein-
No longer would the inheritance of Zion be predicated upon belonging to the tribe of Judah, in whose inheritance Jerusalem fell. Zion, the beloved temple mount, would be inherited by all who truly love God's Name, who love His characteristics. All who love the Lord's appearing will be saved by Him (2 Tim. 4:8). Simple love of God and His ways and character is the lead characteristic of those who shall be saved eternally.