Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 32:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven - In this and the following verse four evils are mentioned:

  1. Transgression, פשע peshwa .
  • Sin, חטאה chataah .
  • Iniquity, עון avon .
  • Guile, רמיה remiyah .
  • The first signifies the passing over a boundary, doing what is prohibited. The second signifies the missing of a mark, not doing what was commanded; but is often taken to express sinfulness, or sin in the future, producing transgression in the life. The third signifies what is turned out of its proper course or situation; any thing morally distorted or perverted. Iniquity, what is contrary to equity or justice. The fourth signifies fraud, deceit, guile, etc. To remove these evils, three acts are mentioned: forgiving, covering, and not imputing.

    1. Transgression, פשע pesha, must be forgiven, נשוי nesui, borne away, i.e., by a vicarious sacrifice; for bearing sin, or bearing away sin, always implies this.
  • Sin, חטאה chataah, must be covered, כסוי kesui, hidden from the sight. It is odious and abominable, and must be put out of sight.
  • Iniquity, עון anon, which is perverse or distorted, must not be imputed, יחשב לא lo yachshob, must not be reckoned to his account.
  • Guile, רמיה remiyah, must be annihilated from the soul: In whose spirit there is no Guile. The man whose transgression is forgiven; whose sin is hidden, God having cast it as a millstone into the depths of the sea; whose iniquity and perversion is not reckoned to his account; and whose guile, the deceitful and desperately wicked heart, is annihilated, being emptied of sin and filled with righteousness, is necessarily a happy man.
  • The old Psalter translates these two verses thus: Blissid qwas wikednes es for gyven, and qwas synnes is hyled (covered). Blisful man til qwam Lord retted (reckoneth) noght Syn: ne na treson es in his gast (spirit). In vain does any man look for or expect happiness while the power of sin remains, its guilt unpardoned, and its impurity not purged away. To the person who has got such blessings, we may say as the psalmist said, אשרי ashrey, O the blessedness of that man, whose transgression is forgiven! etc.

    St. Paul quotes this passage, Romans 4:6-7; (note), to illustrate the doctrine of justification by faith; where see the notes.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Blessed is he … - On the meaning of the word “blessed,” see the notes at Psalm 1:1. See the passage explained in the notes at Romans 4:7-8. The word “blessed” here is equivalent to “happy.” “Happy is the man;” or “happy is the condition - the state of mind - happy are the prospects, of one whose sins are forgiven.” His condition is happy or blessed:

    (a) as compared with his former state, when he was pressed or bowed down under a sense of guilt;

    (b) in his real condition, as that of a pardoned man - a man who has nothing now to fear as the result of his guilt, or who feels that he is at peace with God;

    (c) in his hopes and prospects, as now a child of God and an heir of heaven.

    Whose transgression is forgiven - The word rendered “forgiven” means properly to lift up, to bear, to carry, to carry away; and sin which is forgiven is referred to here “as if” it were borne away - perhaps as the scapegoat bore off sin into the wilderness. Compare Psalm 85:2; Job 7:21; Genesis 50:17; Numbers 14:19; Isaiah 2:9.

    Whose sin is covered - As it were “covered over;” that is, concealed or hidden; or, in other words, so covered that it will not appear. This is the idea in the Hebrew word which is commonly used to denote the atonement, - כפר kâphar - meaning “to cover over;” then, to overlook, to forgive; Genesis 6:14; Psalm 65:3; Psalm 78:38; Daniel 9:24. The original word here, however, is different - כסה kâsâh - though meaning the same - “to cover.” The idea is, that the sin would be, as it were, covered over, hidden, concealed, so that it would no longer come into the view of either God or man; that is, the offender would be regarded and treated as if he had not sinned, or as if he had no sin.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Sin is the cause of our misery; but the true believer's transgressions of the Divine law are all forgiven, being covered with the atonement. Christ bare his sins, therefore they are not imputed to him. The righteousness of Christ being reckoned to us, and we being made the righteousness of God in him, our iniquity is not imputed, God having laid upon him the iniquity of us all, and made him a sin-offering for us. Not to impute sin, is God's act, for he is the Judge. It is God that justifies. Notice the character of him whose sins are pardoned; he is sincere, and seeks sanctification by the power of the Holy Ghost. He does not profess to repent, with an intention to indulge in sin, because the Lord is ready to forgive. He will not abuse the doctrine of free grace. And to the man whose iniquity is forgiven, all manner of blessings are promised.
    Ellen G. White
    The Faith I Live By, 123.3

    How far we come from representing the character of Christ! But we must lay hold of His merits by living faith, and claim Him as our Saviour. He died on Calvary to save us. Each should make it a personal work between God and his own soul, as though there were no one in the world but himself. When we exercise personal faith, our hearts will not be as cold as an iron wedge; we shall be able to realize what is meant by the psalmist when he says, “Blessed is he ... whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1. FLB 123.3

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    Ellen G. White
    SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW), 1146

    In the night season I seemed to be repeating these words to the people: There is need of close examination of self. We have no time now to spend in self-indulgence. If we are connected with God, we shall humble our hearts before Him, and be very zealous in the perfecting of Christian characters. We have a grand and solemn work to do, for the world is to be enlightened in regard to the times in which we live; and they will be enlightened when a straight testimony is borne. They will be led to earnest examination of self (Letter 12, 1909). 3BC 1146.1

    18 (2 Samuel 16:12). A Strong Man in a Storm—David was never more worthy of admiration than in his hour of adversity. Never was this cedar of God truly greater than when wrestling with the storm and tempest. He was a man of the keenest temperament, which might have been raised to the strongest feelings of resentment. He was cut to the quick with the imputation of unmerited wrong. Reproach, he tells us, had broken his heart. And it would not have been surprising if, stung to madness, he had given vent to his feelings of uncontrollable irritation, to bursts of vehement rage, and expressions of revenge. But there was nothing of this which would naturally be expected of a man with his stamp of character. With spirits broken and in tearful emotion, but without one expression of repining, he turns his back upon the scenes of his glory and also of his crime, and pursues his flight for his life (Letter 6, 1880). 3BC 1146.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Steps to Christ, 25

    “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
    Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord
    imputeth not iniquity,
    And in whose spirit there is no guile.”
    SC 25.1

    Psalm 32:1, 2. SC 25

    “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to
    Thy loving-kindness:
    According unto the multitude of Thy tender
    mercies blot out my transgressions....
    For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my
    sin is ever before me....
    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow....
    Create in me a clean heart, O God;
    And renew a right spirit within me.
    Cast me not away from Thy presence;
    And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
    Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;
    And uphold me with Thy free spirit....
    Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou
    God of my salvation:
    And my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy
    SC 25.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Patriarchs and Prophets, 724

    God intended the history of David's fall to serve as a warning that even those whom He has greatly blessed and favored are not to feel secure and neglect watchfulness and prayer. And thus it has proved to those who in humility have sought to learn the lesson that God designed to teach. From generation to generation thousands have thus been led to realize their own danger from the tempter's power. The fall of David, one so greatly honored by the Lord, has awakened in them distrust of self. They have felt that God alone could keep them by His power through faith. Knowing that in Him was their strength and safety, they have feared to take the first step on Satan's ground. PP 724.1

    Even before the divine sentence was pronounced against David he had begun to reap the fruit of transgression. His conscience was not at rest. The agony of spirit which he then endured is brought to view in the thirty-second psalm. He says: PP 724.2

    “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
    Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
    And in whose spirit there is no guile.
    When I kept silence, my bones waxed old
    Through my roaring all the day long.
    For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me:
    My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer.”
    PP 724.3

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