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Psalms 70 & 71, The Song of the Aged


According to the NIV Application Commentary, “Psalms 70 and 71 are combined in many ancient manuscripts, indicating there were (in some traditions at least) read as a single psalm” (965). The other interesting aspect of these psalms is that Psalm 70 appears nearly verbatim in Psalm 40:13-17. Rather than teach these verses again, I would encourage our audience to study Psalm 40 which contains the words of Psalm 70. But we will read Psalm 70 along with Psalm 71 since these psalms were connected in Hebrew history. There are also some significant links between these two psalms. Both psalms also pray for the enemies to be ashamed: “Let those be ashamed and humiliated who seek my life” (70:2). “Let those who are adversaries of my soul be ashamed and consumed” (71:13). We also see similar wording in the pleas to God in these psalms. “O God, hasten to deliver me; O Lord, hasten to my help! (70:1). “O God, do not be far from me; O my God, hasten to my help! (71:12). Psalm 71 also lacks a heading in the superscription, while Psalm 70 contains a heading. So I think we have good reason to look at these psalms as a unit.

Psalm 70 is a call to God for deliverance and help to come quickly. Verse 5 says, “But I am afflicted and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.” In the composition, Psalm 70 ought to be looked at as the opening petition for God’s help. Psalm 71 continues David’s petition.

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