Psalm Thirty-two: Translation of the Song

32,1: By David. Maskil.

Happy, [his] offense carried away. [his] sin covered over.


32,2:  Happy, the man in whom Adonai counts no transgression,

and, in his spirit, no deception.


32,3: For when I kept silent, eroded were my bones;

when I roared all the day.


32,4: For all day long and night, heavy upon me was Your hand;

transformed the marrow of my bones into the dryness of summer. Selah.


32.5: After I sin, I reveal it to You and my transgression I have not covered over.

I said, “I will reveal my offenses to Adonai”,

and You lifted off the offense of my sin. Selah.


32,6: About this will pray every devout one to You at a time of finding;

should the abundant water flood, to him it will not reach.


32,7: You are a hiding-place for me.

From torment You will keep me;

with happy songs of rescue You will surround me. Selah.


32,8: I will make you wise and I will enlighten you

as to the way in which you should go.

I will counsel you; upon you is my eye.


32,9: Do not be as the horse or as the mule –no understanding [have they];

bit and bridle bejewel their mouth, to rein them in,

so they never will draw close to you.


32,10: Great are the pains of the wicked;

yet the one who has secure trust in Adonai,

compassion will surround him.


32,11: Be glad in Adonai and rejoice, righteous ones;

and sing happy songs, all the upright of men.

Notes, Psalm 32

  1. 1: “Maskil” is apparently a song used specifically to instruct its listeners; a lesson in song. The root of the word ש.כ.ל. is “brain”.


  1. 1 and 2: Verse 1 contains two distinct words for sin; verse two, one. Each has a slightly different connotation. The first, פֶּשַׁע, suggests an intentional offense; the second, חֲטָאָה, one mistakenly committed. The third, however, עָו‍ֹן, is the offense that is not only intentional but that is also an act of rebellion.


  1. v. 2: The word “deception” has, In Hebrew –רְמִיָּה– the same root as the word “exaltation” —רוֹמְמוּת — a paradox not easily accounted for, since the two words are certainly opposites in meaning. Here, however, it could be that the singer is implicitly using the oppositeness of the two words to suggest a spirit that has no possibility of being exalted. To suggest that, in deceiving others, the duplicitous rob themselves of moral ascension.
  1. 3: “When” has been added to the single Hebrew word כִּי, “for”, because the Hebrew connotes a sense of time.


  1. 3: The Hebrew for “my bones”, עֲצָמָי, is the same Hebrew word as “myself”.


  1. 4: The declaration, “heavy upon me was Your hand”, has in Hebrew a sense of continuity, rather than of a single act. Accordingly, the verb could be translated using present or past tense.


  1. 5: After the word “reveal”, there is, in Hebrew, a flowery word meaning “concerning” or “about” (עֲלֵי) which we have omitted to adhere to English grammatical construction.


  1. 6: The literal translation of the Hebrew לְעֵת מְצֹא  is “a time of finding”. The possible meanings are varied: that time when the devout seek to find God; when they find themselves in need; when they find they have sinned and need to atone. All three interpretations, however, describe the devout as looking for and to God.


  1. 7: The verb translated here as “are” is understood in the Hebrew, not explicitly stated.


  1. 7: The Hebrew for “keep”, תִּצְּרֵנִי, has the same root as “create”, י.צ.ר., as though in the very act of rescuing the singer, God creates him anew.


  1. 8: Here the verb “to offer” ( אַשְׂכִּילְךָ) has, in Hebrew, the connotation of “to prosper”. That is, those who heed the singer’s words, and gain wisdom, will prosper.

Click here to study “Literary analysis of Psalm 32

King James Psalms 32  Translation:

[1] Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
[2] Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
[3] When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
[4] For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
[5] I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
[6] For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
[7] Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
[8] I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
[9] Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
[10] Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.
[11] Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.