The Bible


Psalms 70



1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me; Make haste to help me, O LORD.

2 Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

3 Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.

4 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.

5 But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.




Exploring the Meaning of Psalms 70


By Rev. Julian Duckworth

A Help Me button on a wall.

Psalm 70 is a short one, with virtually the same wording as Psalm 40's verses 13-17.

It is in four succinct parts.

1: Make haste to help me, God.

2: Deal with whatever wants to hurt me.

3: Let whatever seeks You rejoice and be glad in You.

4: I am poor and needy. Make haste to help me, God; You are my deliverer, do not delay.

This is one of those psalms where much is said in just a few words.

It begins and ends with the repeated chorus, ‘Make haste, O God.’ Spiritually, to make haste is not about a short period of time, but more about the certainty of things. The speaker wants God to act and bring an end to the tension of conflicting states. (Arcana Caelestia 5284)

One clear point is that the speaker has come to see, to know, and to feel, the difference between the kind of thoughts which invade our weakness, our poverty, and our impotence, and those which openly give confidence to trust, to assurance and to reliance on the Lord. ‘Let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” (Divine Love and Wisdom 413)

To ‘magnify the Lord’ is in effect to make the Lord magnificent. Spiritually, magnificence is to become aware to the point of awe of how great is the being, purpose and power of the Lord, who is in reality the All in All, in whom we live and move and have our being. One passage in our spiritual teachings says that if we were to think about the size of the Lord, He would be the size of the universe, about which we have only a limited idea. (Heaven and Hell 85)

In speaking about the ploys and cunning of those who seek my life – really who seek to determine that the loves of my life are like theirs – the request is for them to become ashamed and confounded, and so to turn back from this. This view is how the angels in heaven wish anything for those caught up in the delights of evil, that they may even feel ashamed of this and so desist from it. This is also the Divine desire for them, even though the Lord knows how all things will come to pass. (Apocalypse Revealed 681)

The curious phrase, ‘Aha, aha!’ is one which occurs in several psalms and is about the quality in evil which seeks to accuse, to stir up such thoughts of guilt and wrong in a person’s mind and then to confront the person of their culpability.

An interesting shape to this psalm is that it begins and ends personally with the speaker confessing his need to be delivered. In between this, the awareness is of all that goes on in hell and in heaven, almost on the cosmic scale.

From Swedenborg's Works


Divine Love and Wisdom #413

Study this Passage

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413, 13. Because of the power given it by love, wisdom or discernment can be raised up, can accept things in heaven's light, and can grasp them. I have already and often stated that we can grasp hidden treasures of wisdom when we hear them. This ability of ours is what we call "rationality," and it is ours from creation. This ability to see into things deeply and to form conclusions about what is fair and just, about what is good and true, is what distinguishes us from animals. It is also what I mean by the statement that discernment can be raised up, can accept things in heaven's light, and can grasp them.

We can also see a kind of image of this fact in the lungs, since the lungs correspond to our discernment. Looking at the lungs, we see that their substance comprises little chambers. These consist of the extensions of the bronchia all the way into the tiny sacs where the air is taken in when we breathe. Our thoughts act in unison with them because of their correspondence. It is characteristic of the substance of these little sacs that it has two ways of expanding and contracting, one in unison with the heart and the other almost independent of the heart. Its unison with the heart is because of the pulmonary arteries and veins, which come directly from the heart. Its virtual independence is because of the bronchial arteries and veins, which come from the vena cava and aorta, vessels external to the heart. This happens in the lungs because our discernment can be raised above its own love, which answers to the heart, and accept light from heaven. Even so, when our discernment is raised above its own love it does not leave it completely behind. It takes along some of it, which we can call a desire for knowing and discerning for the sake of promotion, praise, or profit in this world. Some trace of this clings to each love like a coating. This gives the love a superficial glow; but for wise people, there is an actual translucence.

I cite these facts about the lungs to show that our discernment can be raised up and accept and grasp things in heaven's light. There is in fact a complete correspondence. To see from correspondence is to see the lungs reflected in our discernment and our discernment reflected in our lungs, and to find assurance in each at the same time.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.