Psalm 40:5 (NASB) Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.

Psalm 40:5 (KJV) Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Psalm 40:5 (NIV) Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 40:5 (NLT) O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.

Westminster Leningrad Codex רַבֹּ֤ות עָשִׂ֨יתָ ׀ אַתָּ֤ה ׀ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהַי֮ נִֽפְלְאֹתֶ֥יךָ וּמַחְשְׁבֹתֶ֗יךָ אֵ֫לֵ֥ינוּ אֵ֤ין ׀ עֲרֹ֬ךְ אֵלֶ֗יךָ אַגִּ֥ידָה וַאֲדַבֵּ֑רָה עָ֝צְמ֗וּ מִסַּפֵּֽר׃

Aleppo Codex ו רבות עשית אתה יהוה אלהי-- נפלאתיך ומחשבתיך אלינו אין ערך אליך--אגידה ואדברה עצמו מספר

When I read the following biblical scripture portions:

-And Your thoughts toward us; (NASB)

-thy thoughts which are to us-ward: (KJV)

it seems to me that He is Specifically thinking about us, therefore, it seems to me that other bible translations that state that he has plans for us are slightly misleading

-the things you planned for us. (NIV)

-Your plans for us are too numerous to list. (NLT)

Does "And Your thoughts toward us;" mean that God is Specifically thinking about us? Could someone please evaluate the Hebrew scripture manuscripts, and give a better exegesis on what the aforementioned bible scripture portions actually mean?

1 Answer 1


In the MT text this verse is Psalms 40:6,

רַבּוֹת עָשִׂיתָ אַתָּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי נִפְלְאֹתֶיךָ וּמַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ אֵלֵינוּ אֵין עֲרֹךְ אֵלֶיךָ אַגִּידָה וַאֲדַבֵּרָה עָצְמוּ מִסַּפֵּר.

The word in question is מַחְשְׁבֹתֶ , machashavot, a plural feminine noun form from the root חש"ב. There are 22+ usages of this form in the OT.

In the OT this word is used to indicate concrete intents or schemes. It is never used in the OT in the abstract sense of regards or ideas. In post OT Hebrew the same form came to be used for ideas or regards in the abstract sense, and from this later Hebrew usage it probably got to the KJV and NASB translators. In modern English this is a mistranslation, however appealing it is to the reader.

Furthermore the collective plural "for us" in this verse specifically referred to the historical national community of Israel and the specific wonders and schemes that God performed for them in the past (such as the exodus and crossing of the red sea) with respect to the time of writing of the Psalm. It did not refer to individuals in a collective sense with no relationship with the historical Israelite community - that would be a theological appropriation, which, IMHO is Ok, but it isn't translation.

Compare with the same word used in these verses:

II Samuel 14:14 (NIV)

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.

Isaiah 59:7 (NIV):

Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes acts of violence mark their ways

Jeremiah 4:14 (NIV):

Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?

Jeremiah 11:19 (NIV):

I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.”

Jeremiah 18:18 (NIV):

They said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophets. So come, let’s attack him with our tongues and pay no attention to anything he says.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 51:29 (NIV):

The land trembles and writhes, for the LORD's purposes against Babylon stand-- to lay waste the land of Babylon so that no one will live there.

Micah 4:12 (NIV):

But they do not know the thoughts of the Lord; they do not understand his plan, that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.

Psalms 33:10 (NIV):

The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

See also:

  1. Psalms 33:11
  2. Psalms 94:11
  3. Proverbs 6:18

and others.

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