Night after night, and take no sleep; cannot get any by reason of thoughtfulness, care, and trouble:
and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop;
or, "as a bird" F15; for there is no necessity of limiting it to a sparrow, to which the account does not seem so well to agree; for sparrows will not only perch on housetops and solitary places, but will make their nests in dwelling houses, and in places of public resort, as temples; hence David speaks of the sparrow finding an house near the altars of God, ( Psalms 84:3 ) and Herodotus F16 makes mention of sparrows and other birds making their nests in the temple at Branchides; which may serve to illustrate the text last mentioned: wherefore this may be understood of any solitary bird, and especially of the owl F17; the Jews had flat roofs upon their houses, and here birds of solitude would come and sit alone in the night season, to which the psalmist likens himself; being either forsaken by his friends and acquaintance; or, being in melancholy circumstances, he chose to be alone, mourning over his sorrowful state and condition.
F15 (rwpuk) "sicut avis", Gejerus, Schmidt.
F16 Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 159.
F17 "--------tectoque prophanus Incubuit bubo" Ovid. Metamorph. l. 6. Fab. 8. "E tectis strix" Tibullus, l. 1. Eleg. 5. v. 52.