Verse 5. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. The spirits sink when the bodily frame becomes exhausted by long privations. Who can keep his courage up when he is ready to fall to the ground at every step through utter exhaustion? The supply of food is all eaten, the water is spent in the bottles, and there are neither fields nor streams in the desert, the heart therefore sinks in dire despair. Such is the condition of an awakened conscience before it knows the Lord Jesus; it is full of unsatisfied cravings, painful needs, and heavy fears. It is utterly spent and without strength, and there is nothing in the whole creation which can minister to its refreshment.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Their soul fainted in them. The word here used, pj[, ataph, means properly to cover, to clothe, as with a garment, Psalms 73:6 ; or a field with grain, Psalms 65:13 ; then, to hide oneself, Job 23:9 ; then to cover with darkness, Psalms 77:3 and the title of Ps 102:1-28 thus it denotes the state of mind when darkness seems to be in the way -- a way of calamity, trouble, sorrow; of weakness, faintness, feebleness. Here it would seem from the connexion to refer to the exhaustion produced by the want of food and drink. -- Albert Barnes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. Spiritual hunger the cause of faintness. Necessity of feeding the soul.