Verse 2. How long shall I take counsel, in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? There is in the original the idea of "laying up" counsels in his heart, as if his devices had become innumerable but unavailing. Herein we have often been like David, for we have considered and reconsidered day after day, but have not discovered the happy device by which to escape from our trouble. Such store is a sad sore. Ruminating upon trouble is bitter work. Children fill their mouths with bitterness when they rebelliously chew the pill which they ought obediently to have taken at once.
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? This is like wormwood in the gall, to see the wicked enemy exulting while our soul is bowed down within us. The laughter of a foe grates horribly on the ears of grief. For the devil to make mirth of our misery is the last ounce of our complaint, and quite breaks down our patience; therefore let us make it one chief argument in our plea with mercy.
Thus the careful reader will remark that the question "how long?" is put in four shapes. The writer's grief is viewed, as it seems to be, as it is, as it affects himself within, and his foes without. We are all prone to play most on the worst string. We set up monumental stones over the graves of our joys, but who thinks of erecting monuments of praise for mercies received? We write four books of Lamentations and only one of Canticles, and are far more at home in wailing out a Misere than in chanting a Te Deum.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 1-2. See Psalms on "Psalms 13:1" for further information.
Verse 1-2. HOW LONG wilt thou forget me? HOW LONG wilt thou hide thy face from me? HOW LONG shall I take counsel in my soul? See Psalms on "Psalms 13:1" for further information.
Verse 1-4. See Psalms on "Psalms 13:1" for further information.
Verse 2. How long? There are many situations of the believer in this life in which the words of this Psalm may be a consolation, and help to revive sinking faith. A certain man lay at the pool of Bethesda, who had an infirmity thirty and eight years. John 5:5 . A woman had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, before she was "loosed." Luke 13:11 . Lazarus all his life long laboured under disease and poverty, till he was released by death and transferred to Abraham's bosom. Luke 16:20-22 . Let every one, then, who may be tempted to use the complaints of this Psalm, assure his heart that God does not forget his people, help will come at last, and, in the meantime, all things shall work together for good to them that love him. W. Wilson, D.D.
Verse 2. How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? There is such a thing as to pore on our guilt and wretchedness, to the overlooking of our highest mercies. Though it be proper to know our own hearts, for the purposes of conviction, yet, if we expect consolation from this quarter, we shall find ourselves sadly disappointed. Such, for a time, appears to have been the case of David. He seems to have been in great distress; and, as is common in such cases, his thoughts turned inward, casting in his mind what he should do, and what would be the end of things. While thus exercised, he had sorrow in his heart daily: but, betaking himself to God for relief, he succeeded, trusting in his mercy, his heart rejoiced in his salvation. There are many persons, who, when in trouble, imitate David in the former part of this experience: I wish we may imitate him in the latter. Andrew Fuller.
Verse 2,4. How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? It is a great relief to the miserable and afflicted, to be pitied by others. It is some relief when others, though they cannot help us, yet seem to be truly concerned for the sadness of our case; when by the kindness of their words and of their actions they do a little smooth the wounds they cannot heal; but it is an unspeakable addition to the cross, when a man is brought low under the sense of God's displeasure, to have men mock at his calamity, or to revile him, or to speak roughly; this does inflame and exasperate the wound that was big enough before; and it is a hard thing when one has a dreadful sound in his ears to have every friend to become a son of thunder. It is a small matter for people that are at ease, to deal severely with such as are afflicted, but they little know how their severe speeches and their angry words pierce them to the very soul. It is easy to blame others for complaining, but if such had felt but for a little while what it is to be under the fear of God's anger, they would find that they could not but complain. It cannot but make any person restless and uneasy when he apprehends that God is his enemy. It is no wonder if he makes every one that he sees, and every place that he is in, a witness of his grief; but now it is a comfort in our temptations and in our fears, that we have so compassionate a friend as Christ is to whom we may repair. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15 . Timothy Rogers.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. Advice to the dejected, or the soul directed to look out of itself for consolation. A. Fuller.
Verse 2. (first clause). -- Self torture, its cause, curse, crime, and cure.
Verse 2. Having sorrow in my heart daily.
- The cause of daily sorrow. Great enemy, unbelief, sin, trial, loss of Jesus' presence, sympathy with others, mourning for human ruin.
- The necessity of daily sorrow. Purge corruptions, excite graces, raise desires heavenward.
- The cure of daily sorrow. Good food from God's table, old wine of promises, walks with Jesus, exercise in good works, avoidance of everything unhealthy.
Verse 2. (second clause). -- Time anticipated when defeat shall be turned into victory.