Psalm 142:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. Attend unto my cry. Men of God look upon prayer as a reality, and they are not content without having an audience with God; moreover, they have such confidence in the Lord's condescending grace, that they hope he will even attend to that poor broken prayer which can only be described as a cry.

For I am brought very low, and therefore all the prayer I can raise is a mournful cry. This is his argument with God: he is reduced to such a sad condition that if he be not rescued he will be ruined. Gracious men may not only be low, but very low; and this should not be a reason for their doubting the efficacy of their prayers, but rather a plea with the Lord why they should have special attention.

Deliver me from my persecutors. If he did not get out of their hands, they would soon kill him out of hand, and as he could not himself effect an escape, he cried to God, "deliver me."

For they are stronger than

  1. As he before found a plea in his sadness, so now in his feebleness: Saul and his courtiers were in power, and could command the aid of all who sought royal favour; but poor David was in the cave, and every Nabal girded at him. Saul was a monarch, and David a fugitive; Saul had all the forms of law on his side, while David was an outlaw: so that the prayer before us comes from the weak, who proverbially go to the wall, -- a good place to go to if they turn their faces to it in prayer, as Hezekiah did in his sickness. The Lord is wont to take the side of the oppressed, and to show his power by baffling tyrants; David's supplication was therefore sure to speed. In these sentences we see how explicitly the man of God described his case in his private communings with his Lord: in real earnest he poured out his complaint before him and showed before him his trouble.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. Attend unto my cry.

Can I see another's woe,
And not be ill sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no; never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
And can he, who smiles on all,
Hear the wren, with sorrows small --
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear,
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in its breast?
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?
And not sit both night and day
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give his joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by;
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
Oh! he gives to us his joy,
That our grief he may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone,
He doth sit by us and moan.

--William Blake (1757-1828), in "Songs of Innocence", 1789.

Verse 6. I am brought very low, etc. However true this may have been of David lurking in a cave, while his enemy, Saul, was at the head of a powerful army, it is more literally true of Christ, who could truly say, "I am brought very low", because "he himself became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross." He was also "brought very low", when he, that had the right of sitting on the cherubim, hung between two robbers. Truly also were his enemies "stronger than he" when "their hour came", and "power was given to darkness", so as to appear, for awhile, to eclipse the sun of justice itself. -- Robert Bellarmine.

Verse 6. For they are stronger than

  1. But they are not stronger than Thou. Thou canst make us "stronger than our enemies": Ps 105:24. He who is stronger than the strong man armed ( Luke 11:22 ), Israel's oppressor, and whose very "weakness is stronger than men" ( 1 Corinthians 1:25 ), shall "ransom" her "from him that was stronger than" she: Jeremiah 31:11 Psalms 18:17 . --Andrew Robert Fausset.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6. Two petitions and two arguments.

Verse 6-7.

  1. The language of Despondency. "I am brought very low." "My enemies are stronger than I." "My soul is in prison."
  • Of Prayer. "Attend unto me." "Deliver me." "Bring me out of prison."
  • Of Praise.

    1. For the congratulation of others.
    2. For his own deliverance and prosperity.

    --G.R.

    Verse 6. Low and Lowly. Here is David,

    1. In a low place; the depths of a cave.
    2. In a low way: "very low"; "stronger than I."
    3. But see, "with the lowly is wisdom" ( Proverbs 11:2 ); he prays.
    4. The Lord "hath respect to the lowly", Psalms 138:6 . He will not pray in vain.

    --W.B.H.