Psalm 143 Study Notes

143:1-12 In this psalm, David asked God, in his faithful love, to do what he had promised in his covenant.

143:2 Bring your servant into judgment uses legal courtroom terminology typical of a covenant lawsuit (Jb 9:32; 14:3; Ec 11:9). As the psalmist began praying, he became self-conscious of his sinfulness. He acknowledged humanity’s weaknesses (no one . . . is righteous) as a basis for a positive response from the Lord. The covenant relationship depended on the Lord’s willingness to forgive (130:3-4; Jb 4:17; 9:2; 25:4; Rm 3:20; Gl 2:16).

143:3 This verse gives the occasion for the prayer.

143:4 As a result of being pursued, the psalmist was physically and spiritually exhausted (142:3).

143:5-6 The work of God’s hands probably refers to all of his acts of creation and sustenance (8:6; 19:1; 28:5; 102:26; Is 5:12). When David looked back on what God had done in the past, he deeply desired God.

143:7 The Pit, like Sheol, meant death or the grave (30:3; 88:3-4; Is 14:11).

143:8 Based on the faithful love of the Lord, the psalmist asked for God’s guidance in avoiding the traps set by the enemy (142:3).

143:9 This verse gives David’s primary prayer.

143:10 In his weakness (v. 2), David recognized he needed God to teach him and lead him (cp. “rescue” and “deliver” in vv. 9,11). Level ground refers to a path with nothing that would cause one to slip or stumble.

143:11 The foundation for David’s prayer is the Lord’s character.

143:12 David appealed to God’s faithful love when asking him to destroy his enemies.

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