Psalms 143

Listen to Psalms 143
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; 1give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your 2faithfulness answer me, in your 3righteousness!
2 4Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous 5before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; 6he has crushed my life to the ground; 7he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit 8faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 9I remember the days of old; 10I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
6 11I stretch out my hands to you; 12my soul thirsts for you like 13a parched land. Selah
7 14Answer me quickly, O LORD! 15My spirit fails! 16Hide not your face from me, 17lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 18Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I 19trust. 20Make me know the way I should go, 21for to you I lift up my soul.
9 22Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge![a]
10 23Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! 24Let your good Spirit 25lead me on 26level ground!
11 27For your name's sake, O LORD, 28preserve my life! In your righteousness 29bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will 30cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your 31servant.

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Psalms 143 Commentary

Chapter 143

David complains of his enemies and distresses. (1-6) He prays for comfort, guidance, and deliverance. (7-12)

Verses 1-6 We have no righteousness of our own to plead, therefore must plead God's righteousness, and the word of promise which he has freely given us, and caused us to hope in. David, before he prays for the removal of his trouble, prays for the pardon of his sin, and depends upon mercy alone for it. He bemoans the weight upon his mind from outward troubles. But he looks back, and remembers God's former appearance for his afflicted people, and for him in particular. He looks round, and notices the works of God. The more we consider the power of God, the less we shall fear the face or force of man. He looks up with earnest desires towards God and his favour. This is the best course we can take, when our spirits are overwhelmed. The believer will not forget, that in his best actions he is a sinner. Meditation and prayer will recover us from distresses; and then the mourning soul strives to return to the Lord as the infant stretches out its hands to the indulgent mother, and thirsts for his consolations as the parched ground for refreshing rain.

Verses 7-12 David prays that God would be well pleased with him, and let him know that he was so. He pleads the wretchedness of his case, if God withdrew from him. But the night of distress and discouragement shall end in a morning of consolation and praise. He prays that he might be enlightened with the knowledge of God's will; and this is the first work of the Spirit. A good man does not ask the way in which is the most pleasant walking, but what is the right way. Not only show me what thy will is, but teach me how to do it. Those who have the Lord for their God, have his Spirit for their Guide; they are led by the Spirit. He prays that he might be enlivened to do God's will. But we should especially seek the destruction of our sins, our worst enemies, that we may be devotedly God's servants.

Cross References 31

  • 1. Psalms 140:6
  • 2. 1 John 1:9; [Psalms 31:1]
  • 3. 1 John 1:9; [Psalms 31:1]
  • 4. [Job 14:3]
  • 5. Psalms 130:3; 1 Kings 8:46; Job 9:2; Job 15:14; Job 25:4; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 4:4
  • 6. See Psalms 88:3-6
  • 7. Lamentations 3:6
  • 8. See Psalms 77:3
  • 9. Psalms 77:5, 11
  • 10. Psalms 77:12; Psalms 111:2
  • 11. See Job 11:13
  • 12. Psalms 42:2
  • 13. [Psalms 63:1]
  • 14. Psalms 69:17; Psalms 102:2
  • 15. [Psalms 84:2]
  • 16. Psalms 27:9
  • 17. Psalms 28:1; Psalms 88:4
  • 18. [Psalms 90:14]
  • 19. Psalms 11:1; Psalms 25:2
  • 20. Psalms 25:4
  • 21. Psalms 25:1
  • 22. Psalms 59:1; Psalms 142:6
  • 23. [Psalms 119:12]
  • 24. Nehemiah 9:20
  • 25. See Psalms 23:3
  • 26. Isaiah 26:10; [Psalms 27:11]
  • 27. Psalms 23:3; Psalms 25:11
  • 28. See Psalms 71:20
  • 29. Psalms 142:7
  • 30. Psalms 54:5
  • 31. See Psalms 116:16

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts To you I have covered

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. This psalm was composed by David when he fled from Absalom his son, according to the title of it in Apollinarius, the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions; so R. Obadiah Gaon: and of the same opinion is Theodoret and others. The sense he had of his sins, and his deprecating God's entering into judgment with him for them, seems to confirm it; affliction from his own family for them being threatened him, 2Sa 12:9-11; though Kimchi thinks it was written on the same account as the former, and at the same time, namely, when he was persecuted by Saul; and what is said in Ps 142:2,4, seems to agree with it. The Syriac inscription is, ``when the Edomites came against him;'' which is very foreign, since these were subdued by him.

Psalms 143 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.