Psalms 143

A psalm of David.

1 LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]
7 Answer me quickly, LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD, for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

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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 29

  • 1. S Psalms 141:1
  • 2. S Psalms 28:2; Psalms 130:2; Psalms 140:6
  • 3. S Exodus 34:6; Psalms 89:1-2
  • 4. Psalms 71:2
  • 5. S Psalms 14:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:20; Romans 3:10
  • 6. S Psalms 107:10
  • 7. Lamentations 3:6
  • 8. Psalms 30:7; Psalms 142:3
  • 9. Psalms 77:6
  • 10. S Genesis 24:63
  • 11. S Exodus 9:29; S Job 11:13; Psalms 63:1; Psalms 88:9
  • 12. S Psalms 69:17
  • 13. S Psalms 142:3
  • 14. S Psalms 22:24; Psalms 27:9; Psalms 30:7; Psalms 28:1
  • 15. Psalms 6:4; Psalms 46:5; Psalms 90:14
  • 16. S Exodus 33:13; S Job 34:32; Psalms 27:11; Psalms 32:8
  • 17. Psalms 25:1-2; S Psalms 86:4
  • 18. S Psalms 140:1
  • 19. S Psalms 18:17; Psalms 31:15
  • 20. S Psalms 119:12
  • 21. Psalms 31:14
  • 22. S Nehemiah 9:20; Psalms 23:3; Psalms 25:4-5
  • 23. Psalms 26:12
  • 24. Psalms 25:11
  • 25. S Psalms 41:2; Psalms 119:25
  • 26. Psalms 31:1; Psalms 71:2
  • 27. Psalms 8:2
  • 28. Psalms 52:5; Psalms 54:5
  • 29. S Psalms 116:16

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PSALM 143

\\<>\\. 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