Attention! has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 13

Verse 1


‘How long wilt Thou forget me, O Lord?’

Psalms 13:1

I. The sad case of the deserted soul ( Psalms 13:1-Numbers :).—To the sufferer it was very real and terrible. Compared with this, other troubles were light; just because God was so dear, so necessary—his all in all. Had he loved Him less, it might have been bearable; but not now. Ah! shall we ever understand, even a little, of the true meaning of Emmanuel’s cry: ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’

II. The swift and certain cure—faith, hope, and praise ( Psalms 13:5-Joshua :). (1) Faith—‘I have trusted in Thy mercy.’ He bestirred himself, shook off the insidious bondage to things seen and felt, and fell back on to God’s promise as the one and only reality. To this he had now committed every ounce of his weight of doubt and care; and with such definiteness of conscious committal that the promise, and his trust in it, were now the bottom facts of his life. Then came a mighty and instantaneous change. God’s presence is now as certain as His own Word: no other proof is needed. So faith begets, (2) Hope. ‘I have trusted in Thy mercy’ glides naturally into ‘My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.’ (3) And Hope swells into Praise: ‘I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.’


(1) ‘The thirteenth psalm has ever been dear to holy souls in dark hours of temptation, whether of the intellect or of the will; and the thousands who so use it feel that it is the voice of an individual life.’

(2) ‘A wonderful and precious psalm, wrung from a breaking heart, agonised with God’s delays and apparent forgetfulness. Five times the Psalmist cries, “How long?” He reminds us of men who hold a fort. Around are the besiegers, with their terraces of cannon; attacks are frequent, disease and shortness of food are doing their deadly work within the lines. Message after message has been sent by runners to hasten the tardy progress of the relieving column. But still it tarries! The disciples may have said it, when toiling across the lake; and the sisters, when Jesus came not to the house where Lazarus lay slowly dying. We have said it often, How long? How long?’

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 13". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.