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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 13

Verse 1

Psalms 13:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Ver. 1. How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? ] It appeareth that when David penned this psalm (which some think was about the end of Saul’s persecution, when he was forced to flee into the land of the Philistines, 1Sa 27:1 ) he was under a dreadful desertion, and that for a long while together; hence his many "How longs," and "for ever?" Christ, saith Greenham, was forsaken for a few hours, David for a few months, and Job for a few years. Luther confesseth of himself that after his conversion he lay three days in desperation; and the like is reported of Mr Robert Bolton, who felt himself for the time in the suburbs of hell, as it were. So did Heman, Psalms 88:5 ; so did David here and elsewhere. The final absence of God is hell itself. "Depart from me, ye cursed," is worse than "into everlasting fire." To be punished from the presence of the Lord is the hell of hells, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 . God seemeth to forget his dearest children sometimes for a season, to the end that they may remember themselves, and become every way better; as the lion leaves her whelps till they have almost killed themselves with roaring, that they may become the more courageous. But, to speak properly, God cannot forget his people, Isaiah 44:16 ; Isaiah 49:14-23.49.16 . Non deserit Deus, etiamsi deserere videatur; non deserit etiamsi deserat, saith Austin, If he leave us for a time, yet he forsaketh us not at all. If he hide his face (as in the next words), which is a further trial, and a greater misery (for it importeth indignation, contempt, and hatred), yet it is but for a moment, though it should be during life; and he, therefore, taketh liberty to do it, saith one, because he hath an eternity of time to reveal his kindness in; time enough for kisses and embraces: meanwhile, as when the sun is eclipsed, though the earth wants the light thereof, yet not the influence thereof; so God’s supporting grace is ever with his deserted.

Verse 2

Psa 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, [having] sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

Ver. 2. How long shall I take counsel in my soul ] i.e. Conceal my grief, saith Aben Ezra, which is no small aggravation of it; or, How long shall I toss and tumble in my mind sundry counsels and purposes, but all to no purpose? This is no small affliction, when we try all courses to get out of durance, and nothing will do. Such must needs have much sorrow in their hearts.

Having sorrow in my heart daily? ] Heb. by day, sc. when others are full of business and forget their sorrows, saith R. David. But the Greek rendereth it, day and night. David was a cheerful man, and a great musician; but at this time heaviness had possessed his heart, and his harp would not relieve him. Sadness of spirit had dried up his bones, Proverbs 17:22 , and made him a very bag of bones, a bottle in the smoke, shrinking away to nothing almost. See Proverbs 12:25 ; Proverbs 15:13 , See Trapp on " Pro 12:25 " See Trapp on " Pro 15:13 "

Verse 3

Psa 13:3 Consider [and] hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the [sleep of] death;

Ver. 3. Consider and hear me, O Lord my God ] He turns him to God in this peck of trouble (for they seldom come single), and pleads the covenant, "My God," beseeching him to see and hear both at once how it fared with him, and to send him seasonable and suitable help. It were wide with the faithful if they had not their God to repair unto in distress, pouring out their souls into his blessed bosom. This they must do most earnestly, when under a cloud of desertion; as our Saviour, being in an agony, prayed more fervently, Luke 22:44 ; and as Micah, having lost his gods, set up his note, Judges 18:24 .

Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep death ] i.e. Comfort my conscience, clear up my condition, and cheer up my drooping spirit, lest I faint away as a dying man, whose eyes through weakness wax dim, lest I fall into that somnus ferreus, as the poets call death, that longest sleep;

Surge, ne longus tibi somnus unde

Non times, detur (Hor. lib. 3, Obadiah 1:11 ).

Verse 4

Psa 13:4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; [and] those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

Ver. 4. Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him ] This David frequently deprecateth as a great evil, because God’s honour was concerned in it, and would suffer by it. As unskilful hunters, shooting at wild beasts, do sometimes kill a man; so persecutors, shooting at saints, hit Christ, reproach him; and this the saints are very aware of.

And those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved ] Compose comedies out of my tragedies, et iram Dei ad calumniam rapiant. The wicked are vindictive and implacable, sick of the devil’s disease, επιχαιρεκακια , rejoicing at other men’s harms, revelling in other men’s ruins; but this is to enrage God, and hasten wrath, Proverbs 24:17-20.24.18 .

Verse 5

Psa 13:5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Ver. 5. But I have trusted in thy mercy ] Notwithstanding all the endeavours of earth and of hell to cast down this castle of my confidence, I will not quit it; but be still as a green olive tree in the house of God: I will trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever, Psalms 52:8 .

Verse 6

Psa 13:6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

Ver. 6. I will sing unto the Lord ] How far different is the end of this psalm from the beginning! See the like Psalms 6:1 , See Trapp on " Psa 6:1 "

Because he hath dealt bountifully with me ] Qui retribuit mihi, so Popish merit-mongers read it, and would therehence collect something in favour of their absurd tenet. But their own Vulgate translation hath it bona tribuit, hath given me good things. And it is well observed (Ainsworth), that though the Hebrew word be sometimes taken for rewarding evil for good, Psalms 7:5 , or evil for evil, Psalms 137:8 , yet from God to his people it commonly signifieth a bountiful rewarding of good things instead of evil, which we rather do deserve. So Psalms 116:7 ; Psalms 119:17 ; Psalms 142:7 .

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 13". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.