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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 143

Verse 1

Psalms 143:1 « A Psalm of David. » Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, [and] in thy righteousness.

Ver. 1. Hear my prayer, O Lord ] He prayeth once and again for audience; and would have God to hear him with both ears. Thus he prayed (saith the Greek title of this psalm) when his son Absalom was up in arms against him; and it may seem so, by the next words, De fuga ab Absolom (R. Obad. Gaon).

Verse 2

Psa 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Ver. 2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant ] This is insignis sententia, siqua usquam in sacris literis extat (saith Beza), an excellent sentence as any is in all the Bible, saying the same that St Paul doth, Romans 3:24 , that justification is by faith alone, and not by works. David would not be dealt with in strictness of justice. Lord, go not to law with me, so some render it; go not into the judgment hall, so the Chaldee. All St Paul’s care was, that when he was sought for by God’s justice, he might be found in Christ, not having his own righteoushess which is of the law, &c., Philippians 3:9 . The best lamb should be slaughtered, except the ram had been sacrificed, that Isaac might be saved. Woe to the life of man, saith an ancient, though never so commendable, if it should have judgment without mercy; if there be not an επιεικεια to moderate that ακριβοδικαιον , the severity of utmost right. We read of a certain Dutch divine, who being about to die, was full of fears and doubts. And when some said to him, You have been so active and faithful, why should you fear? Oh, said he, the judgment of man and the judgment of God are different. Sordet in conspectu Iudicis, &c.

Verse 3

Psa 143:3 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.

Ver. 3. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul ] Quasi rabie ferali percitus, he hath raged unreasonably. The utmost of a danger is to be related before the Lord in prayer, and to be acknowledged after we are delivered out of it, by way of thankfulness.

Verse 4

Psa 143:4 Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

Ver. 4. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed ] God’s dearest children have their passions; against that stoic apathy. A sheep bitten by a dog is no less sensible of the pain thereof than a swine is; though he make not such an outcry.

Verse 5

Psa 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

Ver. 5. I remember the days of old ] Wherein I was delivered from the lion and the bear; yea, from the hand of all mine enemies, and from the hand of Saul, Psalms 18:1 , title. More than this, Saecula antiquitus praeterita recolo, I run over and ruminate all the ancient monuments of thy mercy to the patriarchs and others; since all that is written was "written for our instruction, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope," Romans 15:4 . See Psalms 77:4 ; Psalms 77:6 .

Verse 6

Psa 143:6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul [thirsteth] after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.

Ver. 6. I stretch forth my hands unto thee ] As a poor beggar for an alms. Beggary here is not the easiest and poorest trade, but the hardest and richest of all other.

My soul thirsteth after thee ] And is therefore a fit subject for thy Spirit of grace and comfort to be poured upon, Isaiah 44:3 ; Isaiah 55:1 .

Verse 7

Psa 143:7 Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

Ver. 7. Hear me speedily ] A very pathetic prayer uttered in many words to like purpose; as the manner is, in extreme danger.

My spirit faileth ] I am ready to sink and to swoon. This David knew; God hath a great care that the spirit fail not before him, and the souls which he hath made, Isaiah 57:16 . When Bezoard stone is beaten we see that none of it be lost; not so when ordinary spices: so here, for ordinary spirits God cares not much what becometh of them, as he doth of the choice spirits of his people.

Verse 8

Psa 143:8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Ver. 8. Cause me to hear … in the morning] Mane, id est mature, as soon as may be, or (at least) as is meet, make me to hear of joy and gladness, speak comfort to my conscience, and help to my afflicted condition.

Verse 9

Psa 143:9 Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.

Ver. 9. Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies ] Deliverance from enemies is a fruit of our friendship with God.

Verse 10

Psa 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou [art] my God: thy spirit [is] good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

Ver. 10. Teach me to do thy will ] Orat nunc pro salute animae, ut ante pro corporis, saith Kimchi. Now he prayeth for his soul’s health; and would be as well delivered from his corruptions within as from his enemies without. Lord, save me from that naughty man myself, said an ancient.

Thy spirit is good ] The fruit of it is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth, Ephesians 5:9 , and it is the Spirit only that quickeneth, John 6:63 , by purging out the dross that is in us, 1 Peter 1:22 , setting us to work, Ezekiel 36:27 , helping our infirmities, Romans 8:26 ; stirring us up to holy duties, partly by immediate motions, and partly by the ministry of the word made effectual, 1 Peter 1:2 2 Thessalonians 2:13 . And, lastly, sanctifying the offering up both of ourselves and of our services to God, as the altar sanctifieth the gift, Romans 15:16 . Cyril gathereth from this text, that the good Spirit is God, because none is good but God.

Into the land of uprightness ] Or, on even ground, as Isaiah 26:7 ; Isaiah 26:10 Psalms 26:12 , or into the right land, i.e. heaven, Per viam planam et aequam.

Verse 11

Psa 143:11 Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.

Ver. 11. Quicken me, O Lord ] Who am no better than a living carcass, a walking sepulchre of myself.

Bring my soul out of trouble ] I can bring it in, but thou only canst bring it out.

Verse 12

Psa 143:12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I [am] thy servant.

Ver. 12. Cut off mine enemies ] Because not so much mine as thine; and those also implacable and irrecoverable. Elsewhere he saith, Slay them not, lest my people forget. See Trapp on " Psa 59:11 "

For I am thy servant ] See Psalms 116:16 , See Trapp on " Psa 116:16 "

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 143". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.