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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 142

Verses 1-4

No One Who Regards Me

This again is a “maskil of David” (Psalms 142:1). It is the last of the thirteen psalms called maskil, instruction (Psalms 32:1; Psalms 42:1Psalms 44:1; Psalms 45:1Psalms 52:1; Psalms 53:1Psalms 54:1; Psalms 55:1Psalms 74:1; Psalms 78:1Psalms 88:1; Psalms 89:1Psalms 142:1). For the explanation, see at Psalm 32:1.

The experiences that David describes in this psalm are instruction or teaching for others. By doing so, he wants to let people know that you can feel completely alone, but that the Lord is still there for anyone who wants to remain faithful to Him.

David writes this psalm when he is being chased by Saul and he has hidden himself “in the cave” (1 Samuel 24:3-Judges :). Psalm 57 he penned under the same circumstances (cf. Psalms 57:1).

Prophetically, we see here the continuation of Psalm 141. The threat described there increases in this psalm. The only option for the remnant is to expect it from above, from the LORD (cf. Isaiah 37:14-Proverbs :). Psalm 142 describes their supplication. It is emphasized in the caption that this psalm is “a prayer” (cf. Psalms 86:1).

David does not pray in his heart, but aloud, as Old Testament believers usually do (Psalms 142:1). He raises his voice to pray and he does so in a very insistent way. He says he is crying aloud to the LORD and supplicating. The circumstances demand it. He is in great distress because he is surrounded by Saul and his men.

In Psalms 142:2 he goes on to describe his state of mind. He has concerns and pours out his complaint, his great need, before God and makes his distress known. The word ‘complaint’ does not mean complaining about God or people, but concerns the distress in which he is. He boldly pours out his heart before the LORD. This is prophetic of what the remnant of Israel will do in the end times, which will be “a time of distress” (Jeremiah 30:7).

He is in bad shape. His spiritual condition is at a low point, his spirit was overwhelmed within him (Psalms 142:3). The psalmist is standing, as it were, in the middle of a minefield. A wrong step is disastrous and deadly. But – and then a ray of hope lights up in his dark circumstances – he knows that God knew his path and that He was always there. This is of great importance to him because his enemies “have hidden a trap” for him “in the way” where he walks. They also know his path and make frantic and vicious attempts to trap him on that path.

And then his loneliness (Psalms 142:4). When he looks to the right, the place of strength, where someone would be able to help him, someone who would be there for him, he finds that there is no one there. There is no one at all who regards him. He has been abandoned by everyone and is shunned like the plague. There is no one who cares for his soul. In the end times, the remnant will look around and realize that there is no one at all who can or will help.

If someone were with him, it might have been possible to escape. But now there is no one to take care of his soul, no one to encourage him, no one to take any action at all that he can stay alive. His companions in the cave do not understand him for not killing Saul now that he has the opportunity to do so (1 Samuel 24:4-Ruth :).

There has been no one so lonely and misunderstood on earth as the Lord Jesus. Thus many of His disciples drop out, no longer following Him (John 6:66). When He asks His three most trusted disciples to watch with Him at Gethsemane, they fall asleep. When He is captured, all His disciples flee from Him (Mark 14:50).

Verses 5-7

You Will Deal Bountifully With Me

When David looks around, there is no one, he has said in Psalms 142:4. Then he looks up, and there is the LORD (Psalms 142:5). He is the Only One he has. To Him he calls, for He is his refuge. That makes the threat of death go away, because whoever has the LORD as his refuge, his is his “portion in the land of the living”. There is none among those living on earth to whom he can go. All living people are against him. Only the living God remains.

This is also the experience of the Israel of God (Deuteronomy 32:36; Isaiah 49:16). Paul also knows such experiences. He is abandoned. No one supported him in his defense before the emperor. But the Lord stood with him (2 Timothy 4:16-Esther :; cf. Acts 18:9; Acts 23:11). This has given him the strength to persevere in his trust in Him.

David has said that the LORD is his refuge. Therefore, he asks Him even more insistently to heed his cries, for he is “brought very low”, that is, he is at the end of his strength (Psalms 142:6). He is constantly on the run. This is wearing him down. He cannot stand against his persecutors, “for they are too strong for” him.

David compares his situation to a prison (Psalms 142:7). It is similar to that of Hezekiah in Isaiah 36-37 and to that of the remnant in the future. He is a prisoner of the distress in which he is and asks the LORD to lead his soul out of it (cf. Psalms 25:17). He asks this not primarily to be free himself again, but he “may give thanks to Your Name”. His concern is the honor of God. That is always more important than our own happiness. In the circumstances in which he now finds himself, he can only cry out to the LORD in his great need and there is no question of giving thanks to His Name.

The prayer of the remnant will begin with the words: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). The hallowing of the Father’s Name is most important. Similarly, the restoration of Joseph’s brothers begins with Judah not thinking of himself, but that he is thinking only of the feelings of his father Jacob. After that, and not before, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and their suffering is over.

David mentions as a secondary consequence of his deliverance by the LORD that “the righteous will surround” him. They will take the place of his persecutors who now surround him. In his distress he is alone, with no one to care for him. When the LORD has redeemed him, the righteous will share in the redemption. They will join him in giving thanks to the LORD for His bountiful dealing with him personally by answering his cry for help. We also see this in Psalm 1, which begins with the walk of the individual, faithful believer and ends with the fellowship of the righteous (Psalms 1:1; Psalms 1:5).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 142". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-142.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.