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The title of this Psalm best explains its contents. In the cave David pours out his soul before God. Here also, as Maschil means instruction, we shall find words leading us to Christ.
Maschil of David; A prayer when he was in the cave.
If the Reader wish to see the part David, king of Israel, bore personally in this Psalm, he will find the explanation in David's history. It is more than likely, that the cave here spoken of was that of Adullam, for which see 1 Samuel 22:1-2 ; or if it was in the wilderness of Engedi, see 1 Samuel 24:0 throughout. But, when the Reader hath made all the improvements he may desire, in reference to David's personal exercises, I request him to consider the words, in these verses, as applicable to Jesus, and see whether higher instructions do not arise out of them. It was from the prison and from judgment, that the Prophet described Jesus as being taken, when he was cut off out of the land of the living. And whoever beholds the Lamb of God hunted by Jews and Gentiles from the judgment hall of Pilate to Calvary, will find a situation like this, but too accurately described in Christ. How did Jesus pour out his soul in prayer in the garden, and on the cross! How was his spirit it overwhelmed, when the Father looked on, knew all, and appointed all! who, in the contemplation of Jesus's agonies, connecting with the view our interest in them, can pause to look at David, when a greater than David is thus set forth?
Reader! look once more to Jesus, to while reading this account. Call to min d how one disciple betrayed him, and another denied him, and all forsook him and fled! Hear the strong cries Jesus on the cross, when casting himself upon his Father, as his refuge and his portion! Behold the Lord Jehovah bringing him out of the prison, in his resurrection; and trace the blessed consequences, in the righteous believing in him, and compassing him about, now the Lord hath exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name! Oh how truly delightful is it thus to read Christ's history in early prophecy, and in the types of his servants in the old church! And how truly blessed, when to these we can add our own testimony in our firm belief in him!
Pause , my soul, over this sweet Psalm, and take from it, for thy constant meditation, the many precious instructions it holds forth unto thee. Look again and again at Jesus, as thou ponderest over the several verses, and behold thy Lord in the trying situations here described. And when thou hast gathered, under the Spirit's teaching, the several sweets this beautiful flower of scripture affords, feed upon the honey for thine own food, under exercises in the tribulated path. What though thou art reduced in circumstances, and thy spirit be overwhelmed within thee; though thou, like thy Saviour, cast find none on thy right hand, that will know thee; and on the left, evils, arising from sin, Satan, and the world, would bear thee down; say, is not Christ upon the throne? And doth he not see thee, know thee; nay, hath he not appointed thy very state to be what it is, on purpose to make thee know thy need and his love? O, blessed Lord! though all refuge fail me, and no man careth for my soul, thou carest for it, for thou hast bought it with thy blood, and thou wilt preserve it with thy glace; thou wilt be my portion, my God, my Saviour, my Jesus. Thou wilt bring me out of all the prison-houses of sin here, and death hereafter, and I shall praise thy name. Yes, my Lord! the end is sure. I shall behold thy face in righteousness; still look to Jesus, and I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 142". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany