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Psalms 142:1-7. Title. On one occasion David, driven from the court of Achish, with only a very small company, hid himself in the cave of Adullam ; where at length he was joined by a considerable number of adherents. (Note, 1 Samuel 22:1-2.) On another, he was hidden in a cave when Saul and his army came to seek for him : thus he was in extreme danger, till Saul, by inadvertently entering the cave, put himself in his power, and gave him an opportunity of shewing his determination not to injure his prince, and also of escaping for the present. (Notes, 1 Samuel 24:1-22:) It is not certain, to which of these events this psalm belongs. But, however that may be, David seems to have formed the substance of the prayer which he made before God, in the extremity of his danger, into a psalm when he had obtained deliverance : though some think that it ought to be rendered in the present tense, as the very prayer, which he made in the cave. (Notes, Isaiah 38:9-13
V. 1- 3. ’ Though I am destitute of human help, I will ’ not despair of safety ; but with the more fervent cries implore the divine succour. ...I will lay before him,’ (the Lord) ’ all the sad thoughts which perplex my heart ; and representing the inextricable straits and difficulties wherein I ’ am, expose myself unto him, as an object of his pity. ’ Now that I am utterly at a loss, and ready to faint away ’ in the confusion of my thoughts ; thou knowest very ’ well a way for my escape : though by the intelligence ’ they hold with my enemies, (1 Samuel 24:1,) they have
’ blocked up all the passages which I am acquainted ’ withal, and laid ambushes for me in every road.’ Dp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 1:4-6, Psalms 5:6
V. 4. The original is in the imperative, " Look thou " on my right hand, &c." (Marg.) Some consider it as a prayer to God, to look on the extremity of his case. Others suppose it to be a kind of soliloquy : f Look about thee, ’ O my soul, and see if thou canst spy any hope of relief ’ from thy best and most powerful friends. There are ’ none of them that dare own thee, nor do I know whither ’ to fly for safety.’ Bp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref.)
V. 5. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalms 11:1-5. Lamentations 3:24-25.) When every other refuge and patron failed or deserted David, he became the more fervent in prayer to his unchanging, faithful, and Almighty Friend and Protector; and he the more simply confided and gloried in him, as his Refuge and Portion, while he lived on earth, and in heaven for ever. ’ Death will ... strip us of all our earthly
" connexions and dependences : but even at that hour, may we, each of us, cry unto thee, O Lord, and say, " Thou " art my Refuge, and my Portion in the land of the " living." ’ Bp. Home.
V. 6. ’ O let my importunate cry prevail for some relief, which will come most seasonably in this exceeding great necessity. Rescue me now, that I may not fall into the hands of my persecutors, who are every way ’ (except in these cries unto and confidence in thee,) much ’ too strong for me.’ Bp. Patrick. (Marg. Ref. Note, Psalms 116:6.)
V. 7 (Note, title.) The cave, in which David was hidden, was like a prison to confine him, till Saul should come and put him to death ; unless God would mercifully deliver him, according to his word, of which he did not allow himself to doubt. Nay, he anticipated the season, when his grateful praises would attract the notice of all the pious Israelites ; and when he should be as much surrounded by admiring congratulating multitudes, uniting with him in adoring grateful praises, as he was now shunned by all. (Notes, Psalms 7:6-7. Psalms 13:5-6.)
There can be no situation so distressing, perilous, or disgraceful, in which faith will not derive comfort from God by fervent prayer. (Notes, 1 Samuel 30:6. Acts 16:25-28.) In our greatest perplexities, when our spirits are overwhelmed by distress, and filled with confusion and discouragement, and all our own wisdom and resources exhausted and swallowed up ; and when we see snares laid for us on every side, we may reflect with comfort, " that " the LORD knoweth our path : " and if we aim to walk in his way, he will protect and guide us, and extricate us
from every danger and difficulty. Indeed few men choose to know their afflicted and persecuted acquaintance, which might expose them to expense, inconvenience, and peril : (Notes, Psalms 38:11-12. Job 6:15-23
seemed to be imprisoned as a condemned criminal for execution ; he advanced him to the throne, compassed him about with the righteous, dealt bountifully with him, and turned his complaining prayers into joyful praises. Thus he raised the crucified Redeemer, from the prison of the grave to the throne of glory, and made him " Head over all things for his church." Thus the poor convinced sinner when every other refuge fails, and he is shut up under sin, cries for help, and is brought forth out of prison to praise the Lord, in the company of his redeemed people : and thus every believer will be finally delivered from this evil world, from Satan, sin, and death ; that, with mutual congratulations, the whole company of the redeemed may rejoice, and praise their God and Saviour for evermore.
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Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 142". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17