|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-6 The psalmist complains that God had long withdrawn. He earnestly prays for comfort. He assures himself of an answer of peace. - God sometimes hides his face, and leaves his own children in the dark concerning their interest in him: and this they lay to heart more than any outward trouble whatever. But anxious cares are heavy burdens with which believers often load themselves more than they need. The bread of sorrows is sometimes the saint's daily bread; our Master himself was a man of sorrows. It is a common temptation, when trouble lasts long, to think that it will last always. Those who have long been without joy, begin to be without hope. We should never allow ourselves to make any complaints but what drive us to our knees. Nothing is more killing to a soul than the want of God's favour; nothing more reviving than the return of it. The sudden, delightful changes in the book of Psalms, are often very remarkable. We pass from depth of despondency to the height of religious confidence and joy. It is thus, ver. 5. All is gloomy dejection in ver. 4; but here the mind of the despondent worshipper rises above all its distressing fears, and throws itself, without reserve, on the mercy and care of its Divine Redeemer. See the power of faith, and how good it is to draw near to God. If we bring our cares and griefs to the throne of grace, and leave them there, we may go away like Hannah, and our countenances will be no more said, 1Sa 1:18. God's mercy is the support of the psalmist's faith. Finding I have that to trust to, I am comforted, though I have no merit of my own. His faith in God's mercy filled his heart with joy in his salvation; for joy and peace come by believing. He has dealt bountifully with me. By faith he was as confident of salvation, as if it had been completed already. In this way believers pour out their prayers, renouncing all hopes but in the mercy of God through the Saviour's blood: and sometimes suddenly, at others gradually, they will find their burdens removed, and their comforts restored; they then allow that their fears and complaints were unnecessary, and acknowledge that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with them.
Verse 2. - How long shall I take counsel in my soul? or, How long shall I arrange plans? (Kay). Tossing on a sea of doubt and perplexity, David forms plan after plan, but to no purpose. He seeks to find a way of escape from his difficulties, but cannot discover one. Having sorrow in my heart daily; or, all the day. It is, perhaps, implied that the plans are formed and thought over at night. How long shall mine enemy be exalted ever me? A special enemy is once more glanced at. The allusion seems to be to Saul (comp. Psalm 7:2, 5, 11-16; Psalm 8:2; Psalm 9:6, 16; Psalm 10:2-11, 15; Psalm 11:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,.... Or "put it" (s); to take counsel of good men and faithful friends, in matters of moment and difficulty, is safe and right; and it is best of all to take counsel of God, who is wonderful in it, and guides his people with it; but nothing is worse than for a man to take counsel of his own heart, or only to consult himself; for such counsel often casts a man down, and he is ashamed of it sooner or later: but this seems not to be the sense here; the phrase denotes the distressing circumstances and anxiety of mind the psalmist was in; he was at his wits' end, and cast about in his mind, and had various devises and counsels formed there; and yet knew not what way to take, what course to steer;
having sorrow in my heart daily; by reason of God's hiding his face from him; on account of sin that dwelt in him, or was committed by him; because of his distance from the house of God, and the worship and ordinances of it; and by reason of his many enemies that surrounded him on every side: this sorrow was an heart sorrow, and what continually attended him day by day; or was in the daytime, when men are generally amused with business or diversions, as well as in the night, as Kimchi observes;
how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? even the vilest of men, Psalm 12:8; this may be understood either of temporal enemies, and was true of David when he was obliged not only to leave his own house and family, but the land of Judea, and flee to the Philistines; and when he fled from Absalom his son, lest he should be taken and slain by him; or of spiritual enemies, and is true of saints when sin prevails and leads captive, and when the temptations of Satan succeed; as when he prevailed upon David to number the people, Peter to deny his master, &c. The Jewish writers (t) observe that here are four "how longs", answerable to the four monarchies, Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, and their captivities under them.
(s) "ponam", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus. (t) Jarchi, Midrash in Kimchi, & Abendana in Miclol Yophi in loc.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
13:2 How long - Shall I be in such perplexities, not knowing what course to take?
Psalm 13:2 Parallel Commentaries
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