Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
<> Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
Ps 143:1-12. In structure and style, like the preceding (Psalms 104-142), this Psalm is clearly evinced to be David's. It is a prayer for pardon, and for relief from enemies; afflictions, as usual, producing confession and penitence.
1. in thy faithfulness … and … righteousness—or, God's regard to the claims which He has permitted His people to make in His covenant.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
2. enter … judgment—deal not in strict justice.
shall no … justified—or, "is no man justified," or "innocent" (Job 14:3; Ro 3:20).
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.
3, 4. The exciting reason for his prayer—his afflictions—led to confession as just made: he now makes the complaint.
as those that have been long dead—deprived of life's comforts (compare Ps 40:15; 88:3-6).
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
5, 6. The distress is aggravated by the contrast of former comfort (Ps 22:3-5), for whose return he longs.
a thirsty land—which needs rain, as did his spirit God's gracious visits (Ps 28:1; 89:17).
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
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.
7. spirit faileth—is exhausted.
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.
8. (Compare Ps 25:1-4; 59:16).
the way … walk—that is, the way of safety and righteousness (Ps 142:3-6).
Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
9. (Compare Ps 31:15-20).
Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
10. (Compare Ps 5:8; 27:11).
land of uprightness—literally, "an even land" (Ps 26:12).
Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
11. (Compare Ps 23:3; 119:156).
And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
12. God's mercy to His people is often wrath to His and their enemies (compare Ps 31:17).
thy servant—as chosen to be such, entitled to divine regard.