Psalm 13:2
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
(2) Take counsel.—Literally, put plans unto my soul. The plans (LXX., βουλὰς) formed in the mind turn to sorrows as they are frustrated. It is, however, so doubtful whether nephesh can stand for the mind, that it is better to render, how long shall I form plans against my soul (having) sorrow in my heart all the day? The next verse confirms the suspicion that suicide had been in the psalmist’s mind.

Daily.—There is a doubt about this rendering; but so Symmachus, and many moderns, relying on Ezekiel 30:16, “distresses daily.”

13:1-6 The psalmist complains that God had long withdrawn.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.How long - This refers to the third aspect of the case, or the third phase of the trouble, that is, that he was perplexed and embarrassed, having a deep and heavy sorrow in his heart, and he asks how long this was to continue. "Shall I take counsel in my soul." This refers to the methods which he endeavored to devise to escape from trouble. He was perplexed, persecuted, and apparently forsaken; and being thus apparently forsaken, he was constrained to attempt to devise some plan for his own deliverance, without interposition or help from on high. He was under a necessity of relying on himself; and he asks "how long" this was to continue, or when he might hope that God would interpose to aid him by his counsels, and thus to deliver him.

Having sorrow in my heart daily - Every day; constantly. That is, there was no intermission to his troubles. The sorrow in his heart seems to have been not merely that which was caused by troubles from without, but also that which sprang from the painful necessity of attempting to form plans for his own relief - plans which seemed to be in vain.

How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? - This is the fourth form or phase of his trouble, and he asks how long this was to continue. This clause suggests perhaps the exact form of the trial. It was that which arose from the designs of an enemy who persecuted and oppressed the psalmist, and who had done it so effectually that he seemed to have triumphed over him, or to have him completely in his power. All the other forms of the trial - the fact that he seemed to be forgotten; that God had apparently averted his face; that he was left to form plans of deliverance which seemed to be vain, were connected with the fact here adverted to, that an enemy had persecuted him, and had been suffered to gain a triumph over him. Who this enemy was we do not know.

2. The counsels or devices of his heart afford no relief. How long shall I be in such perplexities and anxieties of mind, not knowing what course to take, nor how to get out of my troubles?

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.

How long shall I take {b} counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

(b) Changing my purposes as the sick man does his place.

2. Lit. How long shall I set counsels in my soul? devising one plan after another in vain.

daily] The Heb. word means by day in contrast to by night (Psalm 22:2). We must either supply and by night (it is added in some MSS. of the LXX), or with R.V. render all the day, which however is hardly justified by usage. But an easy emendation gives the sense daily, which seems to be required by the context.

be exalted] Be in authority and have the upper hand. Cp. Psalm 12:8.

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). Psalm 13:2(Heb.: 13:2-3) The complicated question: till when, how long...for ever (as in Psalm 74:10; Psalm 79:5; Psalm 89:47), is the expression of a complicated condition of soul, in which, as Luther briefly and forcibly describes it, amidst the feeling of anguish under divine wrath "hope itself despairs and despair nevertheless begins to hope." The self-contradiction of the question is to be explained by the conflict which is going on within between the flesh and the spirit. The dejected heart thinks: God has forgotten me for ever. But the spirit, which thrusts away this thought, changes it into a question which sets upon it the mark of a mere appearance not a reality: how long shall it seem as though Thou forgettest me for ever? It is in the nature of the divine wrath, that the feeling of it is always accompanied by an impression that it will last for ever; and consequently it becomes a foretaste of hell itself. But faith holds fast the love that is behind the wrath; it sees in the display of anger only a self-masking of the loving countenance of the God of love, and longs for the time when this loving countenance shall be again unveiled to it. Thrice does David send forth this cry of faith out of the inmost depths of his spirit. To place or set up contrivances, plans, or proposals in his soul, viz., as to the means by which he may be able to escape from this painful condition, is equivalent to, to make the soul the place of such thoughts, or the place where such thoughts are fabricated (cf. Proverbs 26:24). One such עצה chases the other in his soul, because he recognises the vanity of one after another as soon as they spring up. With respect to the יומם which follows, we must think of these cares as taking possession of his soul in the night time; for the night leaves a man alone with his affliction and makes it doubly felt by him. It cannot be proved from Ezekiel 30:16 (cf. Zephaniah 2:4 בּצּהרים), that יומם like יום (Jeremiah 7:25, short for יום יום) may mean "daily" (Ew. 313, a). יומם does not mean this here, but is the antithesis to לילה which is to be supplied in thought in Psalm 13:3. By night he proposes plan after plan, each one as worthless as the other; and by day, or all the day through, when he sees his distress with open eyes, sorrow (יגון) is in his heart, as it were, as the feeling the night leaves behind it and as the direct reflex of his helpless and hopeless condition. He is persecuted, and his foe is in the ascendant. רוּם is both to be exalted and to rise, raise one's self, i.e., to rise to position and arrogantly to assume dignity to one's self (sich brsten). The strophe closes with ‛ad-āna which is used for the fourth time.
Psalm 13:2 Interlinear
Psalm 13:2 Parallel Texts

Psalm 13:2 NIV
Psalm 13:2 NLT
Psalm 13:2 ESV
Psalm 13:2 NASB
Psalm 13:2 KJV

Psalm 13:2 Bible Apps
Psalm 13:2 Parallel
Psalm 13:2 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 13:2 Chinese Bible
Psalm 13:2 French Bible
Psalm 13:2 German Bible

Bible Hub

Psalm 13:1
Top of Page
Top of Page