Psalm 143:4
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) See Psalm 142:3, and Notes.

Is desolate.—Or, more literally, as in Isaiah 59:16; Isaiah 63:5, &c, wondered; literally, fills itself with astonishment.

143:1-6 We have no righteousness of our own to plead, therefore must plead God's righteousness, and the word of promise which he has freely given us, and caused us to hope in. David, before he prays for the removal of his trouble, prays for the pardon of his sin, and depends upon mercy alone for it. He bemoans the weight upon his mind from outward troubles. But he looks back, and remembers God's former appearance for his afflicted people, and for him in particular. He looks round, and notices the works of God. The more we consider the power of God, the less we shall fear the face or force of man. He looks up with earnest desires towards God and his favour. This is the best course we can take, when our spirits are overwhelmed. The believer will not forget, that in his best actions he is a sinner. Meditation and prayer will recover us from distresses; and then the mourning soul strives to return to the Lord as the infant stretches out its hands to the indulgent mother, and thirsts for his consolations as the parched ground for refreshing rain.Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me - See the notes at Psalm 77:3. Compare Psalm 42:5-7. His spirit was broken and crushed. He was in a state of despair as to any human help.

My heart within me is desolate - I have no comfort; no cheerfulness; no hope. My soul is like the waste desert where there is no water; where nothing grows; where there are only rocks and sands.

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).

My spirit overwhelmed within me. See Poole "Psalm 61:2" See Poole "Psalm 142:3".

Is desolate; deprived of all hope and comfort. Or, is astonished. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me,.... Covered over with grief, borne down with sorrow, ready to sink and fail; See Gill on Psalm 142:3;

my heart within me is desolate; destitute of the spirit and presence of God, and with respect to the exercise of grace, and filled with fears and misgivings; or "astonished" (u), at the providence he was under, like one stunned and filled with sore amazement, not knowing what to make of things, or what the issue of them would be; so David's antitype was "sore amazed" in the garden, when his troubles and agonies came upon him, Mark 14:33.

(u) "attonitum est", Vatablus; "stupuit", Tigurine version; "stupet", Cocceius, Michaelis; "obstupuit", Gejerus.

Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my {e} heart within me is desolate.

(e) So that only by faith and by the grace of God's Spirit was he upheld.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. And my spirit has fainted upon me;

My heart within me is appalled.

my spirit &c.] Cp. Psalm 142:3, note.

is desolate] Rather, is appalled, stupefied and paralysed at the apparent hopelessness of my position. Cp. Daniel 8:27. “The root-idea of the word seems to have been to be motionless,—sometimes in the stillness of desolation, sometimes through amazement” (Driver on Daniel 4:19).Verse 4. - Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; or, "faint within me" (see Psalm 42:3). My heart within me is desolate (comp. Psalm 40:15). The prayer of the poet now becomes deep-breathed and excited, inasmuch as he goes more minutely into the details of his straitened situation. Everywhere, whithersoever he has to go (cf. on Psalm 143:8), the snares of craftily calculating foes threaten him. Even God's all-seeing eye will not discover any one who would right faithfully and carefully interest himself in him. הבּיט, look! is a graphic hybrid form of הבּט and הבּיט, the usual and the rare imperative form; cf. הביא 1 Samuel 20:40 (cf. Jeremiah 17:18), and the same modes of writing the inf. absol. in Judges 1:28; Amos 9:8, and the fut. conv. in Ezekiel 40:3. מכּיר is, as in Ruth 2:19, cf. Psalm 10, one who looks kindly upon any one, a considerate (cf. the phrase הכּיר פּנים) well-wisher and friend. Such an one, if he had one, would be עמד על־ימינו or מימינו (Psalm 16:8), for an open attack is directed to the arms-bearing right side (Psalm 109:6), and there too the helper in battle (Psalm 110:5) and the defender or advocate (Psalm 109:31) takes his place in order to cover him who is imperilled (Psalm 121:5). But then if God looks in that direction, He will find him, who is praying to Him, unprotected. Instead of ואין one would certainly have sooner expected אשׁר or כי as the form of introducing the condition in which he is found; but Hitzig's conjecture, הבּיט ימין וראה, "looking for days and seeing," gives us in the place of this difficulty a confusing half-Aramaism in ימין equals יומין in the sense of ימים in Daniel 8:27; Nehemiah 1:4. Ewald's rendering is better: "though I look to the right hand and see (וראה), yet no friend appears for me;" but this use of the inf. absol. with an adversative apodosis is without example. Thus therefore the pointing appears to have lighted upon the correct idea, inasmuch as it recognises here the current formula הבּט וּראה, e.g., Job 35:5; Lamentations 5:1. The fact that David, although surrounded by a band of loyal subjects, confesses to having no true fiend, is to be understood similarly to the language of Paul when he says in Philippians 2:20 : "I have no man like-minded." All human love, since sin has taken possession of humanity, is more or less selfish, and all fellowship of faith and of love imperfect; and there are circumstances in life in which these dark sides make themselves felt overpoweringly, so that a man seems to himself to be perfectly isolated and turns all the more urgently to God, who alone is able to supply the soul's want of some object to love, whose love is absolutely unselfish, and unchangeable, and unbeclouded, to whom the soul can confide without reserve whatever burdens it, and who not only honestly desires its good, but is able also to compass it in spite of every obstacle. Surrounded by bloodthirsty enemies, and misunderstood, or at least not thoroughly understood, by his friends, David feels himself broken off from all created beings. On this earth every kind of refuge is for him lost (the expression is like Job 11:20). There is no one there who should ask after or care for his soul, and should right earnestly exert himself for its deliverance. Thus, then, despairing of all visible things, he cries to the Invisible One. He is his "refuge" (Psalm 91:9) and his "portion" (Psalm 16:5; Psalm 73:26), i.e., the share in a possession that satisfies him. To be allowed to call Him his God - this it is which suffices him and outweighs everything. For Jahve is the Living One, and he who possesses Him as his own finds himself thereby "in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13; Psalm 52:7). He cannot die, he cannot perish.
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