Psalm 143:6
I stretch forth my hands to you: my soul thirsts after you, as a thirsty land. Selah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) With the first clause comp. Psalm 44:20.

Thirsty land.—See Psalm 63:1, which explains this elliptical sentence. As our Lord taught, God is even more ready to send the refreshing spiritual shower than man’s heart to receive it.

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.I stretch forth my hands unto thee - In prayer. I have nowhere else to go. See Psalm 88:9.

My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land - As land in a time of drought "seems" to thirst for rain. See the notes at Psalm 63:1. Compare Psalm 42:1. The word rendered "thirsty" here means properly "weary." The idea is that of a land which seems to be weary; which has no vigor of growth; and where everything seems to be exhausted. The same word occurs in Isaiah 32:2 : "As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."

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; I pray to thee fervently. See Poole "Psalm 141:2".

Thirsteth after thee; after thy favour and help.

As a thirsty land, to wit, thirsteth for rain. I stretch forth my hands unto thee,.... In prayer, as the Targum adds; for this is a prayer gesture, 1 Kings 8:38; both hands were stretched forth, earnestly imploring help, and ready to receive and embrace every blessing bestowed with thankfulness;

my soul thirsteth after thee as a thirsty land. As a dry land, which wants water, gapes, and as it were thirsts for rain, which is very refreshing to it; so his soul thirsted after God, after his word and ordinances, after communion with him in them, after his grace and fresh supplies of it; particularly after pardoning grace and mercy, after the coming of Christ, and the blessings of grace by him; as reconciliation, atonement, righteousness, and salvation; after more knowledge of God and Christ, and divine truths; and after the enjoyment of them in heaven to all eternity. Some copies read, "in a thirsty land" (x), and so some versions; see Psalm 42:1.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(x) Cod. Heb. Bomberg. Venet. "in terra siticulosa", Musculus, Tarnovius.

I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. I stretch forth]. R.V. I spread forth. Cp. Psalm 44:20; Psalm 88:9; Lamentations 1:17.

my soul thirsteth for thee, as a weary land] ‘Thirsteth’ or some similar verb must be supplied. Cp. Psalm 60:1, from which the words are taken. As the parched land, wearied with long continued drought, longs for refreshing rain, so he longs for a renewal of the old manifestation of God’s goodness. Cp. Psalm 68:9, note, for rain as an emblem of Divine blessing.Verse 6. - I stretch forth my hands unto thee. These recollections draw me to thee, O God, and make me stretch forth my hands in prayer to thee (Psalm 141:2b), and entreat thee for succor. My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. As a parched and withered land. seems to look up to heaven and long for rain, so does my soul long for thee, O Lord, "and thy refreshing grace" (comp. Psalm 42:1). The "pause-mark," "selah," at the end of the verse, at once gives time for secret prayer, and makes a division of the psalm into two parts. His request now ascends all the more confident of being answered, and becomes calm, being well-grounded in his feebleness and the superiority of his enemies, and aiming at the glorifying of the divine Name. In Psalm 142:7 רנּתי calls to mind Psalm 17:1; the first confirmation, Psalm 79:8, and the second, Psalm 18:18. But this is the only passage in the whole Psalter where the poet designates the "distress" in which he finds himself as a prison (מסגּר). V. 8b brings the whole congregation of the righteous in in the praising of the divine Name. The poet therefore does not after all find himself so absolutely alone, as it might seem according to Psalm 142:5. He is far from regarding himself as the only righteous person. He is only a member of a community or church whose destiny is interwoven with his own, and which will glory in his deliverance as its own; for "if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26). We understand the differently interpreted יכתּירוּ after this "rejoicing with" (συγχαίρει). The lxx, Syriac, and Aquilaz render: the righteous wait for me; but to wait is כּתּר and not הכתּיר. The modern versions, on the other hand, almost universally, like Luther after Felix Pratensis, render: the righteous shall surround me (flock about me), in connection with which, as Hengstenberg observes, בּי denotes the tender sympathy they fell with him: crowding closely upon me. But there is no instance of a verb of surrounding (אפף, סבב, סבב, עוּד, עטר, הקּיף) taking בּ; the accusative stands with הכתּיר in Habakkuk 1:4, and כּתּר in Psalm 22:13, in the signification cingere. Symmachus (although erroneously rendering: τὸ ὄνομά σου στεφανώσονται δίκαιοι), Jerome (in me coronabuntur justi), Parchon, Aben-Ezra, Coccejus, and others, rightly take יכתּירוּ as a denominative from כּתר, to put on a crown or to crown (cf. Proverbs 14:18): on account of me the righteous shall adorn themselves as with crowns, i.e., shall triumph, that Thou dealest bountifully with me (an echo of Psalm 13:6). According to passages like Psalm 64:11; Psalm 40:17, one might have expected בּו instead of בּי. But the close of Psalm 22 (Psalm 22:23.), cf. Psalm 140:12., shows that בי is also admissible. The very fact that David contemplates his own destiny and the destiny of his foes in a not merely ideal but foreordainedly causal connection with the general end of the two powers that stand opposed to one another in the world, belongs to the characteristic impress of the Psalms of David that come from the time of Saul's persecution.
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