<> Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
Verse 1. - Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications (comp. Psalm 28:2; Psalm 39:12; Psalm 54:2; Psalm 55:1, etc.). In thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. In thy faithfulness to thy promises, since thou hast promised to hear prayer, and in thy mere righteousness, since it is right and just that thou shouldest do so, hearken unto me.
And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
Verse 2. - And enter not into judgment with thy servant. The psalmist, having touched the point of abstract justice, shrinks from pressing it. He knows that he is not "righteous before God," and that his life and conduct "cannot endure the severity of God's judgment" (Art. XII.). He therefore "deprecates a strictly retributive treatment" (Cheyne). For in thy sight shall no man living be justified (comp. Psalm 130:3; and see also Job 4:17-19; Job 9:2; Job 15:14; Job 25:4).
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.
Verse 3. - For the enemy hath persecuted my soul. "The enemy" may be Saul, but is more probably an abstract expression - for "my enemies" generally. He hath smitten my life down to the ground; or, "crushed my life to the ground" - brought me, i.e., very low (comp. Psalm 42:6). He hath made me to dwell in darkness (comp. Psalm 88:6). As those that have been long dead. I have dwelt in a darkness like that of Shell; i.e. in gloom and unhappiness (comp. Lamentations 3:6).
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
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).
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
Verse 5. - I remember the days of old. Still, in the midst of all my troubles, I do not despair - "I remember the days of old" - the great things which God has done for me in the past (comp. Psalm 77:5, 10, 11). I meditate on all thy works; or, "on all thy doings." I muse on the work of thy hands (comp. Psalm 77:12).
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
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.
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.
Verse 7. - Hear me speedily, O Lord. Here the direct supplication of ver. 1 is taken up, and pressed. "Hear me, O Lord; and not only hear me, but that speedily. It is a time for haste" (comp. Psalm 141:1). My spirit faileth; or, "fainteth" (LXX., ἐξέλιπε). Hide not thy face from me (comp. Psalm 27:9; Psalm 69:17; Psalm 102:2). Lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit (see the comment on Psalm 28:1).
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.
Verse 8. - Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; i.e. early, speedily (comp. Psalm 46:5; Psalm 90:14). For in thee do I trust. His utter trust in God gives him a claim to be beard and helped. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; i.e. illumine me, so that I may perceive the course which I ought to follow (comp. Psalm 5:8, "Make thy way straight before my face"). For I lift up my soul unto thee. Again, a sort of claim seems to be urged, as in clause 2.
Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
Verse 9. - Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies (comp. Psalm 140:1, 4; Psalm 142:6). I flee unto thee to hide me; literally, to thee I hide myself, but probably with the meaning expressed in the Authorized Version.
Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Verse 10. - Teach me to do thy will (comp. Psalm 25:4, 5; Psalm 139:24). For thou art my God. Therefore my Guide and Teacher. Thy spirit is good; i.e. gracious and merciful. Lead ms into the land of uprightness; rather, along a land of smoothness. Some critics unite the last two clauses, and translate, "Let thy good Spirit lead me along a land of smoothness" - "conduct me," i.e. over smooth ground, where I need not stumble.
Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
Verse 11. - Quicken me, O Lord, for thy Name's sake; i.e. give me fresh spiritual life (setup. Psalm 119:25, 37, 50, 88, 93, etc.). For thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. To show how righteous thou art, i.e. how good and gracious.
And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
Verse 12. - And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies. In thy goodness towards me, remove those enemies whose conduct towards me has been described in vers. 3, 4. And destroy all them that afflict my soul. This is David's ordinary prayer with respect to his enemies, whom be counts as God's adversaries, and the persecutors of faithful Israel (see Psalm 5:10; Psalm 7:9; Psalm 10:15; Psalm 28:4, 5; Psalm 35:4-6, 8, etc.). For I am thy servant. Entitled, therefore, to thy special care and protection (comp. Psalm 27:9; Psalm 69:17; Psalm 86:2, 4, 16; Psalm 116:16, etc.).