Psalm 142:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.

King James Bible
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

American Standard Version
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walk Have they hidden a snare for me.

Douay-Rheims Bible
When my spirit failed me, then thou newest my paths.

English Revised Version
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walk have they hidden a snare for me.

Webster's Bible Translation
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way in which I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.

Psalm 142:3 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Thus far the Psalm is comparatively easy of exposition; but now it becomes difficult, yet not hopelessly so. David, thoroughly conscious of his sins against God and of his imperfection as a monarch, says, in opposition to the abuse which he is now suffering, that he would gladly accept any friendly reproof: "let a righteous man smite in kindness and reprove me - head-oil (i.e., oil upon the head, to which such reproof is likened) shall my head not refuse." So we render it, following the accents, and not as Hupfeld, Kurtz, and Hitzig do: "if a righteous man smites me, it is love; if he reproves me, an anointing of the head is it unto me;" in connection with which the designation of the subject with היא would be twice wanting, which is more than is admissible. צדּיק stands here as an abstract substantive: the righteous man, whoever he may be, in antithesis, namely, to the rebels and to the people who have joined them. Amyraldus, Maurer, and Hengstenberg understand it of God; but it only occurs of God as an attribute, and never as a direct appellation. חסד, as in Jeremiah 31:3, is equivalent to בּחסד, cum benignitate equals benigne. What is meant is, as in Job 6:14, what Paul (Galatians 6:1) styles πνεῦμα πραΰ́τητος. and הלם, tundere, is used of the strokes of earnest but well-meant reproof, which is called "the blows of a friend" in Proverbs 27:6. Such reproof shall be to him as head-oil (Psalm 23:5; Psalm 133:2), which his head does not despise. יני, written defectively for יניא, like ישּׁי, in Psalm 55:16, אבי, 1 Kings 21:29 and frequently; הניא (root נא, Arab. n', with the nasal n, which also expresses the negation in the Indo-Germanic languages) here signifies to deny, as in Psalm 33:10 to bring to nought, to destroy. On the other hand, the lxx renders μὴ λιπανάτω τὴν κεφαλήν μου, which is also followed by the Syriac and Jerome, perhaps after the Arabic nawiya, to become or to be fat, which is, however, altogether foreign to the Aramaic, and is, moreover, only used of fatness of the body, and in fact of camels. The meaning of the figure is this: well-meant reproof shall be acceptable and spiritually useful to him. The confirmation כּי־עוד וגו follows, which is enigmatical both in meaning and expression. This עוד is the cipher of a whole clause, and the following ו is related to this עוד as the Waw that introduces the apodosis, not to כּי as in 2 Chronicles 24:20, since no progression and connection is discernible if כי is taken as a subordinating quia. We interpret thus: for it is still so (the matter still stands thus), that my prayer is against their wickednesses; i.e., that I use no weapon but that of prayer against these, therefore let me always be in that spiritual state of mind which is alive to well-meant reproof. Mendelssohn's rendering is similar: I still pray, whilst they practise infamy. On עוד ו cf. Zechariah 8:20 עוד אשׁר (vid., Khler), and Proverbs 24:27 אחר ו. He who has prayed God in Psalm 141:3 to set a watch upon his mouth is dumb in the presence of those who now have dominion, and seeks to keep himself clear of their sinful doings, whereas he willingly allows himself to be chastened by the righteous; and the more silent he is towards the world (see Amos 5:13), the more constant is he in his intercourse with God. But there will come a time when those who now behave as lords shall fall a prey to the revenge of the people who have been misled by them; and on the other hand, the confession of the salvation, and of the order of the salvation, of God, that has hitherto been put to silence, will again be able to make itself freely heard, and find a ready hearing.

As Psalm 141:6 says, the new rulers fall a prey to the indignation of the people and are thrown down the precipices, whilst the people, having again come to their right mind, obey the words of David and find them pleasant and beneficial (vid., Proverbs 15:26; Proverbs 16:24). נשׁמטוּ is to be explained according to 2 Kings 9:33. The casting of persons down from the rock was not an unusual mode of execution (2 Chronicles 25:12). ידי־סלע are the sides (Psalm 140:6; Judges 11:26) of the rock, after which the expression ἐχόμενα πέτρας of the lxx, which has been misunderstood by Jerome, is intended to be understood;

(Note: Beda Pieringer in his Psalterium Romana Lyra Radditum (Ratisbonae 1859) interprets κατεπόθησαν ἐχόμενα πέτρας οἱ κραταιοὶ τὐτῶν, absorpti, i.e., operti sunt loco ad petram pertinente signiferi turpis consilii eorum.)

they are therefore the sides of the rock conceived of as it were as the hands of the body of rock, if we are not rather with Bttcher to compare the expressions בּידי and על־ידי construed with verbs of abandoning and casting down, Lamentations 1:14; Job 16:11, and frequently. In Psalm 141:7 there follows a further statement of the issue on the side of David and his followers: instar findentis et secantis terram (בּקע with Beth, elsewhere in the hostile signification of irrumpere) dispersa sunt ossa nostra ad ostium (לפי as in Proverbs 8:3) orci; Symmachus: ὥσπερ γεωργὸς ὅταν ῥήσσῃ τὴν τὴν, οὕτως ἐσκορπίσθη τὰ ὀστᾶ ἡμῶν εἰς στόμα ᾅδου; Quinta: ὡς καλλιεργῶν καὶ σκάπτων ἐν τῇ γῇ κ. τ. λ. Assuming the very extreme, it is a look of hope into the future: should his bones and the bones of his followers be even scattered about the mouth of Shel (cf. the Syrian picture of Shel: "the dust upon its threshold ‛al-escûfteh," Deutsche Morgenlnd. Zeitschrift, xx. 513), their soul below, their bones above - it would nevertheless be only as when on in ploughing cleaves the earth; i.e., they do not lie there in order that they may continue lying, but that they may rise up anew, as the seed that is sown sprouts up out of the upturned earth. lxx Codd. Vat. et Sinait. τὰ ὀστᾶ ἡμῶν, beside which, however, is found the reading αὐτῶν (Cod. Alex. by a second hand, and the Syriac, Arabic, and Aethiopic versions), as Bttcher also, pro ineptissimo utcunque, thinks עצמינו must be read, understanding this, according to 2 Chronicles 25:12 extrem., of the mangled bodies of those cast down from the rock. We here discern the hope of a resurrection, if not directly, at least (cf. Oehler in Herzog's Real-Encyclopdie, concluding volume, S. 422) as am emblem of victory in spite of having succumbed. That which authorizes this interpretation lies in the figure of the husbandman, and in the conditional clause (Psalm 141:8), which leads to the true point of the comparison; for as a complaint concerning a defeat that had been suffered: "so are our bones scattered for the mouth of the grave (in order to be swallowed up by it)," Psalm 141:7, would be alien and isolated with respect to what precedes and what follows.

Psalm 142:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

my spirit

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the middle of my bowels.

Psalm 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 102:4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.

Psalm 143:4 Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.

Mark 14:33-36 And he takes with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy...

then thou

Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Psalm 17:3 You have proved my heart; you have visited me in the night; you have tried me, and shall find nothing...

Psalm 139:2-4 You know my sitting down and my rising up, you understand my thought afar off...

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take: when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

in the way

Psalm 31:4 Pull me out of the net that they have laid privately for me: for you are my strength.

Psalm 35:7,8 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have dig for my soul...

Psalm 56:6 They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.

Psalm 140:5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.

Psalm 141:9 Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

Jeremiah 18:22 Let a cry be heard from their houses, when you shall bring a troop suddenly on them: for they have dig a pit to take me...

Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

Cross References
Psalm 77:3
When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

Psalm 140:5
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net; beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah

Psalm 143:4
Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.

Jonah 2:7
When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

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