PSALM ONE HUNDRED FORTY-TWO
TITLE Maskil of David, when he was in the
[n.m.s., poem, song of contemplation] dwId'l
[prep.w/Qal.infin.cstr.w/3.m.s.sf., hayah, to be] hr'['M.b;.;
[def.art.w/prep.w/n.f.s., me-arah, cave]).
His Plea (vv.1,2)
His Plight (vv.3,4)
His Portion (vv.5,6)
His Prospect (v.7)
A Prayer (`hL'pit.
[n.f.s., tephillah, prayer]).
His Plea (vv.1,2)
The title suggests one of two possible crisis in Davidís life.
Psalm 57 has as its background the cave in Engedi when his life was threatened
by Saul (1Sam.24).
Then there is the earlier situation when David fled to the cave of Adullam
The language of this psalm best suits the situation when he was virtually
all by himself (cf.v.4).
When David had lost favor with Saul he was warned by Saulís son Jonathan
that his father was about to put him to death (1Sam.19:1-7,10).
In a fit of rage Saul threw a spear at David and he fled to his house (1Sam.19:11).
David was forced to escape in the night from his house and fled to Samuelís
God foiled Saulís attempt to capture him there and he returned to Saulís
camp and attempted to make peace through his friend Jonathan (1Sam.20).
When this too failed David fled to Ahimelech the priest in the small village
of Nob just north of Jerusalem (1Sam.21:1-9).
His next destination was a desperation move.
He retired to the Philistine city of Gath were he feigned insanity before
King Achish (1Sam.21:10-15).
He was allowed to leave unharmed and "escaped to the cave of Adullam" in
Israelite territory (1Sam.22:1).
This cave was located at the western edge of the hill country, not far
from the Philistine border (10 miles SE of Gath).
Virtually alone David felt the pressure of Saulís manhunt which is the
background to this psalm.
VERSE 1 I cry aloud with my voice to the
[Qal.impf.1c.s., za-aq, to cry out] yliAq
[n.m.s.w/1c.s.sf., qol, voice] hw"hy>-la,
[prep. + pr.n.]);
I make supplication with my voice to the LORD
chanan, to be gracious, show favor; to seek favor; "make supplication"]
qol, voice] hw"hy>-la,
[prep. + pr.n.]).
VERSE 2 I pour out my complaint before Him (%Pov.a
[Qal.impf.1c.s., shaphakh, to pour out] yxiyfi
[n.m.s.w/1c.s.sf., siach, complaint] wyn"p'l
[prep.w/n.m.p.w/3.m.s.sf., panim, faces]);
I declare my trouble before Him
nagadh, to tell, announce, report] ytir'c
[n.f.s.w/1c.s.sf., tsarah, trouble, distress] wyn"p'l
[prep.w/n.m.p.w/3.m.s.sf., "before Him"]).
His Plight (vv.3,4)
VERSE 3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me (yxiWr
[n.f.s.w/1c.s.sf., ruach, spirit] @Je[;t.hiB.
[prep.w/Hithpael.infin.cstr., ataph, to turn aside; faint; "was overwhelmed"]
You knew my path (hT'a;w>
[conj.w/pro.2.m.s., "You"] T'[.d;y"
[Qal.pf.2.m.s., yadha, know] ytib'ytin>
[n.f.s.w/1c.s.sf., nathibh, path]).
In the way where I walk (Wz-xr;aoB
[prep.w/n.f.s., orach, way, road + demon.pro.; "where"] %Leh;a]
[Piel.impf.1c.s., halakh, walk])
They have hidden a trap for me (Wnm.j'
[Qal.pf.3.c.p., taman, hide] xp;
[n.m.s., pach, bird trap, snare] `yli
VERSE 4 Look to the right and see (jyBeh
[Hiphil.imper., nabhat, look] !ymiy"
[n.f.s., yamin, right, right hand] haer>W
[conj.w/Qal.imper., ra-ah, see]);
For there is no one who regards me
and; "For"w/adv. of negation + prep.w/1c.s.sf., "For there is no oneÖme"]
nakhar, to recognize; to regard]);;
There is no escape for me (db;a'
[Qal.pf.3.m.s., abhadh, to perish; "There is no", idiomatic + be impossible]
sAnm' [n.m.s., manos,
flight, refuge, place of escape; "escape"] yNIM,mi
[prep.w/1c.s.sf. "for me"]);
No one cares for my soul (!yae
[adv. "No one"] vreAD
[Qal.pt.m.s., darash, seek; "cares"] `yvip.n:l.
[prep.w/n.f.s., nephesh, soul, life]).
ANALYSIS: VERSES 1-4
His Portion (vv.5,6)
The urgency of Davidís prayer comes through at once with the repetition
"with my voice" and with "cry aloud" and "make supplication" (v.1).
His internal struggle is brought out in this psalm.
When this life-threatening test suddenly confronted him he prayed in the
most intense manner.
His cry for help was loud and intense.
He fully recognized the seriousness of his plight when surrounded in the
stronghold of Adullam.
He begins by announcing his intent to tell his troubles to Yahweh.
He does not conclude that prayer is unnecessary.
God works via the fellowship engendered by recourse to Him, which strengthens
the bond of trust.
He refuses to remain silent and lays out his anguish before his God in
the most intense fashion.
The first part of the psalm is a strong complaint with respect to the situation
Again, in vv.1-4 he reports the severity of the situation and in vv.5-7
he asks God to preserve and deliver him.
In v.2 he describes his circumstances as "my complaint" and "my trouble".
The verb "I pour out" indicates his uninhibited declaration of the threat
The verb "I declare" indicates the fact that he reports the situation as
he sees it.
"My complaint" suggests all that was going on in his soul, even his propensity
to fail under the pressure (cf. v.3a; Job.7:11; cp. 7:13; 9:27; 10:1; 23:2).
We should not miss the element of frankness with which he spoke to God.
Certainly all of his words are not recorded.
His complaint includes his troubled STA sponsored thoughts.
He honestly reports that this test got him out of fellowship (v.3a).
When he was in the grip of fear his human spirit "was overwhelmed within"
him (cf. Ps.77:3,4).
He had to constantly rebound and cling to what he knew to be true about
Even when David was ready to give up he recognized that Yahweh knew all
the details of his situation and had made a way of deliverance (v.3bc).
When his complaint turned ugly he remembered that God is in control and
knows and cares about the threat against his Ph2.
God is aware of the hidden dangers out there (v.3d).
He knows that these accomplished men of war have set a trap to kill him.
God sees what they are up to and had the situation well in hand.
From a state of STA despair he came to the conclusion that God was fully
aware of the dragnet that was about to capture him.
Verse 3 shows the perils of the path that lies just ahead of him, but he
knows that it is no problem for God.
Verse 4 shows the isolation he felt and the emotion that no one cares (or
so he felt) that overwhelmed him.
Alone with but a handful of men David felt alone and uncared for.
His complaint in v.4 is, strictly speaking, uncalled for.
This verse reflects the ugly side of his complaint.
He felt sorry for himself (v.4d) and looked upon his situation as hopeless
Mercifully again, God knows and cares.
God graciously heard his complaint and judged the intent of his heart and
sent him, by degrees, human support (1Sam.22:1ff.).
These men formed the nucleus of his future kingdom.
This low ebb in the fortunes of David proved to be a turning point in his
There are times when we feel alone and uncared for but God is for us, and
there are those who will support us when we are down and out.
He will bring the right people into our periphery in time of need.
God supports positive volition in the most amazing ways.
Even in moments of despair, God is for us, as He knows the real intent
of our hearts.
VERSE 5 I cried out to You, O LORD
za-aq, to cry out] "^yl,ae
[prep.w/2.m.s.sf., "toward You"] hw"hy>
I said, "You are my refuge (yTir>m;a'
[Qal.pf.1.c.s., amar, to say] hT'a;
[n.m.s.w/1.c.s.sf., machaseh, refuge],
My portion in the land of the living
chaleq, portion, share, part] #r,a,B.
[prep.w/n.f.s.cstr., earth, land] `~yYIx;h;
[def.art.w/adj.m.p., chay, living]).
His Persecutors (v.6)
VERSE 6 "Give heed to my cry (hb'yviq.h;
[Hiphil.imper., qashabh, hear, be attentive] ytiN"rI-la,
[prep. + n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf., rinnah, ringing cry],
For I am brought very low (ytiALd;-yKi
[conj. + Qal.pf.1.c.s., dalal, to languish, to hang down, be low; "brought
low"] daom. [adv,.
Deliver me from my persecutors (ynIleyCih;
[Hiphil.imper.w/1.c.s.sf., natsal, deliver, rescue] yp;d>rom
[prep.w/Qal.pt.m.p.w/1.c.s.sf., radhaph, to be behind, follow after, persecute],
For they are too strong for me (yKi
[conj.] Wcm.a' [Qal.pf.3.c.p.,
amats, be strong; "too strong"] `yNIM,mi
[prep.w/1.c.s.sf., "for me"]).
His Prospect (v.7)
VERSE 7 "Bring my soul out of prison (ha'yciAh
[Hiphil.imper., yatsa, go out; bring out] yvip.n:
[n.f.s.w/1.c.s.sf., nephesh, soul] rGEsM;mi
[prep.w/n.m.s., maseger, dungeon]),
So that I may give thanks to Your name
yadha, throw; give thanks] ^m,v.-ta,
[dir.obj. + n.m.s.w/2.m.s.sf., shem, name]);
The righteous will surround me (~yqiyDIc;
[adj.m.p., tsadiq, righteous] WrTik.y:
[Hiphil.impf.3.m.p., kethar, surround] yBi
For You will deal bountifully with me
(yKi [conj.] lmog>ti
[Qal.impf.3.m.s., gamal, deal fully with, deal bountifully with] `yl'['
ANALYSIS: VERSES 5-7
In the first four verses David is addressing all who have an interest in
the ordeals of the righteous.
In the final three verses David reminds God of His prayer content on that
occasion in the words "I cried out"/"I said" (both perfects).
Verses 5-7 is the summit of faith in the psalm.
Even though he was in a crisis of despair, hopelessness, and self-pity,
he pulled himself together and called upon God for deliverance and encouragement.
"Refuge" was a favorite metaphor, as David had a number of hiding places
during that phase of his life.
The invisible but real essence of God is the ultimate and inaccessible
God was his "portion in the land of the living", meaning that God was all
he needed and wanted.
God as the believerís portion in time and eternity is a source of great
comfort and hope.
You have no situation that is too great for the power and grace of God.
"My portion" goes beyond just protection to the blessings of time that
are reserved for those who Ďstay the course.í
Davidís portion, as it turned out, was considerable.
Things looked bleak when he was "in the cave".
In time of need he cried out to God to be attentive to His prayer for relief
He laments his lowly circumstances that seemed so far removed from the
prospect of his anointing as a youth.
David had risen to early fame in the service of King Saul, but that rug
was pulled out from under him as a fugitive in the cave of Adullam.
He was a hunted man who was slandered among his people by the king he had
so faithfully served.
He prays for deliverance from his "persecutors" or, better yet, his "pursuers".
Upon his arrival at Adullam he had next to nothing to build a power base
He was a king in name only.
His confession is that he had been "brought very low" by the viscous and
unrelenting hatred of Saul.
He laments his military weakness as compared to his enemy (v.6d).
His edge was his relationship to Yahweh.
He prayed that God would "bring him out" of his metaphorical "prison" (v.7a).
"My soul" is his way of saying "me".
His life for the moment was to be forced into hiding and cut off from normal
Verse 7bc ends the psalm on its highest plateau.
He looks to the future when his circumstances will be reversed.
He vows to give formal thanks for his many deliverances before a grateful
At some future date he offered thanks offerings and praise to the One who
accorded him so much grace.
He visualizes the day when he is no longer shunned or hunted, but thronged
with "the righteous" who rejoiced in his good fortune.
From his anointing by the prophet Samuel he knew what the future held.
Common sense told him that the crisis at hand would pass and he would reign
over the chosen people in glory (v.7c).
God didnít choose him to rule only to mock him.
As the record shows, God did indeed "deal bountifully with" him.
But to get there he had to deal with a long period of persecution.
To encourage him God, with respect to his Ph2 hope, brought to him a cadre
of men who would support his cause (cf. 1Sam.22:1,2).
In addition, the prophet Gad came to him and told him to withdraw from
Adullam and go "into the forest of Hereth" (1Sam.22:5, was a few miles
east of Adullam).
So his prayer for deliverance was answered and he went out of Adullam with
a military force of some 600 men (1Sam.23:13; 27:2).
END: PSALM ONE HUNDRED
JACK M. BALLINGER
© Copyright 1998, Maranatha Church, Inc.