A good portion of this psalm relates to betrayal by a once close and trusted friend; and Spurgeon seems right to assess it as reading “like a song of the times of Absalom and Ahithophel.” Some have also seen it as a prophetic foretelling of the prayers of Jesus in the face of His betrayal and imminent death; and that certainly does fit as well. There is no reason why it cannot be both, as most of the Royal psalms do refer to present as well as prophetic circumstances. Consider verses 3-6:
…in anger they bear a grudge against me.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
But as a lament, much of it also seems to have application to the despair that overwhelms one because of the oppression of the world and the ultimate enemy – the devil himself, who lays in wait, constantly seeking to beat us down, and causes us grievous harm in ways we may not understand as being from his work at the time they occur. As such, it is like a great many other psalms, which have tremendous power and application in our own prayers when we often wonder how we can carry on through our suffering:
Give ear to my prayer, O God,
and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan
because of the noise of the enemy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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