This psalm of David is one of those which are referred to as “the penitentials.” It still has all the elements of a lament, however, and as such it is clear that it was one written during his flight from Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion. The penance in his prayer is far too deep and genuine to be of the time of Saul’s persecution. Franz Delitzsch wrote of this psalm that it:
“is certainly composed as coming out of the situation of David who was persecuted by Absalom; and it is distinguished from those of the time of Saul’s persecution by the psalmist’s deep melancholy, founded upon the penitential sorrow of David’s consciousness of his own guilt.”
David is paying the price for his sin with Bathsheba, and his atrocious murder of his loyal friend, Uriah the Hittite – of which Nathan warned him to be prepared for in 2 Samuel 12:7-12. Psalm 143 is another great model of prayer for us today. In the midst of praying for his deliverance, David also prays not only for deliverance, but for strength to serve God better:
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!
For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.