The Hebrew text for this psalm has no superscription or title. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and others have it as “by David, a song sung by the sons of Jonadab, and the first that were taken captive.” Many commentators do take the position that it was probably written by David in his old age. The inclusion of the fact that it was sung by the sons of Jonadab and by the first of those taken captive is somewhat puzzling, but must have had some historical significance at the time the superscription was added. The sons of Jonadab (the Rechabites) are the subject of Jeremiah 35 for their faithfulness to their father’s command.
It is a song of lament, easily fitting for anyone who is weak and in distress. it is easy to see why the captives would sing this psalm, as it both cries out for help in a dire situation and when one feels helpless:
“forsake me not when my strength is spent…
O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!…
I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.”
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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