To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
For the heading, see notes on Psalms 3 and 4.
A psalm of lament, possibly written while David was being pursued by Saul.
This psalm continues to picture the sufferings of Israel during the “times of trouble” under the reign of the False Messiah. — Williams, page 306.
forget (v.1) — David was anguished by his experience of a seeming disruption of his relationship with God, not by the fact of one.
forever (v.1) — in the sense of “continually” or “utterly”
hide (v.2) — an indication that David thought his troubles might be chastisement for his own sin.
face (v.1) = presence
Just as one of the ways by which God hid His presence was to abstain from communication with His sinning people — whether directly or indirectly through dreams, lots, and prophets — so too does He abstain from such communication with David (as similarly with Saul; cf. 1 Samuel 28:6), which is why David refers to taking counsel in his soul (i.e., with himself). — Wechsler, page 51
consider (v.3) — This verb is typically employed in the Bible to indicate not just careful attention to something, but also a sense of affinity with, acceptance of, and pleasure in the object of that attention (as in Genesis 19:26; Psalm 119:6; and Amos 5:22 — all of which are generally rendered by “look(ed)”). It is also, no doubt, this specific nuance of the verb here used by David that underlies the “difficult” saying of Jesus in Luke 9:62). — Wechsler, page 51
salvation (v.5) — here, deliverance from the persecution spoken of
The certainty of the faithfulness, love and power which the Messiah will show to His people in the day of His coming again, strengthens the faith of His people during the time of their waiting and suffering. — Williams, page 306.
David’s determination to trust in the Lord is not conditional. He does not say that “if the Lord frees him from his troubles, then he will trust.” He says he has trusted and he will rejoice and sing.
dealt bountifully (v.6) — Regardless of whatever life might yet hold in store for him, the psalmist praises God — and in the process draws encouragement — from what He has already done … His having set the psalmist’s soul at rest. In the confidence of this rest that he already has, and in the hope of future glory that it inseparably entails, the psalmist is able to derive further strength and determination to continue on his walk before the Lord despite his being greatly afflicted by others. — Wechsler, from notes on Psalm 116 on page 277.
Each of the three sections of this psalm are themselves comprised of three conceptual parts which complement each other across the three sections — to wit: God “forgetting” (v.1) > God “considering” (v.3a) > David “trusting” (v.5a); David “grieving” in his heart (v.2a)> God “enlightening” David’s eyes (v.3b) > David’s heart rejoicing” (v.5b); and David’s enemies “being exalted” over him (v.2b) > Davids appeal lest his adversaries “overcome” him (v.4) > David’s “singing” to the Lord for delivering him (v.6).— Wechsler, page 50.