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FRAMEWORKS: Psa 69: Anguishes of failure


For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of David.


[Preliminary Comments: Within this psalm we find David anguishing over the dealings he has been having with those he considers his enemies – and thus enemies of God. He feels he is sinking in a quagmire of accusations, guilt and failure [see later] and cries to the Lord for help [v.1,2]. As is not uncommon he obviously has been asking but so far doesn't feel he has been heard [v.3]. He pours out his need [v.4-12], cries for God's help [v.13-21], yearns for God to deal with his enemies [v.22-29], but determines to praise God as he is sure He will act on behalf of His people (and restore David) in the land. [v.30-36]



PART 1: v.1-3: David Pleas to be heard by God


v.1,2 David pleads for God to stop him from drowning


v.1  Save me, O God,
     for the waters have come up to my neck.
v.2  I sink in the miry depths,
     where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
     the floods engulf me.

v.3 It seems he has called on God but to no avail


v.3  I am worn out calling for help;
     my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
     looking for my God.

PART 2: v.4-12: The Causes of his anguish


v.4 He has accusatory enemies without number


v.4  Those who hate me without reason
     outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
     those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore
     what I did not steal.


v.5,6 Yet he is conscious of his own failings and desires for forgiveness


v.5  You, God, know my folly;
     my guilt is not hidden from you.

v.6  Lord, the Lord Almighty,
     may those who hope in you
     not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
     may those who seek you
     not be put to shame because of me.

v.7-9 This seems to have brought scorn on him even from his own family


v.7  For I endure scorn for your sake,
     and shame covers my face.
v.8  I am a foreigner to my own family,
     a stranger to my own mother's children;
v.9  for zeal for your house consumes me,
     and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

v.10-12 Even though he repents he is still mocked


v.10  When I weep and fast,
     I must endure scorn;
v.11  when I put on sackcloth,
     people make sport of me.
v.12  Those who sit at the gate mock me,
     and I am the song of the drunkards.



PART 3: v.13-21: His plea for help


v.13-15 So now he will seek God's help to deliver him from this mire


v.13  But I pray to you, Lord ,
     in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
     answer me with your sure salvation.
v.14  Rescue me from the mire,
     do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
     from the deep waters.
v.15  Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
     or the depths swallow me up
     or the pit close its mouth over me.


v.16-19 He appeals for God's mercy to rescue him


v.16  Answer me, Lord , out of the goodness of your love;
     in your great mercy turn to me.
v.17  Do not hide your face from your servant;
     answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
v.18  Come near and rescue me;
     deliver me because of my foes.


v.19-21 He anguishes for the way he has been treated


v.19  You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed;
     all my enemies are before you.
v.20  Scorn has broken my heart
     and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
     for comforters, but I found none.
v.21  They put gall in my food
     and gave me vinegar for my thirst.



PART 4: v.22-29: His desire for his enemies to be dealt with by God


v.22-25 He desire is that those who have become his enemies will be dealt with


v.22   May the table set before them become a snare;
     may it become retribution and a trap.
v.23   May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
     and their backs be bent forever.
v.24  Pour out your wrath on them;
     let your fierce anger overtake them.
v.25   May their place be deserted;
     let there be no one to dwell in their tents.

v.26,27 They seem to delight in joining in as God's discipline


v.26  For they persecute those you wound
     and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
v.27  Charge them with crime upon crime;
     do not let them share in your salvation.

v.28,29 Thus they deserve to be dealt with while he still need's God's help


v.28  May they be blotted out of the book of life
     and not be listed with the righteous.

v.29  But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
     may your salvation, God, protect me.



PART 5: v.30-36: His determination to praise God & see His works


v.30,31 Yet in the midst of this he will praise the Lord


v.30  I will praise God's name in song
     and glorify him with thanksgiving.
v.31  This will please the Lord more than an ox,
     more than a bull with its horns and hooves.

v.32,33 Thus the godly will see and give thanks as he knows God will act


v.32  The poor will see and be glad—
     you who seek God, may your hearts live!
v.33  The Lord hears the needy
     and does not despise his captive people.


v.34-36 God will be praised as He re-establishes His people (under David restored)


v.34  Let heaven and earth praise him,
     the seas and all that move in them,
v.35  for God will save Zion
     and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
v.36  the children of his servants will inherit it,
     and those who love his name will dwell there.



[Additional Comments: In the midst of this not uncommon cry for help from David, there are two unusual features that are not explained. First, in verses 5 & 6 he indicates he has failed in some way but that is not explained, only in as far as he feels it is unjust [v.4c], and something of it has to do with the way he seeks to honour the Lord [v.7 & 9]; otherwise it is a mystery what has happened. Perhaps this enables us to more widely empathize with David when we too fail.

The other strange thing is that in verse 26 he recognises that the way his ‘enemies' are treating him may be part of God's disciplining of him, yet he takes exception to the way they seem to relish this. This accords with other scriptures for elsewhere the Lord says that although He has used the enemies of Israel to discipline them, He will now judge those other nations for the way they did it in arrogance and with no sense of pity.

Perhaps we should also note that he feels God is not hearing him [v.3] and that although he has been acting out his repentance [v.10-12] that doesn't seem to be helping. Yet in the apparent face of the spiritual dimensions of this not working for him, we might say, he nevertheless determines to praise and honour God. From many other psalms of his we see his assurances that God will act for him and eventually does act for him. Although not actually said here, the tone of the last verses imply this.]



Continue to Psa 70