Psalm 13:1
(1) How long? . . . for ever?--Comp. Psalm 74:10; Psalm 79:5; Psalm 89:46. The double question in the Authorised Version is unnecessary, though, as M. Renan (Les Langues Semitiques, 2 ? 4) explains, it shows how ill writing the poet has begun on one plan, and finished on another. (Comp. Psalm 9:3.) Translate, "How long wilt thou continue to forget me?"

Verse 1. - How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? God cannot forget, but man often feels as if he were forgotten of him (comp. Psalm 42:9; Psalm 44:24; Lamentations 5:20). David seems to have feared that God had forgotten him "for ever." How long wilt then hide thy face from me! (comp. Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 1:15; Ezekiel 39:29). The "light of God's countenance" shining on us is the greatest blessing that we know (see Psalm 4:6; Psalm 31:18; Psalm 44:4; Psalm 67:1; Psalm 80:3, 7. etc.). When it is withdrawn, and he "hides his face," we naturally sink into despair.

13:1-6 The psalmist complains that God had long withdrawn. He earnestly prays for comfort. He assures himself of an answer of peace. - God sometimes hides his face, and leaves his own children in the dark concerning their interest in him: and this they lay to heart more than any outward trouble whatever. But anxious cares are heavy burdens with which believers often load themselves more than they need. The bread of sorrows is sometimes the saint's daily bread; our Master himself was a man of sorrows. It is a common temptation, when trouble lasts long, to think that it will last always. Those who have long been without joy, begin to be without hope. We should never allow ourselves to make any complaints but what drive us to our knees. Nothing is more killing to a soul than the want of God's favour; nothing more reviving than the return of it. The sudden, delightful changes in the book of Psalms, are often very remarkable. We pass from depth of despondency to the height of religious confidence and joy. It is thus, ver. 5. All is gloomy dejection in ver. 4; but here the mind of the despondent worshipper rises above all its distressing fears, and throws itself, without reserve, on the mercy and care of its Divine Redeemer. See the power of faith, and how good it is to draw near to God. If we bring our cares and griefs to the throne of grace, and leave them there, we may go away like Hannah, and our countenances will be no more said, 1Sa 1:18. God's mercy is the support of the psalmist's faith. Finding I have that to trust to, I am comforted, though I have no merit of my own. His faith in God's mercy filled his heart with joy in his salvation; for joy and peace come by believing. He has dealt bountifully with me. By faith he was as confident of salvation, as if it had been completed already. In this way believers pour out their prayers, renouncing all hopes but in the mercy of God through the Saviour's blood: and sometimes suddenly, at others gradually, they will find their burdens removed, and their comforts restored; they then allow that their fears and complaints were unnecessary, and acknowledge that the Lord hath dealt bountifully with them.How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever?.... When God does not immediately deliver his people from their enemies, or help them out of an affliction; when he does not discover his love, communicate his grace, apply the blessings and promises of his covenant as usual; and when he does not visit them in his usual manner, and so frequently as he has formerly done, they are ready to conclude he has forgotten them; and sometimes this continues long, and then they fear they are forgotten for ever; and this they cannot bear, and therefore expostulate with God in a querulous manner, as the psalmist does here; but this is to be understood not in reality, but in their own apprehension, and in the opinion of their enemies; God never does nor can forget his people; oblivion does not fall upon him with respect to common persons and things; and much less with respect to his own dear children, for whom a special book of remembrance is written; See Gill on Psalm 9:18;

how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? his love, and the manifestation of it, from his person; his gracious presence, the light of his smiling countenance, which sometimes God hides or withdraws from his people by way of resentment of their unbecoming carriage to him; and which is very distressing to them, for they are apt to imagine it is in wrath and hot displeasure, when he still loves them, and will with everlasting kindness have mercy on them; see Isaiah 8:17. The Targum renders it, "the glory of thy face".

Psalm 12:8
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