Psalm 13. This is an individual lament for circumstances where the worshiper is on the verge of despair, his own powers of endurance are exhausted.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13 ESV)
Psalm 13. This is an individual lament for circumstances where the worshiper is on the verge of despair, his powers of endurance spent.Ps. 13:1–2 How Long? The psalm begins with the question, “How long?” (repeated four times). The question is not asking for information but expressing the feeling of being unable to endure any longer. The questions move from God’s apparent indifference (v. 1) to the singer’s circumstances of anguish. Ps. 13:1 For God to forget and to hide hisface from someone is to deliberately abandon that person, to withhold his loving care; it is not a description of God’s own mental state. If psalms were theological treatises, they would affirm that God will not forget his people (cf. 9:12) and that the abandonment described here is only apparent. But a song, whose goal is to describe feelings, does not need the same level of precision and detachment as a treatise. Ps. 13:2 The enemy is typically one who hates. Often in the Psalter, the hatred leads the enemy to want to do violence to the singer; in other places, as here, it leads the enemy to gloat over the singer’s misfortunes. Since the Psalms presuppose that their singers are faithful to the covenant, readers may safely assume that the enemy hates the singer’s faithfulness. Ps. 13:3–4 Prayer for Help. The singer calls upon God to intervene. Ps. 13:3 For God to consider and answerwould be for him to relieve the singer’s circumstances. Some take the request, light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, to imply that the psalm originated during a severe illness; but while the words could apply to such a case, they are general enough to apply to a wider variety of situations.
Ps. 13:5–6 Reaffirming His Trust in the Lord.Confidence in the steadfast love of God (v. 5), as revealed in the covenant (Ex. 34:6), leads to a trusting expectation of salvation (Ps. 13:5) and God’s bountiful dealing.