Psalm 142

142:0This psalm is a ‘maskil.’ There are 13 psalms called maskils. They are 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89 and 142. Bible students think that ‘maskil’ means:

– Either a psalm with something special to teach, like 32 and 78, or

– A psalm that the psalmist wrote in a very clever way. The psalmist is the person who wrote the psalms.

David wrote this maskil in a cave. It is a prayer to the LORD. We say prayers when we talk to God. David was in trouble or ‘had trouble.’ His enemies were trying to catch him. He does not say who these enemies were. There are two stories about David hiding in a cave. A cave is a hole in the side of a hill. One story is in 1 Samuel 22, the other is in 1 Samuel 24. David feels safe in the cave, but he does not want to stay in it. It seems as if the cave is a prison. But there are no friends to give him help. He writes ‘Nobody cares about me.’ This means ‘Nobody loves me enough to give me help.’ But the LORD God can send him help. This psalm prays for that help.

Nobody Cares about Me

This is a maskil of David.

He wrote it when he was in the cave hole in the rock.

It is a prayer.

1 I am praying aloud to the LORD.

I am asking aloud for help from the LORD.

142:1Verse 1: LORD is a special name for God. It is the covenant name. A covenant is when two people or groups of people agree. God agrees to love and send his people help. His people agree to love and obey God.

2 I am telling him about everything that I think is wrong.

I am telling him all my troubles.

3 Sometimes I do not feel brave.

Then you LORD know what I should do.

In the path where I walk my enemies have hidden a trap for me.

142:3Verse 3: David wrote this psalm in Hebrew. That is because David spoke Hebrew. The words translated ‘when I do not feel brave’ are ‘when my spirit feels weak’ in the Hebrew Bible. Sometimes we all feel like this. There is so much trouble that we do not want to fight it. We want to run away from it! Our spirits feel weak. We do not feel brave. Our spirit is that part of us that lives after our body dies. But David knows that God will tell him what to do. His path here means what he does. David thinks that his enemies have put traps in the path for him. A trap is what people catch animals and birds in. David's enemies wanted to catch him. He did not know where the trap was. But God knew!

4 Look round me and see.

No friend sees that I am here.

There is no safe place for me to go to.

Nobody cares about me.

5 I am praying to you, LORD.

You are my safe place where I can go.

You are all that I need in this life.

142:5Verses 4 and 5: No human friend cares about David, but God does! This was true for David, and it is true for us. We only have to pray to God and ask for his help.

6 Listen to me as I cry to you.

I have a very great need.

Make me safe from the people that follow me to hurt me.

You make me safe because they are too strong for me.

7 Take me out of this prison

so that I can praise your name.

Then righteous people will come to me

because you are so kind to me.

142:7Verse 7: ‘Praise’ means ‘tell somebody that they are very great.’ Here it means ‘Praise God.’ David says ‘your name’ but he means God. But he means more than the name God. He also means everything that God is. This includes these facts:

– He loves us;

– He is very powerful;

– He will always be alive;

– And many other things.

But who are ‘the righteous?’ The word means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really righteous. But he says that his people are righteous too. They are righteous if they love him and obey him. Some Bible students think that here ‘the righteous’ means people who are praising God with David in the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was God's house. They made it from animal skins when David was alive. Other Bible students think ‘the righteous’ are people who joined David's friends. This was while David was running away from his enemies.