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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 141:1

 

 

O LORD, I call upon You; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to You!

Adam Clarke Commentary

Lord, I cry unto thee - Many of David's Psalms begin with complaints; but they are not those of habitual plaint and peevishness. He was in frequent troubles and difficulties, and he always sought help in God. He ever appears in earnest; at no time is there any evidence that the devotion of David was formal. He prayed, meditated, supplicated, groaned, cried, and even roared, as he tells us, for the disquietude of his soul. He had speedy answers; for he had much faith, and was always in earnest.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-141.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Lord, I cry unto thee - In view of my perils; in view of the suggestions of my friends; in view of my temptation to do a wrong thing at their advice, and with the prospect of the advantage which it might seem to be to me.

Make haste unto me - To save me from all this danger: the danger from my enemies; the danger from the counsels of my friends. See the notes at Psalm 22:19; compare Psalm 40:13; Psalm 70:1, Psalm 70:5; Psalm 71:12. The meaning is, that there is need of immediate interposition. There is danger that I shall be overcome; that I may be tempted to do a wrong thing; that I may be ruined if there is any delay.

Give ear unto my voice … - See the notes at Psalm 5:1.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-141.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PSALM 141

AN EVENING PRAYER FOR SANCTIFICATION AND PROTECTION

Here we have another of the group of Psalms in Book V which are ascribed to David in the superscription. There being nothing in the psalm which casts any doubt upon this, we accept it as accurate and dispense with the usual discussions regarding authorship. The last two verses here have exactly the same sentiment as that expressed in Psalms 140:8-10.

Psalms 141:5-7 are admitted by all scholars to be most difficult to translate, there being no consensus whatever upon what is meant. This writer claims no ability for solving the mysteries of passages which could very well have been obscured by textual damage during the centuries of transition, and we shall therefore offer no "explanations or comments" on a passage which we freely confess is a mystery.

Psalms 141:1-4

"Jehovah, I have called upon thee;

Make haste unto me:

Give ear unto my voice when I call unto thee.

Let my prayer be set forth as incense before thee;

The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Set a watch, O Jehovah, before my mouth;

Keep the door of my lips.

Incline not my heart to any evil thing,

To practice deeds of wickedness

With men that work iniquity:

And let me not eat of their dainties."

This is not the usual kind of prayer for protection from enemies. "It is more spiritual in that he seeks God's help to overcome the temptation about him."[1] Halley also stressed this, writing that, "It is another of David's prayers for protection against being driven himself to sin."[2]

"Let my prayer be as incense ... the lifting up my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psalms 141:2). At both the morning and evening sacrifices, incense was offered (Exodus 29:38-41; 30:7,8; Numbers 28:4-8). The prayer here is that David's prayer, and his lifting up of his hands, "A common posture assumed in prayer,"[3] might be considered by the Lord "as," in the sense of being equivalent, to the formal sacrifices and incense regularly offered before God in the tabernacle. This thought is a forerunner of the New Covenant when sincere, heartfelt prayer would be honored by the Father instead of incense and sacrifices.

As a matter of fact, incense, as it sends upward its sweet-smelling perfume was from the beginning intended as a symbol of prayer. Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-4, are New Testament examples of incense standing as a metaphor for prayers.

Miller pointed out that "Solomon understood that acceptable prayers could be offered away from the temple (1 Kings 8:35-40,44,45-53)."[4]

Pursuant to his objective of avoiding being involved in sin, David at once fingered the danger zone, namely the tongue.

"Set a watch before my mouth ... keep the door of my lips" (Psalms 141:3). David was evidently aware of the same epic truth announced by James, namely, that, "If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man" (James 3:2). This is true of all men, but especially of all who are in places of trust or authority.

"Let me not eat of their dainties" (Psalms 141:4). Receiving favors of the wicked, or accepting any kind of fellowship with them, can be a source of grave danger, even to the strongest. The apostle Peter was "warming himself by the fire built by the enemies of Christ" when his tragic denial of the Master occurred (John 18:18). Receiving presents from the wicked, or allowing oneself to share desirable things with such men can compromise those who do so.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-141.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Lord, I cry unto thee,.... With great earnestness, importunity, and fervency, being in distress; and knowing vain was the help of man, and that none could deliver him but the Lord, and therefore continued crying unto him for helpF23"Auxilium vocat, et duros conclamat agrestes", Virgil. ;

make haste unto me; which shows he was in a desperate condition; that he could not help himself, nor could any creature, only the Lord; and he was at a distance from him, as it seemed to him, and he delayed assistance; and therefore desires he would immediately draw nigh and be a present help in his time of need, and work speedy deliverance for him, his case requiring haste;

give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee; a request the psalmist frequently makes, not contenting himself with prayer, without desiring and looking for an answer to it.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-141.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

"A Psalm of David." LORD, I a cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.

(a) He shows that there is no other refuge in our necessity but only to flee to God for comfort of soul.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-141.html. 1599-1645.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.O Jehovah! I have cried unto thee. From such an exordium and manner of praying, it is evident that David was laboring under no small trial, as he repeats his requests, and insists upon receiving help. Without venturing to say anything definite upon the point, we would not disapprove of the conjecture that this Psalm was written by David with reference to the persecutions he suffered from Saul. He teaches us by his example to make application immediately to God, and not be tempted, as wicked men are, to renounce prayer, and rely on other resources. He says that he cried to God, not to heaven or earth, to men or to fortune, and other vain objects, which are made mention of, in the first place at least, in such cases by the ungodly. If they do address themselves to God, it is with murmurs and complaints, howling rather than praying.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-141.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 141:1 « A Psalm of David. » LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.

Ver. 1. Lord, I cry unto thee] No distress or danger, how great soever, shall stifle my faith or stop my mouth; but make me more earnest, and my prayers, like strong streams in narrow straits, shall bear down all before them.

Make haste unto me] Lest help come too late.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-141.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

The subject of this Psalm is very similar to the last. The soul of David is in distress from the persecution of foes. No doubt it was prophetically delivered, in reference to the Son of David. David's Lord; and the royal prophet certainly has an eye to Christ, in what he here saith of acceptance with God; for it can only be in him.

A Psalm of David.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-141.html. 1828.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 141.

David prayeth that his suit may be acceptable, his conscience sincere, and his life safe from snares.

A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד מזמור mizmor ledavid. It is probable that David composed this psalm just before his flight to Achish, king of Gath, when he had a second time spared Saul's life (1 Samuel 26.), but could trust him no longer: upon which he takes the resolution mentioned 1 Samuel 26:1-2. As his determination was to fly speedily, there is no question but he did so, either the same night after his parting with Saul, or by the first morning's light: and it was in the evening of that day, when he was now upon the wing, as it were; his late dutiful behaviour towards Saul, and the other's implacable cruelty towards him and his followers, still fresh in his thoughts; and moreover reflecting upon the dangers and temptations to which his religion would expose him in a heathen country, that he pours out to God the following prayer, or soliloquy; for, that it was composed in the evening, appears from his desiring, Psalms 141:2 that it might be accepted as an evening oblation. Peters on Job, p. 336 from whom the following notes are principally taken.

Psalms 141:1. Lord, I cry unto thee, &c.— This verse is an invocation of the true God, by his incommunicable name Jehovah; as the one eternal, self-existent, and unchangeable being; creator and governor of all things: and the earnest and repeated call here used by the Psalmist, make haste unto me, sufficiently declares him to have been in a situation of the utmost distress.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-141.html. 1801-1803.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. Lord, I cry unto thee—Hebrew, Jehovah, I have called thee, hasten to me. The impassioned cry supposes great want and imminent danger. This might apply to various points of the psalmist’s history. The time we have assumed in the introductory note is one of them. His second visit to Gath was a final and hazardous resort, exposed, as the history shows, to the jealousy of the Philistine nobility on the one hand and the robber tribes of the desert on the other. He had only to pass a few miles eastward to come within Saul’s dominions, and meet a stronger and a deadlier foe, to escape whom he had accepted this desperate alternative.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-141.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Cave. Of Engaddi, (Bossuet; Calmet) or Odollam. (Bellarmine) (Berthier) --- Here David was a figure of Christ, praying in the garden, &c. (St. Hilary) --- The psalm may relate to the captives, (St. Chrysostom) or to martyrs, (St. Augustine) and to all under trial. David might recite it in the cave. (Berthier) --- Voice. He did not speak aloud, for fear of being detected. (Worthington) --- But the fervent prayer of the just, "is a cry to God." (St. Hilary) (Exodus xiv. 15.) (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-141.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Title. A Psalm of David. See Title of 140.

LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-141.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Psalms 141:1-10 -David begs Yahweh to hasten to hear his cry, the spiritual incense which he offers morning and evening, he fears the dainties of the ungodly, and prays against murmuring at sinners' prosperity and his own adversity, and against the inclination to join them (Psalms 141:1-4). Reasons for resisting such a temptation; the reproofs of the righteous are true kindness; such are God's chastisements. He will pray in the calamities of the wicked. When their judges are overthrown, they will hear his words, for they are sweet; but now Israel's bones lie scattered at the grave's mouth (Psalms 141:5-7). He looks to Yahweh to keep him from sinners' snares, and that they may fall into them themselves (Psalms 141:8-10). Psalms 141:7 shows that the reference is national, not merely individual. David shows his seed how to get grace against the temptation which would arise in seeing the godless pagan prosper, and the elect nation depressed. This prophetic legacy answers to David's last words, (2 Samuel 23:1-39.)

The close connection which this psalm has with the Psalms of David confirms the title, which ascribes it to him.

Lord, I cry unto thee - (Psalms 17:6.)

Make haste unto me - (Psalms 22:19; Psalms 70:5; Psalms 71:12.) The urgency of the petition implies how imminent is the danger which threatens to overwhelm him unless immediate succour be given.

Give ear unto my voice - (Psalms 140:6.)


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-141.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
A. M. 2946. B.C. 1058. make haste
40:13; 69:17,18; 70:5; 71:12; 143:7; Job 7:21

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 141:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-141.html.

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