PSALMS 142      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


An instructive Psalm of David; a prayer when he was in the cave.

  1. With my voice I cry aloud to jehovah; with my voice to jehovah do I make my supplication.
  2. I pour out before him my complaint, I declare before him my distress.
  3. When my spirit within me is faint, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk have they secretly laid a snare for me.
  4. Look on my right hand and behold! For there is no one who cares for me; the way of escape has perished from me; no one inquires after my soul.
  5. I cry aloud to you, O jehovah, I say, You are my refuge, and my portion in the land of the living.
  6. Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low, deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.
  7. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise your name; the just shall encompass me, when you shall have dealt bountifully with me.

The Internal Sense

A prayer of the lord to the father, that he would assist in temptation, verses 1 to 3; because no one knows him but the father alone, in whom is his trust, verses 4, 5; that he may be delivered from temptation, and come amongst those who acknowledge him, verses 6, 7.


Verse 3. When my spirit within me is faint. By the spirit of man in the concrete nothing else is meant but his mind, for it is this which lives after death, and is then called a spirit; if good, an angelic spirit, which afterwards becomes an angel, but if evil, a satanical spirit, which afterwards becomes a satan. The mind of every one is his internal man, which is actually a man, and dwells within the external man, that makes its body; wherefore, on the rejection of the body by death, it is in a complete human form. It is therefore a palpable error to suppose that the mind of man is only in his head; this is indeed the mind's seat in its first principles, from which primarily issues all that man thinks from the understanding and acts from the will; but as to its principiates, or derivations from those first principles, formed for the purposes of sensation and action, the mind dwells in the body also, and in consequence of this internal adherence to the particles of the body, it imparts to them sense and motion, and likewise infuses into the body a perception, as if thought and action were its own, and self-derived; but every wise man is well aware that this is a fallacy. Now since the spirit of a man is alone possessed of the power of thought by virtue of the understanding, and of action by the will, and since the body of itself possesses no such powers, but only by derivation from the spirit, it follows, that by the spirit of a man is signified his intelligence and love-affection, and whatever proceeds as an operation from them. That the spirit of man signifies such things as have relation to, and respect the mind, is evident from many passages of the Word, which need only be adduced to evince the truth of this observation; the following may suffice, out of many which might be mentioned: "Bezaleel was filled with the spirit of wisdom, of understanding, and of knowledge," Exod 31:3; Nebuchadnezzar says of Daniel, that "an excellent spirit of knowledge, of understanding, and of wisdom was in him," Dan. v. 12; "Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom," Deut 34:9; "Make you a new heart and a new spirit," Ezek 18:31; "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," Matt 5:3; "I dwell in a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble," Isaiah 57:15; "The sacrifices of god are a broken spirit," Ps 51:19; "I will give the cloak of praise instead of a contracted spirit," Isaiah 61:3; not to mention other passages to the like purport. That spirit also signifies such things as relate to a perverse and wicked mind, is evident from the following passages: "Wo to the foolish prophets, who go away after their own spirits!" Ezek 13:3; "You shall conceive chaff, you shall bring forth stubble, as to your spirit, fire shall devour you," Isaiah 33:11; " A man, who wanders in spirit, and utters a lie," Micah 2:11; "A generation whose spirit was not steadfast with god," Psalm 78:8; "The spirit of whoredoms," Hosea 5:4, Zech 4:12; "Every heart shall melt, and every spirit shall be contracted," Ezek 21:7; "Blessed is the man in whose spirit there is no guile," Psalm 32:2; "The spirit of Pharaoh was troubled," Gen 41:8. From these and many other passages it is very evident, that the spirit signifies the mind of man, and whatever belongs to it. AR 156.

Verse 3. Have they secretly laid a snare; see Psalm 141:9, 10, Exposition.

Verse 5. In the land of the living. It is not possible that more than one single fountain of life can exist, whence the life of all things is derived; and it is not possible that any life can exist, which is truly life, except by faith in the lord, who is real essential life itself; nor can faith exist in which is life, except from him, consequently, except he be in it: wherefore in the Word the lord alone is called living, and is named the living Jehovah, Jeremiah 5:2, 12:16, 16:14, 15, 23:7; Ezekiel 5:11; Living for ever, Dan 4:24; Rev 4:10, 5:14, 10:6; A fountain of life, Psalm 36:9; A fountain of living waters, Jeremiah 17:13. Wherefore heaven, which lives by or from him, is called the land of the living, Isaiah 37:11, 57:8; Ezekiel 26:20, 32:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32; Psalm 27:13, 142:5.

And they are called living, who are in faith in the lord, as in David, "Who holds our soul amongst the living," Psalm 66:9; and they who are in faith are said to be in the book of lives, Psalm 69:28, and in the hook of life, Rev 13:8, 20:15; wherefore also they are said to he made alive who receive faith in him, Hosea 6:2; Psalm 85:6. On the contrary, they who are not in faith are called dead, as in Isaiah, "The dead shall not live; the deceased shall not rise, because you have visited and destroyed them," Isaiah 26:14; where the dead signify those who are puffed up with self-love; and to rise signifies to enter into life, they are also said to be thrust, through, [confessi] Ezekiel 22:23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31; and hell is called death, Isaiah 25:8, 28:15; they are also called dead by the lord, Matt 4:16; John 5:25, 8:21, 24, 51, 52, AC 290.

The lord alone is love itself, because he is life itself, and angels and men are recipients of life from the lord. The lord, who is the god of the universe, is uncreate and infinite, whereas man and angel is created and finite; and because the lord is uncreate and infinite, he is being [esse] itself, which is called jehovah, and he is life itself or life in himself. From the uncreate, infinite esse itself and life itself, no being can be immediately created, because the Divine is one and not divisible, but from created and finite substances, so formed that the Divine may be in them, beings may be created. Inasmuch as men and angels are such beings, they are recipients of life: wherefore if any man suffers himself so far to he misled, as to think that he is not a recipient of life, but life itself, he cannot be withheld from thinking that he is a god. That man feels as if he were life itself, and thence believes that he is, is grounded in fallacy, for in the instrumental cause the principal cause is no otherwise perceived than as one with it. That the lord is life in himself, he himself teaches in John, "As the father has life in himself, so has he given to the son to have life in himself," John 5:26; and, "that he is the life," John 11:25, 14:6. Now inasmuch as life and love are one, as appears from what has been said above, DLW 1, 2, it follows that the lord, because he is life itself, is love itself.

But in order that this matter may be rightly apprehended, it is necessary to be known that the lord, inasmuch as he is love in its very essence, that is, Divine love, appears before the angels in heaven as a sun, and that from that sun proceeds heat and light, and that the heat thence proceeding, in its essence, is love, and the light thence proceeding, in its essence, is wisdom; and that the angels, in proportion as they are recipients of that spiritual heat and spiritual light, are loves and wisdoms, not loves and wisdoms from themselves, but from the lord. This spiritual heat and spiritual light not only descend by influx into angels and affect them, but descend also by influx into men and affect them, altogether in proportion as they become recipients, and they become recipients according to their love of the lord, and their love towards their neighbour. This sun itself, or Divine love, cannot by its heat and light create any one immediately from itself, for in that case he would be love in its essence, which is the lord himself, but it can create beings from substances and materials so formed, as to be capable of receiving its heat itself and light itself, comparatively as the sun of this world cannot, by its heat and light, immediately produce germinations in the earth, but it can produce them from earthly materials, in which it may be present by its heat and light, and give vegetation. That the Divine love of the lord appears as a sun in the spiritual world, and that therefrom proceed spiritual heat and spiritual light, from whence the angels have their love and wisdom, may be seen in the work concerning "heaven and hell," HH 116 to 140.

Since therefore man is not life, but a recipient of life, it follows that the conception of a man from his father is not a conception of life, but only a conception of the first and purest form capable of receiving of life, to which, as a stamen or beginning, successively accede, in the womb, substances and matters in forms adapted to the reception of life in their order and degree. DLW 46.

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