PSALMS 143      Other translations  -  previous  -  next  -  meaning  -  Psalms  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


A Psalm of David.

  1. O jehovah, hear my prayer, give ear to my supplications; in your truth, and in your justice answer me.
  2. And enter not into judgement with your servant, for before you shall no man living be justified.
  3. For, the enemy pursues my soul, he dashes my life down to the earth, he makes me to dwell in dark places, as those long dead.
  4. My spirit faints within me, my heart within me is desolate.
  5. I remember the days of old; I meditate upon all your works; I muse upon the work of your hands.
  6. I spread forth my hands towards you; my soul thirsts for you, like a parched land. Selah.
  7. Quickly answer me, O jehovah! My spirit fails; hide not your face from me, lest I become like those who descend into the pit.
  8. Cause me to hear your mercy in the morning, for in you do I trust; cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for to you do I raise up my soul.
  9. Deliver me from mine enemies, O jehovah! I hide myself with you.
  10. Teach me to do your will, for you are my god; let your good spirit lead me into the land of uprightness.
  11. Revive me, O jehovah, for your name's sake, in your justice bring my soul out of distress.
  12. And in your mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am your servant.

The Internal Sense

A prayer of the lord to the father, that he would hear, who is true and just, verses 1, 2; lest he should sink under temptations, verses 3, 4, 7; that he wishes for the ancient state of the church, verses 5, 6; that his trust is in him for deliverance from the hells, which powerfully assault him, verses 8 to 12.


Verse 1. O jehovah, hear my prayer, give ear to my supplication. That to hear, when predicated of jehovah, or the lord, denotes providence, and that to see denotes foresight, appears from those passages in the Word, in which eyes, and also ears, are attributed to jehovah, as in Isaiah, "O jehovah, incline your ear, and hear, open your eyes and see, O jehovah," Isaiah 37:17. AC 3869.

Concerning prayer, see Psalm 109:4, Exposition.

Verse 2. Before you shall no man living be justified.

Mention is frequently made in the Word of a just one, of justice, and of justifying, but what is specifically signified by those expressions, is not yet known; the reason why it is not known is because hitherto it has been unknown that singular the expressions in the Word signify such things as are of the internal church and of heaven, thus which are of the internal man, for in the internal man is the internal of the church and heaven; also that those interior things in the Word differ from its exterior things, which are of the letter, as spiritual things differ from natural, or celestial things from earthly, the difference of which is so great, that before the natural man there scarce appears a likeness, although there is a full concordance.

Inasmuch as this has been unknown, it could not be known what is signified by just, by justice, and by being justified, in the spiritual and celestial sense in the Word. It is believed by those who are considered as oracles in the church, that he is just and justified, who is acquainted with the truths of faith derived from the doctrine of the church and from the Word, and hence is in trust or confidence, that he is saved by the justice of the lord, and that the lord had justice in consequence of fulfilling all things of the law; and that he had merit, because he endured the cross, and thereby expiated and redeemed man; by this faith alone man is believed to be justified; and it is believed further that these are they who in the Word are called just, But there are no others who are called just in the Word, but those who from the lord are in the good of charity towards the neighbour, for the lord alone is just, because alone justice .

Therefore man, so much as he receives of good from the lord, that is, so much of the lord as he has belonging to him and according to its quality, so much he is just and justified; the lord being made Justice consisted in his making his Human principle Divine by his own proper power; this Divine principle belonging to man, who receives it, is the justice of the lord belonging to him, and is the essential good of charity towards the neighbour; for the lord is in the good of love and by it in the truth of faith, because the lord is Divine Love itself. The good of charity towards the neighbour is exterior good, which is signified by just; and the good of love to the lord is interior good, which is signified by innocent, and which was treated of in the foregoing article. That the good of love towards the neighbour from the lord is what is just in a proper sense, may be manifest from the passages in the Word where mention is made of just, of justice, and of being justified; . As in Matthew, "Then shall the just answer, saying, when saw we you hungry and fed you, or thirsty and gave you drink; when saw we you a sojourner and gathered you; and naked and clothed you; when saw we you sick or in prison, and came to you: but the King answering shall say to them, Verily I say to you, insomuch as you have done it to one of these the least of my brethren, you have done it to me: and the just shall go into eternal life," Matt 25:37, 38, 39, 40, 46; in this passage they are called just, who have performed the goods of charity towards the neighbour, which are there recounted; and that the goods of charity are the lord belonging to them, is said manifestly, "insomuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me," see AC 4807 to 4810; 4954 to 4959; 5063 to 5071; these are also called sheep, for by sheep, are signified those who from the lord are in the good of charity, AC 4169; but by the goats who are on the left hand, and are damned, are signified those who are in faith separate from charity, AC 4169, 4769. The same are signified by the just in another passage in Matthew, "The angels shall go forth, and shall separate the evil from the midst of the just," Matt 13:49; and in Luke, "You shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the just," Luke 14:14. Hence it is evident what is signified by "the just shining as the sun in heaven," Matt 13:43, namely that they are in the good of love from the lord, for the lord is the sun in the other life, and what is from the lord as a sun in that life is the good of love, see AC 1053, 1521, 1529; hence the lord is called the Sun of Justice," Mal 4:2. AC 9263.

With respect to justification, it is not to be understood according to the common manner of apprehending it, namely that all evils and sins are wiped away, and altogether blotted out, when the sinner, as he imagines, receives faith, though at the very point of death, however he may have lived in evil and wickedness during the whole course of his life. For I have been fully instructed, that not the smallest evil which a man has thought and actually done in the life of the body is wiped away and altogether blotted out, but that all remains, even to the smallest particular. The truth is this; they who have lived in the thought and practice of hatred, revenge, cruelty, and adultery, and thus not in any charity, retain after death the life which they have thereby contracted, including all things belonging to such life, even to the minutest particulars, which successively return: hence their torments in hell.

They who have lived in love to the lord, and in charity towards their neighbour, likewise retain all the evils of their lives; but in them they are tempered by the good principles which they have received from the lord, through the life of charity, during their abode in the world; and thus they are elevated into heaven, yea, are withheld from the evils, which they still have with them, so that they do not appear. Such in the other life as doubt concerning this circumstance of their having evils with them, because they do not appear, are again let into them, till they are convinced it is so; and then they are again elevated into heaven. This then is being justified; for thus they acknowledge that their righteousness is not their own, but the lord's. The common saying, that they are saved who have faith, is true: but by faith nothing else is meant, in the Word, but love to the lord and love towards one's neighbour, consequently, a life agreeable to such love. Doctrinals and tenets of faith are not faith, but are only things belonging to faith; for all and each of them are given for the sake of this end, to make man such as they teach him to be. This may appear evident from the lord's words where he teaches, that the law and all the prophets, that is the whole doctrine of faith, consists in love to god, and in love towards our neighbour, Matt 22:3439; Mark 12:2835. AC 2116.

Verse 3. He makes me to dwell in dark places, as those long dead. By the dead are meant those who have not in themselves the life of heaven, consequently, who are in evils and thence in falses. AE 186.

Verse 4. My spirit faints; see Psalm 142:3, Exposition.

Verses 6, 8, 11, 12. My soul; see Psalm 103:1, and 43:5, Exposition.

Verse 7. Quickly answer me, O jehovah! My spirit fails. That in this passage by spirit is meant the very life of man, is manifestly evident; that it denotes intellectual life, or the life of truth, may be manifest from this consideration, that by spirit in the natural sense is meant the life of the respiration of man; and the respiration, which is of the lungs, corresponds to the life of truth, which is the life of faith, and thence of the understanding, whilst the pulse, which is of the heart, corresponds to the life of the will, thus of the love; that such is the correspondence of the lungs and of the heart, see AC 3883, 3896, 9300, 9494; hence it may be manifest, what life, in the spiritual sense, is meant by the spirit. AC 9818.

When it is known what is signified by spirit belonging to man, it may be known what is signified by spirit when it is predicated of jehovah or the Lord, to whom are attributed all things which belong to man, as a face, eyes, ears, arms, hands, and also heart and soul, thus also spirit, which in the Word is called the spirit of god, the spirit of jehovah, the spirit of his mouth, the spirit of holiness, or the Holy Spirit; that by it is meant the Divine truth proceeding from the lord, is manifest from several passages in the Word; the reason why the Divine truth proceeding from the lord is signified by the spirit of god is because all the life of man is from there, and heavenly love to those who receive that Divine truth by faith and love; that this is the spirit of god, the lord himself teaches in John, "The words which I speak to you are spirit and are life," John 6:63; the words which the lord spoke are Divine truths. AC 9818.

Verse 7. Hide not your face; see Psalm 27:9, Exposition.

Verse 7. Who descend into the pit. For the signification of pit, see Psalm 88:4, Exposition.

Verse 10. Teach me to do your will, or good pleasure; let your good spirit lead me into the land of uprightness, To do the good pleasure of jehovah god, signifies to live according to his precepts; this is his good pleasure or will, because from Divine love he wills that all may be saved, and by it they are saved. The expression good pleasure, in the Hebrew tongue also signifies will, for whatever is done according to the will is well pleasing, and the Divine love wills no other than that the love which is from himself may be with angels and men, and his love is then with them, when they love to live according to his precepts; that this is love to the lord, he himself teaches in John 14:15, 21, 23, 24, 15:10, 14. AE 295.

Verses 10, 11, Lead me into the land of uprightness; revive me, O jehovah, for your name's sake. Where the land of uprightness denotes the church in which is what is right and true; and because the spirit of Jehovah signifies the Divine truth, and every one thereby receives spiritual life, it is therefore said, "Let your good spirit lead me, revive me, O jehovah!" AE 304.


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