“Save me from my persecutors!
They are too strong for me.
Bring me out of prison!
So that I may give thanks to your name.
The righteous will surround me.
You will deal bountifully with me.”
This psalm ends with a plea from David to save him from his persecutors. They were too strong for him. He could not deal with them himself. He wanted to be brought out of prison. There is no specific time mentioned in the stories of David where he was actually in a prison. This might be a metaphor since he feels like he cannot move. If he escaped he would give thanks to the name of Yahweh. He wanted to be surrounded by the righteous ones. He felt that Yahweh would deal with him mercifully and bountifully.
“I cry to you!
‘You are my refuge.
You are my portion
In the land of the living.’
Give heed to my cry!
I am brought very low!”
The response of David to his loneliness is to cry to Yahweh. He said that Yahweh was his refuge and portion in the land of the living. He wanted Yahweh to pay attention to his cry because he had been brought low.
“In the path where I walk,
They have hidden a trap for me.
Look on my right hand!
There is no one who takes notice of me.
No refuge remains to me.
No one cares for me.”
David feels abandoned. His enemies have a set a hidden trap for him so that they can catch him when he walks. He says that he should be careful, looking on his right hand. However, no one seems to notice him. No one cares for him since there is no refuge for him.
A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave, a prayer
“With my voice
I cry to Yahweh!
With my voice
I make supplication to Yahweh!
I pour out my complaint before him.
I tell my trouble before him.
When my spirit is faint,
You know my way!”
Psalm 142 is a maskil or wisdom song of David, when he was in the cave. There is no explicit mention of an incident in the life of David where he was being persecuted in a cave. He may have been hiding out when he was trying to escape from King Saul. There is no doubt that it is a personal lament to Yahweh. David cries with his voice to Yahweh as he makes his supplications or complaints. He was telling Yahweh his troubles because his spirit was weak or faint. Yahweh knew David so that made him hopeful.