(13) But as for me, my prayer is to you, Yahweh. In a favorable time, God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me with the truth of your salvation. (14) Deliver me from the mire, and do not let me sink. Let me be delivered from those who hate me and from deep waters. (15) Do not let the floodwaters sweep over me, nor let the deep swallow me up, nor let the pit close its mouth over me. (16) Answer me, Yahweh, for your steadfast love (is) good. According to your abundant mercy turn to me. (17) Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress. Answer me quickly. (18) Draw near to my soul and redeem it. Because of my enemies, ransom me. (19) You know my reproach, my shame, and my disgrace. All my enemies (are) before you. (20) Reproach has broken my heart so that I am sick (with despair). I waited for someone to show compassion, but there was no one, and for comforters, but I found none. (21) They gave me poison for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
The earnestness of David’s prayer is seen in several repetitions. Three times he cried out “answer me” to Yahweh (vss. 13, 16, & 17). Twice he pled for deliverance, using several synonymous terms to describe his predicament: “mire...deep waters” (vs. 14), “floodwaters...the deep...the pit” (vs. 15). Three other expressions for “deliverance” are found: “draw near...redeem...ransom” (vs. 18).
Three times the psalmist used the jussive, an imperatival form of the verb rendered in English by the helping verb “let,” as he appealed to God to keep him from perishing (vs. 15). Twice he mentioned God’s “steadfast love” as the basis for his crying out for help (vss. 13 & 16). Twice more he used a word that has already appeared four times in Psalm 69, “reproach” (vss. 19 & 20).
Crying out to Yahweh
- for deliverance from my distress (13-18)
- because of the unremitting reproaches I am enduring (19-21)
When in extreme distress, we plead with Yahweh for the deliverance from reproach that he alone can provide us.
There are three possible perspectives from which we can view this passage. First, from a historic perspective, we can see this segment age as a poignant expression of David’s personal agony during a particularly trying period of his reign as King of Israel. Second, from a personal perspective, we, as believers, can apply these verses to ourselves as we encounter particularly stressful times in our own lives. Finally, from a prophetic perspective, we should identify these verses as looking forward to the specific agonies endured by God’s suffering servant, the Messiah, in offering himself as our atoning sacrifice. This is true particularly of the last verse in the segment which was literally fulfilled at the crucifixion when, according to all four Gospel accounts, Jesus was given wine vinegar to drink (Mt. 27:48, Mk. 15:36, Lk. 23:36, & Jn. 19:29).
What emotions did our Savior experience while dying on the cross? What agonies was he required to suffer for us in accomplishing our salvation? We can never fully know all that he endured while he became sin for us, cut off from fellowship and experiencing the Father’s wrath during those long hours of crucifixion. We can at least begin to understand from prophetic passages like Psalm 69 how awful that time must have been for him. It was not just the physical suffering they describe but the profound spiritual anguish he endured for our sake that helps us appreciate what he experienced so that we would never have to undergo God’s punishment for sin. When we consider the agony of the cross, we can only bow in wonder and gratitude at the love he demonstrated for us by dying in our place.