For my post on Psalms this week, I will post Psalm 142 in the King James Version (which is in the public domain), then I will briefly comment.
1 Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave. I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.
4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
5 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
6 Attend unto 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 thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.
This Psalm is about a person who is persecuted and lonely. Some believe that he was actually in prison, although he was innocent, and that v 7 is about his literal release from prison. V 7 is quite noteworthy, for it seems that the righteous people rally around the Psalmist after he is released from prison and God has dealt with him bountifully. Were they reluctant to reach out to the Psalmist when they thought that he might be guilty? Did they need to see God’s bounty on the Psalmist’s life to be convinced that he was innocent and favored by God, and thus deserved their favor? If so, then that is pretty sad.
Some time ago, I watched an excellent episode of Bill Moyers’ show, Moyers and Company. Bill Moyers was interviewing Michelle Alexander, an activist. Michelle Alexander talks in the interview about how hard it is for released felons to get up off their feet: to find a place to live and a job that would help them, not only to support themselves and thus reduce the likelihood of their committing another offense, but also to pay off the fines that the system imposes upon them. Bill Moyers found that odd, in light of America’s alleged devotion to the Christian principle of repentance and giving people another chance. In my opinion, the righteous should care about those people, and I applaud the Christians and other righteous people who do so.
Click here to watch and to read this episode of Moyer’s program.