Psalm 13


According to some commentators, this psalm is reflecting the time when David fled from Saul because he was trying to kill him, 1 Samuel 27:1.

In the psalm, David expresses his anguish but had full confidence that God would deliver him. He begins by being discouraged but finishes but joy and encouragement.


‘For the director of music. A psalm of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

This psalm was for the director of music and written by David. Some commentators believe that the ‘director of music’ is God Himself and others believe that it is a song leader who led choirs or musicians, 1 Chronicles 6:33 / 1 Chronicles 16:17 / 1 Chronicles 25:6.

‘How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.’ Psalm 13:1-6

David begins by asking God four questions concerning the increase of the ungodly. To David, it appeared that evil was prevailing over the righteous and as a result, it appeared that the vast majority in society had turned against him.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The reasons for the psalmist’s distress are not far to seek. 1. God is the source of all happiness. 2. He is the source of all wisdom. 3. He is the source of all strength, and 4. He is the source of life itself. Because the psalmist feels separated from God, he has, 1. Sorrow, 2. Feels the need of counsel, Psalms 13:2, 3. Is weak before his enemy, Psalms 13:2, and 4. Has a fear of death itself, Psalms 13:3.’

David felt all of these things, but he also realises that God will never forget His people, Isaiah 49:14-16. He asks God to give light to his eyes, in other words, he wanted to see things more clearly, Ephesians 1:17-19, he wanted God to deliver him, Numbers 14:15-16. He cried out to God to deliver him whilst he was alive and before he died, Ephesians 5:14.

David began the psalm by asking God four questions which tell us he wasn’t sure if God was listening to him but because he didn’t give praying to God, John 15:7, he ends his psalm with words of love, and joy and salvation.

As we see in many of the psalms, the word ‘salvation’ is used to refer to God’s deliverance from death. David fully trusted that God would deliver him from the hands of Saul who wanted so badly to kill him, 1 Samuel 15:10-30 / 1 Samuel 19:1-24.


David questioned God and we may wonder if it’s ever right to do so, but here we see that when David was in great anguish about all the evil around him, it was in his anguish that he questioned Him. He was wondering ‘how’ long’ this evil was going to go on, which is a perfectly human reaction.

The key to this is patience, especially in times of trials, we must be patient with God and trust that He will deliver us from the evil around us. Even though everyone around us appears to be against us, God will deliver us when the time is right, Revelation 6:10.

When we go through trials we don’t see things clearly, we must ask God to ‘give light to our eyes’, and then just like David we will be able to see things for what they really are more clearly, Psalm 119:105 / John 8:32.

When we see clearly, the result is never more anguish, but more trust, more joy and more confidence that God will deliver us from those who are against us, Romans 8:28-31.

Go To Psalm 14


"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."