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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps. 143 :

This psalm contrasts the dead, who have no access to God, with the living, who do. The psalmist pleads to remain among the living. “Enemies” and “illness” are typical threats to the psalmist's well‐being. There are thematic and verbal connections with the previous psalm; see especially v. 4 .

2 :

For before You no creature is in the right is an idea also expressed by Job's friends (Job 4.17–21 ).

3 :

Darkness, the realm of the dead. Long dead, better “eternally dead.” The idea is that the dead can never live again.

5–6 :

In his darkest days, the psalmist remembers God's past deeds. In a move that is the opposite of being dead, he stretches out his hand in prayer, seeking access to God. See 63.2; 77.12–13 .

6 :

Selah, see 3.3 n.

7 :

Hide Your face, see 102.1 . The Pit, a poetic term for Sheol, the abode of the dead.

8 :

Daybreak, in contrast to the darkness of death, morning brings a response from God. See 101.8 n.

10 :

Your gracious spirit, an expression for divine power, contrasted with the weakness of the psalmist (vv. 4, 7 ).

11 :

A common theme in Psalms is that God should preserve the life of the psalmist not because the psalmist is worthy but so that others may see God's power and beneficence and so that the psalmist can offer praise. For the sake of Your name, so that the psalmist can praise God, which he cannot do if he dies (see e.g., 6.6 ).

11 :

You are beneficent, God's beneficence, “tzedakah,” frames the psalm and contrasts with the fact that “no human is in the right” (“yitzdak”).

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