Verses 6-12, which we studied yesterday, contained the first renewal of the psalmist's lament. In a similar way, verses 13-18 are a first renewal of the psalmist's plea for help. This stanza renews the imagery of the first verses, referring once again to "the mire” and the danger of sinking in it (v. 14), "deep waters" (v. 14) and the "flood" (v. 15). One new image is a "pit" which was likely to "close its mouth over” the psalmist (v. 15). This refers to a cistern which would normally have water at the bottom, the top of which would be closed with a stone. The idea of a cistern closing its mouth over the psalmist means something like being buried alive.

Jesus bore a lifetime of insults for God and our sakes. When he spoke the truth about sin, the leaders were incensed. Jesus showed them that they were children of their fathers, who had stoned the prophets and killed those who were sent to them. "You are doing the things your own father does" he told them (John 8:41). They turned on him with wrath and reproached him with illegitimacy. They knew, undoubtedly, that Jesus had been born shortly after the marriage of Joseph and Mary, and not knowing that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, they flung in his teeth that he was rumored to be illegitimate: "We are not illegitimate children.” Jesus knew that he had been begotten by the Holy Spirit and took this reproach gently, but he let them know their true background: "You belong to your father, the devil" (v. 44).

The next verse is one which could not have been spoken by Jesus. It is the psalmist's brief confession of folly and guilt or transgression (v. 5). In itself this is not at all surprising. We should all constantly confess our sins to God. What is surprising is that this is not what we would expect at this point of the psalm. We would expect to find a protest of innocence on the psalmist's part, because he has just said, “Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”

The tone of the psalm is set in the first four verses, which are at the same time both a lament about the psalmist's sad plight and a plea to God to help him. As far as its genre goes, the psalm is a classic lament.

Toward the end of our last study in Psalm 68, I asked whether the psalm was messianic and said that this is not an easy question to answer. In some ways the psalm is messianic, in some ways it is not. There is no difficulty answering the same question about Psalm 69, because it is clearly about Jesus. In fact, it is one of the most obviously messianic psalms in the Psalter. This is why, for instance, next to Psalms 22 and 110, it is the psalm most frequently cited in the New Testament. Seven of its thirty-six verses are directly quoted, and others furnish themes relating to Christ's work that are expanded in the gospels.