You are not sure how much you can take? If one more thing goes wrong! Can I just stop and think for a moment, please? It has been bleak for so long when will things get better?

The Hebrew word that might describe your condition in all of these is ataph. In the KJV it is translated “overwhelmed” and in the NIV it is rendered “faint.” My Strong’s Concordance states that it means being shrouded or clothed and extends from the idea of darkness. The word ataph is not the only word for “faint” but it caught my eye in Psalm 142:3 and 143:4. Ataph is also used in Psalm 61:2, 77:3, and in 102:Title. I often test the definition back into the passage, so I tried: overwhelmed and shrouded in darkness. Both caught the idea of the verse and I liked overwhelmed better than faint in those verses.

In Psalm 142 and 143 David is having a bad time because in both of these “his spirit was faint” (NIV). Psalm 142 is identified as when David was “in the cave.” I associate that time with 1 Samuel 22 which is right before the saving of Keilah (see Hero to Horror). Several of the psalms in this section (138 to 145) I would place in that period of time before Keilah. Psalms 138 to 145 are all attributed to David. This section of Book Five of the Psalms has been referred to as the “Songs of Ascent.” These would have been sung as people went to the Temple.

David faced many ataph moments in his life but the most telling one on how he handled these overwhelming times is 1 Samuel 30:6b – “David found strength in the Lord his God.”

1 thought on “Faint/Overwhelmed

  1. Pingback: Psalm 138 to 145 – David’s Journey | Mark's Bible Study

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