How long wilt thou forget me - The words אנה עד ad anah, to what length, to what time, translated here how long? are four times repeated in the two first verses, and point out at once great dejection and extreme earnestness of soul.
Hide thy face from me? - How long shall I be destitute of a clear sense of thy approbation?
How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? - literally, “until when.” The psalmist breaks out into this cry “in the midst” of his troubles. He had apparently borne them as long as he could. It seemed as if they would never come to an end. We may presume that he had been patient and uncomplaining; that he had borne his trials long with the hope and belief that they would soon terminate; that he had waited patiently for deliverance, uttering no words of complaint; but now he begins to despair. He feels that his troubles will never end. He sees no prospect of deliverance; no signs or tokens that God would interpose; and he breaks out, therefore, in this language of tender complaint, as if he was utterly forsaken, and would be forever. The mind, even of a good man, is not unfrequently in this condition. He is borne down with troubles. He has no disposition to murmur or complain. He bears all patiently and long. He hopes for relief. He looks for it. But relief does not come; and it seems now that his troubles never will terminate. The darkness deepens; his mind is overwhelmed; he goes to God, and asks - not with complaining or murmuring, but with feelings bordering on despair - whether these troubles never will cease; whether he may never hope for deliverance.
Forever? - He had been forgotten so long, and there appeared to be so little prospect of deliverance, that it seemed as if God never would return and visit him with mercy. The expression denotes a state of mind on the verge of despair.
How long - Referring to a second aspect or phase of his troubles. The first was, that he seemed to be “forgotten.” The second referred to here is, that God seemed to hide his face from him, and he asked how long this was to continue.
Wilt thou hide thy face from me - Favour - friendship - is shown by turning the face benignantly toward one; by smiling upon him; in Scriptural language, by “lifting up the light of the countenance” upon one. See the note at Psalm 4:6. Aversion, hatred, displeasure, are shown by turning away the countenance. God seemed to the psalmist thus to show marks of displeasure toward him, and he earnestly asks how long this was to continue.