1 To the godly, sin, guilt, and God’s fatherly discipline are like being cast into “the depths” of the sea, a metaphor of adversity and trouble (cf. 69:1–2, 14; Isa 51:10; Eze 27:34). Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the big fish expresses the anguish of being cast into “the depths of the grave,” as “the engulfing waters threatened … the deep surrounded … [and] seaweed was wrapped around” his head (Jnh 2:2, 5). The metaphor of “the depths” connotes a feeling of alienation from God.
2 In his dire situation the psalmist calls on the “Lord” (Yahweh), his covenantal God, in whose sovereign power (“Lord,” Adonai) lie life and death. Much distressed, the psalmist prays that the Lord (Adonai) may “be attentive” (cf. 2 Ch 6:40; 7:15; Ne 1:6, 11) to his petition for “mercy” (taḥanûnāy; see 28:2; cf. 68:6). Though here no explicit reference is made to sin or to confession of sin, the adversity is related to sin. The word “mercy” presupposes a servant-master relationship in which the “servant” petitions his “master” (Adonai) for a particular favor (see Allen, 192).
130:1, 2 I am often amazed at the depths of sorrow and suffering that can be endured by the human frame. The psalmist is in one of those dark troughs of life. There is no way to look but up. And so his clamant call goes winging up from out of the depths to the throne of heaven.
He urgently pleads that his thin, solitary voice be heard, that the Lord will grant him audience. The plea is, of course, answered. Always!
In the suppliant’s mind, his trouble was somehow connected with some sin. This may or may not have been true. But in any case it is always a good idea to eliminate unconfessed sin as a possible cause of our calamities.
130:1–2 O Lord, Hear My Cry for Mercy! The psalm climbs from out of the depths of misery over sin, to confession of it (vv. 3–4), to hope (vv. 5–6) and assurance (vv. 7–8). The tone is urgent, and the topic is my pleas for mercy.
130:1 the depths The Hebrew word used here, ma’amaqqim, usually refers to the depths of the sea (see Isa 51:10). While Israelites did engage in sea travel and trade (compare Ps 107:23), the sea was usually viewed as a symbol of chaos and danger. Thus, ma’amaqqim may be a figurative expression for guilty feelings or some sort of literal imprisonment.
130:2 hear my voice The psalmist asks God to listen and answer favorably.
 VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 920–921). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 758). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1108). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 130:1–2). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.