This psalm was written by someone in the depths of despair and agony. His persecution is viewed as a result of his religious convictions. With fervor he pleads for retribution upon his persecutors. Because of his worried state of mind, his mood changes often. However, his despair becomes triumph and his complaint becomes praise after he gets it all out.
The Basic Complaint
After crying out for help in one brief phrase, the psalmist describes his circumstance. The words waters, mire, deep waters, and floods are all used to show how difficult his trouble. His enemies are many, hateful, and powerful. He is greatly concerned that his troubles not hurt other devout men who look to him as an example.
The Underlying Cause
He is suffering because of his loyalty, faithfulness, and zeal for God. It appears that he has been fighting the liberal and popular forms of religious expression at the time, and because of that fight he has become the laughing-stock of the community even the drunkards.
Each of the requests for retribution is based on God's getting involved in the psalmist's anger at what he feels is his unfair treatment. The people who are troubling him are God's enemies too. He wants God to obliterate them.
The psalm closes on a note of intense praise as heaven and earth are invited to join him as he thanks God for deliverance.