I don’t know much about wineskins, but I know this wineskin, our psalmist, was resolute. If he sees himself as an exhausted, depressed wineskin, he is one tough wineskin. [Note: a reader explained the image of a “smoked wineskin” to me; the skin is smoked to make it supple; the image, then, is one of exhaustion and depression; HT: Dana].
In spite of being hunted down and at the threat of death, he:
1. Has not neglected God’s laws (119:83b).
2. Has not abandoned God’s precepts (119:87b).
Resolution: the hope of this persecuted wineskin is to find a way to live obediently. His strategy is to live obediently in the midst of persecution.
I can imagine him in a pit, with dirt falling on his shoulders from the shovels of his death-wishers, realizing it is time for his morning prayers and falling to his knees in prayer. I can imagine him being chased and finding a way to be observant. I can imagine his opponents thinking his pious practices are the problem and he maintains that his pious practices are the solution to their insolence.
This psalmist loved God, he loved the Torah, and doing God’s will is what mattered to him the most.