Psalms 142

Psalm 142

Psalm 142. The psalmist laments his persecuted state and asks the Lord to deliver him from his enemies.

A well-written song
The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.” The term occurs in the superscriptions of Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 52–55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142, as well as in Ps 47:7.
by David, when he was in the cave;
According to the superscription, David wrote this psalm while in “the cave.” This probably refers to either the incident recorded in 1 Sam 22:1 or to the one recorded in 1 Sam 24:3. See the superscription of Ps 57.
a prayer.

1 To the Lord I cry out;
Heb “[with] my voice to the Lord I cry out.”

to the Lord I plead for mercy.
Heb “[with] my voice to the Lord I plead for mercy.”

2 I pour out my lament before him;
I tell him about
Heb “my trouble before him I declare.”
my troubles.
3 Even when my strength leaves me,
Heb “my spirit grows faint.”

you watch my footsteps.
Heb “you know my path.”

In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see!
No one cares about me.
Heb “there is no one who recognizes me.”

I have nowhere to run;
Heb “ a place of refuge perishes from me.”

no one is concerned about my life.
Heb “there is no one who seeks for the sake of my life.”

5 I cry out to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my shelter,
my security
Heb “my portion.” The psalmist compares the Lord to landed property, which was foundational to economic stability in ancient Israel.
in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry for help,
for I am in serious trouble!
Heb “for I am very low.”

Rescue me from those who chase me,
for they are stronger than I am.
Free me
Heb “bring out my life.”
from prison,
that I may give thanks to your name.
Because of me the godly will assemble,
Or “gather around.”

for you will vindicate me.
The Hebrew idiom גָּמַל עַל (gamal al) means “to repay,” here in a positive sense.

Psalm 143

Psalm 143. As in the previous psalm, the psalmist laments his persecuted state and asks the Lord to deliver him from his enemies.

A psalm of David.

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