PSALM 142*

A Prayer in Time of Trouble

1A maskil of David, when he was in the cave.* A prayer.

2With my own voice I cry to the LORD;

with my own voice I beseech the LORD.

3Before him I pour out my complaint,

tell of my distress in front of him.

4When my spirit is faint within me,a

you know my path.b

As I go along this path,

they have hidden a trap for me.c

5I look to my right hand to seed

that there is no one willing to acknowledge me.

My escape has perished;

no one cares for me.

6I cry out to you, LORD,

I say, You are my refuge,e

my portion in the land of the living.f

7Listen to my cry for help,

for I am brought very low.g

Rescue me from my pursuers,

for they are too strong for me.

8Lead my soul from prison,

that I may give thanks to your name.

Then the righteous shall gather around me*

because you have been good to me.

* [Psalm 142] In this lament imploring God for help (Ps 142:24), the psalmist tells how enemies have set a trap (Ps 142:45), and prays for rescue (Ps 142:68). The speaker feels utterly alone (Ps 142:5), exhausted (Ps 142:7), and may even be imprisoned (Ps 142:7). Prison is possibly a metaphor for general distress. The last two verses are the vow of praise, made after receiving an assurance of divine help (Ps 142:7).

* [142:1] In the cave: cf. 1 Sm 22:1; 24:13; Ps 57:1.

* [142:8] Then the righteous shall gather around me: in the Temple, when the psalmist offers a thanksgiving sacrifice.

a. [142:4] Ps 143:4.

b. [142:4] Ps 139:24.

c. [142:4] Ps 141:9.

d. [142:5] Ps 16:8; 73:23; 121:5.

e. [142:6] Ps 91:2, 9.

f. [142:6] Ps 16:5; 27:13; 116:9; Is 38:11.

g. [142:7] Ps 79:8.

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