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 142:2–4), the psalmist tells how enemies have set a trap (Ps 142:4–5), and prays for rescue (Ps 142:6–8). 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; 24:1–3; Ps 57:1.
* [142:8] Then the righteous shall gather around me: in the Temple, when the psalmist offers a thanksgiving sacrifice.
d. [142:5] Ps 16:8; 73:23; 121:5.
f. [142:6] Ps 16:5; 27:13; 116:9; Is 38:11.