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Psalms 143:1-6

Psalm 143 1 

A psalm of David.

143:1 O Lord, hear my prayer!

Pay attention to my plea for help!

Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me!

143:2 Do not sit in judgment on 2  your servant,

for no one alive is innocent before you. 3 

143:3 Certainly 4  my enemies 5  chase me.

They smash me into the ground. 6 

They force me to live 7  in dark regions, 8 

like those who have been dead for ages.

143:4 My strength leaves me; 9 

I am absolutely shocked. 10 

143:5 I recall the old days; 11 

I meditate on all you have done;

I reflect on your accomplishments. 12 

143:6 I spread my hands out to you in prayer; 13 

my soul thirsts for you in a parched 14  land. 15 

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

2 tn Heb “do not enter into judgment with.”

3 tn Heb “for no one living is innocent before you.”

4 tn Or “for.”

5 tn Heb “an enemy.” The singular is used in a representative sense to describe a typical member of the larger group of enemies (note the plural “enemies” in vv. 9, 12).

6 tn Heb “he crushes on the ground my life.”

7 tn Or “sit.”

8 sn Dark regions refers to Sheol, which the psalmist views as a dark place located deep in the ground (see Ps 88:6).

9 tn Heb “my spirit grows faint.”

10 tn Heb “in my midst my heart is shocked.” For a similar use of the Hitpolel of שָׁמֵם (shamem), see Isa 59:16; 63:5.

11 tn Or “ancient times”; Heb “days from before.”

12 tn Heb “the work of your hands.”

13 tn The words “in prayer” are supplied in the translation to clarify that the psalmist is referring to a posture of prayer.

14 tn Heb “faint” or “weary.” See Ps 63:1.

15 tc Heb “my soul like a faint land for you.” A verb (perhaps “thirsts”) is implied (see Ps 63:1). The translation assumes an emendation of the preposition -כְּ (kÿ, “like”) to -בְּ (bÿ, “in,” see Ps 63:1; cf. NEB “athirst for thee in a thirsty land”). If the MT is retained, one might translate, “my soul thirsts for you, as a parched land does for water/rain” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

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