The prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord.
102:1 O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my cry for help! 2
Listen to me! 4
When I call out to you, quickly answer me!
and my bones are charred like a fireplace. 6
102:5 Because of the anxiety that makes me groan,
my bones protrude from my skin. 10
I am like a solitary bird on a roof.
102:8 All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who mock me use my name in their curses. 15
and mix my drink with my tears, 17
102:10 because of your anger and raging fury.
Indeed, 18 you pick me up and throw me away.
and I am withered like grass.
and your reputation endures. 21
For it is time to have mercy on her,
for the appointed time has come.
2 tn Heb “and may my cry for help come to you.”
3 tn Heb “do not hide your face from me in the day of my trouble.” The idiom “to hide the face” can mean “to ignore” (see Pss 10:11; 13:1; 51:9) or carry the stronger idea of “to reject” (see Pss 29:7; 30:7; 88:14).
4 tn Heb “turn toward me your ear.”
5 tn Heb “for my days come to an end in smoke.”
7 tn Heb “struck, attacked.”
8 tn Heb “I forget.”
9 sn I am unable to eat food. During his time of mourning, the psalmist refrained from eating. In the following verse he describes metaphorically the physical effects of fasting.
10 tn Heb “from the sound of my groaning my bone[s] stick to my flesh.” The preposition at the beginning of the verse is causal; the phrase “sound of my groaning” is metonymic for the anxiety that causes the groaning. The point seems to be this: Anxiety (which causes the psalmist to groan) keeps him from eating (v. 4). This physical deprivation in turn makes him emaciated – he is turned to “skin and bones,” so to speak.
11 tn The Hebrew term קָאַת (qa’at) refers to some type of bird (see Lev 11:18; Deut 14:17) that was typically found near ruins (see Zeph 2:14). Modern translations have frequently rendered this as some type of owl (NIV, REB “desert owl”; NRSV “owl”).
15 tn Heb “by me they swear.” When the psalmist’s enemies call judgment down on others, they hold the psalmist up as a prime example of what they desire their enemies to become.
17 tn Heb “weeping.”
18 tn Or “for.”
19 tn Heb “my days [are] like an extended [or “lengthening”] shadow,” that is, like a late afternoon shadow made by the descending sun that will soon be swallowed up by complete darkness.
21 tn Heb “and your remembrance [is] for a generation and a generation.”
22 tn The imperfect verbal forms are understood as expressing the psalmist’s confidence in God’s intervention. Another option is to take them as expressing the psalmist’s request or wish, “You, rise up and have compassion!”
23 tn Or “for.”
25 tn Heb “her dust,” probably referring to the dust of the city’s rubble.