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Psalms 142

Psalm 142 1 

A well-written song 2  by David, when he was in the cave; 3  a prayer.

142:1 To the Lord I cry out; 4 

to the Lord I plead for mercy. 5 

142:2 I pour out my lament before him;

I tell him about 6  my troubles.

142:3 Even when my strength leaves me, 7 

you watch my footsteps. 8 

In the path where I walk

they have hidden a trap for me.

142:4 Look to the right and see!

No one cares about me. 9 

I have nowhere to run; 10 

no one is concerned about my life. 11 

142:5 I cry out to you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my shelter,

my security 12  in the land of the living.”

142:6 Listen to my cry for help,

for I am in serious trouble! 13 

Rescue me from those who chase me,

for they are stronger than I am.

142:7 Free me 14  from prison,

that I may give thanks to your name.

Because of me the godly will assemble, 15 

for you will vindicate me. 16 

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

2 tn 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.

3 sn 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.

4 tn Heb “[with] my voice to the Lord I cry out.”

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

6 tn Heb “my trouble before him I declare.”

7 tn Heb “my spirit grows faint.”

8 tn Heb “you know my path.”

9 tn Heb “there is no one who recognizes me.”

10 tn Heb “ a place of refuge perishes from me.”

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

12 tn Heb “my portion.” The psalmist compares the Lord to landed property, which was foundational to economic stability in ancient Israel.

13 tn Heb “for I am very low.”

14 tn Heb “bring out my life.”

15 tn Or “gather around.”

16 tn The Hebrew idiom גָּמַל עַל (gamalal) means “to repay,” here in a positive sense.

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