A Plea for Personal and National Help
A prayer of one afflicted, when he grows faint
and pours out his lament before Yahweh.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
1O Yahweh, hear my prayer,
and let my cry for help come to you.
2Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my trouble.
Incline your ear to me.
In the day I call, answer me quickly,
3for my days vanish in smoke,
and my bones are charred like a hearth.
4My heart is struck like grass and withers.
Indeed, I forget to eat#A rare homonym might yield “I am too wilted to eat” my bread.
5Because of the sound of my groaning
my bones#Hebrew “bone” cling to my skin.#Hebrew “flesh”
6I am like an owl#The identity of the birds in this verse is uncertain of the wilderness;
I am like a little owl of the ruins.
7I lie awake and I am
like a lone bird on a roof.
8All the day my enemies reproach me;
those who mock me swear oaths against me.
9Indeed, I eat ashes like bread
and mix my drink with tears#Hebrew “weeping”
10because of your indignation and anger,
for you have picked me up and thrown me away.
11My days are like a lengthened shadow,
and I wither like grass.
12But you, O Yahweh, abide#Or “sit enthroned” forever,
and your remembrance#Or “name” from generation to generation.#Literally “to a generation and a generation”
13You rise up and take pity on Zion,
because it is time to favor it,
for the appointed time has come.
14Your servants take pleasure in her stones,
and show favor to its dust.
15Then the nations will fear the name of Yahweh,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16For Yahweh will rebuild Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
17He will turn his attention to the prayer of the destitute
and will not despise their prayer.
18Let this be written for the next generation,
so that a people yet to be created may praise Yah,#A shortened form of “Yahweh”
19that he looked down from his holy height.
Yahweh looked from heaven over the earth
20to hear the groaning of the prisoner,
to liberate those destined to die,#Hebrew “the sons of death”
21so that they#That is, the generation that reads what is written may make known in Zion the name of Yahweh,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
22when the peoples assemble,
together with#Hebrew “and” kingdoms, to serve Yahweh.
23He has broken my strength along the way;
he has cut short my days.
24I say, “My God, do not carry me off
from my life in the middle of my days.”
Your years continue throughout all generations.
25Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26They will perish, but you will endure.
And like a garment they will all wear out,
you will replace them like clothing, and they will be set aside.
27But you are the same,
and your years do not end.
28The children of your servants will continue,
and their descendants#Literally “seed” will be established before you.