A Lament in Time of National Defeat
A maskil of Asaph.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm
1Why, O God, have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smoke
against the sheep of your pasture?
2Remember your congregation that you bought long ago,
when you redeemed the tribe of your inheritance.
Remember Mount Zion#Literally “the mountain of Zion” where you have dwelt.
3Lift your steps to the perpetual ruins,
to all that the enemy has ruined in the sanctuary.
4Your enemies have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they have set up their signs for signs.
5They are#Hebrew “He is” known to be like those who wield#Literally “lift up”
axes in a thicket of trees.
6And now#According to the reading tradition (Qere) its#That is, the temple’s carved works altogether
they have smashed with axe and hammer.
7They have set fire to your sanctuary.
They have defiled to the ground,
the dwelling place for your name.
8They have said in their heart,
“We will completely#Hebrew “altogether” oppress them.”
They burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9We do not see our signs,
and there is no longer a prophet.
No one with us knows how long.
10How long, O God, will the adversary taunt?
Will the enemy treat your name with contempt forever?
11Why do you draw back your hand, even your right hand?
Take it from your bosom;#According to the reading tradition (Qere) destroy them!
12But God has been my king from long ago,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13You split open the sea by your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food to the desert dwelling creatures.
15You split open spring and wadi.#A seasonal stream that is often dry
You dried up ever-flowing rivers.
16Yours is the day, yours is the night also.
You established light and the sun.
17You defined#Or “set” all the boundaries of the earth;
Summer and winter—you formed them.
18O Yahweh, remember this: the enemy taunts,
and foolish people treat your name with contempt.
19Do not give to beasts the life of your dove;
do not ever forget the life of your afflicted ones.
20Have regard for the covenant,
because the dark places of the land are full of
the haunts of violence.
21Do not let the oppressed turn back humiliated;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember the reproaching of you by the foolish all day long.#Literally “all the day”
23Do not forget the sound of your adversaries,
the roar of those rising up against you ascending continually.