A Prayer for Help in Despair
A song. A psalm of the sons of Korah.
For the music director; according to Mahalath Leannoth.
A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
1O Yahweh, God of my salvation,
I cry out by day and through the night before you.
2Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry.
3For my soul is full with troubles,
and my life approaches Sheol.
4I am reckoned with those descending to the pit.
I am like a man#The Hebrew suggests a strong, vigorous man without strength,#Or “without help”
5set free#Or “forsaken” among the dead,
like the slain lying in the grave,
whom you no longer remember,
even those cut off from your hand.
6You have set me in the pit below,
in dark places, in the depths.
7Your wrath presses upon me,
and you afflict me with all your waves. Selah
8You have removed my acquaintances far from me.
You have made me detestable#Hebrew “an abomination” to them.
I am confined and cannot go out.
9My eye languishes from misery.
I call on you, O Yahweh, every day;
I spread out my hands#Hebrew “palms” to you.
10Do you work wonders#Hebrew “wonder” for the dead?
Or do the departed spirits#Hebrew rephaim, sometimes translated “shades”; the weakened state of those who have died rise up to praise you? Selah
11Is your loyal love told in the grave,
or your faithfulness in the underworld?#Hebrew abaddon, the place of destruction
12Are your wonders#Hebrew “wonder” known in the darkness,
or your righteousness#Or “deed of justice” in the land of forgetfulness?
13But as for me, I cry for help to you, O Yahweh,
and in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14Why do you reject my soul, O Yahweh?
Why do you hide your face from me?
15I am afflicted and perishing from my youth.
I bear your terrors. I am distraught.#Hebrew meaning uncertain
16Your burning anger has passed over me;
your sudden fears have destroyed me.
17They surround me like water all the day;
they circle about me altogether.
18You have removed loved one and friend far from me,
my acquaintances far from my darkness.