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Psalm 142[a]

A Prayer in Time of Trouble

A maskil of David, when he was in the cave.[b] A prayer.

With my own voice I cry to the Lord;
    with my own voice I beseech the Lord.
Before him I pour out my complaint,
    tell of my distress in front of him.
When my spirit is faint within me,(A)
    you know my path.(B)
As I go along this path,
    they have hidden a trap for me.(C)
I look to my right hand to see(D)
    that there is no one willing to acknowledge me.
My escape has perished;
    no one cares for me.
I cry out to you, Lord,
    I say, You are my refuge,(E)
    my portion in the land of the living.(F)
Listen to my cry for help,
    for I am brought very low.(G)
Rescue me from my pursuers,
    for they are too strong for me.
Lead my soul from prison,
    that I may give thanks to your name.
Then the righteous shall gather around me[c]
    because you have been good to me.


  1. Psalm 142 In this lament imploring God for help (Ps 142:2–4), the psalmist tells how enemies have set a trap (Ps 142:4–5), and prays for rescue (Ps 142:6–8). The speaker feels utterly alone (Ps 142:5), exhausted (Ps 142:7), and may even be imprisoned (Ps 142:7). Prison is possibly a metaphor for general distress. The last two verses are the vow of praise, made after receiving an assurance of divine help (Ps 142:7).
  2. 142:1 In the cave: cf. 1 Sm 22:1; 24:1–3; Ps 57:1.
  3. 142:8 Then the righteous shall gather around me: in the Temple, when the psalmist offers a thanksgiving sacrifice.