Psalm Saturday: Psalm 13

Wow, these last two weeks have been something! I had a horrible reaction to my vaccines, and I recovered just in time to get my wisdom teeth out Tuesday! I’ve spent the majority of this week ill and irritable—I know my God will use that suffering for His glory, but I just want to eat solid food again! I have a check-up this Tuesday, so we’ll see what happens. Until then, why don’t we resume Psalm Saturday?

Psalm 13: Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
How long, O Lord? Wilt thou forget me for ever?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him”;
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in thy steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

“Wilt,” “thee,” and “thou” mark the RSV’s characteristic “biblish,” but I’m much more interested in the punctuation differences. Look in verse three, where the NRSV uses an exclamation point over the RSV’s usual semicolon. You can almost hear David’s cry to the Lord—I love that. The Psalms are incredible for their emotion, honesty, and just plain humanity in the Scripture. Can you imagine what it was like for the Israelites as they sang these beautiful songs together? Or for David as he composed many of them? I’m glad the NRSV tries to preserve that, even in such a small way. The NRSV goes on to remove “lest” and different small archaisms, but generally the two psalms remain alike.

The universality of the Psalms, too, continues to surprise me each day as I pray the hours or pursue daily Scripture reading. Though we may not face the same enemies David does, we can pray with him, “My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” God is with us today showing us the same steadfast love He showed to David. What a great message for today—God is here still, unchanging and sovereign through it all.

Much has happened in the US this past week. My own home of Charleston, SC is still healing after the tragic deaths of the nine men and women killed at Mother Emanuel AME. Today I’d like to ask you all to pray a very special rosary for healing, for religious freedom, and for peace. May God bless you all.

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

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