Psalm 13

Psalm 13[a]

Prayer of One in Sorrow

1 For the director.[b] A psalm of David.

2 How long,[c] O Lord—will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
3 How long must I suffer anguish in my soul
and sorrow in my heart[d] day and night?
How long will my enemy lord it over me?
4 Look upon me, O Lord, my God, and answer me;
enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep in death,
5 lest my enemy say, “I have defeated him,”
and my foes exult in my collapse.
6 As for me, I trust in your kindness;[e]
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
7 I will sing to the Lord
because he has been good to me.[f]


  1. Psalm 13:1 The suffering psalmist cries out to God in despair over his impending death and the triumph of his enemies. Suddenly (perhaps after a religious experience of some kind), his tone changes; he speaks from a heart brimming with complete trust in God and voices his joy and gratitude.
    In praying this psalm, we can think of Christ in his abandonment on the cross and provisional defeat by death, in the face of his enemies’ ephemeral success. We too experience the critical trial of God’s silence and apparent absence. Far from weakening our confidence in God, this eventuality should strengthen it.
  2. Psalm 13:1 For the director: most likely a musical or liturgical notation.
  3. Psalm 13:2 How long: see note on Ps 6:4. Hide your face: when God hides his face, the righteous become concerned (see Pss 30:8; 104:29), for when God’s face shines on people it brings deliverance and blessings (see Pss 31:17; 67:2; 80:4; 119:135).
  4. Psalm 13:3 Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.
  5. Psalm 13:6 Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
  6. Psalm 13:7 The Septuagint and Vulgate add another line: “I will sing to the name of the Lord most high.”

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