Psalm 69

Psalm 69[a]

Cry of Anguish in Distress

1 For the director.[b] According to “Lilies.” Of David.

2 [c]Save me, my God,
for the waters have risen to my neck.
3 I am sinking in muddy depths
and can find no foothold.
I have fallen into deep waters,
and the floods[d] overwhelm me.
4 I am exhausted from crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes have been worn out
searching for my God.
5 More numerous than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me for no reason.[e]
Many are those who seek to destroy me,
and they are treacherous.
How can I restore
what I have not stolen?
6 O God, you know how foolish I am;
my guilty deeds are not hidden from you.[f]
7 Do not allow those who hope in you
to be put to shame because of me,
O Lord of hosts.
Do not let those who seek you
suffer disgrace because of me,
O God of Israel.
8 It is for your sake that I endure reproach
and that shame covers my face.
9 I have become alienated from my brothers,[g]
a stranger to my mother’s sons.
10 Zeal for your house[h] consumes me,
and the insults directed at you fall on me.
11 When I mortified myself with fasting,
I exposed myself to scorn.
12 When I clothed myself in sackcloth,
I became a laughingstock.
13 Those who sit at the gate taunt me,
and drunkards make me the target of their ditties.
14 But I lift up my prayer to you, O Lord,
in the time of your favor.[i]
In your great kindness, O God,
respond to me with your certain help.
15 Draw me out of the mire,
and do not let me plunge any deeper.
Deliver me from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
16 Do not let the flood waters sweep over me,
or the depths swallow me up,
or the pit close its jaws around me.
17 Answer me, O Lord, for your kindness[j] is wonderful;
in your great compassion turn toward me.
18 Do not hide your face[k] from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in distress.
19 Draw near to me and redeem me;
deliver me from my enemies.
20 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor;
all my oppressors are in your sight.
21 Insults have so broken my heart
that I am near the end of my strength.
I looked for compassion, but in vain,
for some consolers, but I found none.[l]
22 They put gall in my food,
and in my thirst they gave me vinegar[m] to drink.
23 [n]Let their table become a trap for them;
let their well-being become a snare.[o]
24 Let their eyes dim so that they cannot see,
and let their limbs tremble constantly.
25 Vent your wrath on them,
and let your burning anger take hold of them.
26 Let their camp be left desolate;
let there be no one to dwell in their tents.[p]
27 For they pursue the one you struck down
and tell of the pain of the one you hurt.
28 Charge them with crime after crime;
let them not share in your salvation.
29 Blot them out from the book of the living;[q]
do not number them among the upright.
30 But I am filled with pain and suffering;
may your saving power, O God, raise me up.
31 [r]I will praise the name of God with a song
and glorify him with a hymn of thanksgiving.
32 This will gratify the Lord more than an ox
or a young bull with horns and hoofs:[s]
33 “Let the poor[t] see this and rejoice;
let those who seek God take heart.
34 For the Lord hears the needy
and does not turn his back on captives.
35 Let the heavens and the earth offer praise,
the seas and everything that moves therein.”
36 For God will deliver Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
His people will live there and possess it;
37 his servants’ children will inherit it,
and those who love his name will dwell there.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 69:1 This Messianic psalm encompasses the laments of two different people in distress; the first may have been accused of thievery (v. 5), and the second may have been tormented because of his piety and derided for his faith. The swamp in which they are sinking and the waters by which they are engulfed are the images of the despair that afflicts a person facing death. The tragic state of the suppliants resembles that of the righteous person whom we have encountered in Ps 22 and who makes us think of the prophet Jeremiah (see Jer 15:15) and the Suffering Servant (see Isa 53:10). Their prayer, which appeals to God’s justice as well as his compassion, concludes with a vast thanksgiving; the salvation that they await must be extended to all the lowly who rely only on God.
    In their sufferings, Jesus sees his own suffering (Jn 15:25), and the evangelists have applied themselves to underscore this likeness (see Mt 27:46; Jn 2:17; 19:28; etc.). No psalm except Ps 22 is cited more often in the New Testament, a fact that led the Fathers of the Church to classify this psalm as Messianic.
  2. Psalm 69:1 For the director: these words are thought to be a musical or liturgical notation. According to “Lilies”: nothing is known about this phrase.
  3. Psalm 69:2 Waters . . . muddy depths . . . deep waters . . . floods: a common means of indicating extreme distress (see note on Ps 30:2).
  4. Psalm 69:3 Waters . . . muddy depths . . . deep waters . . . floods: a common means of indicating extreme distress (see note on Ps 30:2).
  5. Psalm 69:5 Hate me for no reason: see note on Ps 35:19. These words were completely fulfilled in the hatred his enemies had for Jesus (see Jn 15:25).
  6. Psalm 69:6 The psalmist admits his guilt, but he is innocent of the great crimes attributed to him by his enemies. This verse can be applied to Jesus only as an indication of the sins of the world that he took upon himself.
  7. Psalm 69:9 I have become alienated from my brothers: i.e., he is mocked by them; this text lies behind Jn 7:5, where Jesus’ relatives (“brothers”) do not believe in him.
  8. Psalm 69:10 Zeal for your house: cited in Jn 2:17 with reference to Jesus. Insults directed at you: cited in Rom 15:3 as an example of Jesus’ selflessness.
  9. Psalm 69:14 Time of your favor: i.e., the special time when God is very near (see Ps 32:6; Isa 49:8; 61:2; 2 Cor 6:2). Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
  10. Psalm 69:17 Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
  11. Psalm 69:18 Hide your face: see note on Ps 13:2.
  12. Psalm 69:21 I looked for . . . consolers, but I found none: see Job 6:14ff; 16:2; Lam 1:2; and in reference to Jesus, see Mt 26:40; Jn 16:32.
  13. Psalm 69:22 Gall . . . vinegar: the evangelists suggest that the sufferings of the psalmist as described in this verse foreshadowed the sufferings of Jesus on the cross (see Mt 27:34, 48; Mk 15:23; Lk 23:36; Jn 19:29).
  14. Psalm 69:23 Prayer for divine justice to prevail (see notes on Pss 5:11; 35).
  15. Psalm 69:23 These two verses are applied by Paul to the divine hardening of sinners’ hearts that God allows (see Rom 11:9f). Table: a single tablecloth spread on the ground; hence the possibility of tripping over it.
  16. Psalm 69:26 Peter applies this verse to the replacement of Judas (see Acts 1:20).
  17. Psalm 69:29 Book of the living: a figurative expression denoting God’s record of the righteous (see note on Ps 51:3). From the human point of view, individuals may be blotted out of that book, but from the divine point of view it contains only the names of the elect who will not be blotted out (see Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:15).
  18. Psalm 69:31 A vow to praise God for hearing his prayer (see note on Ps 7:18). Name: see note on Ps 5:12.
  19. Psalm 69:32 Prayer is worth more than the sacrifice of animals (see Pss 40:7; 50:13f; 51:18f), even the most perfect ones (see Lev 11:3; 1 Sam 1:24). See notes on Pss 40:7 and 50:7-15.
  20. Psalm 69:33 Poor: see note on Ps 22:27. Heart: see note on Ps 4:8.

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