- A psalm of David.1
Please hear my prayer
- 1 Dear LORD, please listen to me.
I need you to hear my prayer,
I know I can count on you.
I know you’ll answer me,
Because you are kind.
- 2 Please don’t take this occasion to judge me.
After all, I’m your servant.
And compared to you, no one is innocent.
I’m beaten into the dirt
- 3 My enemy has harassed me,
Beat me into the dirt, and
Left me depressed.
I live in a place dark as death.
- 4 In my heart, I feel hopeless.
In my head, I feel numb.
- 5 But I started thinking about the old days.
I thought about the incredible things you’ve done
With the power you have at your fingertips.
- 6 Then I reached out to you.
For I need you
Like parched land needs a drink of water.
You’re my only hope
- 7 Quickly, dear LORD, I need your answer.
I’m almost out of hope.
Don’t hide from me.
If you do, I’m a goner, dead and buried.
- 8 At the first wink of sunrise,
Let me hear from you.
I know that I will, for you are devoted,
And I trust you.
Let me know what to do about all of this.
You are my only hope.
- 9 Please LORD,
Rescue me from my enemies.
I’m asking you to protect me.
- 10 Show me what to do
Since you’re my God.
I need your gentle Spirit
To guide me to safety.
- 11 Save my life, LORD,
Because that’s who you are.
You are kind and merciful.
So, please rescue me.
- 12 I’m your servant.
So, I know I can count on you
To silence my opponents,
And to kill those who are trying to kill me.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of David,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by David, about David, or was inspired by David. Almost half of the psalms are attributed to David in this way, 73 of 150. Ancient Jewish history tells of David playing a lyre and writing songs. For one, he wrote a song of mourning at the battlefield death of King Saul and his sons: “How have the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27 New American Standard Bible). An ancient Jewish scroll from about the time of Jesus, discovered among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, reports that David wrote 3,600 songs.
The word in the original language of Hebrew is selah. Bible scholars haven’t figured out what it means yet, so all we can do is guess. It could mean “pause for effect,” “instrumental interlude,” or “choir singing ‘Amen.’” We’re offering a guess instead of selah. Though selah might be the better way to go because it’s always correct, it’s also always incomprehensible. “Instruments” has a good chance of being wrong, but at least we convey the idea that the Hebrew word behind it probably has something to do with enhancing the song.