- For the music leader. To the tune of “Lilies.”1 A psalm of David.2
Neck-deep and drowning
- 1 Please God, save me.
I’m neck-deep in rising water.
- 2 I’m sinking in the mud.
There’s no solid ground below.
Deep water swallows me.
I’m about to get drawn under.
- 3 I’m exhausted from my screaming.
My throat is parched and dry.
My eyes are muddied and failing,
As I wait for God to come.
- 4 I don’t have enough hairs on my head
To represent people who hate me for no good reason.
These are powerful people telling powerful lies.
And they demand I give back what I never stole.
- 5 God, you know my weaknesses.
My sinful foul-ups are all-too obvious to you.
- 6 I pray that the people devoted to you
Won’t be ashamed because of me,
Lord God of Israel’s armies.
I pray that those who seek your help
Won’t feel unworthy because of me,
God of Israel.
- 7 I’m being disgraced for your sake.
Disgrace is all anyone sees when they look at me.
- 8 My family doesn’t treat me like family anymore.
My own brothers don’t treat like as a brother.
- 9 I’m obsessed with your Temple.3
People insult me about it all the time.
- 10 When I pray and fast and cry,
People make fun of me.
- 11 When I wear the rough fabric of mourning clothes4
People make up jokes about it.
- 12 Gossips sit at the city gate5 and talk about me.
Drunks sing about me.
Lord, I have a request for you
- 13 I have a request for you, LORD.
You are rich in mercy.
When the time is right,
Show mercy and save me.
- 14 Don’t leave me sinking into this mudhole.
Don’t let me drown. Rescue me.
Save me from those who hate me.
- 15 Don’t let the water take me.
Don’t let this mudhole swallow me into the deep.
Don’t bury me in this pit.
- 16 LORD, you are merciful and good.
Out of your wealth of compassion,
Come to me.
- 17 I’m devoted to you. Please don’t ignore me.
This is an emergency. Come quickly.
- 18 I need you to come and rescue me.
Save me from people who would hurt me.
Lord, you know what’s going on
- 19 You know what I’m going through.
You know my humiliation, disgrace, and shame.
You also know the people responsible for it.
- 20 These insults break my heart.
I needed someone to show sympathy.
Not a chance.
I needed someone to comfort me.
- 21 They seasoned my food with poison.6
And they tried to quench my thirst with vinegar.
- 22 I hope they choke on their food.
And when they eat in peace with their allies,
May their allies choke on it, too.
- 23 I hope they go blind.
And I hope their twitches go down to the rear
And their fannies won’t stop shaking.
- 24 Show them your disgust.
Pour it on but good.
Let them feel your anger.
Let them feel the burn.
- 25 Decimate their camp.
Empty their tents.
- 26 They terrorize people you already punished.
And they rub it in, joking about the pain you caused.
- 27 Charge them with every sin they committed.
Don’t let them find their way to your goodness.
- 28 Scratch their names from of the book of life.7
Don’t include them with the names of good people.
I’m hurt. Get me out of here.
- 29 I’m injured and hurting.
Please God, rescue me and take me to safety.
- 30 I’ll sing your praises, God.
I’ll honor you with thankfulness.
- 31 The LORD loves thankfulness
More than any barbecue of oxen or bulls.
- 32 When poor folks discover this
My, will they be happy.
Those of you looking for God
Should take heart and keep up the search.
- 33 God hears people who need his help.
When his people end up in prison,
he’s not ashamed of them.
- 34 High and low, earth to sky,
Everyone will praise him.
Ditto seas and every critter in them.
- 35 God will recapture Jerusalem.8
He’ll save the city and build cities throughout Judah.
- 36 Descendants of his devoted servants will inherit the land.
They will live there and own the land.
The original Hebrew word is shoshannim. It means “lilies,” but not necessarily the flowers. Some scholars say it might refer to lily-shaped trumpets or to some other instruments.
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.
Literally “your house.” Israelite ancestors of the Jewish people worshiped at a tent worship center in David’s day. His son Solomon built the first Jewish Temple, which they put on the top of a ridge in Jerusalem. It’s where the 1,400-year-old Muslim shrine is now, the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem’s most famous landmark.
People today often wear black when they’re mourning. In Bible times, people wore sackcloth. It was a rough fabric, made from the thick hair of goats or camels. People also wore sackcloth while fasting (skipping meals) during times of prayer that could go on for days.
City gates were popular gathering places where people chatted and merchants sold their products.
The Greek word is rosh. It’s apparently a poisonous plant of some kind. It’s often translated as gall, venom, bitter herb. It’s not something we’d want to serve to most relatives.
The book of life is a metaphor for life itself. Some scholars say there are end-time implications for eternal life, even if the songwriter had no conception of it.
Literally Zion. “Zion” is a term of endearment, and another name for Jerusalem. It’s a bit like “The Big Apple” for New York City, “The City of Love” for Paris, and “Sin City” for Las Vegas, though some wouldn’t call that a term of endearment.