TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Psalms 142

1A maskil of David, while he was in the cave. A prayer.

mas-KEEL l'-da-VID bih-yo-TO va-m'-a-RAH t'-fi-LAH

אמַשְׂכִּיל לְדָוִד בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בַמְּעָרָה תְפִלָּה׃

Adulam nature reserve in central Israel.

142:1   While he was in the cave

As recorded in Sefer Shmuel I 22, David runs for his life, escaping to a cave in Adulam. There, instead of solitude and fear, he finds compatriots and begins to build an army. Perhaps this prayer spurs a new resolve within him, not to be depressed or paralyzed by fear. The Bible speaks of 400 men who gathered in front of David, each one bitter and depressed, each without will or direction (ibid., verse 2). Prayer can serve as a great unifier. It can give desperate people hope, help them focus on new goals and instill with them lofty ideals. The prayer leader, David, is inspired by this group and begins his path towards self-determination, and ultimately towards the monarchy itself. From a dark, dank, cave emerges a spark, a spirit, a king of Israel.

2I cry aloud to Hashem; I appeal to Hashem loudly for mercy.

בקוֹלִי אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֶזְעָק קוֹלִי אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֶתְחַנָּן׃

3I pour out my complaint before Him; I lay my trouble before Him

גאֶשְׁפֹּךְ לְפָנָיו שִׂיחִי צָרָתִי לְפָנָיו אַגִּיד׃

4when my spirit fails within me. You know my course; they have laid a trap in the path I walk.

דבְּהִתְעַטֵּף עָלַי רוּחִי וְאַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ נְתִיבָתִי בְּאֹרַח־זוּ אֲהַלֵּךְ טָמְנוּ פַח לִי׃

5Look at my right and see— I have no friend; there is nowhere I can flee, no one cares about me.

ההַבֵּיט יָמִין וּרְאֵה וְאֵין־לִי מַכִּיר אָבַד מָנוֹס מִמֶּנִּי אֵין דּוֹרֵשׁ לְנַפְשִׁי׃

6So I cry to You, Hashem; I say, “You are my refuge, all I have in the land of the living.”

וזָעַקְתִּי אֵלֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אָמַרְתִּי אַתָּה מַחְסִי חֶלְקִי בְּאֶרֶץ הַחַיִּים׃

7Listen to my cry, for I have been brought very low; save me from my pursuers, for they are too strong for me.

זהַקְשִׁיבָה אֶל־רִנָּתִי כִּי־דַלּוֹתִי מְאֹד הַצִּילֵנִי מֵרֹדְפַי כִּי אָמְצוּ מִמֶּנִּי׃

8Free me from prison, that I may praise Your name. The righteous shall glory in me for Your gracious dealings with me.

חהוֹצִיאָה מִמַּסְגֵּר נַפְשִׁי לְהוֹדוֹת אֶת־שְׁמֶךָ בִּי יַכְתִּרוּ צַדִּיקִים כִּי תִגְמֹל עָלָי׃