1 A 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
א מַשְׂכִּיל לְדָוִד בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בַמְּעָרָה תְפִלָּה׃
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.2 comments
2 I cry aloud to Hashem; I appeal to Hashem loudly for mercy.
ב קוֹלִי אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֶזְעָק קוֹלִי אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֶתְחַנָּן׃
3 I pour out my complaint before Him; I lay my trouble before Him
ג אֶשְׁפֹּךְ לְפָנָיו שִׂיחִי צָרָתִי לְפָנָיו אַגִּיד׃
4 when my spirit fails within me. You know my course; they have laid a trap in the path I walk.
ד בְּהִתְעַטֵּף עָלַי רוּחִי וְאַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ נְתִיבָתִי בְּאֹרַח־זוּ אֲהַלֵּךְ טָמְנוּ פַח לִי׃
5 Look at my right and see— I have no friend; there is nowhere I can flee, no one cares about me.
ה הַבֵּיט יָמִין וּרְאֵה וְאֵין־לִי מַכִּיר אָבַד מָנוֹס מִמֶּנִּי אֵין דּוֹרֵשׁ לְנַפְשִׁי׃
6 So I cry to You, Hashem; I say, “You are my refuge, all I have in the land of the living.”
ו זָעַקְתִּי אֵלֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אָמַרְתִּי אַתָּה מַחְסִי חֶלְקִי בְּאֶרֶץ הַחַיִּים׃
7 Listen to my cry, for I have been brought very low; save me from my pursuers, for they are too strong for me.
ז הַקְשִׁיבָה אֶל־רִנָּתִי כִּי־דַלּוֹתִי מְאֹד הַצִּילֵנִי מֵרֹדְפַי כִּי אָמְצוּ מִמֶּנִּי׃
8 Free me from prison, that I may praise Your name. The righteous shall glory in me for Your gracious dealings with me.
ח הוֹצִיאָה מִמַּסְגֵּר נַפְשִׁי לְהוֹדוֹת אֶת־שְׁמֶךָ בִּי יַכְתִּרוּ צַדִּיקִים כִּי תִגְמֹל עָלָי׃