Psalms 38
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1  A psalm of David. Lehazkir.

א  מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד לְהַזְכִּיר׃

2  Hashem, do not punish me in wrath; do not chastise me in fury.

ב  יְהוָה אַל־בְּקֶצְפְּךָ תוֹכִיחֵנִי וּבַחֲמָתְךָ תְיַסְּרֵנִי׃

3  For Your arrows have struck me; Your blows have fallen upon me.

ג  כִּי־חִצֶּיךָ נִחֲתוּ בִי וַתִּנְחַת עָלַי יָדֶךָ׃

4  There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your rage, no wholeness in my bones because of my sin.

ד  אֵין־מְתֹם בִּבְשָׂרִי מִפְּנֵי זַעְמֶךָ אֵין־שָׁלוֹם בַּעֲצָמַי מִפְּנֵי חַטָּאתִי׃

5  For my iniquities have overwhelmed me; they are like a heavy burden, more than I can bear.

ה  כִּי עֲוֺנֹתַי עָבְרוּ רֹאשִׁי כְּמַשָּׂא כָבֵד יִכְבְּדוּ מִמֶּנִּי׃

6  My wounds stink and fester because of my folly.

ו  הִבְאִישׁוּ נָמַקּוּ חַבּוּרֹתָי מִפְּנֵי אִוַּלְתִּי׃

7  I am all bent and bowed; I walk about in gloom all day long.

ז  נַעֲוֵיתִי שַׁחֹתִי עַד־מְאֹד כָּל־הַיּוֹם קֹדֵר הִלָּכְתִּי׃

8  For my sinews are full of fever; there is no soundness in my flesh.

ח  כִּי־כְסָלַי מָלְאוּ נִקְלֶה וְאֵין מְתֹם בִּבְשָׂרִי׃

9  I am all benumbed and crushed; I roar because of the turmoil in my mind.

ט  נְפוּגוֹתִי וְנִדְכֵּיתִי עַד־מְאֹד שָׁאַגְתִּי מִנַּהֲמַת לִבִּי׃

10  O Hashem, You are aware of all my entreaties; my groaning is not hidden from You.

י  אֲ‍דֹנָי נֶגְדְּךָ כָל־תַּאֲוָתִי וְאַנְחָתִי מִמְּךָ לֹא־נִסְתָּרָה׃

11  My mind reels; my strength fails me; my eyes too have lost their luster.

יא  לִבִּי סְחַרְחַר עֲזָבַנִי כֹחִי וְאוֹר־עֵינַי גַּם־הֵם אֵין אִתִּי׃

12  My friends and companions stand back from my affliction; my kinsmen stand far off.

יב  אֹהֲבַי וְרֵעַי מִנֶּגֶד נִגְעִי יַעֲמֹדוּ וּקְרוֹבַי מֵרָחֹק עָמָדוּ׃

13  Those who seek my life lay traps; those who wish me harm speak malice; they utter deceit all the time.

יג  וַיְנַקְשׁוּ מְבַקְשֵׁי נַפְשִׁי וְדֹרְשֵׁי רָעָתִי דִּבְּרוּ הַוּוֹת וּמִרְמוֹת כָּל־הַיּוֹם יֶהְגּוּ׃

14  But I am like a deaf man, unhearing, like a dumb man who cannot speak up;

va-a-NEE kh’-khay-RAYSH LO esh-MA ukh-ee-LAYM LO yif-takh PEEV

יד  וַאֲנִי כְחֵרֵשׁ לֹא אֶשְׁמָע וּכְאִלֵּם לֹא יִפְתַּח־פִּיו׃

38:14   Like a dumb man who cannot speak up

Psalm 38 is difficult to read, as it is almost entirely an expression of pain written by an individual who is suffering, physically and spiritually. While his bones have no peace and his sins are too much to bear, his friends stand afar, unable or unwilling to help, and his enemies seek to hurt him. His response is: I am deaf and mute. I pretend not to hear their taunts nor do I respond to their calls of malice and deceit. Instead, he calls out only to the Lord for salvation and deliverance. In the thirteenth century, Rabbi Menachem Meiri wrote that this psalm refers to the Jews in exile. He commented profoundly: “The psalm refers to our long exile in which our enemies are many and our nemeses ridicule us and sit in their serenity. We are hated and have no recourse but we pray that our salvation and redemption will come soon. Amen.” Eight centuries later, the redemption has begun and the Jewish people, thank God, are no longer mute.2 comments

15  I am like one who does not hear, who has no retort on his lips.

טו  וָאֱהִי כְּאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־שֹׁמֵעַ וְאֵין בְּפִיו תּוֹכָחוֹת׃

16  But I wait for You, Hashem; You will answer, O Hashem, my God.

טז  כִּי־לְךָ יְהוָה הוֹחָלְתִּי אַתָּה תַעֲנֶה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהָי׃

17  For I fear they will rejoice over me; when my foot gives way they will vaunt themselves against me.

יז  כִּי־אָמַרְתִּי פֶּן־יִשְׂמְחוּ־לִי בְּמוֹט רַגְלִי עָלַי הִגְדִּילוּ׃

18  For I am on the verge of collapse; my pain is always with me.

יח  כִּי־אֲנִי לְצֶלַע נָכוֹן וּמַכְאוֹבִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד׃

19  I acknowledge my iniquity; I am fearful over my sin;

יט  כִּי־עֲוֺנִי אַגִּיד אֶדְאַג מֵחַטָּאתִי׃

20  for my mortal enemies are numerous; my treacherous foes are many.

כ  וְאֹיְבַי חַיִּים עָצֵמוּ וְרַבּוּ שֹׂנְאַי שָׁקֶר׃

21  Those who repay evil for good harass me for pursuing good.

כא  וּמְשַׁלְּמֵי רָעָה תַּחַת טוֹבָה יִשְׂטְנוּנִי תַּחַת רדופי־[רָדְפִי־] טוֹב׃

22  Do not abandon me, Hashem; my God, be not far from me;

כב  אַל־תַּעַזְבֵנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי אַל־תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי׃

23  hasten to my aid, O Hashem, my deliverance.

 

כג  חוּשָׁה לְעֶזְרָתִי אֲדֹנָי תְּשׁוּעָתִי׃

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Psalms 37
Psalms 39

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Psalms 38

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