1 A psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Yehuda.
א מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בְּמִדְבַּר יְהוּדָה׃
63:1 Wilderness of Yehuda
Fleeing from Shaul, David goes south to the wilderness of Yehuda, where he quickly needs to contend with a scarcity of water. The Judean desert is unique due to its proximity to the Jerusalem mountains which receive ample rainfall; within a few kilometers, the amount of rain decreases dramatically as a result of a geological phenomenon called a “rain shadow desert.” The clouds drifting westward across Eretz Yisrael from the Mediterranean Sea rise and cool, bringing rain over the Judean Hills and Yerushalayim. Then, as they continue east over the Judean desert, the clouds dissipate due to the extreme drop of almost a thousand meters within a short distance, condensing again and beginning to give significant rain only when they reach the mountains of Jordan. This psalm, therefore, begins with a focus on thirst. He experiences physical desire for water in “a parched and thirsty land,” but more significantly, a spiritual yearning for Hashem’s presence, which he describes with the phrase, “my soul thirsts for You” (verse 2). David recognizes the threat of scarcity of water, but says it pales in comparison to the absence of God’s presence.1 comment
2 Hashem, You are my God; I search for You, my soul thirsts for You, my body yearns for You, as a parched and thirsty land that has no water.
ב אֱלֹהִים אֵלִי אַתָּה אֲשַׁחֲרֶךָּ צָמְאָה לְךָ נַפְשִׁי כָּמַהּ לְךָ בְשָׂרִי בְּאֶרֶץ־צִיָּה וְעָיֵף בְּלִי־מָיִם׃
3 I shall behold You in the sanctuary, and see Your might and glory,
ג כֵּן בַּקֹּדֶשׁ חֲזִיתִיךָ לִרְאוֹת עֻזְּךָ וּכְבוֹדֶךָ׃
4 Truly Your faithfulness is better than life; my lips declare Your praise.
ד כִּי־טוֹב חַסְדְּךָ מֵחַיִּים שְׂפָתַי יְשַׁבְּחוּנְךָ׃
5 I bless You all my life; I lift up my hands, invoking Your name.
ה כֵּן אֲבָרֶכְךָ בְחַיָּי בְּשִׁמְךָ אֶשָּׂא כַפָּי׃
6 I am sated as with a rich feast, I sing praises with joyful lips
ו כְּמוֹ חֵלֶב וָדֶשֶׁן תִּשְׂבַּע נַפְשִׁי וְשִׂפְתֵי רְנָנוֹת יְהַלֶּל־פִּי׃
7 when I call You to mind upon my bed, when I think of You in the watches of the night;
ז אִם־זְכַרְתִּיךָ עַל־יְצוּעָי בְּאַשְׁמֻרוֹת אֶהְגֶּה־בָּךְ׃
8 for You are my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I shout for joy.
ח כִּי־הָיִיתָ עֶזְרָתָה לִּי וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ אֲרַנֵּן׃
9 My soul is attached to You; Your right hand supports me.
ט דָּבְקָה נַפְשִׁי אַחֲרֶיךָ בִּי תָּמְכָה יְמִינֶךָ׃
10 May those who seek to destroy my life enter the depths of the earth.
י וְהֵמָּה לְשׁוֹאָה יְבַקְשׁוּ נַפְשִׁי יָבֹאוּ בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת הָאָרֶץ׃
11 May they be gutted by the sword; may they be prey to jackals.
יא יַגִּירֻהוּ עַל־יְדֵי־חָרֶב מְנָת שֻׁעָלִים יִהְיוּ׃
12 But the king shall rejoice in Hashem; all who swear by Him shall exult, when the mouth of liars is stopped.
יב וְהַמֶּלֶךְ יִשְׂמַח בֵּאלֹהִים יִתְהַלֵּל כָּל־הַנִּשְׁבָּע בּוֹ כִּי יִסָּכֵר פִּי דוֹבְרֵי־שָׁקֶר׃