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Psalm 13:4

ESV lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
NIV and my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
NASB And my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
CSB My enemy will say, "I have triumphed over him," and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
NLT Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, 'We have defeated him!' Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
KJV Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

What does Psalm 13:4 mean?

David is experiencing a period of frustration, doubt, and uncertainty. This might have been part of his conflict with the murderous King Saul (1 Samuel 19:1–2). David has candidly expressed his confusion and worries to God (Psalm 13:1–2), including a sincere plea for an answer (Psalm 13:3).

Here, David expresses concern that his enemy is celebrating his current fears. He is worried his foes might kill him; yet even before that, David fears his enemies will view his frustration as a form of defeat. If David wavered because of his enemy's prowess over him, others might assume he lacked faith in God's promises. After all, God had promised the kingdom to David (1 Samuel 16:13).

In Psalm 35:19–20 David prays: "Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause. For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit."

Fortunately, David knows that his limitations are not God's failures. Even as he expresses his struggles, David will affirm his trust in the Lord (Psalm 13:5–6). When troubles strike us as believers, we may think God has forsaken us; we may doubt God's promises. However, God's timing is not always the same as our timing. He keeps His Word, and His promises are iron clad. His seeming delays are for our good (Romans 8:18; 2 Peter 3:9). One readily obvious benefit of seeming delays is that we tend to pray more as we wait for the fulfillment of God's promises, thus drawing closer to God and often being more deeply transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
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