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Psalm chapter 13

New International Version

1 For the director of music. A psalm of David. How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the LORD's praise, for he has been good to me.
English Standard Version

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
King James Version

1 {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. 6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
New American Standard Bible

1 How long, LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 2 How long am I to feel anxious in my soul, With grief in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 4 And my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in Your faithfulness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 6 I will sing to the LORD, Because He has looked after me.
New Living Translation

1 For the choir director: A psalm of David. O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? 2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. 4 Don't let my enemies gloat, saying, 'We have defeated him!' Don't let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 6 I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.
Christian Standard Bible

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me? 3 Consider me and answer, Lord my God. Restore brightness to my eyes; otherwise, I will sleep in death.
4 My enemy will say, "I have triumphed over him," and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. 6 I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously.

What does Psalm chapter 13 mean?

David begins this psalm on a note of despair. He feels that the Lord is far from him. David is full of sorrow, thinking about his enemy. This may have been written during the time when King Saul sought to kill David (1 Samuel 19:1–2). With an enemy using the resources of an entire nation to pursue him, David would have felt overwhelmed and helpless. Expressing sincere emotion, David feels as if God has forgotten him. He looks in vain for a way to defeat his enemies. He finally turns to the Lord in faith and asks for an answer. His question is not merely a request for knowledge, but for explanation—to know why these things are happening. David asks for enlightenment, which likely includes energy and strength. He knows that only God can rescue him. Unless the Lord intervenes, David expects to be defeated, and believes his enemies are already celebrating because of his fear (Psalm 13:1–4).

However, David's faith does not fail. Though he does not fully understand "why" these things happen, he maintains his trust in God. He relies on the Lord's unfailing love and rejoices in His salvation. David recalls the Lord's goodness to him, and this causes him to sing. The psalm begins on a note of sorrow and ends with a joyful song. Doubt brings sorrow; faith brings praise (Psalm 13:5–6).