Psalm Thirteen – Translation of the Song

13,1 For the Leader. A Song by David.
13,2 How long, ADONAI, will You forget me? Eternally? How long will You hide Your face from me?
13,3 How long will I seek counsel in my soul, grief in my heart all day long?
How long will my enemy be raised up over me?
13,4 Watch over and answer me, ADONAI my God; send light to my eyes. If not, I will sleep the sleep of death.
13,5 If not, my enemy will say, “I bettered him”; my tormentors will rejoice in my stumbling.
13,6 But as for me, in Your compassion I trust; my heart will rejoice in Your deliverance.
I will sing to ADONAI, for He has bestowed favour upon me.  

Notes on Translation, Psalm 13:

13.1: the phrase “how long” is, in English, a question about time. In Hebrew, however, the combination here of the two words [עַד] and [אָנָה] is an unusual one. [עַד], meaning “to what extent” or “until”, refers to both time and space or location, but [אָנָה], meaning “where”, refers specifically to space.

13.4: in Hebrew, the word for “answer”, [עֲנֵנִי], has the same root as “anguish” or “torture”. Perhaps the similarity hints at the hope that suffering will ultimately be answered, be assuaged.

13.5: the literal meaning in Hebrew is “I could [have] him”, [יְכָלְתִּיו] — the threat issued by the enemy that he has the capacity to do whatever he wishes to the singer, that his power over him is absolute.

13.6: the Hebrew for “bestowed favour”, [גָמַל עָלָי], has the connotation of a parent’s cradling of her baby.

These translations are by Rabbi Maccabi and Dr. Rosenberg. The translations are as close to the literal Hebrew as possible.

Click here to study “Literary analysis of Psalm 13”

King James Psalms 13 Translation:

[1] 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.

Sing & Learn: hear a song composed for Psalm 13