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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps. 13 :

In this poignant individual petition, the petitioner feels abandoned, as in the more famous 22.2 : “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?” The typical elements for the petition are all found: the invocation, O Lord (v. 2 ), the petition, which here takes up most of the psalm (vv. 2–4a ), and a short, double motivation, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy… (vv. 4b–5 ). A typical expression of divine confidence concludes the psalm (v. 6 ).

2–3 :

The four‐fold repetition of How long forms a refrain, emphasizing the psalmist's long‐standing sense of abandonment. The paradoxical How long…will You ignore (lit. “forget”) me forever? heightens the petitioner's pain. On God hiding His face, see 6.4–5 n. In Torah and prophetic contexts, God's hidden face is typically a result of punishment; in many psalms, including this one, the psalmist suggests that this hiddenness is instead the result of divine neglect.

4 :

If God looks, he is no longer hiding his face (see Ibn Ezra and Radak). Restore the luster to my eyes refers to strength (see 1 Sam. 14.27 ). The sleep of death represents the ultimate and permanent separation between God and humans, for in death one cannot praise God (Ps. 6.6 ).

5 :

This v. contains a classic illustration of the notion that in biblical poetry the second half heightens the first (see “Biblical Poetry,” pp. 2097–2104), as we move from enemy (singular) to foes (plural).

6 :

As in other petitions, the tenses are confusing (see 3.8–9 n.; 6.9–11 ), and a more literal rendering would be: “But I trust in your faithfulness (‘ḥesed,' see 5.8 n. ), may my heart exult in Your deliverance. May I sing to the LORD because He has been good to me.”

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