Psalms 102


תְּפִלָּה לְעָנִי כִי־יַעֲטֹף וְלִפְנֵי יְהוָה יִשְׁפֹּךְ שִׂיחוֹ׃   102:1

Psal. 102:1   A prayer for one afflicted when he might have grown weak and would pour out his complaint before the Lord:

Modern scholars accept that this psalm is a prayer for an individual in distress.  But some of its verses seem to strongly suggest that the afflicted one is Israel.  I am convinced of the validity of my conclusion that the afflicted one is Israel and I believe this psalm was written some time during the Babylonian exile.  The reason for my convictions is two-fold.  First, the first thirteen verses are in the first person, but beginning in v. 14 there is a shift to third person, referring to Zion and Israel.  But there is no obvious shift in focus, only the change in person.  As you may know by now, authors of the bible often change person from one verse to another, and sometimes even in the same verse.  Yet they are frequently referring to the same subject.  Second, Look at v. 23 below.  It speaks of the gathering together of the peoples and kingdoms (of Israel).  Doesn’t that sound like a wish (or a prophecy) of someone (Israel) who is exiled?

יְהוָה שִׁמְעָה תְפִלָּתִי וְשַׁוְעָתִי אֵלֶיךָ תָבוֹא׃   102:2

Psal. 102:2   Lord, hear my prayer,

                                and let my cry come to You.

אַל־תַּסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי בְּיוֹם צַר לִי הַטֵּה־אֵלַי אָזְנֶךָ בְּיוֹם אֶקְרָא מַהֵר עֲנֵנִי׃   102:3

Psal. 102:3   May You not hide Your presence from me

                                 in a time of distress for me;

                        turn Your ear to me at the time I would call,

                                 quickly answer me.

כִּי־כָלוּ בְעָשָׁן יָמָי וְעַצְמוֹתַי כְּמוֹ־קֵד נִחָרוּ׃   102:4

Psal. 102:4   For my days go up in smoke,

                                 and my bones are burned as a hearth.

הוּכָּה־כָעֵשֶׂב וַיִּבַשׁ לִבִּי כִּי־שָׁכַחְתִּי מֵאֲכֹל לַחְמִי׃   102:5

Psal. 102:5   My heart is smitten like grass, and it withers,

                                 for I ignore eating my bread.

מִקּוֹל אַנְחָתִי דָּבְקָה עַצְמִי לִבְשָׂרִי׃   102:6

Psal. 102:6   Because of the sound of my groaning,

                                 my skeleton sticks to my flesh.

דָּמִיתִי לִקְאַת מִדְבָּר הָיִיתִי כְּכוֹס חֳרָבוֹת׃   102:7

Psal. 102:7   I am compared to a pelican of the wilderness;

                                  I have become like an owl of the wastelands.

שָׁקַדְתִּי וָאֶהְיֶה כְּצִפּוֹר בּוֹדֵד עַל־גָּג׃   102:8

Psal. 102:8   I watch and I am like a bird alone on a housetop.

כָּל־הַיּוֹם חֵרְפוּנִי אוֹיְבָי מְהוֹלָלַי בִּי נִשְׁבָּעוּ׃   102:9

Psal. 102:9   My enemies taunt me all the time;

                                  those raging against me curse at me.

כִּי־אֵפֶר כַּלֶּחֶם אָכָלְתִּי וְשִׁקֻּוַי בִּבְכִי מָסָכְתִּי׃   102:10

Psal. 102:10   For I eat ashes like bread,

                                  and mingle my drink with weeping,

מִפְּנֵי־זַעַמְךָ וְקִצְפֶּךָ כִּי נְשָׂאתַנִי וַתַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי׃   102:11

Psal. 102:11   because of Your “indignation” and Your “wrath,”

                                  that You have lifted me up and cast me away.

יָמַי כְּצֵל נָטוּי וַאֲנִי כָּעֵשֶׂב אִיבָשׁ׃   102:12

Psal. 102:12   My days are like a lengthening shadow,

                                   and I must be withered like grass.

וְאַתָּה יְהוָה לְעוֹלָם תֵּשֵׁב וְזִכְרְךָ לְדֹר וָדֹר׃   102:13

Psal. 102:13   Yet You, O Lord, shall remain forever,

                                   and Your remembrance shall be for all generations.

אַתָּה תָקוּם תְּרַחֵם צִיּוֹן כִּי־עֵת לְחֶנְנָהּ כִּי־בָא מוֹעֵד׃   102:14

Psal. 102:14   May You arise, and tenderly love Zion,

                                   when it is time to be gracious to her,

                          when the appointed time comes.

כִּי־רָצוּ עֲבָדֶיךָ אֶת־אֲבָנֶיהָ וְאֶת־עֲפָרָהּ יְחֹנֵנוּ׃   102:15

Psal. 102:15   For Your servants are pleased with her stones,

                                    and favor her dust.

וְיִירְאוּ גוֹיִם אֶת־שֵׁם יְהוָה וְכָל־מַלְכֵי הָאָרֶץ אֶת־כְּבוֹדֶךָ׃   102:16

Psal. 102:16   That nations would fear the name of the Lord,

                                    and all the kings of the earth, Your glory,

כִּי־בָנָה יְהוָה צִיּוֹן נִרְאָה בִּכְבוֹדוֹ׃   102:17

Psal. 102:17   when the Lord has rebuilt Zion,

                                     has appeared in His glory,

פָּנָה אֶל־תְּפִלַּת הָעַרְעָר וְלֹא־בָזָה אֶת־תְּפִלָּתָם׃   102:18

Psal. 102:18   has turned to the prayer of the destitute,

                                    and does not despise their prayer,

תִּכָּתֶב זֹאת לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן וְעַם נִבְרָא יְהַלֶּל־יָהּ׃   102:19

Psal. 102:19   shall this be written for a later generation,

                                    and a people to be recreated would praise the Lord.

כִּי־הִשְׁקִיף מִמְּרוֹם קָדְשׁוֹ יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶל־אֶרֶץ הִבִּיט׃   102:20

Psal. 102:20   For He looks down from the height of His holiness,

                                    the Lord from the heavens pays attention to earth,

לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶנְקַת אָסִיר לְפַתֵּחַ בְּנֵי תְמוּתָה׃   102:21

Psal. 102:21   hearing the groaning of a prisoner,

                                     to let loose the children of death,

לְסַפֵּר בְּצִיּוֹן שֵׁם יְהוָה וּתְהִלָּתוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלִָם׃   102:22

Psal. 102:22   the name of the Lord to be declared in Zion,

                                    and His praise in Jerusalem,

בְּהִקָּבֵץ עַמִּים יַחְדָּו וּמַמְלָכוֹת לַעֲבֹד אֶת־יְהוָה׃   102:23

Psal. 102:23   on the gathering together of the peoples,

                                    and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.

עִנָּה בַדֶּרֶךְ (כֹּחֹו) [כֹּחִי] קִצַּר יָמָי׃   102:24

Psal. 102:24   He weakens my strength on the way,

                                    shortens my days.

The word in the parentheses has an error.  The vav suffix makes the translation his strength.  The yad suffix in the correction in the brackets makes the translation my strength, which is more apropos in the context.

אֹמַר אֵלִי אַל־תַּעֲלֵנִי בַּחֲצִי יָמָי בְּדוֹר דּוֹרִים שְׁנוֹתֶיךָ׃   102:25

Psal. 102:25   I must say, My God, may You not take me up in the middle of my days;

                                    Your years are throughout all generations.

לְפָנִים הָאָרֶץ יָסַדְתָּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ שָׁמָיִם׃   102:26

Psal. 102:26   You laid the foundations of the earth beforetimes,

                                    and the heavens were the work of Your “hands.”

הֵמָּה יֹאבֵדוּ וְאַתָּה תַעֲמֹד וְכֻלָּם כַּבֶּגֶד יִבְלוּ כַּלְּבוּשׁ תַּחֲלִיפֵם וְיַחֲלֹפוּ׃   102:27

Psal. 102:27   They may perish, but You shall endure

                                   when all of them shall wear out like a garment;

                          You will replace them like clothing as they pass on.

וְאַתָּה־הוּא וּשְׁנוֹתֶיךָ לֹא יִתָּמּוּ׃   102:28

Psal. 102:28   But You shall be the selfsame One,

                                   and Your years shall have no end.

בְּנֵי־עֲבָדֶיךָ יִשְׁכּוֹנוּ וְזַרְעָם לְפָנֶיךָ יִכּוֹן׃   102:29

Psal. 102:29   The children of Your servants shall be reestablished

                                   and their seed shall be stable before You.


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