Psalm 13

To the leader. A Psalm of David.


1 How long, O Yahweh? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long shall I carry pain in my soul,

and have sorrow in my heart all day long?

How long shall my enemy triumph over me?


3 Look at me and answer me, O Yahweh, my God!

Give light to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

4 lest my enemy say, “I have overcome him,”

lest my adversaries rejoice when I am moved.


5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;

my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

6 I will sing to Yahweh,

for he has been good to me.


The Psalms have been and continue to be our greatest treasury of prayers to Yahweh. By taking one example, Psalm 13, we may learn what it meant for an ancient worshipper to approach God and make a plea for help. By considering first the genre and then the structure of the psalm we can gain a great deal of insight into the thought of the psalmist and the nature of this particular psalm. After doing so, we will then consider in detail the individual verses of the prayer. Most of our theological discussion will have taken place in these three sections; however, we will conclude our exegesis with a brief look at the theology of the psalm first in its original context and finally in the greater scriptural context and life situation of today.

It has been said of Psalm 13 that it is “a virtual paradigm of the type” called individual lament, or “prayer for help of an individual.”[1] Psalm 13 has almost all of the basic elements that we typically find in individual lament psalms. We have the initial invocation and complaint in vv. 1-2 (cf. Ps. 22:1-2); we have a plea for help and implied imprecation against enemies in vv.3-4 (cf. Ps. 35:1-8); and in vv. 5-6 we find an affirmation of confidence (cf. Ps. 56:3-4), acknowledgement of divine response (cf. Ps. 28:6), vow to praise (cf. Ps. 109:30-31), and anticipated thanksgiving with hymnic elements (cf. Ps. 22:22-24). The only trademark of this genre that Psalm 13 lacks is a confession of sin or assertion of innocence. It neither tries to confess sin and receive forgiveness (as in Ps. 38:18), nor does it try to establish the right to be heard by asserting innocence (as in Ps. 26:4-6).[2] Psalm 13 is one of the very shortest psalms of its type, and it seems that in the psalmist’s desperation the most important thing to address was the immediate threat of death, not a discussion of righteousness.

Although our psalm is made up of the typical lament, petition, and anticipatory praise components of the lament genre, it is further classified as an individual complaint. Craig Broyles has distinguished between a simple lament on the one hand which focuses on a distressing situation and could be addressed to anyone, and a complaint on the other hand which focuses on the one responsible for a distressing situation and must therefore be addressed to the culpable party with a note of blame or rebuke.[3] We find that in the limited number of psalms that can be classified as complaints there are two consistent circumstances that warrant such extreme modes of prayer—near death distress and prolonged distress[4]—both of which are present in Psalm 13.

Broyles’ work is extremely helpful in leading us to understand better the severity of the situation in Psalm 13, and thus the aggressive tone of the psalmist. It is not however necessarily best to understand the psalm as essentially bound up in complaint. Complaining is a means to an end for this psalmist. The true essence of the psalm is a desperate pleading to have prayers answered, and if complaining is the best way to elicit response then so be it. Kraus has suggested that, based on the traditional Hebrew designations, we use the term “songs of prayer” for this type of psalm.[5] And as we seek to classify Psalm 13 into a specific genre, we cannot deny that it is, above all else, “justly called a prayer.”[6]

Understanding what we do about the form of Psalm 13, we are now in a better position to ask some questions about the Sitz im Leben, or life situation, of the prayer. It is extremely difficult to discover the specific experiences of the psalmist. This is so for two reasons. First, the reality of distress and misfortune for an Israelite was complex. The particulars of sickness, legal problems, enemies, and unrighteousness before God all became entangled in a unified and overwhelming experience of calamity. If one was stricken with illness, it could easily be assumed that there were issues of unrighteousness, and this often led to public legal enmity between even the closest of kin. Thus the psalmists use comprehensive language to express what was experienced as comprehensive distress.[7] Second, in order to help any worshippers in similar situations of distress to convey their feelings to God in prayer, there is an element of deliberate abstractness built into psalms of this type.[8] In the case of Psalm 13 the type of person envisioned is one who is facing the imminent threat of death, enemies who have the upper hand, and a God who has failed to hear one of his covenant children. Whether this distress involves sickness, legal problems, political threats, or a host of other possibilities is a vagary purposely left open.

The songs of prayer or complaints of individuals are part of the larger Sitz im Leben of the Israelite congregation assembled in Jerusalem—all of the psalms in the canon were used for worship in the second Temple in either public or private ceremonies, and we must remember this context.[9] The three annual times of worship—the Passover, the Harvest Festival/Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles—provided the background for the prayers of the Psalter. At these times Israelite worshippers congregated in Jerusalem not only to take part in the public annual celebrations, but also to engage in any personal activities of worship.[10]

A healthy counterbalance to this image of centralized “official” Temple worship in Jerusalem is offered by Erhard Gerstenberger in his discussion of cultic poetry.[11] In contrast to the larger universal worship life of Israelites which focused on the Temple, we are given the picture of spontaneous Jewish worship within the context of local family-oriented groups. Perhaps most significantly we are reminded by this rounded description that we should be very careful about “locking the Psalms into preconceived cultic situations.”[12]

With the above understanding of the genre and life situation of Psalm 13, we are now prepared to begin analyzing the prayer in greater detail. The simplest way to understand how the psalmist knits together the elements of this song is to keep in the forefront of our minds the essential pleading nature of Psalm 13. The interest of the petitioner is in receiving an answer to prayer—the whole of the psalm is meant to serve this end, and it is this intention of the psalmist that allows us to see how the passage flows from one section to the next. We might begin with an outline that looks something like the following.

I. Invocation of Yahweh and descriptive complaint (vv. 1-2)

            A. God’s disfavor

            B. Psalmist’s affliction

            C. Enemy’s triumph

II. Explicit plea for help and explicit motivations (vv. 3-4)

                        A. “Give light to my eyes” (v. 3)

                        B. Motivations to “give light” (vv. 3-4)

                                    1. “My God”

                                    2. Psalmist will die (v. 3)

                                    3. Enemies will overcome (v. 4)

            III. Praise of Yahweh (vv. 5-6)

                        A. Confession of trust (v.5)

                        B. Vow to praise (v. 6)

Each of the three major sections represents a different rhetorical manifestation of the same plea for help. In the first section, vv. 1-2, the psalmist pleads by trying to evoke as much emotional response to the situation as possible. Yahweh is immediately confronted with the prolonged nature of the distress as the psalmist erupts with the rhetorical question, “How long?” God has turned away, the psalmist is suffering greatly, and the enemy has the upper hand. In order to further persuade Yahweh to rectify each of these distressing elements of the psalmist’s situation, we move into a second section, vv. 3-4, where the psalmist both makes an explicit plea for help and gives explicit motivations to answer that plea.

Answering the psalmist’s plea means eradicating the sufferings of the first section. And so a motivation is provided in section two for each facet of the distress that we read about in section one.[13] In section two Yahweh is reminded by the words “my God” that he is the God of this pleading child of the covenant  and therefore has the responsibility not to hide his face as he has been accused of doing in section one. Consistent with this appeal to “my God,” the psalmist also assumes that Yahweh does not desire to see his worshippers die before their time. And so the imminent threat of death that we see in section two (“lest I sleep the sleep of death”) becomes a motivation for Yahweh to save the petitioner from the unspecified personal affliction of section one (“pain in the soul” and “sorrow in the heart”). The complaint about the triumphing enemy in section one is followed up with a description in section two of what will happen if Yahweh does not save the psalmist. If the enemy problem is not dealt with then a worshipper of Yahweh will be overcome, and this of course will not reflect well on that worshipper’s God. Thus, the motivation to eliminate the problem of a triumphing enemy as described in section one is motivated by an appeal to God’s honor here at the close of section two.

The pleading essence of the first two sections is continued in section three with a confession of trust and a vow to praise (vv. 5-6). The mention of God’s covenantal “steadfast love” in the confession of trust hearkens back to the psalmist’s appeal to “my God” in the second section, and thereby also to the unsteadfastness of God’s love as described in section one. That the psalmist’s “heart shall rejoice” in God’s salvation not only completes his confession of trust, but also looks back and integrates this confession with the rest of the prayer by contrast with the previous use of the words “heart” and “rejoice”—sorrow of the “heart” in section one and the perverse “rejoicing” of the adversaries in section two. By looking back to sections one and two, we see here in section three that when God saves the psalmist, things will be set right. The heart of the worshipper, instead of having sorrow (section one) will rejoice; and the adversaries, instead of rejoicing (section two), will no longer triumph (section one).

The concluding vow of praise in v. 6 offers motivation to Yahweh that flows naturally from the rest of the psalm. The simple assertion that the favor of God elicits praise from the psalmist looks back to the disfavor of section one and promises that if that disfavor is reversed as requested in section two, then the psalmist will have reason to praise Yahweh. If God wants his covenant people to praise him, then this is a persuasive reason to show favor to the psalmist. We must also look back to section two and remember that the psalmist is facing death. The vow of praise in section three is dependant upon the psalmist actually living into the future long enough to fulfill that vow. The psalmist has thus given Yahweh a powerful, if simple, motivation to answer the pleas of the prayer—if the worshipper dies, there will be no fulfilled vow and no song of praise.

The above outline and structural discussion have helped us gain exegetical insight into how the psalmist has intentionally woven the prayer together in an integrated way. As a final remark on the structure of Psalm 13, we might note an overarching chiasm that has been observed.[14] In support of our above statements that the heart of this psalm is a plea, we can see that in the center of the chiasm we find the psalmist’s explicit prayer that God answer and deliver salvation from death. The chiasm is very simple:

a. Hiddenness of Yahweh (v.1)

            b. Sorrow of the heart (v. 2a)

                        c. Triumph of enemy (v. 2b)

                                    d. Explicit plea for help (v.3)

                        c1. Frustration of enemy (v. 4)

            b1. Rejoicing of the heart (v.5)

a1. Praiseworthiness of Yahweh (v. 6)

Having taken a look at the structure of Psalm 13, we now are ready to make our way through the psalm and offer more detailed comment on each verse.

Verse 1.  While we may not want to agree completely with St. John Chrysostom’s judgment that this psalmist worries exclusively about divine favor and cares nothing at all about worldly matters,[15] still it is striking that our prayer opens with questions about God’s mindfulness of the psalmist. It does seem to be the psalmist’s first concern to address the lack of God’s favor in the life of one of his children. As we said above, the questions of “How long?” imply that this disfavor has gone on for quite some time now.

When the psalmist speaks of being “forgotten,” we are not to imagine a God plagued by forgetfulness, but rather a psalmist plagued by the “deliberate aloofness” of Yahweh.[16] This “forgottenness” is precisely the same experience as the “forsakenness” expressed in Psalm 22:1-2, which Jesus quotes on the cross. It is important that we not take this imagery of God “hiding his face” and “forgetting” the psalmist as meaning that God is not present. Other psalms use very similar language to express God’s disfavor and yet go on to accuse God of active hostility (e.g. Pss. 22:1-2; 42:10; 44:25; 88:15). In order to be hostile God must be present.[17] We therefore interpret this language in Psalm 13 as depicting an absence of God’s favor, but not of God himself.

Verse 2. Here, in the second part of the complaint section, we encounter a difficulty in translating the word that is rendered “pain” in the translation above. It is strange to find what is normally considered a mental activity—the Hebrew is usually translated “counsels”—associated with the soul, the seat of the emotions.[18] Terrien believes that we need to look to the next line and think of the heart as the literal organ beating inside the chest of the psalmist. We would then translate the verb according to its root which is from “to pierce” (not “to advise”) and render it literally as “constrictions”—fears of death which suffocate both soul and heart.[19] This is certainly one creative possibility.

A. A. Anderson notes that as an alternative we could assume the very similar word that actually means “hurt, grief” and emend the Masoretic Text accordingly.[20] But this seems an unnecessary move. Peter Craigie has considered the same possibility and concluded that it is sufficiently clear that this word can carry the sense of “pain” without emendation (incidentally this is also the final position of Anderson).[21] It is difficult, however, to know with much confidence precisely what denotation the psalmist has in mind here.

In our opinion, it is best to assume that the psalmist has employed a “deliberate lexical ambiguity” of that sort that Raabe has identified elsewhere in the Psalter.[22] In this case, the choice of a word that normally connotes mental activity to designate “pain” in this psalm would point to a deliberately mixed expression of emotionally painful thought. This would be more consistent with the holistic Hebraic account of human nature. The NIV’s “wrestle with my thoughts” may then be the best way to capture the feeling of this pain in the psalmist’s soul—with Mays we might conclude that in v. 2 “anxiety tortures the mind with painful questions.”[23] In our translation however, we have retained the more ambiguous “carry pain in my soul” in order to echo the (deliberate) ambiguity of the psalmist’s expression.

The first two verses are intimately related. When God hides his face as in v. 1, the psalmist is naturally left with an experience of aloneness that leads only to tormenting thoughts of the soul and unbearable sorrow in the heart—and of course it is precisely in this moment of weakness that the enemy comes to mind.[24] Who then is this enemy? Scholars are not in agreement. Craigie has said that the enemy is most probably death itself.[25] In this case, if the psalmist dies, then the answer to the question “Will you forget me forever?” could well be “Yes.” The psalmist may be posing a more honest question than we originally assumed.

However, it seems that more broadly scholars tend to agree with Kraus in saying that the enemies in Psalm 13 must be human beings. These enemies, though they are people, need not be particular people, they are an archetype of evildoers who represent a “counterimage of the primal ‘poor’ and ‘righteous’ person.”[26] This seems to be the best understanding of the enemies. We know that the psalmists are more than capable of talking about death explicitly when they want to (e.g. Ps. 116:3), and so the enemies of this passage are most naturally understood as evil human people. The psalmist having thus completed a threefold complaint regarding God, personal sufferings, and the enemy, is now ready to make an explicit plea for help.

Verse 3. We will not repeat the exegetical observations that were made in the structural analysis. Suffice it to say that in order to know what the psalmist is asking Yahweh to “answer,” we must look back to the questions of vv. 1-2; this closely links the first section of the psalm, the lament/complaint, to the second section, the plea for help.

We must note here that the psalmist’s requests that Yahweh “look” and “answer” are not really two separate requests.[27] If, rather than hiding his face, Yahweh looks at the psalmist and thus returns his favor, then salvation from death will surely follow. And, if the psalmist is delivered from enemies and from the threat of death, then this would of course be interpreted as God’s having looked at the psalmist and extended his favor. The request is a unity.

As we said in the structural analysis, the appeal to “my God” by the psalmist is an appeal to the covenant faithfulness of Yahweh. In 1 Chronicles 17:16-27 we see David’s use of this expression explicitly linked to God’s making Israel his covenant people. David is showing confidence that God will be faithful, and his confidence is based on the relationship that Yahweh instituted—“my God” is not an expression of human initiative but a response to God’s grace.[28]

Now we come to the most explicit plea: “Give light to my eyes.” Anderson tells us that the eyes were known to be the “barometer” of a person’s vitality.[29] And yet Terrien wants to argue that this petitioner is not sick—there is too much energy in the vigorous questioning for the psalmist to be gravely ill.[30] It seems then that the best way to understand the plea that Yahweh “give light to the psalmist’s eyes” is to let the imagery remind us of the “shining” of God’s face that represents his favor in the priestly blessing (Num. 6:25).[31] The prayer is looking back to the complaint in v. 1 that God has hidden his face. As we said, there is really only one request—the prayer of the psalmist is, “Yahweh, make your face to shine upon me and thereby give light to my eyes.” The psalmist knows that this favor of God is a matter of life and death and therefore acknowledges openly that without Yahweh’s shining light, the sleep of death is inevitable. We noted above how this threat of death offers a motivation for Yahweh to act.

Verse 4. As we noted above, some scholars believe that “the enemy” is death personified. If this is the case then the plural “adversaries” presents an intentional distinction in number so as to refer more broadly to antagonists in general—the psalmist prays that death will not be able to say “I have overcome him,” but also that the adversaries would not be able to rejoice in death’s victory. (“To be moved” is here taken to be a euphemism for death.)[32] Anderson however argues exactly opposite this view. According to Anderson “to be moved” is not necessarily a euphemism for death, it is in fact usually used to refer to misfortune in general. The “enemy” must be taken collectively so that it matches the plural “adversaries” of the parallel line.[33] This understanding is consistent with our conclusion about the enemies in v. 2—they should be understood as human persons.

Terrien has offered an attempt at greater specificity by stating that the psalmist appears to be a prince or monarch who is menaced by political or military rebels who will rejoice if their coup d’état is successful.[34] We must differ with Terrien as there does not seem to be sufficient evidence for treating Psalm 13 as a royal psalm. However, some commentators contend that the laments of the poor sometimes construe their enemies as armies thereby borrowing and democratizing imagery from the royal psalms.[35] It is plausible to envision the “adversaries” here in v. 4 as armies. This would offer the common petitioner who used this psalm a chance to identify with Yahweh’s anointed king. We might however hesitate to say that the democratization of royal psalms offers the best account of what we find in Psalm 13. Perhaps we can learn from Brevard Childs’ approach to the OT and speak instead of a canonical influence.[36] In this view we would be more likely to attribute the presence of army connotations in Psalm 13 to the theological effect that canonical royal psalms would have had on other psalmists. This offers the healthy reminder that social theories like democratization are not the only viable explanations for the phenomena of Scripture.

Verse 5. The psalmist has concluded the explicit plea and offers one more motivation for God to answer favorably—praise. What has caused this seemingly drastic change in tone? While many suggestions have been made to account for the shift from despair to hope, we maintain that it is best to keep in the forefront of our minds the central meaning of the prayer—the act of pleading. When we remember this pleading essence of the psalm, then the last section of the prayer seems a natural conclusion. With Gerstenberger then, we reject the suggestion that vv. 5-6 were written after the psalmist experienced salvation—this would change the genre and analysis of the psalm completely, and we would instead be talking about a thanksgiving song! We also agree with the assessment that the anticipatory praise at the end of the psalm is a “buttress” to the petition—the psalm is a classic complaint of the individual: complaint; petition; vow of praise.[37] There has been no real change in mood; the psalmist is in the same state of mind as in the whole of the preceding prayer. And, according to Luther, this paradoxical state is that “in which hope despairs, and yet despair hopes at the same time.”[38] The psalmist has trusted in God’s steadfast love enough to bring this prayer to him, and yet despaired enough to ask with a certain abrasiveness, “How long?” In v. 5 the hope of the heart rejoicing in the future forces us to look back to v. 2 and remember that right now the heart is despairing in sorrow all day long.

Verse 6. The psalmist is using praise as a rhetorical technique to persuade Yahweh. Leiter has suggested that as a part of this technique the psalmist softens the tone of the prayer by referring to God in the third person instead of talking directly to him.[39] This represents too much of a change in mood however, and we must reject Leiter’s explanation of the shift from second to third person. The psalmist is still aggressively petitioning Yahweh. The use of third person language is not because God is no longer being addressed, but rather it is because the psalmist is using the form of praise that we find in the thanksgiving songs and hymns. By echoing this language, the prayer has offered to Yahweh a taste of the praise that will follow the salvation of the psalmist. For a God who loves his people, this is motivation indeed.

Here at the close of the psalm we have three possibilities for understanding the statement that God has been good to the psalmist. According to Anderson the perfect “has been good” should be understood as a “perfect of certainty.”[40] This fully integrates the last section and makes this anticipatory praise of Yahweh a part of the confession of trust in v. 5. Craigie on the other hand has said that there is use of a Hebrew idiomatic formula here (including the perfect verb) which should be rendered “as soon as…”[41] Thus we would have: “I will sing to Yahweh as soon as he has been good to me.” Our last option is to agree with Mays that this final hymnic piece of the psalm is the foundation for the whole prayer. Somewhere, sometime the psalmist has experienced God’s goodness, and this past faithfulness of Yahweh has given the psalmist the present trust to bring this plea to him.[42]

Rather than be deceived and think that these interpretations are mutually exclusive, we instead find another instance of Raabe’s “deliberate ambiguity in the Psalter”—this time a grammatical ambiguity.[43] We are not forced to take the perfect verb that we find here at the end of Psalm 13 in accordance with exclusively one of the above proposed interpretive possibilities. Since all three of these possibilities would fit the central pleading character of the psalm, it is likely that the psalmist was intentional about the ambiguity. It is true that the psalmist is declaring trust. It is true that praise will be rendered to God as soon as salvation is experienced. And, it is true that God has been good to the psalmist is the past and thus given hope for the present.

As we reflect theologically on this psalm we note, as we have been all along, that a profound variety of rhetorical approaches are incorporated into the prayer life of God’s people by the inclusion of this type of psalm in the Psalter. To have such a bold attempt to persuade Yahweh present in the official hymnal of the second Temple is surely a theological statement. Human beings have no problem praising people in order to gain a favorable response; it would be a wonder if this kind of interaction were kept out of Israel’s relationship with God—the fact that these emotions are present in the canon suggests that the writers of these prayers believed such emotions to have a place in worship.[44] And that is really a statement about God.

The contribution that this psalm makes to Israel’s theology of the poor has been noted by theologians from the fourth to the twentieth centuries.[45] The very fact that this psalm would have been used regularly in worship contrasts rather strikingly with our day. Those who were suffering were cared for by the larger community and rehabilitation of weaker members was a high priority. We are reminded by this psalm that it was a part of Israel’s theology to see Yahweh as a God who cared so much about the poor that they were allowed to come stomping into the very courts of his Temple and defiantly ask, “How long?”

There are many more theological observations in the comments that were offered above which would be quite difficult to distill here without being repetitive. Let us conclude our reflection on the theology of the psalm in its original context by thinking of it within the canon of the Psalter. Israel is reminded with the doxology at the end of Book I (Ps. 41:13) that everything preceding that call to praise constitutes a reason to offer praise to Yahweh. This means of course that Psalm 13, just as it stands, is a reason to praise. And so the Psalter lives up to its Hebrew designation, “Praises.”[46] As we said before, even in this single psalm we experience both the tormenting distress and the promising hope of praise at the same time—“agony and adoration hung together by a cry for life.”[47] The Hebrew Scriptures teach that even in the direst of circumstances, praise is a part of the life of the people of God.

Psalm 13 is a song of pleading. It is an individual complaint. And it offered ancient Israelites the opportunity to pray to God when they had enough trust to come to Yahweh but enough despair to feel like he was not listening. We must remember that these two radically different frames of mind—trust and lament—are concurrent in the mind of the petitioner. Broyles has said it best:

There is nothing to suggest that the psalmist has dropped his protest… Simultaneous with the psalmist’s confession of present trust is his complaint of God’s Hiddenness. Apparently a God-lament need not signal a lack of trust, nor does trust obviate lament. In fact, such trust may well give freedom for the expression of lament.[48]

We somehow think that we must wait for the circumstances to be extraordinary before we are allowed to pray this psalm. But it is always appropriate. We are at once the dying, fearful, lamenting people who cannot find God where we think he should be, and the people to whom God has been exceedingly good and who therefore praise him.[49] And this is precisely who we should expect to be in light of our participation in Christ. We pray, “Give light to our eyes, lest we sleep the sleep of death.” We pray for life in the midst of our dying because we already bear a foretaste of it—“For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:11).

As Christians we are led by this psalm to our Christ. We remember his incarnation for our sake, and his willingness to take on the very suffering and forsakenness expressed in Psalm 13. Today we can give thanks to Yahweh that through our Jewish brothers and sisters he has left us with a song of prayer that allows the suffering to experience their pain in union with Christ who suffered not only to identify with us, but to redeem us. And knowing that full redemption is already and not-yet, we say confidently, “I will sing to Yahweh, for he has been good to me” while at the same time lamenting the reality of death in our world. We therefore offer our thanksgiving songs now, but look forward to a time when we will no more need laments.

[1] James Luther Mays, Psalms, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1994), 21.

[2] The specific terms that have been used here for the common elements of lament psalms have been those of Erhard S. Gerstenberger, Psalms Part 1: With an Introduction to Cultic Poetry, vol. 1, Psalms, vol. 14, The Forms of the Old Testament Literature (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 12.

[3] Craig C. Broyles, The Conflict of Faith and Experience in the Psalms: A Form Critical and Theological Study, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 52 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989), 40.

[4] Broyles, 184-185.

[5] Hans-Joachim Kraus, Psalms 1-59: A Commentary, vol. 1, Psalms, vol. 19/1, Continental Commentaries, trans. Hilton C. Oswald (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1988), 40.

[6] Kraus, 213.

[7] Kraus, 77.

[8] A. A. Anderson, The Book of Psalms 1, 1-72, vol. 1, The Book of Psalms, vol. 19/1, New Century Bible (London: Oliphants, 1972), 30.

[9] Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions, trans. John McHugh (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1961), 457-458; Samuel Terrien, The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, Eerdmans Critical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 42; Kraus, 76-77.

[10] Anderson, 51.

[11] Gerstenberger, 9, 21-22.

[12] Kraus, 42.

[13] For a similar discussion matching “motivational clauses” to “subjects found in the opening lament” see Broyles, 186.

[14] Terrien, 158-159.

[15] John Chrysostom, Commentary on the Psalms, trans. Robert Charles Hill (Brookline: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998), 224.

[16] Anderson, 128.

[17] Broyles, 184.

[18] Peter C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50, vol. 19, Word Biblical Commentary (Waco: Word Books, 1983), 140-143.

[19] Terrien, 160.

[20] Anderson, 128.

[21] Craigie, 140; Anderson, 128-129.

[22] Paul R. Raabe, “Deliberate Ambiguity in the Psalter,” Journal of Biblical Literature 110, no. 2 (1991): 214-217.

[23] Mays, Psalms, 78.

[24] Kraus, 215.

[25] Craigie, 142.

[26] Kraus, 98-99.

[27] James Luther Mays, “Psalm 13,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 34, no. 3 (1980): 280.

[28] Roland E. Murphy, “The Faith of the Psalmist,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 34, no. 3 (1980): 233; Broyles, 116; Mays, “Psalm 13,” 280-281.

[29] Anderson, 129.

[30] Terrien, 160.

[31] Kraus, 216.

[32] Craigie, 142-143.

[33] Anderson, 129-130.

[34] Terrien, 160.

[35] Kraus, 96.

[36] Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), 69-83.

[37] Gerstenberger, 85.

[38] Quoted in Mays, “Psalm 13,” 281.

[39] David A. Leiter, “The Rhetoric of Praise in the Lament Psalm,” Brethren Life and Thought 40, no. 1 (1995): 47.

[40] Anderson, 130.

[41] Craigie, 141.

[42] Mays, “Psalm 13,” 280.

[43] Raabe, 219-224.

[44] Leiter, 47-48.

[45] Chrysostom, 229; Gerstenberger, 86.

[46] Terrien, 10.

[47] Mays, “Psalm 13,” 282.

[48] Broyles, 186-187.

[49] Mays, “Psalm 13,” 282-283.