1 [A Prayer of the Afflicted: when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the LORD.] Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me in the day when I am in trouble. Incline your ear to me. In the day when I call, answer me speedily.
3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as a hearth.
4 My heart is smitten and withered like grass so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my skin.
6 I am like a pelican of the wilderness. I am like an owl of the desert.
7 I watch and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop.
8 My enemies reproach me all the day, and those who are enraged against me have sworn against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread and mingled my drink with weeping,
10 Because of your indignation and your wrath. For you have lifted me up and cast me down.
11 My days are like a shadow that declines, and I am withered like grass.
12 But you, O LORD, shall endure forever, and your remembrance to all generations.
13 You shall arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her, even the set time, has come.
14 For your servants take pleasure in her stones and favor the dust thereof.
15 So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 When the LORD builds up Zion, he will appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute and not despise their prayer.
18 This shall be written for the generation to come. And the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.
19 For he has looked down from the height of his sanctuary. From heaven the LORD has beheld the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those who are appointed to death,
21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the people are assembled, and also the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
23 He weakened my strength in the way. He shortened my days.
24 I said, "O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days. Your years are throughout all generations.
25 Of old you have laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They shall perish, but you will endure. Indeed, all of them shall grow old like a garment. As a vesture you will change them, and they shall be changed.
27 But you are the same, and your years will have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall continue, and their offspring shall be established before you."
John Calvin's Chapter Summary:
This prayer seems to have been dictated to the faithful when they were languishing in captivity in Babylon. Sorrowful and humbled, they first bewail their afflictions. In the next place, they plead with God for the restoration of the holy city and temple. To encourage themselves to come before him in prayer with the greater confidence, they call to remembrance the Divine promises in reference to the happy renovation both of the kingdom and of the priesthood; and they not only assure themselves of deliverance from captivity, but also beseech God to bring kings and nations in subjection to himself. In the close of the psalm, after having interposed a brief complaint concerning their distressing and afflicted condition, they draw consolation from the eternity of God; for, in adopting his servants to a better hope, he has separated them from the common lot of men.
[v.25] - Quoted in Hebrews 1:10.
[v.26] - Quoted in Hebrews 1:11.
[v.26-27] - Quoted in Hebrews 1:12.