Psalm 13 – “Petition”

Hebrew-English Text

I. Summary    
The Psalmist begs god to restore his health and to protect him from his enemies.

II. Photo
The psalmist begs to be healed: “Look at me, answer me, O Lord, my God! Restore the luster to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death!” (v. 4)

III. Select Verses    
2-3: How long, O LORD; will You ignore me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long will I have cares on my mind, grief in my heart all day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
4-6: Look at me, answer me, O LORD, my God! Restore the luster to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have overcome him,” my foes exult when I totter.
6: But I trust in Your faithfulness, my heart will exult in Your deliverance. I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me.

IV. Outline
1. Superscription
2-3. Invocation, petition
4-5. Petition, rationale
6. Affirmation of confidence, vow

V. Comment
Many form critics view Psalm 13 to be “a textbook example of [the] individual complaint” (Gerstenberger, 83). The psalm is unique in its fourfold use of the phrase עד אנה “how long?” (vv. 2-3). A major question surrounding the psalm is the change of tone between vv. 1-5, which is anxious and fearful, and v. 6, which is calm and confident. Some suggest that petitioning god brings the psalmist to confidence, but others point out that affirmations of confidence are standard for the genre.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Craigie, Peter C. “Psalms 1-50” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 19 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1983).
Gerstenberger, Erhard S. “Psalms Part 1 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry” Forms of Old Testament Literature (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988).
Photo taken from