Weekly Cycle

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week 19 (Book 6): Reviewing the Second Week of Shevat - Psalms 55-57; 59:12-14; 89:20


PSALMS (Introductions and Translations from Chabad.org):

Chapter 55

David composed this psalm upon escaping from Jerusalem in the face of the slanderers, Doeg and Achitofel, who had declared him deserving of death. David had considered Achitofel a friend and accorded him the utmost honor, but Achitofel betrayed him and breached their covenant. David curses all his enemies, so that all generations should "know, and sin no more."

1. For the Conductor, with instrumental music, a maskil by David. 2. Listen to my prayer, O G-d, do not hide from my pleas. 3. Pay heed to me and answer me, as I lament in my distress and moan - 4. because of the shout of the enemy and the oppression of the wicked; for they accuse me of evil and hate me passionately. 5. My heart shudders within me, and the terrors of death have descended upon me. 6. Fear and trembling penetrate me, and I am enveloped with horror. 7. And I said, "If only I had wings like the dove! I would fly off and find rest. 8. Behold, I would wander afar, and lodge in the wilderness forever. 9. I would hurry to find shelter for myself from the stormy wind, from the tempest.” 10. Consume, O Lord, confuse their tongue; for I have seen violence and strife in the city.1 11. Day and night they encircle her upon her walls, and iniquity and vice are in her midst. 12. Treachery is within her; fraud and deceit never depart from her square. 13. For it is not the enemy who taunts me-that I could bear; nor my foe who raises himself against me, that I could hide from him. 14. But it is you, a man of my equal, my guide and my intimate. 15. Together we took sweet counsel; we walked with the throng to the house of G-d. 16. May He incite death upon them, let them descend to the pit alive; for there is evil in their dwelling, within them. 17. As for me, I call to G-d, and the Lord will save me. 18. Evening, morning and noon, I lament and moan-and He hears my voice. 19. He redeemed my soul in peace from battles against me, because of the many who were with me. 20. May G-d-He who is enthroned from the days of old, Selah-hear and humble those in whom there is no change, and who do not fear G-d. 21. He extended his hands against his allies, he profaned his covenant. 22. Smoother than butter are the words of his mouth, but war is in his heart; his words are softer than oil, yet they are curses. 23. Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous man falter. 24. And You, O G-d, will bring them down to the nethermost pit; bloodthirsty and treacherous men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You.

Chapter 56

David composed this psalm while in mortal danger at the palace of Achish, brother of Goliath. In his distress David accepts vows upon himself.

1. For the Conductor, of the mute dove1 far away. By David, a michtam, 2 when the Philistines seized him in Gath. 2. Favor me, O G-d, for man longs to swallow me; the warrior oppresses me every day. 3. My watchful enemies long to swallow me every day, for many battle me, O Most High! 4. On the day I am afraid, I trust in You. 5. [I trust] in G-d and praise His word; in G-d I trust, I do not fear-what can [man of] flesh do to me? 6. Every day they make my words sorrowful; all their thoughts about me are for evil. 7. They gather and hide, they watch my steps, when they hope [to capture] my soul. 8. Should escape be theirs in reward for their iniquity? Cast down the nations in anger, O G-d! 9. You have counted my wanderings; place my tears in Your flask-are they not in Your record? 10. When my enemies will retreat on the day I cry out, with this I will know that G-d is with me. 11. When G-d deals strictly, I praise His word; when the Lord deals mercifully, I praise His word. 12. In G-d I trust, I do not fear-what can man do to me? 13. My vows to You are upon me, O G-d; I will repay with thanksgiving offerings to You. 14. For You saved my soul from death-even my feet from stumbling-to walk before G-d in the light of life.

Chapter 57

David composed this psalm while hiding from Saul in a cave, facing grave danger. Like Jacob did when confronted with Esau, David prayed that he neither be killed nor be forced to kill. In the merit of his trust in G-d, G-d wrought wonders to save him.

1. For the Conductor, a plea to be spared destruction. By David, a michtam, when he fled from Saul in the cave. 2. Favor me, O G-d, favor me, for in You my soul took refuge, and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until the disaster passes. 3. I will call to G-d the Most High; to the Almighty Who fulfills [His promise] to me. 4. He will send from heaven, and save me from the humiliation of those who long to swallow me, Selah; G-d will send forth His kindness and truth. 5. My soul is in the midst of lions, I lie among fiery men; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword. 6. Be exalted above the heavens, O G-d; let Your glory be upon all the earth. 7. They laid a trap for my steps, they bent down my soul; they dug a pit before me, [but] they themselves fell into it, Selah. 8. My heart is steadfast, O G-d, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and chant praise. 9. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I shall awaken the dawn. 10. I will thank You among the nations, my Lord; I will praise You among the peoples. 11. For Your kindness reaches till the heavens, Your truth till the skies. 12. Be exalted above the heavens, O G-d; let Your glory be over all the earth.


Chapter 59

12. Do not kill them, lest my nation forget; drive them about with Your might and impoverish them, O our Shield, my Master, 13. [for] the sin of their mouth, the word of their lips; let them be trapped by their arrogance. At the sight of their accursed state and deterioration, [people] will recount. 14. Consume them in wrath, consume them and they will be no more; and they will know that G-d rules in Jacob, to the ends of the earth, Selah. 


20. Then You spoke in a vision to Your pious ones and said: "I have granted aid to [David] the mighty one; I have exalted the one chosen from among the people.

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