Psalm 130

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-04-17 11:39.

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This “song of ascents” may have been sung by those going up to the temple in Jerusalem.

Greatly distressed, the psalmist cried out to YHWH out of the depths, the low condition in which he found himself. He pleaded for God to hear his voice, to be attentive to his supplications. The plural “supplications” indicates that the psalmist had repeatedly raised his voice to express his intense appeals for favor.

Aware of his sinful condition, he acknowledged that, if Yah (the abbreviated form of YHWH) watched for or kept a count of misdeeds no one could stand, evidently stand as one who might expect favorable recognition or response.

The psalmist confidently looked to YHWH as being forgiving. He apparently believed that being granted forgiveness drew individuals closer to YHWH, motivating them to manifest wholesome, reverential fear. (Compare Luke 7:47.)

This confidence in forgiveness enabled the psalmist to wait for YHWH, evidently for a favorable response to his cry. When referring to “my soul” as waiting, the psalmist meant that he himself would wait. Moreover, the psalmist’s hope was in YHWH’s word, apparently the divine promise to aid those who sincerely turn to him in their time of need.

Watchmen who kept guard at night, the time of limited visibility and great vulnerability for surprise attacks, eagerly looked forward to the coming of the morning. With even greater eagerness, the psalmist’s soul (he himself) waited for the Lord, apparently to respond to his appeal.

From a personal appeal, the psalmist next focused on Israel as a whole, encouraging them to hope in YHWH. This is because YHWH is a God of abiding loyalty (Hebrew, chésed) or mercy (Greek, éleos) and abundant redemption, One who manifests loving compassion and repeatedly brings about deliverance.

Starting out as a cry of distress from the very depths, the composition concludes with an expression of unwavering faith. YHWH would redeem Israel from all misdeeds, granting forgiveness and a restoration to his favor.


One of the Dead Sea Psalms scrolls, opens with “Lord.” Regarding the divine name (YHWH), see Psalm 1.

In verse 2, the largest Dead Sea Psalms Scroll has a longer text, “Let now your ear be attentive to me.”

In verse 5, the Masoretic Text reads “and in his word,” whereas the Septuagint says “in your word.” The largest Dead Sea Psalms Scroll does not include “and.”

The Septuagint (verse 5), before “I waited,” adds “for the sake of your name,” that is, on account of who YHWH is. According to another reading, the added words are, “for the sake of your law.”

In verse 6, instead of “my soul waits,” the largest Dead Sea Psalms Scroll reads, “Wait, O my soul.” A partially preserved Dead Sea Psalms Scroll text appears to read “like watchmen,” not “more than watchmen.”

According to Rahlfs’ text of the Septuagint, verse 6 reads, “My soul has hoped upon the Lord from morning watch until night; from morning watch, let Israel hope upon the Lord.” This particular rendering emphasizes that the hoping or expectant looking for aid continues.

For a consideration of chésed and éleos, see Psalm 5.

The concluding verse of the largest Dead Sea Psalms Scroll omits the initial “and.”