Psalm 102

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Psalm 102
"Hear my prayer, O LORD"
Penitentary psalm
Psalm 102 (101) Initium.jpg
Beginning of the psalm in the Ramsey Psalter, with illuminated initial
Other name
  • Psalm 101
  • "Domine exaudi orationem meam"
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 102 is the 102nd psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee." In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in its Latin translation in the Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 101 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, it is known as "Domine exaudi orationem meam".[1][2]

This psalm is part of the fourth of the five biblical books of Psalms[3] and is one of the seven penitential psalms. It begins the final section of the three traditional divisions of the Latin psalms, and for this reason the first words ("Domine exaudi orationem meam et clamor meus ad te veniat...") and above all the initial "D" are often greatly enlarged in illuminated manuscript psalters, following the pattern of the Beatus initials at the start of Psalm 1.[4] In the original Hebrew, the first verse introduces the psalm as "A prayer of the poor man" or "A prayer of the afflicted".

Background and themes[edit]

Midrash Tehillim quotes Rabbi Pinchas, who notes that in some psalms David calls himself by name, as in "A prayer of David" (e.g. Psalm 17 and 86), but here he calls himself "the afflicted", as in "A prayer of the afflicted". Rabbi Pinchas explains that when David foresaw the righteous men who would descend from him—Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Isaiah—he called himself David. But when he perceived the wicked men who would be his descendants—Ahaz, Manasseh, Amon—he called himself "the afflicted".[5]


Hebrew Bible version[edit]

Following is the Hebrew text and an English translation of Psalm 102:[6]

Verse Hebrew English
1 תְּפִלָּה לְעָנִ֣י כִי־יַֽעֲטֹ֑ף וְלִפְנֵ֥י יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה יִשְׁפֹּ֥ךְ שִׂיחֽוֹ A prayer for a poor man when he enwraps himself and pours out his speech before the Lord.
2 יְהֹוָה שִׁמְעָ֣ה תְפִלָּתִ֑י וְ֜שַׁוְעָתִ֗י אֵלֶ֥יךָ תָבֽוֹא O Lord, hearken to my prayer, and may my cry come to You.
3 אַל־תַּסְתֵּ֬ר פָּנֶ֨יךָ | מִמֶּנִּי֘ בְּי֪וֹם צַ֫ר לִ֥י הַטֵּֽה־אֵלַ֥י אָזְנֶ֑ךָ בְּי֥וֹם אֶ֜קְרָ֗א מַהֵ֥ר עֲנֵֽנִי Do not hide Your countenance from me; on the day of my distress extend Your ear to me; on the day I call, answer me quickly.
4 כִּי־כָל֣וּ בְעָשָׁ֣ן יָמָ֑י וְ֜עַצְמוֹתַ֗י כְּמוֹקֵ֥ד נִחָֽרוּ For my days have ended in smoke, and as a hearth my bones are dried up.
5 הוּכָּֽה כָ֖עֵשֶׂב וַיִּבַ֣שׁ לִבִּ֑י כִּ֥י שָׁ֜כַ֗חְתִּי מֵֽאֲכֹ֥ל לַחְמִֽי Beaten like grass and withered is my heart, for I have forgotten to eat my bread.
6 מִקּ֥וֹל אַנְחָתִ֑י דָּֽבְקָ֥ה עַ֜צְמִ֗י לִבְשָׂרִֽי From the sound of my sigh my bones clung to my flesh.
7 דָּמִיתִי לִקְאַ֣ת מִדְבָּ֑ר הָ֜יִ֗יתִי כְּכ֣וֹס חֳרָבֽוֹת I was like a bird of the wilderness; I was like an owl of the wasteland.
8 שָׁקַ֥דְתִּי וָֽאֶהְיֶ֑ה כְּ֜צִפּ֗וֹר בּוֹדֵ֥ד עַל־גָּֽג I pondered, and I am like a lonely bird on a roof.
9 כָּל־הַ֖יּוֹם חֵֽרְפ֣וּנִי אֽוֹיְבָ֑י מְ֜הֽוֹלָלַ֗י בִּ֣י נִשְׁבָּֽעוּ All day long my enemies revile me; those who scorn me swear by me.
10 כִּי־אֵ֖פֶר כַּלֶּ֣חֶם אָכָ֑לְתִּי וְ֜שִׁקֻּוַ֗י בִּבְכִ֥י מָסָֽכְתִּי For ashes I ate like bread, and my drinks I mixed with weeping.
11 מִפְּנֵי־זַֽעַמְךָ֥ וְקִצְפֶּ֑ךָ כִּ֥י נְ֜שָׂאתַ֗נִי וַתַּשְׁלִיכֵֽנִי Because of Your fury and Your anger, for You picked me up and cast me down.
12 יָמַי כְּצֵ֣ל נָט֑וּי וַֽ֜אֲנִ֗י כָּעֵ֥שֶׂב אִיבָֽשׁ My days are like a lengthening shadow, and I dry out like grass.
13 וְאַתָּ֣ה יְ֖הֹוָה לְעוֹלָ֣ם תֵּשֵׁ֑ב וְ֜זִכְרְךָ֗ לְדֹ֣ר וָדֹֽר But You, O Lord, will be enthroned forever, and Your mention is to all generations.
14 אַתָּ֣ה תָ֖קוּם תְּרַחֵ֣ם צִיּ֑וֹן כִּי־עֵ֥ת לְ֜חֶנְנָ֗הּ כִּי־בָ֥א מוֹעֵֽד You will rise, You will have mercy on Zion for there is a time to favor it, for the appointed season has arrived.
15 כִּֽי־רָצ֣וּ עֲ֖בָדֶיךָ אֶת־אֲבָנֶ֑יהָ וְאֶת־עֲפָרָ֥הּ יְחֹנֵֽנוּ For Your servants desired its stones and favored its dust.
16 וְיִֽירְא֣וּ ג֖וֹיִם אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה וְכָל־מַלְכֵ֥י הָ֜אָ֗רֶץ אֶת־כְּבוֹדֶֽךָ And the nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory.
17 כִּֽי־בָנָ֣ה יְהֹוָ֣ה צִיּ֑וֹן נִ֜רְאָ֗ה בִּכְבוֹדֽוֹ For the Lord has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory.
18 פָּנָה אֶל־תְּפִלַּ֣ת הָֽעַרְעָ֑ר וְלֹֽא־בָ֜זָ֗ה אֶת־תְּפִלָּתָֽם He has turned to the prayer of those who cried out, and He did not despise their prayer.
19 תִּכָּ֣תֶב זֹ֖את לְד֣וֹר אַֽחֲר֑וֹן וְעַ֥ם נִ֜בְרָ֗א יְהַלֶּל־יָֽהּ Let this be inscribed for the latest generation, and a [newly] created people will praise Yah.
20 כִּֽי־הִ֖שְׁקִיף מִמְּר֣וֹם קָדְשׁ֑וֹ יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה מִשָּׁמַ֚יִם | אֶל־אֶ֬רֶץ הִבִּֽיט For He has looked down from His holy height; the Lord looked from heaven to earth,
21 לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶנְקַ֣ת אָסִ֑יר לְ֜פַתֵּ֗חַ בְּנֵ֣י תְמוּתָֽה To hear the cry of the prisoner, to loose the sons of the dying nation;
22 לְסַפֵּ֣ר בְּ֖צִיּוֹן שֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה וּ֜תְהִלָּת֗וֹ בִּירֽוּשָׁלִָֽם To proclaim in Zion the name of the Lord and His praise in Jerusalem.
23 בְּהִקָּבֵ֣ץ עַמִּ֣ים יַחְדָּ֑ו וּ֜מַמְלָכ֗וֹת לַֽעֲבֹ֥ד אֶת־יְהֹוָֽה When peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to serve the Lord.
24 עִנָּ֖ה בַדֶּ֥רֶךְ כֹּחִ֗י (כתיב כֹּחִ֗ו) קִצַּ֥ר יָמָֽי He has afflicted my strength on the way; He has shortened my days.
25 אֹמַ֗ר אֵלִ֗י אַל־תַּֽ֖עֲלֵנִי בַּֽחֲצִ֣י יָמָ֑י בְּד֖וֹר דּוֹרִ֣ים שְׁנוֹתֶֽיךָ I say, "My God, do not take me away in the middle of my days, You Whose years endure throughout all generations.
26 לְפָנִים הָאָ֣רֶץ יָסַ֑דְתָּ וּמַֽעֲשֵׂ֖ה יָדֶ֣יךָ שָׁמָֽיִם In the beginning You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
27 הֵ֚מָּה | יֹאבֵ֗דוּ וְאַתָּ֪ה תַֽ֫עֲמֹ֥ד וְ֖כֻלָּם כַּבֶּ֣גֶד יִבְל֑וּ כַּלְּב֖וּשׁ תַּֽחֲלִיפֵ֣ם וְיַֽחֲלֹֽפוּ They will perish but You will endure, and all of them will rot away like a garment; like raiment You will turn them over and they will pass away.
28 וְאַתָּה־ה֑וּא וּ֜שְׁנוֹתֶ֗יךָ לֹ֣א יִתָּֽמּוּ But You are He, and Your years will not end.
29 בְּנֵֽי־עֲבָדֶ֥יךָ יִשְׁכֹּ֑נוּ וְ֜זַרְעָ֗ם לְפָנֶ֣יךָ יִכּֽוֹן The children of Your servants will dwell, and their seed will be established before You."

King James Version[edit]

  1. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.
  2. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.
  3. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an 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 house top.
  8. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.
  9. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.
  10. Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
  11. My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
  12. But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.
  13. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.
  14. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.
  15. So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.
  16. When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall 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 hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;
  20. To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death;
  21. To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;
  22. When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
  23. He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.
  24. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.
  25. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
  26. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
  27. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
  28. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.



Psalm 102 is one of 15 psalms recited as additional hymns during the Yom Kippur service by Sephardi Jews.[7]

Verse 1 is recited by the sheaves of barley in Perek Shirah.[8][9]

Verse 14 is said in Selichot.[9] Sephardi Jews recite verse 14 after the prayer of Ein Keloheinu in the morning service.[10] This verse is also used as a popular Jewish song called Atah takum, with the refrain ki va moed.[11]

Psalm 102 is said in times of community crisis.[12] It is also recited as a prayer for a childless woman to give birth.[13] In the Siddur Sfas Emes, this psalm is said as a prayer "for the well-being of an ill person".[9]

New Testament[edit]

Catholic and Anglican[edit]

Verse 1, with some other psalm verses (such as 124:8), has a prominent place in Catholic and Anglican liturgies, where it is split as an antiphon into a "call" ("Lord, listen to my prayer", or "Hear my prayer, O Lord") and the response ("and let my cry come unto Thee").

This psalm occurs in the Monastic office of St Benedict (480-547) in the Saturday Vigil or Matins.[15] It occurs in the same place in the Roman Breviary of St Pius V (1568) and occurs at Saturday Terce in the Roman Breviary of St Pius X (1911).[16] In the revised office of Pope Paul VI (1971) the Psalm occurs on Tuesday Week 4 Office of Readings

Musical settings[edit]

The second verse is set in the first part of Hear my prayer, O Lord, an anthem composed in 1682 by Henry Purcell, using the translation of the Book of Common Prayer.

Verses 25b-28 (interspersed with Psalm 90) form the text of Jochen Klepper's 1938 Neujahrslied (New Years' Song).


  1. ^ Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 101 (102 Archived 2017-05-07 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Comparison of Enumeration of the Psalms in the Book of Divine Worship and in the Vulgate". The Daily Office of the Catholic Church According to the Anglican Use. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project". Theology of Work. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  4. ^ Calkins, Robert G. Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages, p. 208, 1983, Cornell University Press, ISBN 0500233756
  5. ^ "Midrash Tehillim / Psalms 102" (PDF). Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  6. ^ "Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 102". 2018. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  7. ^ Nulman 1996, p. 251.
  8. ^ Slifkin, Nosson (2002). "Perek Shirah" (PDF). Zoo Torah. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 45.
  10. ^ Nulman 1996, p. 72.
  11. ^ Abramowitz, Rabbi Jack (2018). "Ki Va Moed". Orthodox Union. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  12. ^ Weintraub, Rabbi Simkha Y. (2018). "Psalms as the Ultimate Self-Help Tool". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  13. ^ "Birth". Daily Tehillim. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  14. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms: with Introduction and Notes. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Book IV and V: Psalms XC-CL. Cambridge: At the University Press. p. 839. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  15. ^ "St Benedicts Psalmody". Schedule of Psalms for the Opus Dei. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Four Breviaries over 500 Years". Gregorian Books. Retrieved 10 November 2018.


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