Psalm 13

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Scroll of the Psalms

Psalm 13 is the 13th psalm from the Book of Psalms.[1]


The Psalm is quite simple in form. The psalm falls into three stanzas of two verses each:[2][3]

  1. The problem (13:1‑2);
  2. The petition (13:3‑4);
  3. The praise (13:5‑6).


"It was the opinion of Theodoret that this psalm was composed by David, not during his persecution by Saul, but when Absalom conspired against him; and the reason which he assigns for this opinion is, 'that the trouble which Saul gave him was before his great sin, and so he was full of confidence; but that of Absalom was after it, which made him cry out in this doleful manner.'"[4]



Verse 6 is the ninth verse of Hoshia Et Amecha in Pesukei Dezimra.[5]


Around 530, St. Benedict of Nursia chose this psalm to be recited for the office of prime on Thursday in the Rule of St. Benedict. In the modern liturgy, Psalm 13 is recited or sung to the Office of the mid-day Tuesday of the first week.

Protestant Christianity[edit]

Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon saw Psalm 13 as illustrative of trials in the Christian life: "how long wilt thou forget me, O Lord" is almost a universal cry of humanity, as troubles (both internal and external) [6] find their way into lives.[7] The answer for Spurgeon, found in verse 5, is to trust God, as our troubles shall end, our victory is eternal. Or as non-conformist theologian Matthew Henry put it:

"None live so easily, so pleasantly, as those that live by faith".[8]


The psalm was set to music by Johannes Brahms for women's choir in 3 voices. In 1692, Michel-Richard de Lalande wrote his great Latin motet (S.40) for the offices to the Royal Chapel of Versailles and his contemporary, Henry Desmarest also composed a grand motet on this Psalm.


  1. ^ Hubert Irsigler: Psalm-Rede als Handlungs-, Wirk- und Aussageprozeß. Sprechakttheorie und Psalmeninterpration am Beispiel von Psalm 13. In: Klaus Seyboldt, Erich Zenger (Hrsg.): Neue Wege der Psalmforschung. Freiburg u.a. 1994.
  2. ^ Psalm 13: When God Seems Distant.
  3. ^ Hermann Gunkel: Die Psalmen, 61986, p46.
  4. ^ Bishop Patrick's Paraphrase on the Book of Psalms.
  5. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 64
  6. ^ Psalm 13, in Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 8: Psalms, Part I, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at
  7. ^ Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.
  8. ^ Matthew Henry, Psalms 13, Matthew Henry Commentary.