*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Psalm 35:11-17 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Psalm 35:11
  • Psalm 35:12
  • Psalm 35:13
  • Psalm 35:14
  • Psalm 35:15
  • Psalm 35:16
  • Psalm 35:17

David accuses his enemies of maliciously repaying the good he did for them with evil. He reports how they falsely accuse him, and recounts his heartfelt love and acts of service to them during their time of sickness. Despite his mercy and compassion, they viciously turned against David. 

David’s account is prophetic of how Jesus the Messiah is betrayed by Judas and later falsely accused during His religious trials. It is also prophetic of how those whom Jesus loved and served repaid good with evil and became his vicious enemies.  

Psalm 35 is a prayer of David offered to the LORD, imploring Him to rescue Him from enemies who unjustly seek his destruction. This portion of Psalm 35 contains David the psalmist’s second litany. 

Psalm 35 is outlined as follows:

  • First Litany (Psalm 35:1-8)
  • First Praise (Psalm 35:9-10)
  • Second Litany (Psalm 35:11-17) 
  • Second Praise (Psalm 35:18)   
  • Third Litany (Psalm 35:19-27)   
  • Third Praise (Psalm 35:28)   

Psalm 35:11-17 as David’s Prayer

This section contains the second litany (list of petitions to God) of Psalm 35. It consists of six accusations against David’s enemies, an acquittal of David, and an urgent petition to the LORD.

The first accusation of the second litany is:

Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know (v 11).

The psalmist is describing a court scene where witnesses testify against the accused. It is not clear if David the psalmist was describing events literally or metaphorically. However, given that the psalms are poetic and that no such record of David standing trial can be found in other Biblical accounts, it could either be that this image of the court scene is metaphorical or that David is describing an unrecorded event. Accusations against David by Saul that resulted in Saul’s army hunting David to imprison or eliminate him might have been in mind. 

These witnesses are described as malicious toward the psalmist. This infers that these witnesses may not be merely stating accusations against him, but that they are maliciously attacking David with false accusations. The psalmist says they rise up which could mean that they are officially summoned to rise up and testify in court, or he could mean that they are popping up everywhere and maliciously slandering him from all sides. David could also intend both meanings of the expression rise up.

He says: They ask me of things that I do not know

This further indicates how the witnesses are malicious, they apparently are making up false things to accuse against David. The reason David does not know of the things they question and ask him about might be because they are fabricated. David did not do the things they accuse, insinuate, and ask him about, therefore he does not know of these things

David’s first accusation is that he is apparently being slandered by false witnesses who are making up terrible things to smear his reputation.  

The second accusation of the second litany is:

They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul (v 12).

David complains that his enemies are malicious toward him despite the good he has done for them. Apparently, his enemies are worse than what David said of them earlier when he said that they harm him “without cause” (Psalm 35:7). If anything, they have cause to repay the good he has done for them with good for David. But instead of doing good, they repay his goodness, kindness, etc. with evilto the bereavement of his soul.

The sentiment of the verse 12’s second line—to the bereavement of my soul—expresses how hurt David is over the evil that has been repaid to him for his good. It seems as though David has been betrayed by his friends who are now among the malicious witnesses. This loss of friendship and betrayal is grievous to his soul. The Hebrew word translated soul can also be rendered “life.” It appears in Genesis 1 as God is creating the various creatures on earth and gives them “life.” It includes David’s entire personhood. David is expressing that being persecuted for doing good is creating pain that penetrates to the deepest part of his being. 

David describes his emotional pain as bereavement. It is a similar kind of grief someone might feel when a close friend dies.

David is apparently experiencing the hurt from being betrayed by a friend. He did good for his friend and he is now bewildered by why that friend would repay him evil for good

Though David does not name King Saul in Psalm 35, it seems reasonable to think that Saul might be among the people David has in mind when he is describing those who seek his life.

David was good to Saul and for a time Saul loved David (1 Samuel 16:21). David faithfully served him and did him much good (1 Samuel 16:22-23). Later Saul became jealous and turned against David (1 Samuel 18:8-9). After David spared Saul’s life when the King was unjustly seeking to murder David, Saul confessed to David,

“You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt wickedly with you.”
(1 Samuel 24:17)

Sometime after this encounter, Saul tried to kill David again, even though David had faithfully been his servant and continued to do good for his king (1 Samuel 26:2)

After confessing his grief and second accusation, David acquits himself before the LORD and explains the good that he did:

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom (v 13).

The psalmist describes visiting his friends (now malicious enemies) when they were sick. He says that he mourned with them, dressing himself in sackcloth when they were not well. Sackcloth was worn as clothing to express sorrow. By wearing sackcloth, the psalmist was sharing in the sorrows and sickness of his friends (who now repay his good with evil). 

The psalmist humbled his soul and fasted on his friends’ behalf. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that deprives a person of some good (often food) to focus the soul on God, and is a means to pursue spiritual gain. The psalmist’s fasting in this case was primarily focused on interceding with God for the benefit of his friends’. His fasting was accompanied by prayer for his friends’ well-being. David writes that his prayer for his friend kept returning to my bosom. In other words, David continually prayed for his friends’ (now enemies’) well-being from deep within his heart. 

Despite these sacrifices and the devotion David had shown his friends, they repay him evil for his good

David continues to explain his self-defense:

I went about as though it were my friend or brother (v 14a).

The—it—in this verse refers to David’s prayer. David says he prayed so continually and intensely for his friends (now enemies) that it was as though his prayer were his friend or family member. 

I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother (v 14b).

David was sorrowed so much over his friends (now enemies) that he bowed down mourning—in tears, as one who sorrows for losing a mother

The psalmist clearly loved and was loyal to this person(s) (who has now betrayed him) as much as he loved and cared for his own mother

After acquitting himself and describing the good things he has done for his enemies when they were friends, David resumes his accusations against those who seek his life. 

The third accusation of the second litany is:

But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together;
The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me (v 15a).

Despite doing good for those who now are against him when they were stumbling in their day of trouble, now these same people are celebrating David’s stumbling and troubles. This is one of the ways they have repaid the psalmist evil for good.

Instead of helping David when he stumbled, as he had helped them, they rejoiced at his calamity. And they gathered themselves together to celebrate his suffering. To the psalmist, it may have seemed that everyone was gathered together to laugh at him in his pain.

But they did not just laugh and rejoice at David’s pain, they and others whom he did not know gathered together with them to work against David, and increase his physical and social pain. The psalmist writes that smiters, whom I did not know slapped and hit him. A smiter is someone who smites or strikes a person with their hand. This could be a slap or a punch with a closed fist. It is a display of public disapproval that is both physically painful and intended to shame the person who was smote. 

In summary, David’s third accusation is that he is being unjustly mocked by those he once helped and physically abused by strangers he has never met.

The fourth accusation of the second litany is:

They slandered me without ceasing (v 15b).

David’s adversaries are making evil things up about him and/or are twisting his actions into something they can maliciously use against him. This accusation is similar to the first one of this litany section when he complained: malicious witnesses rise up (v 11). He says that they are doing this without ceasing. They won’t stop slandering him. Their unceasing slanders make it impossible for him to defend himself and set the record straight, because as soon as he addresses one slander, another slander, or two, or three, or more slanders are made. They are slandering him without ceasing.    

The fifth accusation of the second litany is:

Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth (v 16).

The last accusation David makes in this second litany is that his enemies are like godless jesters at a feast. A jester is a court clown. He does and says ridiculous things for the amusement of his audience—usually the king. Jesters are often employed at feasts as a form of entertainment. The psalmist’s expression: godless jesters implies that these jesters are sacrilegious in their actions. They have no sense of godly propriety or moral decency in what they do or say.

They gnashed at me with their teeth. Gnash means to bite or clench teeth in anger (Acts 7:54, 57). The picture David is portraying is that his enemies are enraged at him and make contorted faces at him—as profane and mocking jesters would do at a feast. Only David’s enemies are not pretending—they really hate him. 

David ends his second litany with an urgent petition.

Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions (v 17).

David petitions God by calling Him—Lord. He uses a form of the Hebrew word—אֲדֹנָי (H113—proununced: “ad-ō-nai”). The Lord is God’s title—which is the Ruler of the Universe. David addresses God as “Adonai” because God, as Ruler of the Universe, has the authority and power to stop these injustices immediately.

Exasperated by his unjust sufferings, David asks Adonai, the Ruler of the Universe, “how long will You look on and let my suffering happen?” 

He asks the Lord, 

  • how long will You look on and let my enemies rise up against me as malicious witnesses?
  • how long will You look on and let my enemies repay evil for good?”
  • how long will You look on and let my enemies rejoice at my stumbling?
  • how long will You look on and let my enemies gather together against me with smiters who strike me?
  • how long will You look on and let my enemies slander me without ceasing?
  • how long will You look on and let my enemies gnash at me with their teeth like godless jesters?”

This petition for justice is similar to the martyrs in heaven asking God how long will He wait before avenging their deaths on the earth (Revelation 6:10). After this question, David implores the Lord, Adonai, to 

rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions (v 17).

David knows that he is powerless to save himself. Only Adonai, the King of the Universe, can rescue him now. 

How David’s litany in Psalm 35:11-17 corresponds to Jesus, the Messiah

The Bible Says commentary for this section of scripture will continue our numbering of the various ways Psalm 35 is prophetic of Jesus the Messiah. The listing of Psalm 35’s Messianic prophecies begins in The Bible Says commentary for Psalm 35:1-3. This section of scripture begins with the 9th Messianic prophecy of Psalm 35. The previous 8 are located in prior sections.

9.   Malicious witnesses will fabricate accusations against the Messiah.

Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know (v 11).


They slandered me without ceasing  (v 15c).

Jesuswas greatly slandered by His religious opponents—both before and during His series of religious and civil trials.

During His ministry, they slandered the Son of God as an agent of the devil—arguing that the reason Jesus could exorcise demons was because he was empowered “by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 12:24).

During the second phase of Jesus’s religious trial—His Nighttime Trial in the Home of Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-66), Jesus was slandered and accused by many malicious witnesses who rose up against Him without ceasing:

“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.”
(Matthew 26:59-60b—See also Mark 14:53-64)

These false and malicious witnesses fabricated accusations against Jesus the Messiah. Paradoxically, as a human emptied of His divine omniscience (Philippians 2:6-7), Jesus did not know of the things they accused Him of or asked Him about, because they were fabricated. He did not know the things they were talking about.

And when they brought Jesus before the Roman governor early in the morning, they slandered Jesus as one who misleads the nation, forbids people to pay Roman taxes, and calls Himself the Messiah, a King (Luke 23:1-2). Of these charges, only the third was remotely true. But it was not true in the sense which the priests presented it to Pilate. Upon investigation, Pilate repeatedly declared Jesus to be innocent of this slander (Luke 23:4, 15, 22). The first two charges—misleading the nation and teaching people to not pay taxes—were both entirely false, and malicious slanders. 

10.   The Messiah will be good, but His adversaries will wrong Him for His good.

They repay me evil for good (v 12a).

Jesus’s enemies repaid the Messiah evil for good.

Jesus, who was the Son of God and the Messiah, came to earth for the good of everyone. 

  • Jesus came to redeem Israel from sin (Matthew 1:21) 
  • Jesus came to serve (Matthew 20:28)
  • Jesus came to bring abundant life (John 10:10)
  • Jesus came to save the world (John 3:16) 

Jesus had healed the sick, given sight to the blind, and delivered people from demon-possession. He had even raised people from the dead. But instead of embracing Him for the good He gave, Jesus was treated with evil by those He came to save.

  • Jesus was not received by His own people (John 1:10-11).
  • Jesus was called evil and demonic for the good miracles he performed (Matthew 10:25, 12:24).
  • Jesus was hated (John 3:20, 15:18).
  • Jesus was rejected and put to death by His own people (Matthew 27:25, Luke 23:23, John 19:15).

Moreover, Jesus was also: 

  • Abandoned during His hour of need by His own disciples (Matthew 26:56).
  • Denied three times by Peter, the leader among His disciples (Matthew 26:69-75).
  • Betrayed by Judas, one of His closest disciples (Matthew 26:47-50).  

Jesus endured all these evil things in exchange for the abundance of good things He gave and offered.

11.   The Messiah will be emotionally traumatized by His rejection.

Suffering evil for good was particularly painful for Jesus. This was the third fulfilment of this litany in Psalm 35.

To the bereavement of my soul (v 12b).

Jesus wept over Jerusalem and the evil consequences that would befall its people after they rejected the Messiah and His good offer (Matthew 23:37-38).

Before He was betrayed, arrested, abandoned, denied, unjustly tried, mocked, abused, tortured forsaken, and executed—Jesus confided to Peter, James, and John that He was deeply distressed: “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38).

Jesus’s soul was bereaved.

12.   The Messiah will be God in human form.

Psalm 35 poetically alludes to the incarnation of God as man.

But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting (v 13).

Jesus was God made man. He was God in human form.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(John 1:14)

Jesus humbled and emptied Himself of His divine privilege.

“He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”
(Philippians 2:6-7)

When Jesus set aside His divine power in order to fully follow the will of His Father, He humbled and disciplined Himself to learn what it meant to live by faith. In a sense, this self-denial was a form of fastingfasting from His unrestrained and glorious divinity. 

13.   The Messiah will become sin on man’s behalf.

Expanding on Psalm 35:13’s prophetic allusion to the incarnation is how this verse also alludes to the way Jesus the Messiah became sin on our behalf.  

After Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command in the Garden of Eden, all humanity was sick with sin. And when they (humanity) were sick, God clothed Himself in the sackcloth of mortality.  

Jesus, the Son of God and the Messiah, humbled Himself “so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9b) 

Jesus humbled Himself to become like mortal men and take on the sickness of sin upon Himself as a man—so that we might be healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). When we were sick with sin, He put on the clothing of our sin and the mournful sackcloth of our unrighteousness so that we could be clothed in His righteousness:

He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(Romans 5:8)

14.   The Messiah never lost sight of and continually ached to accomplish His mission to save those He loved. 

And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.
I went about as though it were my friend or brother;
I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother (v 13b-14).

The Messiah came “to serve…and give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Throughout His time on earth, Jesus sought humanity’s best interest in His words, actions, and His prayer.

In His last public statement before He was crucified, Jesus lamented:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”
(Matthew 23:37-38)

Jesus’s confession, “How often I wanted…” shows how He was constantly in prayer for Jerusalem (the city He loved and who called for His death). His prayer for Jerusalem was devoted and fervent. It was as though His prayer and love for Jerusalem were a constant companion and as a family member to Him. 

15.   The Messiah’s adversaries will rejoice at His stumbling and assemble against Him.

But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together (v 15a).

Stumbling means to trip or fall. Stumbling does not mean total defeat—but it does mean that the one who trips is off balance and vulnerable.

There are several interpretations of what the Messiah stumbling may refer to.

The Messiah’s stumbling could refer to when He was betrayed by Judas. It could refer to when He was arrested in Gethsemane. It could refer to when He was condemned for blasphemy. It could refer to when He was executed on the cross. It could refer to when He was dead and buried (before He came back to life). The Messiah’s stumbling could refer to any or to all these things.  

But in the context of Psalm 35, the Messiah’s stumbling probably best fits when Judas agreed to betray Jesus to His adversaries and/or when they first condemned Jesus with blasphemy in the home of Caiaphas. 

Here is how the Messiah’s stumbling pertains to both of these events:

The chief priests and elders gathered together to plot Jesus’s death (Matthew 26:3-4). But they were unsure and afraid of how to go about their murderous ambitions (Matthew 26:5), until suddenly Judas, one of His disciples, surprisingly agreed to betray His Master to them for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-15). At this unexpected turn of events, the Messiah’s adversaries likely rejoiced. And they later gathered themselves together in the home of Caiaphas upon His arrest in Gethsemane. 

During the second phase of Jesus’s religious trial, Caiaphas, the high priest, was worried that they would discover no charge with which they could use to condemn Jesus. If they failed to do so—it would expose their illegal conspiracy against the Man many believed was the Messiah, and likely lead to their downfall. 

Desperate for this not to happen, Caiaphas put Jesus under oath and demanded that He tell Him whether or not He was the Son of God (Matthew 26:63). When Jesus answered that He was God (Matthew 26:64), Caiaphas immediately tore His robes in mock outrage and charged Jesus with blasphemy (Matthew 26:65). Inwardly, Caiaphas (and those gathered together with him) was relieved and rejoiced at Jesus’s alleged stumbling, because He could now be charged and condemned with a capital crime. 

Jesus did not sin. He did not blaspheme. He spoke the truth because Jesus really was who He claimed to be—God. His stumbling was not therefore a sin or crime, but it was a moment when His relentless adversaries had something on Him (irrespective of the truth) which they could maliciously use to condemn Him to death. And they rejoiced when the Messiah was at last vulnerable and seemed to be stumbling into their hands.

16.   The Messiah will be hit and physically abused by His adversaries.

The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me, (v 15b)

Jesus was repeatedly slapped, punched, and physically abused by His adversaries throughout His religious and civil trials. 

The first recorded instance of this abuse took place during Jesus’s Preliminary Trial in the home of Annas (John 18:22-23).

But the chief fulfillments of this prophecy seem to have been fulfilled later on—at the conclusion of Jesus’s Nighttime Trial in the Home of Caiaphas—and again during the final phase of Jesus’s Civil Trial before Pilate.  

Shortly after He was condemned by the priests and elders for blasphemy in Caiaphas’s house, Jesus was relentlessly beaten and abused by strangers whom He did not know who gathered together against Him:

“Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, ‘Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?’”
(Matthew 26:67—See also Mark 14:65 and Luke 22:63-65.)

Jesus was also slapped around later during His civil trial by the Roman soldiers:

“And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.”
(Matthew 27:29-30—See also Mark 15:16-19 and John 19:2-3.)

David’s prophecy in Psalm 35 preceded Isaiah’s prediction by 300 years that the Messiah would willingly give his “back to those who strike [Him], and [His] cheeks to those who pluck out the beard, [and that He would not] cover [His] face from humiliation and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Isaiah predicted this 700 years before Jesus was born. Both David and Isaiah’s prophecies about the horrible treatment of the Messiah were fulfilled in His final moments before Jesus gave up His spirit and died (Luke 23:46).

17.   The Messiah will be mocked and jeered.

Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth (v 16).

Jesus was relentlessly mocked and jeered by his adversaries. Some of this occurred as they physically abused Him during His trials. 

He was cruelly mocked by members of the Sanhedrin and the temple guard immediately following their illegal conviction of Him in the home of Caiaphas,

“Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, ‘Prophesy, who is the one who hit You.’ And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.”
(Luke 22:63-65—See also: Matthew 26:67-68 and Mark 14:65)

As He “recovered” from the shock of His bloody scourging, the Roman legionnaires dressed Jesus up like a ridiculous king—with a robe, a ring of thorns for a crown, and a reed for a scepter. They then pretended to pay honors to this pitiful king and beat him over the head with his own scepter as they made faces at him. These mockers of God were like godless jesters indeed:

“They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.”
(Matthew 27:28-30—See also: Mark 15:17-20)

And throughout the first three hours He was on the cross, many people mocked and jeered Jesus. These mockers included:

  • The throngs of people passing by as they entered the city for Passover
    (Matthew 27:39-40)
  • The chief priests, scribes, and elders
    (Matthew 27:41-43)
  • The two criminals, who were crucified on either side of Jesus
    (Matthew 27:44)

That His enemies gnashed at Jesus with their teeth indicates exceeding anger (Acts 7:54, 57). Those persecuting Jesus exhibited extreme resentment, even to the point of tearing their robes and inciting a near-riot in order to have Jesus lynched (Matthew 26:65, Mark 15:11-15). 

David’s petition at the conclusion of his second litany of Psalm 35 is also prophetic of Jesus the Messiah.

18.   The Messiah will endure intense suffering before He is rescued.

Lord, how long will You look on?
Rescue my soul from their ravages (v 17a).

Such a question almost demands to be asked as we consider how the Messiah was swarmed by His adversaries who relentlessly slandered, abused, mocked, and tormented Him. How is it possible that the Lord would allow these things to happen to His chosen one before rescuing His soul (life) from their ravages? How long would the Lord look on before rescuing Him? 

The Lord would look on until His Son was dead. 

But as Psalm 16 so clearly predicted, the Lord would not abandon His soul to Sheol (the place of the dead); nor would the Lord allow His Holy One to undergo decay in the grave (Psalm 16:10). The Lord would make known to Him the path to life (Psalm 16:11a) and resurrect Jesus, His Son, from the dead before three days had ended (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

19.   The Messiah is an only begotten Son

The final expression of v 17 is particularly poignant when looked at in its original Hebrew language.

My only life from the lions (v 17b).

The Hebrew word that is translated as my only life is a form of the word: יָחִיד (H3173—pronounced “yaw-kheed”). “Yawkheed” means “only,” “darling,” “unique,” or “precious.” According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, “yawkheed” can also mean “only begotten son.” “Yawkheed” is used to describe Abraham’s promised son Isaac throughout Genesis 22, when Abraham obeys God on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:2, 12, 16).

Jesus was God’s “Yawkheed”—only begotten Son (John 3:16). The title of “son” is a reward for faithful service given by a Suzerain, or superior king, to a vassal, or servant (see article on Suzerain-Vassal treaties). Jesus was given this reward by His Father for His obedience even to the point of death (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 1:5,8,13). This Suzerain reward included adoption as a “son” as well as the bestowal of authority to reign over a part of the Suzerain’s kingdom. In Jesus’s case, His reward was to reign over the earth (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 2:9-10).

Jesus desires all who follow Him to walk in His ways. He promises that all who overcome temptation and rejection, including unjust treatment, will share His reign with Him (Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 3:21). 

Biblical Text

11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.
14 I went about as though it were my friend or brother;
I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.
15 But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered themselves together;
The smiters whom I did not know gathered together against me,
They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like godless jesters at a feast,
They gnashed at me with their teeth.
17 Lord, how long will You look on?”
Rescue my soul from their ravages,
My only life from the lions.

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