Psalms for Tough Times

Part of sacred scripture for both Christians and Jews, The Psalms (‘Tehillim’ in Hebrew) offer comfort and perspective when the going gets rough. The following selections are taken from The Judaica Press Complete Tanach, a particularly accessible translation that’s fun to browse online. (1)

I will thank the Lord
with all my heart;
I will tell all Your wonders.
I will rejoice and exult with You;
I will sing praises
to Your most high name.
(Tehillim – Chapter 9: 2-3)

O Lord,
Your kindness is in the heavens;
Your faith is until the sky.
How precious is Your kindness,
O God,
and the sons of man
will take refuge
in the shadow of Your wings.
For with You is the source of life;
in Your light we will see light.
(Tehillim – Chapter 36: 6, 8, and 10)

Show me, O LORD, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man’s life is but a breath.
(Tehillim – Chapter 39: 4 and 5)

As a hart cries longingly
for rivulets of water,
so does my soul cry
longingly to You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God;
when will I come
and appear before God?
Deep calls to deep
to the sound of
Your water channels;
all Your breakers and waves
passed over me.
At night,
may [the Lord’s] resting place be with me,
a prayer
to the God of my life.
(Tehillim – Chapter 42: 2-3 and 8-9)

In the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge.
For Your kindness is great up to the heavens,
and Your truth is up to the skies.
(Tehillim – Chapter 57: 2 and 11)

I shall dwell in Your tent to eternity;
I will take shelter
in the covert of Your wings forever.
(Tehillim – Chapter 61: 5)

O God, hasten to me;
You are my aid and my rescuer,
O Lord, do not delay.
(Tehillim – Chapter 70: 6)

O Lord, the God of my salvation! I cried by day; at night I was opposite You. May my prayer come before You; extend Your ear to my supplication. For my soul is sated with troubles, and my life has reached the grave. (Tehillim 88:1-4)

God is for us a shelter and a strength, a help in troubles; He is very accessible. Therefore we will not fear when the earth changes and when mountains totter into the heart of seas.  (Tehillim – Chapter 46:2-3)

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; from whom shall I be frightened?  (Tehillim – Chapter 27:1)

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He causes me to lie down
in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me
in paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even when I walk
in the valley of darkness,
I will fear no evil
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff—
they comfort me.
You set a table before me
in the presence of my adversaries;
You anointed my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
May only goodness and kindness
pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell
in the house of the Lord
for length of days.
(Tehillim – Chapter 23)

Where shall I go from Your spirit,
and where shall I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to the heavens, there You are,
and if I make my bed in the grave,
behold, You are there.
[If] I take up the wings of dawn,
[if] I dwell at the end of the west,
There too, Your hand will lead me,
and Your right hand will grasp me.
Even darkness
will not obscure [anything] from You,
and the night will light up like day;
as darkness so is the light.
I shall thank You,
for in an awesome, wondrous way
I was fashioned;
Your works are wondrous.
I have come to the end,
and I am still with You.
(Tehillim – Chapter 139: 7-10, 12, 14, and 18)


1. The Tanach is the Hebrew Bible. The chapter widely known as the Psalms is called ‘Tehillim’ in the Hebrew Bible.


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