God Is My Only Hope

Psalm 143

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 143


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the *Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain some of the words with a *star by them. A word list at the end explains the other words that have a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


Jesus said, "Father, if it is possible, I pray that this cup will pass from me. But (it must be) what you want (to happen). It must not be what I want" (Mark 26:39). ("Cup will pass from me" is how Jesus said "I do not want to die". The cup was like a picture of death.)

Psalm 143

  (This is) a psalm of David.

v1   *LORD, hear my *prayer.
  Listen to me when I ask you for help.
  Answer me, because you are a loving and fair (God).

v2   Do not *judge (me) your servant,
  because nobody alive (on earth) is *righteous.

v3   An enemy is following me.
  He is trying to kill me.
  He wants to put me in a dark place,
  like (people) who have been dead for a long time.

v4   My *spirit inside me is becoming weak.
  My *heart inside me has no hope.

v5   I remember (what happened) many years ago.
  I think about all that you did.
  Also, I see in my mind all that your hands have done.

v6   I raise my hands to you.
  I want you as badly as dry ground (wants rain).   *SELAH

v7   Answer me soon, *LORD. I am losing hope.
  Do not hide your face from me.
  (If you do) I will be as those (people) that go down into the *Pit.

v8   I want to hear news of your kind love in the morning.
  (This is) because I am *trusting in you.
  Show me what I should do.
  Show me because I have asked you (to show me).

v9   *LORD, make me free from my enemies,
  because I am hiding in you.

v10   Teach me what you want me to do.
  Teach me because you are my God.
  Your *spirit is good.
  It will lead me to ground that is flat.

v11   Save my life, *LORD, because of your (great) name.
  Bring me out of trouble, because you are *righteous.

v12   Because you love me, kill my enemies.
  And destroy the people that fight against me.
  (Do this) because I am your servant.

The Story of Psalm 143

Bible students think that David wrote verses 1-6 of this psalm. A later writer put verses 7-12 after what David wrote. Verses 7-12 all come from other psalms. The later writer maybe did this to make the psalm better.

David wrote his part of the psalm when he had trouble. Maybe this was when his son Absalom tried to kill David. The story is in 1 Samuel chapters 15-19.

What Psalm 143 means

Verse 1: "*LORD" is a special name for God. It is his *covenant name. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agrees to love and give help to his people. They agree to love and obey him. You say a *prayer when you speak to God.

Verse 2: "*Judge" means "say whether someone is right or wrong". "*Righteous" means "very, very good". Only God is really *righteous.

Verse 3: The dark place was *Sheol. *Jews believed that they went to *Sheol when they died. There was no light there.

Verse 4: Our spirit is the part of us that lives after our body dies. The *Jews believed that you thought with your *heart.

Verse 5: Many Bible students think that:

  ·   "all that you did" means what God did for his people;

  ·   "all that your hands have done" means what God made, like the earth, the stars and the sun.

Verse 6: People raised their hands to God when they prayed to him. Many Christians still do this. Bible students are not sure what "*selah" means. Maybe it means "stop and think"; or "stop and pray"; or "a place for music".

Verse 7: "Hide your face" means "look the other way". If God looked away, he would not see (or answer) people’s *prayers. The Pit was the worst part of *Sheol. It was a hole. If you went into that hole, you never came out again!

Verse 8: "*Trusting" means "believing in and hoping". The *psalmist (the person who wrote the psalm) believed in God. And they hoped that God would send help.

Verse 9: "Hiding in you" means "*trusting that you will do something".

Verse 10: "Your spirit" is another name for God. In the *New Testament it became the *Holy Spirit. The "ground that is flat" means a place where it is easy to walk. It is like a picture of an easy life. The *psalmist hopes that God will lead him to an easier life.

Verse 11: "Because you are *righteous" may mean "because you do what is right and good". It is not quite the same as "very, very good".

Something to do

Find these verses from the Psalms. Which verses in Psalm 143:7‑12 are they like?

Psalms 25:2, 4-5, 11; 27:9, 11; 28:1; 30:5; 31:14-15; 32:8; 49:14; 59:1; 60:8; 69:17; 77:8-9; 84:2; 86:2, 4, 16; 90:14; 94:23; 102:2; 119:17; 138:7; 140:6.

Word List

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look in Psalm 120 about the covenant.

heart ~ part of the body. *Jews believed that you thought in your heart.

Holy Spirit ~ one person of the three persons who are God. We cannot see him. He comes to give people the power to do what God wants.

Jew ~ a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

judge ~ a judge says who is right and who is wrong; or, to say who is right and who is wrong.

LORD ~ the *covenant name for God (in a *covenant you agree with someone).

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught. It is also about what Christians believe and do.

Pit ~ the worst bit of Sheol.

prayer ~ you say a *prayer when you speak to God.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people who love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".

SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.

Sheol ~ *Jews believed that you went to Sheol when you died.

spirit ~ this part of us lives when our body dies.

trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be kind to you.


© 1999-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

December 2002

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