Be aware of this situation (Bar 2:16-2:18)

“O Lord!

Look down

From your holy dwelling!

Consider us!

Incline your ear!

O Lord!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

O Lord!

See!

The dead

Who are in Hades,

Whose spirit

Has been taken

From their bodies,

Will not ascribe glory

To the Lord.

They will not ascribe justice

To the Lord.

But the person

Who is deeply grieved,

Who walks bent over

Who is feeble,

Who has failing eyes,

That person

Will declare

Your glory.

They will declare

Your righteousness.

O Lord!”

This prayer of Baruch continues by asking God to look down from his heavenly holy dwelling. He should consider their situation. God should incline his ear and listen. He should open his eyes and see. The dead in Hades or Sheol have no spirit. They cannot give glory or justice to the Lord. On the other hand, those who are still living, but grieving, bent over, and feeble with poor eye sight can still declare the glory and righteousness of the Lord. Thus it is better to be alive and weak than dead.

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Yahweh has been good to me (Ps 116:1-116:4)

“I love Yahweh

Because he has heard my voice.

He has heard my supplications.

Therefore I will call on him

As long as I live,

Because he inclined his ear to me.

The snares of death encompassed me.

The pangs of Sheol laid hold of me.

I suffered distress.

I suffered anguish.

Then I called on the name of Yahweh.

‘Yahweh!’

I pray!

Save my life!’”

Psalm 116 is a thanksgiving psalm without any titles. This psalm begins with the psalmist talking about how he loves Yahweh because Yahweh has heard his voice. Unlike the psalms that ask God to listen, this psalmist has already had his prayers answered. Yahweh heard his voice and supplications because he inclined his ear to him. The result is that he will always call upon Yahweh as long as he lives. He apparently was near his death in great distress and anguish almost near Sheol. Then he called out the name of Yahweh and he was saved. This is like a call to prayer for the others in the congregation.

Personal prayer to Yahweh (Ps 86:1-86:7)

A Prayer of David

“Incline your ear!

Yahweh!

Answer me!

I am poor and needy.

Preserve my life!

I am devoted to you.

Save your servant who trusts in you!

You are my God!

Be gracious to me!

Yahweh!

I cry to you all day long.

Gladden the soul of your servant!

Yahweh!

I lift up my soul to you!

Yahweh!

You are good.

You are forgiving,

You abound in steadfast love

To all who call on you.

Give ear to my prayer!

Yahweh!

Listen to my cry of supplication!

In the day of my trouble,

I call on you.

You will answer me.”

Psalm 86 seems like a personal prayer of David. There is no other indication in the title. David wanted Yahweh to listen to him by giving him his ear. He wanted an answer since he was poor and needy. He wanted to preserve his life since he was devoted to Yahweh. He trusted in Yahweh as a servant. All day long he cried to Yahweh, his God. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him and gladden his soul. He knew that Yahweh was good and forgiving due to his steadfast love. David wanted Yahweh to hear him in the times of his trouble. He called and expected an answer.

The prayer to Yahweh (Ps 17:6-17:7)

“I am there.

I call upon you.

You answer me!

O God!

Incline your ear to me!

Hear my words!

Wondrously show your steadfast love!

O savior of those who seek refuge!”

The psalmist calls to God to answer him. He wanted God to turn his ear toward him. This is a common theme of God listening with his ear. He wanted God to hear his words. He wanted God to show his love. He wanted protection from his adversaries. He was seeking love and refuge in God.