Cave MenBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
Psalm 142, a maskil (Psalm of enlightenment), is popular as a prayer in times of trouble. It was composed when David hid from Saul in a cave and they had a closer-than-comfortable encounter (see I Samuel 24).
David says he calls out to G-d, pouring out his heart to Him. He shares his pain with G-d when his spirit is weary from his troubles. G-d knows that David has chosen the path of righteousness for himself, but He can also see that David’s enemies have laid traps for him all along the way. There is no one to assist him and no human means of escape. But David places his trust in G-d, with the result that his portion is among the living.
David asks G-d to heed his cry, for circumstances have brought him very low, indeed. Militarily, Saul’s forces have David completely outgunned. And now, David is trapped in a cave with Saul – the only way he’s getting out of this one is with G-d’s help! When He does, David will thank Him and the righteous will share in his triumph.