The Meaning of Psalms 35:13 Explained

Psalms 35:13

KJV: But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

YLT: And I -- in their sickness my clothing is sackcloth, I have humbled with fastings my soul, And my prayer unto my bosom returneth.

Darby: But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I chastened my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosom:

ASV: But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I afflicted my soul with fasting; And my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

What does Psalms 35:13 Mean?

Context Summary

Psalms 35:1-17 - Rescuing The Poor And Needy
This psalm dates from the Sauline persecution, or else from the disturbed condition of the kingdom in David's later years. Each of the three divisions into which the psalm naturally falls ends with praise, Psalms 35:9; Psalms 35:18; Psalms 35:28.
Throughout the psalm we meet with strong imprecations on the wicked. The spirit of the New Testament inculcates a higher law of love and forgiveness, Luke 9:55-56. Therefore our Lord rebuked His Apostles when they called for fire from heaven. He said: "You do not understand that you have passed out of the Old Covenant into the New." It has been suggested that the maledictions of these verses should be read as predictions. Thus, "Let them be confounded" would read, "They will be confounded." "Their way will be dark and slippery." "The angel of the Lord will oppose them," etc.
What a thrill passes through the soul when God whispers the assurance, I am thy salvation! "Who is like unto thee!" Exodus 15:11. [source]

Chapter Summary: Psalms 35

1  David prays for his own safety, and his enemies' confusion
11  He complains of their wrongful dealing
22  Thereby he incites God against them

What do the individual words in Psalms 35:13 mean?

But I when they were sick My clothing [was] sackcloth humbled with fasting myself and my prayer to my own heart would return
וַאֲנִ֤י ׀ בַּחֲלוֹתָ֡ם לְב֬וּשִׁי שָׂ֗ק עִנֵּ֣יתִי בַצּ֣וֹם נַפְשִׁ֑י וּ֝תְפִלָּתִ֗י עַל־ חֵיקִ֥י תָשֽׁוּב

וַאֲנִ֤י ׀  But  I 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Pronoun, first person common singular
Root: אֲנִי  
Sense: I (first pers.
בַּחֲלוֹתָ֡ם  when  they  were  sick 
Parse: Preposition-b, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct, third person masculine plural
Root: חָלָה 
Sense: to be or become weak, be or become sick, be or become diseased, be or become grieved, be or become sorry.
לְב֬וּשִׁי  My  clothing  [was] 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: לָבוּשׁ 
Sense: clothing, garment, apparel, raiment.
שָׂ֗ק  sackcloth 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: שַׂק  
Sense: mesh, sackcloth, sack, sacking.
עִנֵּ֣יתִי  humbled 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Perfect, first person common singular
Root: עָנָה 
Sense: (Qal) to be occupied, be busied with.
בַצּ֣וֹם  with  fasting 
Parse: Preposition-b, Article, Noun, masculine singular
Root: צֹום  
Sense: fast, fasting.
נַפְשִׁ֑י  myself 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: נֶפֶשׁ  
Sense: soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion.
וּ֝תְפִלָּתִ֗י  and  my  prayer 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, feminine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: תְּפִלָּה  
Sense: prayer.
חֵיקִ֥י  my  own  heart 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, first person common singular
Root: חֹוק 
Sense: bosom, hollow, bottom, midst.
תָשֽׁוּב  would  return 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person feminine singular
Root: שׁוּב  
Sense: to return, turn back.