Psalm 130

Psalm 130
"From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord"
Penitential psalm
De profundis, in Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Folio 70r, held by the Musée Condé, Chantilly
Other name
  • Psalm 129 (Vulgate)
  • "De profundis"
Language Hebrew (original)

Psalm 130 is the 130th psalm of the Book of Psalms, one of the Penitential psalms. The first verse is a call to God in deep sorrow, from "out of the depths" (Out of the deep), as it is translated in the King James Version of the Bible respectively in the Book of Common Prayer. The Book of Psalms is the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in its Latin translation Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 129 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, it is known as De profundis.[1]

The psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and Protestant liturgies. It was paraphrased in hymns. The psalm has been set to music often, by composers such as Orlando di Lasso, Heinrich Schütz and John Rutter.


The Hebrew text and English translation of Psalm 130 are as follows:[2]

Verse Hebrew English
1 שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּֽעֲל֑וֹת מִמַּֽעֲמַקִּ֖ים קְרָאתִ֣יךָ יְהֹוָֽה A song of ascents. From the depths I have called You, O Lord.
2 אֲדֹנָי֘ שִׁמְעָ֪ה בְק֫וֹלִ֥י תִּֽהְיֶ֣ינָה אָ֖זְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁב֑וֹת לְ֜ק֗וֹל תַּֽחֲנוּנָֽי O Lord, hearken to my voice; may Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3 אִם־עֲו‍ֹנ֥וֹת תִּשְׁמָר־יָ֑הּ אֲ֜דֹנָ֗י מִ֣י יַֽעֲמֹֽד O God, if You keep [a record of] iniquities, O Lord, who will stand?
4 כִּֽי־עִמְּךָ֥ הַסְּלִיחָ֑ה לְ֜מַעַ֗ן תִּוָּרֵֽא For forgiveness is with You, in order that You be feared.
5 קִוִּ֣יתִי יְ֖הֹוָה קִוְּתָ֣ה נַפְשִׁ֑י וְלִדְבָ֘ר֥וֹ הוֹחָֽלְתִּי I hoped, O Lord; yea, my soul hoped, and I wait for His word.
6 נַפְשִׁ֥י לַֽאדֹנָ֑י מִשֹּֽׁמְרִ֥ים לַ֜בֹּ֗קֶר שֹֽׁמְרִ֥ים לַבֹּֽקֶר My soul is to the Lord among those who await the morning, those who await the morning.
7 יַחֵ֥ל יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אֶל־יְהֹ֫וָה כִּֽי־עִם־יְהֹוָ֥ה הַחֶ֑סֶד וְהַרְבֵּ֖ה עִמּ֣וֹ פְדֽוּת Israel, hope to the Lord, for kindness is with the Lord and much redemption is with Him.
8 וְהוּא יִפְדֶּ֣ה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל מִ֜כֹּ֗ל עֲוֹֽנוֹתָֽיו And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.

The traditional Latin version from the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, translated from the Septuagint Greek, and its translation, read as follows.


This lament in eight verses, a Penitential Psalm, is the De profundis used in liturgical prayers for the faithful departed in Western liturgical tradition. In deep sorrow the psalmist cries to God (vs. 1-2), asking for mercy (vs. 3-4). The psalmist's trust (vs. 5-6) becomes a model for the people (vs. 7-8).

v 1: "the depths" here is a metaphor of total misery. Deep anguish makes the psalmist feel "like those who go down to the pit" (Psalm 143:7). Robert Alter points out that '..."the depths" are an epithet for the depths of the sea, which in turn is an image of the realm of death'.[3] Other Bible passages (Creation, the dwelling of Leviathan, Jesus stilling the storm) also resonate with imagery of fear and chaos engendered by the depths of the sea.

v 3: "If you, Lord, were to mark iniquities, who, O Lord, shall stand?" is a temporary shift from the personal to the communal; this plurality (the nation, Israel) again appears in the final two verses.

v 4: "that you may be revered". The experience of God's mercy leads one to a greater sense of God.



  • Psalm 130 is recited as part of the liturgy for the High Holidays, sung responsively before the open Torah ark during the morning service from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur. The custom of reciting this psalm during these times had long lain dormant until it was revived in the Birnbaum and Artscroll siddurim in the 20th century.[4]
  • It is recited following Mincha between Sukkot and Shabbat Hagadol.[5]
  • It is recited during Tashlikh.[6]
  • It is also among those psalms traditionally recited "in times of communal distress".[7]
  • In some synagogues, it is said on every weekday. In Hebrew, it is often called "(Shir HaMa'alot) MiMa'amakim" after its initial words.
  • Verses 3-4 are part of the opening paragraph of the long Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays.[8]


According to the rule of Saint Benedict established around 530, the psalm was used at the beginning of the vespers service on Tuesday, followed by Psalm 131 (130.[9][10])

In the current Liturgy of the Hours, the psalm is recited or sung at vespers on the Saturday of the fourth week, [11] and on Wednesday evenings. In the Liturgy of the Mass, Psalm 130 is read on the 10th Sunday of Ordinary Time in Year B and on the 5th Sunday of Lent in Year C8.[12]


The title "De Profundis" was used as the title of a poem by Spanish author Federico García Lorca in his Poema del cante jondo.

A long letter by Oscar Wilde, written to his former lover Lord Alfred Douglas near the end of Wilde's life while he was in prison, also bears the title "De Profundis", although it was given the title after Wilde's death. Poems by Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Baudelaire, Christina Rossetti, C. S. Lewis, Georg Trakl, Dorothy Parker and José Cardoso Pires bear the same title.

In the novel Fires on the Plain by Shōhei Ōoka, the character Tamura makes reference to the psalm's first line "De profundis clamavi" in a dream sequence.[13]


Martin Luther paraphrased Psalm 130 to the hymn Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir ("Out of deep distress I cry to you"), which has inspired several composers, including Bach (cantatas Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131 and Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 38), Mendelssohn and Reger.

Musical settings

This psalm has been frequently set to music, as part of musical settings for the Requiem, especially under its Latin incipit "De profundis":

Some other works named De profundis but with texts not derived from the psalm include:


  1. Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 129 (130) Archived 2017-05-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "Tehillim – Psalms – Chapter 130". 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  3. Alter, Robert (2007). The Book of Psalms: a translation with commentary. W.W.Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-06226-7.
  4. 1,001 Questions and Answers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur By Jeffrey M. Cohen, page 167
  5. The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 530
  6. The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 772
  7. Weintraub, Rabbi Simkha Y. "Psalms as the Ultimate Self-Help Tool". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  8. The Complete Artscroll Siddur page 125
  9. Rule of Saint Benedict, traduction de Prosper Guéranger, (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007)
  10. Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique, p. 502, 1938/2003.
  11. Le cycle principal des prières liturgiques se déroule sur quatre semaines.
  12. Le cycle des lectures des messes du dimanche se déroule sur trois ans.
  13. Ōoka, Shōhei (1957), Fires on the Plain, Tokyo, Japan: Tuttle Co., p. 86, ISBN 978-0-8048-1379-2.
  14. Pothárn Imre (submitted 2002-03-29). "De Profundis Clamavi"


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