PSALM 140*

Prayer for Deliverance from the Wicked

1For the leader. A psalm of David.


2Deliver me, LORD, from the wicked;

preserve me from the violent,a

3From those who plan evil in their hearts,

who stir up conflicts every day,

4*Who sharpen their tongue like a serpent,

venom of asps upon their lips.b



5Keep me, LORD, from the clutches of the wicked;

preserve me from the violent,

who plot to trip me up.c

6*The arrogant have set a trap for me;

they have spread out ropes for a net,

laid snares for me by the wayside.


7I say to the LORD: You are my God;d

listen, LORD, to the words of my pleas.

8LORD, my master, my strong deliverer,

you cover my head on the day of armed conflict.

9LORD, do not grant the desires of the wicked one;

do not let his plot succeed.



10Those who surround me raise their heads;

may the mischief they threaten overwhelm them.

11Drop burning coals upon them;e

cast them into the watery pit never more to rise.

12Slanderers will not survive on earth;

evil will hunt down the man of violence to overthrow him.

13For I know the LORD will take up the cause of the needy,

justice for the poor.

14Then the righteous will give thanks to your name;

the upright will dwell in your presence.f

* [Psalm 140] A lament seeking rescue from violent and treacherous foes (Ps 140:26). The psalmist remains trusting (Ps 140:78), vigorously praying that the plans of the wicked recoil upon themselves (Ps 140:912). A serene statement of praise ends the Psalm (Ps 140:13). The psalmist is content to be known as one of “the needy,” “the poor,” “the just,” “the upright” (Ps 140:13), a class of people expecting divine protection.

* [140:4] Similar metaphors for a wicked tongue are used in Ps 52:2; 55:20; 58:3.

* [140:6] Have set a trap…have spread out ropes for a net: the same figure, of hunters setting traps, occurs in Ps 9:16; 31:5; 35:7; 64:6, cf. Mt 22:15; Lk 11:54.

a. [140:2] Ps 71:4.

b. [140:4] Ps 64:4; Rom 3:13.

c. [140:5] Jer 18:22; Ps 56:7; 57:7.

d. [140:7] Ps 31:15.

e. [140:11] Ps 11:6; 120:4; Gn 19:24.

f. [140:14] Ps 11:7; 16:11; 17:15.

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