PSALM 141*

Prayer for Deliverance from the Wicked

1A psalm of David.

LORD, I call to you; hasten to me;

listen to my plea when I call.

2Let my prayer be incense* before you;

my uplifted hands* an evening offering.a

3Set a guard, LORD, before my mouth,

keep watch over the door of my lips.b

4Do not let my heart incline to evil,

to perform deeds in wickedness.

On the delicacies of evildoers

let me not feast.

5*Let a righteous person strike me; it is mercy if he reproves me.

Do not withhold oil from my headc

while my prayer opposes their evil deeds.

6May their leaders be cast over the cliff,

so that they hear that my speeches are pleasing.

7Like the plowing and breaking up of the earth,

our bones are strewn at the mouth of Sheol.

8For my eyes are upon you, O LORD, my Lord;d

in you I take refuge; do not take away my soul.

9Guard me from the trap they have set for me,

from the snares of evildoers.e

10Let the wicked fall into their own nets,

while only I pass over them safely.

* [Psalm 141] A lament of an individual (Ps 141:12) who is keenly aware that only the righteous can worship God properly and who therefore prays to be protected from the doomed wicked (Ps 141:310).

* [141:2] Incense: lit., “smoke,” i.e., the fragrant fumes arising from the altar at the burning of sacrificial animals or of aromatic spices; also used in Rev 5:8 as a symbol of prayer. My uplifted hands: the gesture of supplication, cf. Ps 28:2; 63:5; 88:10; 119:48; 134:2; 143:6.

* [141:57] The Hebrew text is obscure.

a. [141:2] Ps 134:2; Ex 30:8.

b. [141:3] Sir 22:27.

c. [141:5] Prv 9:8; 25:12.

d. [141:8] Ps 25:15; 123:12.

e. [141:9] Ps 142:4.

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