Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors

1A prayer of David.


Hear, LORD, my plea for justice;

pay heed to my cry;

Listen to my prayer

from lips without guile.

2From you let my vindication come;

your eyes see what is right.

3You have tested my heart,

searched it in the night.a

You have tried me by fire,

but find no malice in me.

My mouth has not transgressed

4as others often do.

As your lips have instructed me,

I have kept from the way of the lawless.

5My steps have kept to your paths;

my feet have not faltered.b


6I call upon you; answer me, O God.

Turn your ear to me; hear my speech.

7Show your wonderful mercy,

you who deliver with your right arm

those who seek refuge from their foes.

8*Keep me as the apple of your eye;

hide me in the shadow of your wings

9from the wicked who despoil me.c


My ravenous enemies press upon me;d

10*they close their hearts,

they fill their mouths with proud roaring.

11Their steps even now encircle me;

they watch closely, keeping low to the ground,

12Like lions eager for prey,

like a young lion lurking in ambush.

13Rise, O LORD, confront and cast them down;

rescue my soul from the wicked.

14Slay them with your sword;

with your hand, LORD, slay them;

snatch them from the world in their prime.

Their bellies are being filled with your friends;

their children are satisfied too,

for they share what is left with their young.

15I am just—let me see your face;

when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.e

* [Psalm 17] A lament of an individual unjustly attacked. Confident of being found innocent, the psalmist cries out for God’s just judgment (Ps 17:15) and requests divine help against enemies (Ps 17:69a). Those ravenous lions (Ps 17:9b12) should be punished (Ps 17:1314). The Psalm ends with a serene statement of praise (Ps 17:15). The Hebrew text of Ps 17:34, 14 is uncertain.

* [17:8] Apple of your eye…shadow of your wings: images of God’s special care, cf. Dt 32:10; Prv 7:2; Is 49:2.

* [17:1012, 14] An extended metaphor: the enemies are lions.

a. [17:3] Ps 26:2; 139:23.

b. [17:5] Ps 18:36; Jb 23:1112.

c. [17:912] Ps 10:9; 22:14, 22; 35:17; 58:7; Jb 4:1011.

d. [17:9] Ps 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 63:8; 91:4; Dt 32:10; Ru 2:12; Zec 2:12; Mt 23:37.

e. [17:15] Ps 4:7; 31:17; 67:2; 80:4; Nm 6:25; Dn 9:17.

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