Psalm 51-57 New International Version

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A Prayer for Cleansing

51 [1]Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6  Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.

14  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15  Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17  My sacrifice, O God, is[2] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. 18  May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19  Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

The Futility of Boastful Wickedness

52 [3][4]Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? 2  You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. 3  You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.[5] 4  You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue! 5  Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.

6  The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at you, saying, 7  "Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!" 8  But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever. 9  For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

The Folly and Wickedness of Men

53 [6][7][8]The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. 2  God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3  Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. 4  Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on God. 5  But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread. God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them. 6  Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

A Prayer for Protection from Enemies

54 [9][10]Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might. 2  Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. 3  Arrogant foes are attacking me; ruthless people are trying to kill me- people without regard for God.[11]

4  Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. 5  Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them. 6  I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. 7  You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

A Prayer for the Destruction of the Deceitful

55 [12][13]Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; 2  hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught 3  because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger. 4  My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. 5  Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. 6  I said, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7  I would flee far away and stay in the desert;[14] 8  I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm."

9  Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city. 10  Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. 11  Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets. 12  If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. 13  But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14  with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers. 15  Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them.

16  As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. 17  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. 18  He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. 19  God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change- he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God. 20  My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. 21  His talk is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords. 22  Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. 23  But you, God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of decay; the bloodthirsty and deceitful will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.

A Prayer of Trust

56 [15][16]Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack. 2  My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. 3  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4  In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? 5  All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin. 6  They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life. 7  Because of their wickedness do not[17] let them escape; in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

8  Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll[18] - are they not in your record? 9  Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. 10  In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise- 11  in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? 12  I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank offerings to you. 13  For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

A Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors

57 [19][20]Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. 2  I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. 3  He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me-[21]God sends forth his love and his faithfulness. 4  I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts- men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. 6  They spread a net for my feet- I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path- but they have fallen into it themselves.

7  My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. 8  Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. 9  I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 10  For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 11  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

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[1] 51:1 In Hebrew texts 51:1-19 is numbered 51:3-21.

[2] 51:17 Or "The sacrifices of God are"

[3] 52:1 In Hebrew texts 52:1-9 is numbered 52:3-11.

[4] 52:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

[5] 52:3 The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 5.

[6] 53:1 In Hebrew texts 53:1-6 is numbered 53:2-7.

[7] 53:1 Title: Probably a musical term

[8] 53:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

[9] 54:1 In Hebrew texts 54:1-7 is numbered 54:3-9.

[10] 54:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

[11] 54:3 The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

[12] 55:1 In Hebrew texts 55:1-23 is numbered 55:2-24.

[13] 55:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

[14] 55:7 The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.

[15] 56:1 In Hebrew texts 56:1-13 is numbered 56:2-14.

[16] 56:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

[17] 56:7 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text does not have "do not" .

[18] 56:8 Or "misery;" / "put my tears in your wineskin"

[19] 57:1 In Hebrew texts 57:1-11 is numbered 57:2-12.

[20] 57:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term

[21] 57:3 The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 6.

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