Psalm 36-39 English Standard Version

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The Steadfast Love of God

36 Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart;[1] there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2  For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. 3  The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. 4  He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

5  Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. 7  How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9  For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. 10  Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! 11  Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12  There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.

The Insecurity of the Wicked

37 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2  For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3  Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.[2] 4  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

7  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8  Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9  For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10  In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11  But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 12  The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13  but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14  The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15  their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16  Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17  For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18  The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19  they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20  But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish--like smoke they vanish away.

21  The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22  for those blessed by the Lord [3] shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off. 23  The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24  though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. 25  I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26  He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing. 27  Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28  For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29  The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. 30  The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31  The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 32  The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33  The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

34  Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off. 35  I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree.[4] 36  But he passed away,[5] and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. 37  Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38  But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39  The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40  The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

The Prayer of a Suffering Penitent

38 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2  For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3  There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4  For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. 5  My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, 6  I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. 7  For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8  I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. 9  O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. 10  My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes--it also has gone from me. 11  My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.

12  Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long. 13  But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14  I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. 15  But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. 16  For I said, "Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!" 17  For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. 18  I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. 19  But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. 20  Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good. 21  Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! 22  Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

Hope in the LORD

39 I said, "I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence." 2  I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse. 3  My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4  "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! 5  Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah 6  Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing[6] they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!

7  "And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. 8  Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool! 9  I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it. 10  Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand. 11  When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah 12  "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers. 13  Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!"

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Footnotes

[1] 36:1 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Jerome (compare Septuagint); most Hebrew manuscripts in my heart

[2] 37:3 Or and feed on faithfulness, or and find safe pasture

[3] 37:22 Hebrew by him

[4] 37:35 The identity of this tree is uncertain

[5] 37:36 Or But one passed by

[6] 39:6 Hebrew Surely as a breath

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