Psalm 51-57 English Standard Version

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A Prayer for Cleansing

51 1  Have mercy on me,[1] O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6  Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right[2] spirit within me. 11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

14  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19  then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

The Futility of Boastful Wickedness

52 1  Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 2  Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 3  You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah 4  You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. 5  But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah

6  The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, 7  "See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!"[3] 8  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 9  I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

The Folly and Wickedness of Men

53 1  The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. 2  God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand,[4] who seek after God. 3  They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4  Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? 5  There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 6  Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

A Prayer for Protection from Enemies

54 1  O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. 2  O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. 3  For strangers[5] have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah

4  Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 5  He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. 6  With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7  For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

A Prayer for the Destruction of the Deceitful

55 1  Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! 2  Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, 3  because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4  My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5  Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. 6  And I say, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; 7  yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah 8  I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest."

9  Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. 10  Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; 11  ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace. 12  For it is not an enemy who taunts me-- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me-- then I could hide from him. 13  But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14  We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng. 15  Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.

16  But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. 17  Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 18  He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. 19  God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God. 20  My companion[6] stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21  His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22  Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 23  But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

A Prayer of Trust

56 1  Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; 2  my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. 3  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? 5  All day long they injure my cause;[7] all their thoughts are against me for evil. 6  They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life. 7  For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

8  You have kept count of my tossings;[8] put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? 9  Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that[9] God is for me. 10  In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11  in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12  I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13  For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

A Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors

57 1  Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 2  I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 3  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 4  My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts-- the children of man, 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 set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah

7  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 8  Awake, my glory![10] Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 9  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 10  For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 11  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!

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[1] 51:1 Or Be gracious to me

[2] 51:10 Or steadfast

[3] 52:7 Or in his work of destruction

[4] 53:2 Or who act wisely

[5] 54:3 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Targum insolent men (compare Psalm 86:14)

[6] 55:20 Hebrew He

[7] 56:5 Or they twist my words

[8] 56:8 Or wanderings

[9] 56:9 Or because

[10] 57:8 Or my whole being

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