A Prayer for Protection against Persecutors
140 1 Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, 2 who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. 3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent's; the poison of vipers is on their lips. 4 Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet. 5 The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. 6 I say to the Lord, "You are my God." Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy. 7 Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord; do not let their plans succeed. 9 Those who surround me proudly rear their heads; may the mischief of their lips engulf them. 10 May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise. 11 May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent. 12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. 13 Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence.
A Prayer for Preservation from Evil
141 1 I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. 2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.
5 Let a righteous man strike me-that is a kindness; let him rebuke me-that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. 6 Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken. 7 They will say, "As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave." 8 But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge-do not give me over to death. 9 Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
A Prayer for Help in Trouble
142 1 I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. 2 I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. 3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. 5 I cry to you, Lord; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." 6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
140:1 In Hebrew texts 140:1-13 is numbered 140:2-14.
140:3 The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 5 and 8.
142:1 In Hebrew texts 142:1-7 is numbered 142:2-8.
142:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term