1 [a]Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of [b]scoffers (ridiculers). 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And on His law [His precepts and teachings] he [habitually] meditates day and night. 3 And he will be like a tree firmly planted [and fed] by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season; Its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers [and comes to maturity].
4 The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so, But they are like the chaff [worthless and without substance] which the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand [unpunished] in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knows and fully approves the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked shall perish.
The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed.
2 Why are the [c]nations in an [d]uproar [in turmoil against God], And why do the people devise a vain and hopeless plot? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand; And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and His Anointed (the Davidic King, the Messiah, the Christ), saying, 3 “Let us break apart their [divine] bands [of restraint] And cast away their cords [of control] from us.”
4 He who sits [enthroned] in the heavens laughs [at their rebellion]; The [Sovereign] [e]Lord scoffs at them [and in supreme contempt He mocks them]. 5 Then He will speak to them in His [profound] anger And terrify them with His displeasure, saying, 6 “Yet as for Me, I have anointed and firmly installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
7 “I will declare the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son; This day [I proclaim] I have begotten You. 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will assuredly give [You] the nations as Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth as Your possession. 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall shatter them [in pieces] like earthenware.’”
10 Now therefore, O kings, act wisely; Be instructed and take warning, O leaders (judges, rulers) of the earth. 11 Worship the Lordand serve Him with reverence [with awe-inspired fear and submissive wonder]; Rejoice [yet do so] with trembling. 12 Kiss (pay respect to) the [f]Son, so that He does not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled and set aflame. How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] are all those who take refuge in Him!
Morning Prayer of Trust in God.
A Psalm of David. When he fled from Absalom his son.
3 O Lord, how my enemies have increased! Many are rising up against me. 2 Many are saying of me, “There is no help [no salvation] for him in God.” [g]Selah.
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory [and my honor], and the One who lifts my head. 4 With my voice I was crying to the Lord, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 5 I lay down and slept [safely]; I awakened, for the Lord sustains me. 6 I will not be intimidated or afraid of the ten thousands Who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; May Your blessing be upon Your people. Selah.
Evening Prayer of Trust in God.
To the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.
4 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have freed me when I was hemmed in and relieved me when I was in distress; Be gracious to me and hear [and respond to] my prayer.
2 O sons of men, how long will my honor and glory be [turned into] shame? How long will you [my enemies] love worthless (vain, futile) things and seek deception and lies? Selah. 3 But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself [and dealt wonderfully with] the godly man [the one of honorable character and moral courage—the one who does right]. The Lord hears and responds when I call to Him.
4 Tremble [with anger or fear], and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still [reflect on your sin and repent of your rebellion].Selah. 5 Offer righteous sacrifices; Trust [confidently] in the Lord.
6 Many are saying, “Oh, that we might see some good!” Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O Lord. 7 You have put joy in my heart, More than [others know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly. 8 In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.
Prayer for Protection from the Wicked.
To the Chief Musician; on wind instruments. A Psalm of David.
5 Listen to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning and sighing. 2 Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. 3 In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will prepare [a prayer and a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].
4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil [person] dwells with You. 5 The boastful and the arrogant will not stand in Your sight; You hate all who do evil. 6 You destroy those who tell lies; The Lord detests and rejects the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will enter Your house through the abundance of Your steadfast love and tender mercy; At Your holy temple I will bow [obediently] in reverence for You.
8 O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight (direct, right) before me. 9 For there is nothing trustworthy or reliable or truthful in what they say; Their heart is destruction [just a treacherous chasm, a yawning gulf of lies]. Their throat is an open grave; They [glibly] flatter with their [silken] tongue. 10 Hold them guilty, O God; Let them fall by their own designs and councils! Cast them out because of the abundance of their transgressions, For they are mutinous and have rebelled against You.
11 But let all who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice, Let them ever sing for joy; Because You cover and shelter them, Let those who love Your name be joyful and exult in You. 12 For You, O Lord, bless the righteous man [the one who is in right standing with You]; You surround him with favor as with a shield.
Prayer for Mercy in Time of Trouble.
To the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments, set [possibly] an octave below. A Psalm of David.
6 O Lord, do not rebuke or punish me in Your anger, Nor discipline me in Your wrath. 2 Have mercy on me and be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am weak (faint, frail); Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed and anguished. 3 My soul [as well as my body] is greatly dismayed. But as for You, O Lord—how long [until You act on my behalf]?
4 Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your [unfailing] steadfast love and mercy. 5 For in death there is no mention of You; In Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) who will praise You and give You thanks?
6 I am weary with my groaning; Every night I soak my bed with tears, I drench my couch with my weeping. 7 My eye grows dim with grief; It grows old because of all my enemies.
8 Depart from me, all you who do evil, For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. 9 The Lord has heard my supplication [my plea for grace]; The Lord receives my prayer. 10 Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly horrified; Let them turn back, let them suddenly be ashamed [of what they have done].
The Lord Implored to Defend the Psalmist against the Wicked.
An [h]Ode of David, [perhaps in a wild, irregular, enthusiastic strain,] which he sang to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite.
7 O Lord my God, in You I take refuge; Save me and rescue me from all those who pursue me, 2 So that my enemy will not tear me like a lion, Dragging me away while there is no one to rescue [me].
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands, 4 If I have done evil to him who was at peace with me, Or without cause robbed him who was my enemy, 5 Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; And let him trample my life to the ground And lay my honor in the dust. Selah.
6 Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; Lift up Yourself against the rage of my enemies; Rise up for me; You have commanded judgment and vindication. 7 Let the assembly of the nations be gathered around You, And return on high over them. 8 The Lord judges the peoples; Judge me, O Lord, and grant me justice according to my righteousness and according to the integrity within me. 9 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous [those in right standing with You]; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. 10 My shield and my defense depend on God, Who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who is indignant every day.
12 If a man does not repent, God will sharpen His sword; He has strung and bent His [mighty] bow and made it ready. 13 He has also prepared [other] deadly weapons for Himself; He makes His arrows fiery shafts [aimed at the unrepentant]. 14 Behold, the [wicked and irreverent] man is pregnant with sin, And he conceives mischief and gives birth to lies. 15 He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the [very] pit which he made [as a trap]. 16 His mischief will return on his own head, And his violence will come down on the top of his head [like loose dirt].
17 I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and justice, And I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
The Lord’s Glory and Man’s Dignity.
To the Chief Musician; set to [i]a Philistine lute [or perhaps to a particular Hittite tune]. A Psalm of David.
8 O Lord, our Lord, How majestic and glorious and excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have displayed Your splendor above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, That You might silence the enemy and make the revengeful cease.
3 When I see and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have established, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him? 5 Yet You have made him a little lower than [j]God, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, 7 All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord, How majestic and glorious and excellent is Your name in all the earth!
A Psalm of Thanksgiving for God’s Justice.
To the Chief Musician; on [k]Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.
9 I will give thanks and praise the Lord, with all my heart; I will tell aloud all Your wonders and marvelous deeds. 2 I will rejoice and exult in you; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turn back, They stumble and perish before You. 4 For You have maintained my right and my cause; You have sat on the throne judging righteously. 5 You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked and unrepentant; You have wiped out their name forever and ever. 6 The enemy has been cut off and has vanished in everlasting ruins, You have uprooted their cities; The very memory of them has perished.
7 But the Lord will remain and sit enthroned forever; He has prepared and established His throne for judgment. 8 And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the nations with fairness (equity). 9 The Lord also will be a refuge and a stronghold for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble; 10 And those who know Your name [who have experienced Your precious mercy] will put their confident trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You.
11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion; Declare among the peoples His [great and wondrous] deeds. 12 For He who avenges blood [unjustly shed] remembers them (His people); He does not forget the cry of the afflicted and abused. 13 Have mercy on me and be gracious to me, O Lord; See how I am afflicted by those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 That I may tell aloud all Your praises, That in the gates of the daughter of Zion (Jerusalem) I may rejoice in Your salvation and Your help. 15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught. 16 The Lord has made Himself known; He executes judgment; The wicked are trapped by the work of their own hands. Higgaion (meditation) Selah.
17 The wicked will turn to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), Even all the nations who forget God. 18 For the poor will not always be forgotten, Nor the hope of the burdened perish forever. 19 Arise, O Lord, do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged before You. 20 Put them in [reverent] [l]fear of You, O Lord, So that the nations may know they are but [frail and mortal] men. Selah.
A Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked.
10 Why do You stand far away, O Lord? Why do You hide [Yourself, veiling Your eyes] in times of trouble? 2 In pride and arrogance the wicked hotly pursue and persecute the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts and sings the praises of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns [and even despises] the Lord. 4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his face, will not seek nor inquire for Him; All his thoughts are, “There is no God [so there is no accountability or punishment].”
5 His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments [Lord] are on high, out of his sight [so he never thinks about them]; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them. 6 He says to himself, “I will not be moved; For throughout all generations I will not be in adversity [for nothing bad will happen to me].” 7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit (fraud) and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness [injustice and sin]. 8 He lurks in ambush in the villages; In hiding places he kills the innocent; He lies in wait for the unfortunate [the unhappy, the poor, the helpless]. 9 He lurks in a hiding place like a lion in his lair; He lies in wait to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. 10 He crushes [his prey] and crouches; And the unfortunate fall by his mighty claws. 11 He says to himself, “God has [quite] forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see my deed.”
12 Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand [in judgment]; Do not forget the suffering. 13 Why has the wicked spurned and shown disrespect to God? He has said to himself, “You will not require me to account.” 14 You have seen it, for You have noted mischief and vexation (irritation) to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find no more.
16 The Lord is King forever and ever; The nations will perish from His land. 17 O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble and oppressed; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to hear, 18 To vindicate and obtain justice for the fatherless and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer terrify them.
Psalm 1:1This has been called “The Preface Psalm” because in some respects it introduces the complete book of Psalms as a godly message. It opens with a benediction, “Blessed,” as does the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:3).
Psalm 1:1I.e. shallow thinkers who are quick to mock or disdain.
Psalm 2:12The word in the original is bar, taken to be the Aramaic for “son.” But it is surprising that an Aramaic word would be used here. The ancient rabbis maintained that a different word with the same spelling in Hebrew was intended, whose meaning is “pure.” They claimed that it is a reference to the Torah, on the ground that all the words in the Torah are pure.
Psalm 3:2Selah may mean: Pause, Crescendo or Musical interlude or may have some other unknown meaning; and so throughout.
Psalm 7:1Meaning uncertain, perhaps a wild, enthusiastic song. The ancient rabbis connected the Hebrew word to another word of similar spelling meaning “inadvertent sin” or “error,” and maintained that God called David to account for what he said in 6:10. He had in essence cursed his enemies, and God supposedly pointed out that Saul was David’s enemy, so David thereby had cursed Saul in violation of Ex 22:28. David pleaded with God to count this a sin of error on his part, and thereafter composed Ps 7. The rabbis also maintained that Cush was a reference to Saul (cf 1 Sam 9:1).
Psalm 8:1Or perhaps to a particular key; meaning uncertain.
Psalm 8:5LXX reads angels; Heb Elohim is usually translated “God” or “god.” But it can also mean “gods” (with a lowercase “g”) when it is used with reference to the pagan gods of other nations. See, for instance, Ex 20:3: “You shall have no other gods (Elohim) before Me.” Since there are no capital letters in Hebrew as there are in English, the meaning of Ps 8:5 is ambiguous. It may be saying that humans were created a little lower than God Himself, or it may say that humans were created a little lower than the heavenly beings.
Psalm 9:1A transliteration of the Hebrew, whose meaning is unknown. Possibly referring to a tune titled “Death to the Son.” Perhaps for soprano voices.
Psalm 9:20The “fear” of God is a common concept in the OT, but is difficult to translate into English. It is not simply a matter of “fear” in the modern English sense. Nor is it only a sentiment of deep reverence. It implies obedience, as well.
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