A Psalm of David; when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him out, and he went away.
34 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; The humble and downtrodden will hear it and rejoice. 3 O [a]magnify the Lord with me, And let us lift up His name together.
4 I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked to Him and were radiant; Their faces will never blush in shame or confusion. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him And saved him from all his troubles. 7 The [b]angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience], And He rescues [each of] them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good; How blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who takes refuge in Him. 9 O [reverently] fear the Lord, you His saints (believers, holy ones); For to those who fear Him there is no want. 10 The young lions lack [food] and grow hungry, But they who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing. 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to fear the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience]. 12 Who is the man who desires life And loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Turn away from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous [those with moral courage and spiritual integrity] And His ears are open to their cry. 16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry [for help], the Lord hears And rescues them from all their distress and troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the heartbroken And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).
19 Many hardships and perplexing circumstances confront the righteous, But the Lord rescues him from them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken. 21 Evil will cause the death of the wicked, And those who hate the righteous will be held guilty and will be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.
Prayer for Rescue from Enemies.
A Psalm of David.
35 Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; Fight against those who fight against me. 2 Take hold of shield and buckler ([c]small shield), And stand up for my help. 3 Draw also the spear and javelin to meet those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” 4 Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back [in defeat] and humiliated who plot evil against me. 5 Let them be [blown away] like chaff before the wind [worthless, without substance], With the angel of the Lord driving them on. 6 Let their way be dark and slippery, With the angel of the Lord pursuing and harassing them. 7 For without cause they hid their net for me; Without cause they dug a pit [of destruction] for my life. 8 Let destruction come upon my enemy by surprise; Let the net he hid for me catch him; Into that very destruction let him fall.
9 Then my soul shall rejoice in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. 10 All my bones will say, “Lord, who is like You, Who rescues the afflicted from him who is too strong for him [to resist alone], And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?” 11 Malicious witnesses rise up; They ask me of things that I do not know. 12 They repay me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul. 13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth (mourning garment); I humbled my soul with fasting, And I prayed with my head bowed on my chest. 14 I behaved as if grieving for my friend or my brother; I bowed down in mourning, as one who sorrows for his mother. 15 But in my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered together [against me]; The slanderers whom I did not know gathered against me; They slandered and reviled me without ceasing. 16 Like godless jesters at a feast, They gnashed at me with their teeth [in malice].
17 Lord, how long will You look on [without action]? Rescue my life from their destructions, My only life from the young lions. 18 I will give You thanks in the great congregation; I will praise You among a mighty people. 19 Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me without cause wink their eye [maliciously]. 20 For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful words [half-truths and lies] against those who are quiet in the land. 21 They open their mouths wide against me; They say, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!”
22 You have seen this, O Lord; do not keep silent. O Lord, do not be far from me. 23 Wake Yourself up, and arise to my right And to my cause, my God and my Lord. 24 Judge me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness and justice; And do not let them rejoice over me. 25 Do not let them say in their heart, “Aha, that is what we wanted!” Do not let them say, “We have swallowed him up and destroyed him.” 26 Let those be ashamed and humiliated together who rejoice at my distress; Let those be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves over me.
27 Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication and want what is right for me; Let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, who delights and takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” 28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness (justice), And Your praise all the day long.
Wickedness of Men and Lovingkindness of God.
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord.
36 Transgression speaks [like an oracle] to the wicked (godless) [deep] within his heart; There is no fear (dread) of God before his eyes. 2 For he flatters and deceives himself in his own eyes Thinking that his sinfulness will not be discovered and hated [by God]. 3 The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. 4 He plans wrongdoing on his bed; He sets himself on a path that is not good; He does not reject or despise evil.
5 Your lovingkindness and graciousness, O Lord, extend to the skies, Your faithfulness [reaches] to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God, Your judgments are like the great deep. O Lord, You preserve man and beast. 7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. 8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You allow them to drink from the river of Your delights. 9 For with You is the fountain of life [the fountain of life-giving water]; In Your light we see light.
10 O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, And Your righteousness (salvation) to the upright in heart. 11 Do not let the foot of the proud [person] overtake me, And do not let the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 There those who [are perverse and] do evil have fallen; They have been thrust down and cannot rise.
Security of Those Who Trust in the Lord, and Insecurity of the Wicked.
A Psalm of David.
37 [d]Do not worry because of evildoers, Nor be envious toward wrongdoers; 2 For they will wither quickly like the grass, And fade like the green herb. 3 Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in Him also and He will do it. 6 He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light, And your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun].
7 Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him and entrust yourself to Him; Do not fret (whine, agonize) because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and abandon wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evil. 9 For those who do evil will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked one will be gone [forever]; Though you look carefully where he used to be, he will not be [found]. 11 But the humble will [at last] inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity and peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous And gnashes at him with his teeth. 13 The Lord laughs at him [the wicked one—the one who oppresses the righteous], For He sees that his day [of defeat] is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow To cast down the afflicted and the needy, To slaughter those who are upright in conduct [those with personal integrity and godly character]. 15 The sword [of the ungodly] will enter their own heart, And their bow will be broken.
16 Better is the little of the righteous [who seek the will of God] Than the abundance (riches) of many wicked (godless). 17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the Lord upholds and sustains the righteous [who seek Him]. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will continue forever. 19 They will not be [e]ashamed in the time of evil, And in the days of famine they will have plenty and be satisfied. 20 But the wicked (ungodly) will perish, And the enemies of the Lord will be like the [f]glory of the pastures and like the fat of lambs [that is consumed in smoke], They vanish—like smoke they vanish away. 21 The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and kind and gives. 22 For those blessed by God will [at last] inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off.
23 The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord, And He delights in his way [and blesses his path]. 24 When he falls, he will not be hurled down, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand and sustains him. 25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous (those in right standing with God) abandoned Or his descendants pleading for bread. 26 All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing.
27 Depart from evil and do good; And you will dwell [securely in the land] forever. 28 For the Lord delights in justice And does not abandon His saints (faithful ones); They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked will [in time] be cut off. 29 The righteous will inherit the land And live in it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous proclaims wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice and truth. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; Not one of his steps will slip. 32 The wicked lies in wait for the righteous And seeks to kill him. 33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand Or let him be condemned when he is judged. 34 Wait for and expect the Lord and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; [In the end] when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked, violent man [with great power] Spreading and flaunting himself like a cedar in its native soil, 36 Yet he passed away, and lo, he was no more; I sought him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless man [who is spiritually complete], and behold the upright [who walks in moral integrity]; There is a [good] future for the man of peace [because a life of honor blesses one’s descendants]. 38 As for transgressors, they will be completely destroyed; The future of the wicked will be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their refuge and stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.
Prayer in Time of Discipline.
A Psalm of David; to bring to remembrance.
38 O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, Nor discipline me in Your burning anger. 2 For Your arrows have sunk into me and penetrate deeply, And Your hand has pressed down on me and greatly disciplined 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 the waves of a flood]; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. 5 My wounds are loathsome and foul Because of my foolishness. 6 I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go about mourning all day long. 7 For my sides are filled with burning, And there is no health in my flesh. 8 I am numb and greatly bruised [deadly cold and completely worn out]; I groan because of the disquiet and moaning of my heart.
9 Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart throbs violently, my strength fails me; And as for the light of my eyes, even that has also gone from me. 11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my neighbors stand far away. 12 Those who seek my life lay snares for me, And those who seek to injure me threaten mischievous things and destruction; They devise treachery all the day long.
13 But I, like a deaf man, do not hear; I am like a mute man who does not open his mouth. 14 Yes, I am like a man who does not hear, In whose mouth are no arguments. 15 For in You, O Lord, I hope; You will answer, O Lord my God. 16 For I pray, “May they not rejoice over me, Who, when my foot slips, would boast against me.” 17 For I am ready to fall; My sorrow is continually before me. 18 For I do confess my guilt and iniquity; I am filled with anxiety because of my sin. 19 But my [numerous] enemies are vigorous and strong, And those who hate me without cause are many. 20 They repay evil for good, they attack and try to kill me, Because I follow what is good. 21 Do not abandon me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me. 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my Salvation.
Psalm 34:3The ancient rabbis applied this verse specifically to the saying of grace after a meal and instituted the practice of zimmum (“invitation”) as a religious duty for three or more men who had eaten together. They were to invite one another to say the blessing. One then said the blessing and the others were required to say “Amen” in voices no louder than that of the speaker of the blessing, based on the word together. It was also taught that all the participants in the blessing receive a reward from God.
Psalm 37:1One of the longer psalms, Ps 37 also has the distinction of having every other verse (sometimes succeeding verses) begin with a letter of the Hebrew in alphabetical order. This technique served as a memory aid.
Psalm 37:19I.e. have their expectations in Your goodness be disappointed.
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