New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Prayer for Help Against Unjust Enemies
1 Of David.
[b]Oppose, O Lord, those who oppose me;
war upon those who make war upon me.
2 Take up the shield and buckler;
rise up in my defense.
3 Brandish lance and battle-ax
against my pursuers.
Say to my soul,
“I am your salvation.”
4 Let those who seek my life
be put to shame and disgrace.
Let those who plot evil against me(A)
be turned back and confounded.
5 Make them like chaff before the wind,(B)
with the angel of the Lord driving them on.
6 Make their way slippery and dark,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
7 Without cause they set their snare for me;
without cause they dug a pit for me.
8 Let ruin overtake them unawares;
let the snare they have set catch them;
let them fall into the pit they have dug.(C)
9 Then I will rejoice in the Lord,
exult in God’s salvation.
10 My very bones shall say,
“O Lord, who is like you,(D)
Who rescue the afflicted from the powerful,
the afflicted and needy from the despoiler?”
11 Malicious witnesses rise up,
accuse me of things I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
my soul is desolate.(E)
13 [c]Yet I, when they were ill, put on sackcloth,
afflicted myself with fasting,
sobbed my prayers upon my bosom.
14 I went about in grief as for my brother,
bent in mourning as for my mother.
15 Yet when I stumbled they gathered with glee,
gathered against me and I did not know it.
They slandered me without ceasing;
16 without respect they mocked me,
gnashed their teeth against me.
17 O Lord, how long will you look on?
Restore my soul from their destruction,
my very life from lions!(F)
18 Then I will thank you in the great assembly;
I will praise you before the mighty throng.(G)
19 Do not let lying foes rejoice over me,
my undeserved enemies wink knowingly.(H)
20 They speak no words of peace,
but against the quiet in the land
they fashion deceitful speech.(I)
21 They open wide their mouths against me.
They say, “Aha! Good!
Our eyes have seen it!”(J)
22 You see this, Lord; do not be silent;(K)
Lord, do not withdraw from me.
23 Awake, be vigilant in my defense,
in my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Defend me because you are just, Lord;
my God, do not let them rejoice over me.
25 Do not let them say in their hearts,
“Aha! Our soul!”[d]
Do not let them say,
“We have devoured that one!”
26 Put to shame and confound
all who relish my misfortune.
Clothe with shame and disgrace
those who lord it over me.
27 But let those who favor my just cause
shout for joy and be glad.
May they ever say, “Exalted be the Lord
who delights in the peace of his loyal servant.”
28 Then my tongue shall recount your justice,
declare your praise, all the day long.(L)
- Psalm 35 A lament of a person betrayed by friends. The psalmist prays that the evildoers be publicly exposed as unjust (Ps 35:1–8), and gives thanks in anticipation of vindication (Ps 35:9–10). Old friends are the enemies (Ps 35:11–16). May their punishment come quickly (Ps 35:17–21)! The last part (Ps 35:22–26) echoes the opening in praying for the destruction of the psalmist’s persecutors. The Psalm may appear vindictive, but one must keep in mind that the psalmist is praying for public redress now of a public injustice. There is at this time no belief in an afterlife in which justice will be redressed.
- 35:1–6 The mixture of judicial, martial, and hunting images shows that the language is figurative. The actual injustice is false accusation of serious crimes (Ps 35:11, 15, 20–21). The psalmist seeks lost honor through a trial before God.
- 35:13, 15–17 The Hebrew is obscure.
- 35:25 Aha! Our soul!: an ancient idiomatic expression meaning that we have attained what we wanted.
New International Version
1 Contend,(A) Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight(B) against those who fight against me.
2 Take up shield(C) and armor;
arise(D) and come to my aid.(E)
3 Brandish spear(F) and javelin[a](G)
against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
“I am your salvation.(H)”
4 May those who seek my life(I)
be disgraced(J) and put to shame;(K)
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back(L) in dismay.
5 May they be like chaff(M) before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord(N) driving them away;
6 may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
7 Since they hid their net(O) for me without cause(P)
and without cause dug a pit(Q) for me,
8 may ruin overtake them by surprise—(R)
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit,(S) to their ruin.
9 Then my soul will rejoice(T) in the Lord
and delight in his salvation.(U)
10 My whole being will exclaim,
“Who is like you,(V) Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong(W) for them,
the poor and needy(X) from those who rob them.”
11 Ruthless witnesses(Y) come forward;
they question me on things I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good(Z)
and leave me like one bereaved.
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth(AA)
and humbled myself with fasting.(AB)
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14 I went about mourning(AC)
as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
as though weeping for my mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;(AD)
assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
They slandered(AE) me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;[b](AF)
they gnashed their teeth(AG) at me.
17 How long,(AH) Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their ravages,
my precious life(AI) from these lions.(AJ)
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;(AK)
among the throngs(AL) I will praise you.(AM)
19 Do not let those gloat over me
who are my enemies(AN) without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason(AO)
maliciously wink the eye.(AP)
20 They do not speak peaceably,
but devise false accusations(AQ)
against those who live quietly in the land.
21 They sneer(AR) at me and say, “Aha! Aha!(AS)
With our own eyes we have seen it.”
22 Lord, you have seen(AT) this; do not be silent.
Do not be far(AU) from me, Lord.
23 Awake,(AV) and rise(AW) to my defense!
Contend(AX) for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
do not let them gloat(AY) over me.
25 Do not let them think, “Aha,(AZ) just what we wanted!”
or say, “We have swallowed him up.”(BA)
26 May all who gloat(BB) over my distress(BC)
be put to shame(BD) and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me(BE)
be clothed with shame and disgrace.
27 May those who delight in my vindication(BF)
shout for joy(BG) and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
who delights(BH) in the well-being of his servant.”(BI)