For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil[b] of David.
1 Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; 2 hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught 3 because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. 5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. 6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert;[c] 8 I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. 11 Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. 13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them.
Psalm 55:1In Hebrew texts 55:1-23 is numbered 55:2-24.
Psalm 55:1Title: Probably a literary or musical term
Psalm 55:7The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.
2 “Would a wise person answer with empty notions or fill their belly with the hot east wind? 3 Would they argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value? 4 But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God. 5 Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty. 6 Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you.
7 “Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? 8 Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom? 9 What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have? 10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father. 11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you, words spoken gently to you? 12 Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash, 13 so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth?
14 “What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? 15 If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, 16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!
17 “Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, 18 what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors 19 (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): 20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. 21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. 22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. 23 He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. 24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, 25 because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, 26 defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield.
27 “Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, 28 he will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble. 29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. 30 He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. 31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. 32 Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. 33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. 34 For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. 35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.”
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a]28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’[b]32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
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