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A Plea for Divine Retribution

For the music director. A psalm of David.[a]

64 Hear my voice, O God, in my lamenting.
Preserve my life from the fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots[b] of evildoers,
from the unrest of those who do iniquity,
who sharpen their tongue like a sword.
They bend their bow to shoot their arrows—bitter words,
to shoot from[c] their[d] hiding places at the blameless.
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.
They encourage themselves in the evil matter.
They talk of secretly laying snares.
They say, “Who will see them?”
They carefully plot[e] injustices saying,
“We have perfected the perfect plot!”[f]
Both the inner thought[g] and heart of a man are deep.
But God will shoot them;
with an arrow they will suddenly be wounded.
[h] And they who would cause him[i] to stumble,
their own tongue will be against them.
All who gaze on them will shake.[j]
And then[k] all men[l] will fear,
and will declare the working of God,
and will understand his doing.
10 The righteous will rejoice in Yahweh and take refuge in him,
and all the upright in heart will boast.


  1. Psalm 64:1 The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
  2. Psalm 64:2 Hebrew “plot”
  3. Psalm 64:4 Hebrew “in”
  4. Psalm 64:4 Hebrew “the”
  5. Psalm 64:6 Literally “They search out”
  6. Psalm 64:6 Literally “a plotted plot”
  7. Psalm 64:6 Literally “inward part”
  8. Psalm 64:8 The Hebrew of this verse is very difficult
  9. Psalm 64:8 That is, the psalmist
  10. Psalm 64:8 Perhaps a shaking of the head; a similar Hebrew form could be translated “will flee”
  11. Psalm 64:9 Hebrew “and”
  12. Psalm 64:9 Hebrew “man”