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The Wicked and the Righteous Contrasted

A song of Asaph.[a]

73 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those pure of heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled.
My steps had nearly slipped,
because I envied the boastful
when I saw the well-being[b] of the wicked.
For there are no pains up to their death,
and their bodies are healthy.[c]
They do not have ordinary trouble,[d]
and they are not plagued as other people.[e]
Therefore pride is their necklace;
an outfit of violence covers them.
Their eye bulges from fat.[f]
Imaginings overflow their heart.
They mock and speak maliciously of oppression;
they speak as though from on high.
They set their mouth against the heavens,
and their tongue roams the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn there,[g]
and abundant waters are slurped up by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know?”
and, “Does the Most High have knowledge?”
12 See, these are the wicked,
and they increase wealth, ever carefree.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure,
and washed my hands in innocence.
14 And I have been plagued all day
and rebuked every morning.[h]
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
behold, I would have acted treacherously
against your children’s generation.
16 When I thought about how to understand this,
it was troubling in my eyes
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God.
Then I understood their fate.
18 Surely you set them on slippery places.
You cause them to fall onto ruin.[i]
19 How they become a desolation in a moment!
They come to a complete end by terrors.
20 Like a dream upon awakening,
when you wake up, O Lord,
you will despise their fleeting form.[j]
21 When my heart was embittered
and I felt stabbed in my kidneys,
22 then I was brutish and ignorant.
With you I was like the beasts.
23 But I am continually with you;
you have hold of my right hand.
24 You will guide me with your advice,
and afterward you will take me into honor.[k]
25 Whom do I have in the heavens except you?
And with you I have no other desire on earth.
26 My flesh and heart failed,
but God is the strength[l] of my heart and my reward forever.
27 For indeed, those distancing themselves from you will be ruined.
You destroy each who abandons you for harlotry.
28 But as for me, the approach to God is for my good.
I have set the Lord Yahweh as my refuge,
in order to tell all your works.


  1. Psalm 73:1 The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm
  2. Psalm 73:3 Or “peace” or “prosperity”
  3. Psalm 73:4 Literally “fat”
  4. Psalm 73:5 Literally “the trouble of man”
  5. Psalm 73:5 Hebrew “humankind”
  6. Psalm 73:7 A slightly different Hebrew reading might be reflected in the LXX’s “their iniquity comes out of fatness”
  7. Psalm 73:10 That is, toward the wicked
  8. Psalm 73:14 Literally “to the mornings”
  9. Psalm 73:18 Or “fall for deceptions”
  10. Psalm 73:20 Or “image”
  11. Psalm 73:24 Or “to glory”
  12. Psalm 73:26 Literally “rock”