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A Prayer for Help against Ruthless Men

A prayer of David.[a]

86 Incline, O Yahweh, your ear and answer me,
because I am poor and needy.
Watch over my life because I am faithful.
You are my God; save your servant.
I am the one who trusts you.
Be gracious to me, O Lord,
because I call to you all day long.[b]
Make glad the soul of your servant,
because I desire you,[c] O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
and abundant in loyal love[d] for all who call to you.
Heed, O Yahweh, my prayer,
and attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I call to you,
because you answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
and there are no works like yours.
All the nations that you have made will come
and bow down[e] before you, O Lord,
and glorify your name.
10 For you are great and doing wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me, O Yahweh, your way,
that I may walk in your truth.
Unite my heart[f] to fear your name.
12 I will give you thanks, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
and glorify your name forever,
13 because your loyal love is great toward me,
and you will have delivered my life from Sheol[g] below.
14 O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,
even a gang of ruthless men seek my life,
but they do not set you before them.[h]
15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger[i] and abundant in loyal love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me.
Give your strength to your servant,
and grant victory to the son[j] of your maidservant.
17 Do a sign that benefits me,
that those who hate me may see and be put to shame,
because you, O Yahweh, have helped me and comforted me.


  1. Psalm 86:1 The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm
  2. Psalm 86:3 Literally “all the day”
  3. Psalm 86:4 Literally “I lift up my soul to you”
  4. Psalm 86:5 Hebrew “and great with respect to loyal love”
  5. Psalm 86:9 Or “worship”
  6. Psalm 86:11 That is, give singleness of heart
  7. Psalm 86:13 The nether world, the place of departed spirits.
  8. Psalm 86:14 That is, they do not factor God into their actions
  9. Psalm 86:15 Literally “long of nostrils”
  10. Psalm 86:16 Or “Save the son”