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Psalm 137-140 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Psalm 137

Lament over the Destruction of Jerusalem

By the rivers of Babylon—
    there we sat down and there we wept
    when we remembered Zion.
On the willows[a] there
    we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
    asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song
    in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
    above my highest joy.

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
    the day of Jerusalem’s fall,
how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down!
    Down to its foundations!”
O daughter Babylon, you devastator![b]
    Happy shall they be who pay you back
    what you have done to us!
Happy shall they be who take your little ones
    and dash them against the rock!

Psalm 138

Thanksgiving and Praise

Of David.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
    for you have exalted your name and your word
    above everything.[c]
On the day I called, you answered me,
    you increased my strength of soul.[d]

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
    but the haughty he perceives from far away.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 139

The Inescapable God

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15     My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
    I come to the end[e]—I am still with you.

19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God,
    and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—
20 those who speak of you maliciously,
    and lift themselves up against you for evil![f]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked[g] way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.[h]

Psalm 140

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
    protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
    and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
    and under their lips is the venom of vipers.Selah

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
    protect me from the violent
    who have planned my downfall.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
    and with cords they have spread a net,[i]
    along the road they have set snares for me.Selah

I say to the Lord, “You are my God;
    give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”
O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
    you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
    do not further their evil plot.[j]Selah

Those who surround me lift up their heads;[k]
    let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall on them!
    Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
11 Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
    let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

12 I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
    and executes justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
    the upright shall live in your presence.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 137:2 Or poplars
  2. Psalm 137:8 Or you who are devastated
  3. Psalm 138:2 Cn: Heb you have exalted your word above all your name
  4. Psalm 138:3 Syr Compare Gk Tg: Heb you made me arrogant in my soul with strength
  5. Psalm 139:18 Or I awake
  6. Psalm 139:20 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Psalm 139:24 Heb hurtful
  8. Psalm 139:24 Or the ancient way. Compare Jer 6.16
  9. Psalm 140:5 Or they have spread cords as a net
  10. Psalm 140:8 Heb adds they are exalted
  11. Psalm 140:9 Cn Compare Gk: Heb those who surround me are uplifted in head; Heb divides verses 8 and 9 differently
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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