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Psalm 141[a]

Prayer for Deliverance from the Wicked

A psalm of David.

Lord, I call to you; hasten to me;
    listen to my plea when I call.
Let my prayer be incense[b] before you;
    my uplifted hands an evening offering.(A)
Set a guard, Lord, before my mouth,
    keep watch over the door of my lips.(B)
Do not let my heart incline to evil,
    to perform deeds in wickedness.
On the delicacies of evildoers
    let me not feast.
[c]Let a righteous person strike me; it is mercy if he reproves me.
    Do not withhold oil from my head(C)
    while my prayer opposes their evil deeds.
May their leaders be cast over the cliff,
    so that they hear that my speeches are pleasing.
Like the plowing and breaking up of the earth,
    our bones are strewn at the mouth of Sheol.
For my eyes are upon you, O Lord, my Lord;(D)
    in you I take refuge; do not take away my soul.
Guard me from the trap they have set for me,
    from the snares of evildoers.(E)
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
    while only I pass over them safely.


  1. Psalm 141 A lament of an individual (Ps 141:1–2) who is keenly aware that only the righteous can worship God properly and who therefore prays to be protected from the doomed wicked (Ps 141:3–10).
  2. 141:2 Incense: lit., “smoke,” i.e., the fragrant fumes arising from the altar at the burning of sacrificial animals or of aromatic spices; also used in Rev 5:8 as a symbol of prayer. My uplifted hands: the gesture of supplication, cf. Ps 28:2; 63:5; 88:10; 119:48; 134:2; 143:6.
  3. 141:5–7 The Hebrew text is obscure.