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Psalm 26[a]

Prayer of Innocence

Of David.


Judge me, Lord!
    For I have walked in my integrity.(A)
In the Lord I trust;
    I do not falter.
Examine me, Lord, and test me;
    search my heart and mind.(B)
Your mercy is before my eyes;
    I walk guided by your faithfulness.(C)


I do not sit with worthless men,
    nor with hypocrites do I mingle.
I hate an evil assembly;
    with the wicked I do not sit.
I will wash my hands[b] in innocence(D)
    so that I may process around your altar, Lord,
To hear the sound of thanksgiving,
    and recount all your wondrous deeds.
Lord, I love the refuge of your house,
    the site of the dwelling-place of your glory.(E)


Do not take me away with sinners,
    nor my life with the men of blood,(F)
10 In whose hands there is a plot,
    their right hands full of bribery.
11 But I walk in my integrity;(G)
    redeem me, be gracious to me!(H)
12 My foot stands on level ground;[c]
    in assemblies I will bless the Lord.(I)


  1. Psalm 26 Like a priest washing before approaching the altar (Ex 30:17–21), the psalmist seeks God’s protection upon entering the Temple. Ps 26:1–3, matched by Ps 26:11–12, remind God of past integrity while asking for purification; Ps 26:4–5, matched by Ps 26:9–10, pray for inclusion among the just; Ps 26:6–8, the center of the poem, express the joy in God at the heart of all ritual.
  2. 26:6 I will wash my hands: the washing of hands was a liturgical act (Ex 30:19, 21; 40:31–32), symbolic of inner as well as outer cleanness, cf. Is 1:16.
  3. 26:12 On level ground: in safety, where there is no danger of tripping and falling. In assemblies: at the Temple. Having walked around the altar, the symbol of God’s presence, the psalmist blesses God.