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Psalm 51-55 American Standard Version (ASV)

A contrite sinner’s prayer for pardon.

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.

51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions;
And my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
And done that which is evil in thy sight;
That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest,
And be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity;
And in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts;
And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins,
And blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create [a]in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a [b]right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence;
And take not thy holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
And uphold me with a willing spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways;
And sinners shall [c]be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation;
And my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips;
And my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
16 For thou delightest not in sacrifice; [d]else would I give it:
Thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion:
Build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then wilt thou delight in the sacrifices of righteousness,
In burnt-offering and whole burnt-offering:
Then will they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Futility of boastful wickedness.

For the Chief Musician. Maschil of David; when Doeg the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech.

52 Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endureth continually.
Thy tongue deviseth very wickedness,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Thou lovest evil more than good,
And lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah
Thou lovest all devouring words,
[e]O thou deceitful tongue.
God will likewise [f]destroy thee for ever;
He will take thee up, and pluck thee out of thy tent,
And root thee out of the land of the living. Selah
The righteous also shall see it, and fear,
And shall laugh at him, saying,
Lo, this is the man that made not God his [g]strength,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches,
And strengthened himself in his wickedness.
But as for me, I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God:
I trust in the lovingkindness of God for ever and ever.
I will give thee thanks for ever, because thou hast done it;
And I will hope in thy name, for it is good, in the presence of thy saints.

The folly and wickedness of men.

For the Chief Musician; set to Mahalath. Maschil of David.

53 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity;
There is none that doeth good.
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there were any that did [h]understand,
That did seek after God.
Every one of them is gone back; they are together become filthy;
There is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And call not upon God?
There were they in great fear, where no fear was;
For God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee:
Thou hast put them to shame, because God hath rejected them.
Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!
When God [i]bringeth back the captivity of his people,
Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

Prayer for defence against enemies.

For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. Maschil of David; when the Ziphites came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?

54 Save me, O God, by thy name,
And judge me in thy might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers are risen up against me,
And violent men have sought after my soul:
They have not set God before them. Selah
Behold, God is my helper:
The Lord is [j]of them that uphold my soul.
[k]He will requite the evil unto [l]mine enemies:
Destroy thou them in thy truth.
With a freewill-offering will I sacrifice unto thee:
I will give thanks unto thy name, O Jehovah, for it is good.
For he hath delivered me out of all trouble;
And mine eye hath seen my desire upon mine enemies.

Prayer for the destruction of the treacherous.

For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. Maschil of David.

55 Give ear to my prayer, O God;
And hide not thyself from my supplication.
Attend unto me, and answer me:
I am restless in my complaint, and moan,
Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the oppression of the wicked;
For they cast iniquity upon me,
And in anger they persecute me.
My heart is sore pained within me:
And the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me,
And horror hath overwhelmed me.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!
Then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Lo, then would I wander far off,
I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah
I would [m]haste me to a shelter
From the stormy wind and tempest.
[n]Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongue;
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof:
Iniquity also and mischief are in the midst of it.
11 Wickedness is in the midst thereof:
[o]Oppression and guile depart not from its streets.
12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me;
Then I could have borne it:
Neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me;
Then I would have hid myself from him:
13 But it was thou, a man mine equal,
My companion, and my familiar friend.
14 We took sweet counsel together;
We walked in the house of God with the throng.
15 [p]Let death come suddenly upon them,
Let them go down alive into Sheol;
For wickedness is in their dwelling, in [q]the midst of them.
16 As for me, I will call upon God;
And Jehovah will save me.
17 Evening, and morning, and at noonday, will I complain, and moan;
And he will hear my voice.
18 He hath redeemed my soul in peace [r]from the battle that was against me;
For they were many that strove with me.
19 God will hear, and [s]answer them,
Even he that abideth of old, Selah
The men who have no changes,
And who fear not God.
20 He hath put forth his hands against such as were at peace with him:
He hath profaned his covenant.
21 His mouth was smooth as butter,
But his heart was war:
His words were softer than oil,
Yet were they drawn swords.
22 Cast [t]thy burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain thee:
He will never suffer the righteous to be moved.
23 But thou, O God, wilt bring them down into the pit of destruction:
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;
But I will trust in thee.


  1. Psalm 51:10 Or, for me
  2. Psalm 51:10 Or, stedfast
  3. Psalm 51:13 Or, return
  4. Psalm 51:16 Or, that I should give it
  5. Psalm 52:4 Or, And the deceitful tongue
  6. Psalm 52:5 Or, break thee down
  7. Psalm 52:7 Or, stronghold
  8. Psalm 53:2 Or, deal wisely
  9. Psalm 53:6 Or, returneth to
  10. Psalm 54:4 Or, with
  11. Psalm 54:5 Another reading is, The evil shall return.
  12. Psalm 54:5 Or, them that lie in wait for me
  13. Psalm 55:8 Or, hasten my escape
  14. Psalm 55:9 Hebrew Swallow up.
  15. Psalm 55:11 Or, Fraud
  16. Psalm 55:15 Or, as otherwise read, Desolations be upon them!
  17. Psalm 55:15 Or, their inward part
  18. Psalm 55:18 Or, so that none came nigh me
  19. Psalm 55:19 Or, afflict
  20. Psalm 55:22 Or, what he hath given thee

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