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Psalm 71[a]

71 In you, O Lord, I have taken shelter.
Never let me be humiliated.
Vindicate me by rescuing me.[b]
Listen to me.[c] Deliver me.[d]
Be my protector and refuge,[e]
a stronghold where I can be safe.[f]
For you are my high ridge[g] and my stronghold.
My God, rescue me from the power[h] of the wicked,
from the hand of the cruel oppressor.
For you are my hope;
O Sovereign Lord, I have trusted in you since I was young.[i]
I have leaned on you since birth;[j]
you pulled me[k] from my mother’s womb.
I praise you continually.[l]
Many are appalled when they see me,[m]
but you are my secure shelter.
I praise you constantly
and speak of your splendor all day long.[n]
Do not reject me in my old age.[o]
When my strength fails, do not abandon me.
10 For my enemies talk about me;
those waiting for a chance to kill me plot my demise.[p]
11 They say,[q] “God has abandoned him.
Run and seize him, for there is no one who will rescue him.”
12 O God, do not remain far away from me.
My God, hurry and help me.[r]
13 May my accusers be humiliated and defeated.
May those who want to harm me[s] be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 As for me, I will wait continually,
and will continue to praise you.[t]
15 I will tell about your justice,
and all day long proclaim your salvation,[u]
though I cannot fathom its full extent.[v]
16 I will come and tell about[w] the mighty acts of the Sovereign Lord.
I will proclaim your justice—yours alone.
17 O God, you have taught me since I was young,
and I am still declaring[x] your amazing deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,[y]
O God, do not abandon me,
until I tell the next generation about your strength,
and those coming after me about your power.[z]
19 Your justice, O God, extends to the skies above;[aa]
you have done great things.[ab]
O God, who can compare to you?[ac]
20 Though you have allowed me to experience much trouble and distress,[ad]
revive me once again.[ae]
Bring me up once again[af] from the depths of the earth.
21 Raise me to a position of great honor.[ag]
Turn and comfort me.[ah]
22 I will express my thanks to you with a stringed instrument,
praising[ai] your faithfulness, O my God.
I will sing praises to you accompanied by a harp,
O Holy One of Israel.[aj]
23 My lips will shout for joy. Yes,[ak] I will sing your praises.
I will praise you when you rescue me.[al]
24 All day long my tongue will also tell about your justice,
for those who want to harm me[am] will be embarrassed and ashamed.[an]


  1. Psalm 71:1 sn Psalm 71. The psalmist prays for divine intervention and expresses his confidence that God will protect and vindicate him. The first three verses are very similar to Ps 31:1-3a.
  2. Psalm 71:2 tn Heb “in your vindication rescue me and deliver me.” Ps 31:1 omits “and deliver me.”
  3. Psalm 71:2 tn Heb “turn toward me your ear.”
  4. Psalm 71:2 tn Ps 31:2 adds “quickly” before “deliver.”
  5. Psalm 71:3 tc Heb “become for me a rocky summit of a dwelling place.” The Hebrew term מָעוֹן (maʿon, “dwelling place”) should probably be emended to מָעוֹז (maʿoz, “refuge”; see Ps 31:2).
  6. Psalm 71:3 tc Heb “to enter, continually you commanded to deliver me.” The Hebrew phrase לָבוֹא תָּמִיד צִוִּיתָ (lavoʾ tamid tsivvita) should be emended to לְבֵית מְצוּדוֹת (levet metsudot, “a house of strongholds”; see Ps 31:2).
  7. Psalm 71:3 sn You are my high ridge. This metaphor pictures God as a rocky, relatively inaccessible summit, where one would be able to find protection from enemies. See 1 Sam 23:25, 28.
  8. Psalm 71:4 tn Heb “hand.”
  9. Psalm 71:5 tn Heb “O Lord Yahweh, my source of confidence from my youth.”
  10. Psalm 71:6 tn Heb “from the womb.”
  11. Psalm 71:6 tc The form in the MT is derived from גָּזָה (gazah, “to cut off”), perhaps picturing God as the one who severed the psalmist’s umbilical cord. Many interpreters and translators prefer to emend the text to גֹחִי (gokhi), from גוּח (gukh) or גִּיח, (gikh, “pull out”; see Ps 22:9; cf. the present translation) or to עוּזִּי (ʿuzzi, “my strength”; cf. NEB “my protector since I left my mother’s womb”).
  12. Psalm 71:6 tn Heb “in you [is] my praise continually.”
  13. Psalm 71:7 tn Heb “like a sign [i.e., portent or bad omen] I am to many.”
  14. Psalm 71:8 tn Heb “my mouth is filled [with] your praise, all the day [with] your splendor.”
  15. Psalm 71:9 tn Heb “do not cast me away at the time of old age.”
  16. Psalm 71:10 tn Heb “those who watch for my life consult together.”
  17. Psalm 71:11 tn Heb “saying.”
  18. Psalm 71:12 tn Heb “hurry to my help.”
  19. Psalm 71:13 tn Heb “those who seek my harm.”
  20. Psalm 71:14 tn Heb “and I add to all your praise.”
  21. Psalm 71:15 tn Heb “my mouth declares your vindication, all the day your deliverance.”
  22. Psalm 71:15 tn Heb “though I do not know [the] numbers,” that is, the tally of God’s just and saving acts. HALOT 768 s.v. סְפֹרוֹת understands the plural noun to mean “the art of writing.”
  23. Psalm 71:16 tn Heb “I will come with.”
  24. Psalm 71:17 tn Heb “and until now I am declaring.”
  25. Psalm 71:18 tn Heb “and even unto old age and gray hair.”
  26. Psalm 71:18 tn Heb “until I declare your arm to a generation, to everyone who comes your power.” God’s “arm” here is an anthropomorphism that symbolizes his great strength.
  27. Psalm 71:19 tn Heb “your justice, O God, [is] unto the height.” The Hebrew term מָרוֹם (marom, “height”) is here a title for the sky/ Extends to the skies above. Similar statements are made in Pss 36:5 and 57:10.
  28. Psalm 71:19 tn Heb “you who have done great things.”
  29. Psalm 71:19 tn Or “Who is like you?”
  30. Psalm 71:20 tn Heb “you who have caused me to see many harmful distresses.”
  31. Psalm 71:20 tn Heb “you return, you give me life.” The Hebrew term שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) is used here in an adverbial sense, indicating repetition of the action described by the following verb. The imperfects are understood here as expressing the psalmist’s prayer or wish. (Note the use of a distinctly jussive form at the beginning of v. 21.) Another option is to understand this as a statement of confidence, “you will revive me once again” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
  32. Psalm 71:20 tn Heb “you return, you bring me up.” The Hebrew term שׁוּב (shuv, “return”) is used adverbially to indicate repetition of the action in the next verb. See previous note. If understood as a statement of confidence, it would say, “you will bring me up once again” (cf. NIV, NRSV).
  33. Psalm 71:21 tn Heb “increase my greatness.” The prefixed verbal form is distinctly jussive, indicating this is a prayer or wish. The psalmist’s request for “greatness” (or “honor”) is not a boastful, self-serving prayer for prominence, but, rather, a request that God would vindicate by elevating him over those who are trying to humiliate him.
  34. Psalm 71:21 tn The imperfects are understood here as expressing the psalmist’s prayer or wish. (Note the use of a distinctly jussive form at the beginning of v. 21.)
  35. Psalm 71:22 tn The word “praising” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  36. Psalm 71:22 sn The basic sense of the word “holy” is “set apart from that which is commonplace, special, unique.” The Lord’s holiness is first and foremost his transcendent sovereignty as the ruler of the world. He is “set apart” from the world over which he rules. At the same time his holiness encompasses his moral authority, which derives from his royal position. As king he has the right to dictate to his subjects how they are to live; indeed his very own character sets the standard for proper behavior.
  37. Psalm 71:23 tn Or “when.” The translation assumes that כִּי (ki) has an emphasizing (asseverative) function here.
  38. Psalm 71:23 tn Heb “and my life [or “soul”] which you will have redeemed.” The perfect verbal form functions here as a future perfect. The psalmist anticipates praising God, for God will have rescued him by that time.
  39. Psalm 71:24 tn Heb “those who seek my harm.”
  40. Psalm 71:24 tn Heb “will have become embarrassed and ashamed.” The perfect verbal forms function here as future perfects, indicating future actions which will precede chronologically the action expressed by the main verb in the preceding line.