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Book III

(Psalms 73–89)

Psalm 73

Plea for Relief from Oppressors

A Psalm of Asaph.

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.(A)
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
    my steps had nearly slipped.(B)
For I was envious of the arrogant;
    I saw the prosperity of the wicked.(C)

For they have no pain;
    their bodies are sound and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
    they are not plagued like other people.(D)
Therefore pride is their necklace;
    violence covers them like a garment.(E)
Their eyes swell out with fatness;
    their hearts overflow with follies.(F)
They scoff and speak with malice;
    loftily they threaten oppression.(G)
They set their mouths against heaven,
    and their tongues range over the earth.

10 Therefore the people turn and praise them[a]
    and find no fault in them.[b]
11 And they say, “How can God know?
    Is there knowledge in the Most High?”(H)
12 Such are the wicked;
    always at ease, they increase in riches.(I)
13 All in vain I have kept my heart clean
    and washed my hands in innocence.(J)
14 For all day long I have been plagued
    and am punished every morning.(K)

15 If I had said, “I will talk on in this way,”
    I would have been untrue to the circle of your children.
16 But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task,(L)
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I perceived their end.(M)
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.(N)
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!(O)
20 They are[c] like a dream when one awakes;
    on awaking you despise their phantoms.(P)

21 When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was stupid and ignorant;
    I was like a brute beast toward you.(Q)
23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me with honor.[d](R)
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.(S)
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength[e] of my heart and my portion forever.(T)

27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
    you put an end to those who are false to you.(U)
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    to tell of all your works.(V)


  1. 73.10 Cn: Heb his people return here
  2. 73.10 Cn: Heb abundant waters are drained by them
  3. 73.20 Cn: Heb Lord
  4. 73.24 Or to glory
  5. 73.26 Heb rock