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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 the upright,[a]
    to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
    my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant;
    I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

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.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
    violence covers them like a garment.
Their eyes swell out with fatness;
    their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
    loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against heaven,
    and their tongues range over the earth.

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

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,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I perceived their end.
18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!
20 They are[d] like a dream when one awakes;
    on awaking you despise their phantoms.

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.
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.[e]
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength[f] of my heart and my portion forever.

27 Indeed, those who are far from you will perish;
    you put an end to those who are false to you.
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.

Psalm 74

Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation

A Maskil of Asaph.

O God, why do you cast us off forever?
    Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
    which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
    Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
    the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.

Your foes have roared within your holy place;
    they set up their emblems there.
At the upper entrance they hacked
    the wooden trellis with axes.[g]
And then, with hatchets and hammers,
    they smashed all its carved work.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
    they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,
    bringing it to the ground.
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
    they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

We do not see our emblems;
    there is no longer any prophet,
    and there is no one among us who knows how long.
10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
    Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand;
    why do you keep your hand in[h] your bosom?

12 Yet God my King is from of old,
    working salvation in the earth.
13 You divided the sea by your might;
    you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
    you gave him as food[i] for the creatures of the wilderness.
15 You cut openings for springs and torrents;
    you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16 Yours is the day, yours also the night;
    you established the luminaries[j] and the sun.
17 You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
    you made summer and winter.

18 Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
    and an impious people reviles your name.
19 Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
    do not forget the life of your poor forever.

20 Have regard for your[k] covenant,
    for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
21 Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
    let the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
    remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
23 Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
    the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.

Psalm 75

Thanksgiving for God’s Wondrous Deeds

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

We give thanks to you, O God;
    we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.

At the set time that I appoint
    I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
    it is I who keep its pillars steady.Selah
I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
    and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
    or speak with insolent neck.”

For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
    with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
    and all the wicked of the earth
    shall drain it down to the dregs.
But I will rejoice[l] forever;
    I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
    but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Psalm 76

Israel’s God—Judge of All the Earth

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.

In Judah God is known,
    his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established in Salem,
    his dwelling place in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
    the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war.Selah

Glorious are you, more majestic
    than the everlasting mountains.[m]
The stouthearted were stripped of their spoil;
    they sank into sleep;
none of the troops
    was able to lift a hand.
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
    both rider and horse lay stunned.

But you indeed are awesome!
    Who can stand before you
    when once your anger is roused?
From the heavens you uttered judgment;
    the earth feared and was still
when God rose up to establish judgment,
    to save all the oppressed of the earth.Selah

10 Human wrath serves only to praise you,
    when you bind the last bit of your[n] wrath around you.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them;
    let all who are around him bring gifts
    to the one who is awesome,
12 who cuts off the spirit of princes,
    who inspires fear in the kings of the earth.

Psalm 77

God’s Mighty Deeds Recalled

To the leader: according to Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A Psalm.

I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan;
    I meditate, and my spirit faints.Selah

You keep my eyelids from closing;
    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
    and remember the years of long ago.
I commune[o] with my heart in the night;
    I meditate and search my spirit:[p]
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
    and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased forever?
    Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?”Selah
10 And I say, “It is my grief
    that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”

11 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
    I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all your work,
    and muse on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
    you have displayed your might among the peoples.
15 With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.Selah

16 When the waters saw you, O God,
    when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
    the very deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
    the skies thundered;
    your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
    your lightnings lit up the world;
    the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
    your path, through the mighty waters;
    yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 73:1 Or good to Israel
  2. Psalm 73:10 Cn: Heb his people return here
  3. Psalm 73:10 Cn: Heb abundant waters are drained by them
  4. Psalm 73:20 Cn: Heb Lord
  5. Psalm 73:24 Or to glory
  6. Psalm 73:26 Heb rock
  7. Psalm 74:5 Cn Compare Gk Syr: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  8. Psalm 74:11 Cn: Heb do you consume your right hand from
  9. Psalm 74:14 Heb food for the people
  10. Psalm 74:16 Or moon; Heb light
  11. Psalm 74:20 Gk Syr: Heb the
  12. Psalm 75:9 Gk: Heb declare
  13. Psalm 76:4 Gk: Heb the mountains of prey
  14. Psalm 76:10 Heb lacks your
  15. Psalm 77:6 Gk Syr: Heb My music
  16. Psalm 77:6 Syr Jerome: Heb my spirit searches

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