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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)

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?(W)
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.(X)
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
    the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.(Y)

Your foes have roared within your holy place;
    they set up their emblems there.(Z)
At the upper entrance they hacked
    the wooden trellis with axes.[f](AA)
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.(AB)
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
    they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.(AC)

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

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

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

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


  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
  6. 74.5 Cn Compare Gk Syr: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. 74.11 Cn: Heb do you consume your right hand from
  8. 74.14 Heb food for the people
  9. 74.16 Or moon; Heb light
  10. 74.20 Gk Syr: Heb the