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The Justice of God[a]

73 God is indeed good to Israel,
    to those who have pure hearts.
But I had nearly lost confidence;
    my faith was almost gone
because I was jealous of the proud
    when I saw that things go well for the wicked.

They do not suffer pain;
    they are strong and healthy.
They do not suffer as other people do;
    they do not have the troubles that others have.
And so they wear pride like a necklace
    and violence like a robe;
their hearts pour out evil,[b]
    and their minds are busy with wicked schemes.
They laugh at other people and speak of evil things;
    they are proud and make plans to oppress others.
They speak evil of God in heaven
    and give arrogant orders to everyone on earth,
10 so that even God's people turn to them
    and eagerly believe whatever they say.[c]
11 They say, “God will not know;
    the Most High will not find out.”
12 That is what the wicked are like.
    They have plenty and are always getting more.

13 Is it for nothing, then, that I have kept myself pure
    and have not committed sin?
14 O God, you have made me suffer all day long;
    every morning you have punished me.

15 If I had said such things,
    I would not be acting as one of your people.
16 I tried to think this problem through,
    but it was too difficult for me
17     until I went into your Temple.
Then I understood what will happen to the wicked.

18 You will put them in slippery places
    and make them fall to destruction!
19 They are instantly destroyed;
    they go down to a horrible end.
20 They are like a dream that goes away in the morning;
    when you rouse yourself, O Lord, they disappear.

21 When my thoughts were bitter
    and my feelings were hurt,
22 I was as stupid as an animal;
    I did not understand you.
23 Yet I always stay close to you,
    and you hold me by the hand.
24 You guide me with your instruction
    and at the end you will receive me with honor.
25 What else do I have in heaven but you?
    Since I have you, what else could I want on earth?
26 My mind and my body may grow weak,
    but God is my strength;
    he is all I ever need.

27 Those who abandon you will certainly perish;
    you will destroy those who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, how wonderful to be near God,
    to find protection with the Sovereign Lord
    and to proclaim all that he has done!


  1. Psalm 73:1 HEBREW TITLE: By Asaph.
  2. Psalm 73:7 Some ancient translations their hearts pour out evil; Hebrew unclear.
  3. Psalm 73:10 Verse 10 in Hebrew is unclear.


(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.


  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

Book III: Psalms 73–89

73 (0) A psalm of Asaf:

(1) How good God is to Isra’el,
to those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, I lost my balance,
my feet nearly slipped,
when I grew envious of the arrogant
and saw how the wicked prosper.
For when their death comes, it is painless;
and meanwhile, their bodies are healthy;
they don’t have ordinary people’s troubles,
they aren’t plagued like others.

So for them, pride is a necklace;
and violence clothes them like a robe.
Their eyes peep out through folds of fat;
evil thoughts overflow from their hearts.
They scoff and speak with malice,
they loftily utter threats.
They set their mouths against heaven;
their tongues swagger through the earth.

10 Therefore his people return here
and [thoughtlessly] suck up that whole cup of water.
11 Then they ask, “How does God know?
Does the Most High really have knowledge?”

12 Yes, this is what the wicked are like;
those free of misfortune keep increasing their wealth.
13 It’s all for nothing that I’ve kept my heart clean
and washed my hands, staying free of guilt;
14 for all day long I am plagued;
my punishment comes every morning.

15 If I had said, “I will talk like them,”
I would have betrayed a generation of your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
I found it too hard for me —
17 until I went into the sanctuaries of God
and grasped what their destiny would be.
18 Indeed, you place them on a slippery slope
and make them fall to their ruin.

19 How suddenly they are destroyed,
swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakens;
Adonai, when you rouse yourself,
you will despise their phantoms.

21 When I had a sour attitude
and felt stung by pained emotions,
22 I was too stupid to understand;
I was like a brute beast with you.
23 Nevertheless, I am always with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You will guide me with your advice;
and afterwards, you will receive me with honor.

25 Whom do I have in heaven but you?
And with you, I lack nothing on earth.
26 My mind and body may fail; but God
is the rock for my mind and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who adulterously leave you.
28 But for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made Adonai Elohim my refuge,
so that I can tell of all your works.

An Asaph Psalm

73 1-5 No doubt about it! God is good—
    good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
    missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
    looking up to the people
At the top,
    envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
    not a care in the whole wide world.

6-10 Pretentious with arrogance,
    they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,
    decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;
    they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,
    loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
    Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words.

11-14 What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?
    Nobody’s tending the store.
The wicked get by with everything;
    they have it made, piling up riches.
I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;
    what has it gotten me?
A long run of bad luck, that’s what—
    a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.

15-20 If I’d have given in and talked like this,
    I would have betrayed your dear children.
Still, when I tried to figure it out,
    all I got was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
    Then I saw the whole picture:
The slippery road you’ve put them on,
    with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In the blink of an eye, disaster!
    A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!
We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing.
    There’s nothing to them. And there never was.

21-24 When I was beleaguered and bitter,
    totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox
    in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence,
    but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,
    and then you bless me.

25-28 You’re all I want in heaven!
    You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
    God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
    Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God
    oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
    God, I’m telling the world what you do!