31 I come to you, Lord, for protection. Don’t let me be ashamed. Do as you have promised and rescue me. 2 Listen to my prayer and hurry to save me. Be my mighty rock[a] and the fortress where I am safe.
3 You, Lord God, are my mighty rock and my fortress. Lead me and guide me, so that your name will be honored. 4 Protect me from hidden traps and keep me safe. 5 You are faithful, and I trust you because you rescued me.
6 I hate the worshipers of worthless idols, but I trust you, Lord. 7 I celebrate and shout because you are kind. You saw all my suffering, and you cared for me. 8 You kept me from the hands of my enemies, and you set me free.
9 Have pity, Lord! I am hurting and almost blind. My whole body aches. 10 I have known only sorrow all my life long, and I suffer year after year. I am weak from sin, and my bones are limp.
11 My enemies insult me. Neighbors are even worse, and I disgust my friends. People meet me on the street, and they turn and run. 12 I am completely forgotten like someone dead. I am merely a broken dish. 13 I hear the crowds whisper, “Everyone is afraid!” They are plotting and scheming to murder me.
14 But I trust you, Lord, and I claim you as my God. 15 My life is in your hands. Save me from enemies who hunt me down. 16 Smile on me, your servant. Have pity and rescue me.
17 I pray only to you. Don’t disappoint me. Disappoint my cruel enemies until they lie silent in their graves. 18 Silence those proud liars! Make them stop bragging and insulting your people.
19 You are wonderful, and while everyone watches, you store up blessings for all who honor and trust you. 20 You are their shelter from harmful plots, and you are their protection from vicious gossip.
21 I will praise you, Lord, for showing great kindness when I was like a city under attack. 22 I was terrified and thought, “They’ve chased me far away from you!” But you answered my prayer when I shouted for help.
23 All who belong to the Lord, show how you love him. The Lord protects the faithful, but he severely punishes everyone who is proud. 24 All who trust the Lord, be cheerful and strong.
(A special psalm by David.)
The Joy of Forgiveness
32 Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away. 2 You bless them by saying, “You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.”
3 Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long. 4 Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me, and my strength was gone as in the summer heat.
5 So I confessed my sins and told them all to you. I said, “I’ll tell the Lord each one of my sins.” Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.
6 We worship you, Lord, and we should always pray whenever we find out that we have sinned.[b] Then we won’t be swept away by a raging flood. 7 You are my hiding place! You protect me from trouble, and you put songs in my heart because you have saved me.
8 You said to me, “I will point out the road that you should follow. I will be your teacher and watch over you. 9 Don’t be stupid like horses and mules that must be led with ropes to make them obey.”
10 All kinds of troubles will strike the wicked, but your kindness shields those who trust you, Lord. 11 And so your good people should celebrate and shout.
16 When Paul’s nephew heard about the plot, he went to the fortress and told Paul about it. 17 So Paul said to one of the army officers, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something to tell him.”
18 The officer took him to the commander and said, “The prisoner named Paul asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you.”
19 The commander took the young man aside and asked him in private, “What do you want to tell me?”
20 He answered, “Some men are planning to ask you to bring Paul down to the Jewish council tomorrow. They will claim that they want to find out more about him. 21 But please don’t do what they say. More than forty men are going to attack Paul. They have made a vow not to eat or drink anything until they have killed him. Even now they are waiting to hear what you decide.”
22 The commander sent the young man away after saying to him, “Don’t let anyone know that you told me this.”
Paul Is Sent to Felix the Governor
23 The commander called in two of his officers and told them, “By nine o’clock tonight have two hundred soldiers ready to go to Caesarea. Take along seventy men on horseback and two hundred foot soldiers with spears. 24 Get a horse ready for Paul and make sure that he gets safely through to Felix the governor.”
25 The commander wrote a letter that said:
26 Greetings from Claudius Lysias to the Honorable Governor Felix:
27 Some Jews grabbed this man and were about to kill him. But when I found out that he was a Roman citizen, I took some soldiers and rescued him.
28 I wanted to find out what they had against him. So I brought him before their council 29 and learned that the charges concern only their religious laws. This man isn’t guilty of anything for which he should die or even be put in jail.
30 As soon as I learned that there was a plot against him, I sent him to you and told their leaders to bring charges against him in your court.
31 The soldiers obeyed the commander’s orders, and that same night they took Paul to the city of Antipatris. 32 The next day the foot soldiers returned to the fortress and let the soldiers on horseback take him the rest of the way. 33 When they came to Caesarea, they gave the letter to the governor and handed Paul over to him.
34 The governor read the letter. Then he asked Paul and found out that he was from Cilicia. 35 The governor said, “I will listen to your case as soon as the people come to bring their charges against you.” After saying this, he gave orders for Paul to be kept as a prisoner in Herod’s palace.[a]
23.35Herod’s palace: The palace built by Herod the Great and used by the Roman governors of Palestine.
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