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(For the music leader. A psalm by David when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had been with Bathsheba.)

A Prayer for Forgiveness

(A) You are kind, God!
    Please have pity on me.
You are always merciful!
    Please wipe away my sins.
Wash me clean from all
    of my sin and guilt.
I know about my sins,
and I cannot forget
    the burden of my guilt.
(B) You are really the one
    I have sinned against;
I have disobeyed you
    and have done wrong.
So it is right and fair for you
    to correct and punish me.

I have sinned and done wrong
    since the day I was born.
But you want complete honesty,
    so teach me true wisdom.
Wash me with hyssop[a]
until I am clean
    and whiter than snow.
Let me be happy and joyful!
You crushed my bones,
    now let them celebrate.
Turn your eyes from my sin
    and cover my guilt.
10 Create pure thoughts in me
    and make me faithful again.
11 Don't chase me away from you
or take your Holy Spirit
    away from me.

12 Make me as happy as you did
when you saved me;
    make me want to obey!
13 I will teach sinners your Law,
    and they will return to you.
14 Keep me from any deadly sin.
    Only you can save me!
Then I will shout and sing
    about your power to save.

15 Help me to speak,
    and I will praise you, Lord.
16 Offerings and sacrifices
    are not what you want.
17 The way to please you
is to be truly sorry
    deep in our hearts.
This is the kind of sacrifice
    you won't refuse.

18 Please be willing, Lord,
to help the city of Zion
    and to rebuild its walls.
19 Then you will be pleased
    with the proper sacrifices,
and we will offer bulls
    on your altar once again.

(A special psalm by David for the music leader. He wrote this when Doeg from Edom went to Saul and said, “David has gone to Ahimelech's house.”)

God Is in Control

(C) You people may be strong
    and brag about your sins,
but God can be trusted
    day after day.
You plan brutal crimes,
and your lying words cut
    like a sharp razor.
You would rather do evil
than good, and tell lies
    than speak the truth.
You love to say cruel things,
    and your words are a trap.

God will destroy you forever!
He will grab you and drag you
    from your homes.
You will be uprooted
    and left to die.
When good people see
    this fearsome sight,
they will laugh and say,
    “Just look at them now!
Instead of trusting God,
they trusted their wealth
    and their cruelty.”

But I am like an olive tree
    growing in God's house,
and I can count on his love
    forever and ever.
I will always thank God
    for what he has done;
I will praise his good name
    when his people meet.

(A special psalm by David for the music leader. To the tune “Mahalath.”[b])

No One Can Ignore God

(D) Only a fool would say,
    “There is no God!”
People like that are worthless!
They are heartless and cruel
    and never do right.

From heaven God
    looks down to see
if anyone is wise enough
    to search for him.
But all of them
are crooked and corrupt.
    Not one of them does right.

Won't you lawbreakers learn?
    You refuse to pray,
and you gobble up
    the people of God.
But you will be terrified
    worse than ever before.
God will scatter the bones
    of his enemies,
and you will be ashamed
    when God rejects you.

I long for someone from Zion
    to come and save Israel!
Our God, when you bless
    your people again,
Jacob's family will be glad,
    and Israel will celebrate.

(For the music leader. Use with stringed instruments. A special psalm that David wrote when the people of Ziph went to Saul and said, “David is hiding here with us.”)

Trusting God in Times of Trouble

(E) Save me, God, by your power
    and prove that I am right.
Listen to my prayer
    and hear what I say.
Cruel strangers have attacked
    and want me dead.
Not one of them cares
    about you.

You will help me, Lord God,
    and keep me from falling;
you will punish my enemies
    for their evil deeds.
Be my faithful friend
    and destroy them.

I will bring a gift
and offer a sacrifice
    to you, Lord.
I will praise your name
    because you are good.
You have rescued me
    from all my troubles,
and my own eyes have seen
    my enemies fall.

(A special psalm by David for the music leader. Use with stringed instruments.)

Betrayed by a Friend

Listen, God, to my prayer!
    Don't reject my request.
Please listen and help me.
My thoughts are troubled,
    and I keep groaning
because my enemies attack
    with loud shouts.
They treat me terribly
    and hold angry grudges.
My heart is racing fast,
    and I am afraid of dying.
I am trembling with fear,
    completely terrified.

I wish I had wings
    like a dove,
so I could fly far away
    and be at peace.
I would go and live
    in some distant desert.
I would quickly find shelter
from howling winds
    and raging storms.

Confuse my enemies, Lord!
    Upset their plans.
Cruelty and violence
    are all I see in the city,
10 and they are like guards
    on patrol day and night.
The city is full of trouble,
evil, 11     and corruption.
Troublemakers and liars
    freely roam the streets.

12 My enemies are not the ones
    who sneer and make fun.
I could put up with that
    or even hide from them.
13 But it was my closest friend,
    the one I trusted most.
14 We enjoyed being together,
when we went with others
    to your house, our God.

15 All who hate me are controlled
    by the power of evil.
Sentence them to death
and send them down alive
    to the world of the dead.

16 I ask for your help, Lord God,
    and you will keep me safe.
17 Morning, noon, and night
you hear my concerns
    and my complaints.
18 I am attacked from all sides,
but you will rescue me
    unharmed by the battle.
19 You have always ruled,
    and you will hear me.
You will defeat my enemies
because they won't turn
    and worship you.

20 My friend turned against me
    and broke his promise.
21 His words were smoother
than butter, and softer
    than olive oil.
But hatred filled his heart,
and he was ready to attack
    with a sword.

22 Our Lord, we belong to you.
We tell you what worries us,
    and you won't let us fall.
23 But what about those people
    who are cruel and brutal?
You will throw them down
    into the deepest pit
long before their time.
    I trust you, Lord!

(For the music leader. To the tune “A Silent Dove in the Distance.”[c] A special psalm by David when the Philistines captured him in Gath.)

A Prayer of Trust in God

(F) Have pity, God Most High!
    My enemies chase me all day.
Many of them are pursuing
    and attacking me,
but even when I am afraid,
    I keep on trusting you.
I praise your promises!
I trust you and am not afraid.
    No one can harm me.

Enemies spend the whole day
    finding fault with me;
all they think about
    is how to do me harm.
They attack from ambush,
watching my every step
    and hoping to kill me.
They won't get away[d]
    with these crimes, God,
because when you get angry,
    you destroy people.

You have kept record
    of my days of wandering.
You have stored my tears
in your bottle
    and counted each of them.

When I pray, Lord God,
    my enemies will retreat,
because I know for certain
    that you are with me.
10 I praise your promises!
11 I trust you and am not afraid.
    No one can harm me.

12 I will keep my promises
to you, my God,
    and bring you gifts.
13 You protected me from death
    and kept me from stumbling,
so that I would please you
and follow the light
    that leads to life.

(For the music leader. To the tune “Don't Destroy.”[e] A special psalm by David when he was in the cave while running from Saul.)

Praise and Trust in Times of Trouble

(G) God Most High, have pity on me!
Have mercy. I run to you
    for safety.
In the shadow of your wings,
I seek protection
    till danger dies down.
I pray to you, my protector.
You will send help from heaven
    and save me,
but you will bring trouble
    on my attackers.
You are faithful,
    and you can be trusted.

My enemies are fierce,
    much worse than lions!
They have spears and arrows
    instead of teeth,
and they have sharp swords
    instead of tongues.

May you, my God, be honored
    above the heavens;
may your glory be seen
    everywhere on earth.

(H) Enemies set traps for my feet
    and struck me down.
They dug a pit in my path,
    but fell in it themselves.
I am faithful to you,
    and you can trust me.
I will sing and play music
    for you, my God.
I feel wide awake!
I will wake up my harp
    and wake up the sun.
I will praise you, Lord,
    for everyone to hear,
and I will sing hymns to you
    in every nation.
10 Your love reaches higher
    than the heavens;
your loyalty extends
    beyond the clouds.

11 May you, my God, be honored
    above the heavens;
may your glory be seen
    everywhere on earth.


  1. 51.7 hyssop: A small bush with bunches of small, white flowers. It was sometimes used as a symbol for making a person clean from sin.
  2. Psalm 53 Mahalath: Or “For flutes,” one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. Psalm 56 A Silent … Distance: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 56.7 They … away: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. Psalm 57 Don't Destroy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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