(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
51 You are kind, God! Please have pity on me. You are always merciful! Please wipe away my sins. 2 Wash me clean from all of my sin and guilt. 3 I know about my sins, and I cannot forget my terrible guilt. 4 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.
5 I have sinned and done wrong since the day I was born. 6 But you want complete honesty, so teach me true wisdom. 7 Wash me with hyssop[a] until I am clean and whiter than snow. 8 Let me be happy and joyful! You crushed my bones, now let them celebrate. 9 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 feel sorrow 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
52 You people may be strong and brag about your sins, but God can be trusted day after day. 2 You plan brutal crimes, and your lying words cut like a sharp razor. 3 You would rather do evil than good, and tell lies than speak the truth. 4 You love to say cruel things, and your words are a trap.
5 God will destroy you forever! He will grab you and drag you from your homes. You will be uprooted and left to die. 6 When good people see this fearsome sight, they will laugh and say, 7 “Just look at them now! Instead of trusting God, they trusted their wealth and their cruelty.”
8 But I am like an olive tree growing in God’s house, and I can count on his love forever and ever. 9 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
53 Only a fool would say, “There is no God!” People like that are worthless! They are heartless and cruel and never do right.
2 From heaven God looks down to see if anyone is wise enough to search for him. 3 But all of them are crooked and corrupt. Not one of them does right.
4 Won’t you lawbreakers learn? You refuse to pray, and you gobble down the people of God. 5 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.
6 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
54 Save me, God, by your power and prove that I am right. 2 Listen to my prayer and hear what I say. 3 Cruel strangers have attacked and want me dead. Not one of them cares about you.
4 You will help me, Lord God, and keep me from falling; 5 you will punish my enemies for their evil deeds. Be my faithful friend and destroy them.
6 I will bring a gift and offer a sacrifice to you, Lord. I will praise your name because you are good. 7 You have rescued me from all of 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
55 Listen, God, to my prayer! Don’t reject my request. 2 Please listen and help me. My thoughts are troubled, and I keep groaning 3 because my loud enemies shout and attack. They treat me terribly and hold angry grudges. 4 My heart is racing fast, and I am afraid of dying. 5 I am trembling with fear, completely terrified.
6 I wish I had wings like a dove, so I could fly far away and be at peace. 7 I would go and live in some distant desert. 8 I would quickly find shelter from howling winds and raging storms.
9 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, and 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
56 Have pity, God Most High! My enemies chase me all day. 2 Many of them are pursuing and attacking me, 3 but even when I am afraid, I keep on trusting you. 4 I praise your promises! I trust you and am not afraid. No one can harm me.
5 Enemies spend the whole day finding fault with me; all they think about is how to do me harm. 6 They attack from ambush, watching my every step and hoping to kill me. 7 They won’t get away[d] with these crimes, God, because when you get angry, you destroy people.
8 You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them.
9 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
57 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. 2 I pray to you, my protector. 3 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.
4 I live among lions, who gobble down people! They have spears and arrows instead of teeth, and they have sharp swords instead of tongues.
5 May you, my God, be honored above the heavens; may your glory be seen everywhere on earth.
6 Enemies set traps for my feet and struck me down. They dug a pit in my path, but fell in it themselves. 7 I am faithful to you, and you can trust me. I will sing and play music for you, my God. 8 I feel wide awake! I will wake up my harp and wake up the sun. 9 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.
51.7hyssop: A small bush with bunches of small, white flowers. It was sometimes used as a symbol for making a person clean from sin.
Psalm 53Mahalath: Or “For flutes,” one possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Psalm 56A Silent. . . Distance: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
56.7They. . . away: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Psalm 57; 58Don’t Destroy: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.