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scripture

 

PSALM 56*

Trust in God

1For the director. According to Yonath elem rehoqim.* A miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him at Gath.a

I

2Have mercy on me, God,

for I am treated harshly;

attackers press me all the day.

3My foes treat me harshly all the day;

yes, many are my attackers.

O Most High, 4when I am afraid,

in you I place my trust.

5I praise the word of God;

I trust in God, I do not fear.b

What can mere flesh do to me?c

II

6All the day they foil my plans;

their every thought is of evil against me.

7They hide together in ambush;

they watch my every step;

they lie in wait for my life.d

8They are evil; watch them, God!

Cast the nations down in your anger!

9My wanderings you have noted;

are my tears not stored in your flask,*

recorded in your book?e

10My foes turn back when I call on you.

This I know: God is on my side.

11I praise the word of God,

I praise the word of the LORD.

12In God I trust, I do not fear.

What can man do to me?

III

13I have made vows to you, God;

with offerings I will fulfill them,f

14For you have snatched me from death,

kept my feet from stumbling,

That I may walk before God

in the light of the living.

* [Psalm 56] Beset physically (Ps 56:23) and psychologically (Ps 56:67), the psalmist maintains a firm confidence in God (Ps 56:5, 910). Nothing will prevent the psalmist from keeping the vow to give thanks for God’s gift of life (Ps 56:13). A refrain (Ps 56:5, 1112) divides the Psalm in two equal parts.

* [56:1] Yonath elem rehoqim: Hebrew words probably designating the melody to which the Psalm was to be sung.

* [56:9] Are my tears not stored in your flask: a unique saying in the Old Testament. The context suggests that the tears are saved because they are precious; God puts a high value on each of the psalmist’s troubles.

a. [56:1] 1 Sm 21:10.

b. [56:5] Ps 130:5.

c. [56:5] Ps 118:6; Heb 13:6.

d. [56:7] Ps 140:56.

e. [56:9] Ps 10:14; 2 Kgs 20:5; Is 25:8; Rev 7:17.

f. [56:13] Nm 30:3.




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