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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.
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
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?
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 56:2–3) and psychologically (Ps 56:6–7), the psalmist maintains a firm confidence in God (Ps 56:5, 9–10). 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, 11–12) 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.
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