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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 17


A prayer of David. 1 Hear, LORD, my plea for justice; pay heed to my cry; Listen to my prayer spoken without guile.


From you let my vindication come; your eyes see what is right.


You have tested my heart, searched it in the night. You have tried me by fire, but find no malice in me. My mouth has not transgressed


as humans often do. As your lips have instructed me, I have kept the way of the law.


My steps have kept to your paths; my feet have not faltered.


I call upon you; answer me, O God. Turn your ear to me; hear my prayer.


Show your wonderful love, you who deliver with your right arm those who seek refuge from their foes.


2 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings


from the violence of the wicked.


3 My ravenous enemies press upon me; they close their hearts, they fill their mouths with proud roaring.


Their steps even now encircle me; they watch closely, keeping low to the ground,


Like lions eager for prey, like young lions lurking in ambush.


Rise, O LORD, confront and cast them down; rescue me so from the wicked.


Slay them with your sword; with your hand, LORD, slay them; snatch them from the world in their prime. Their bellies are being filled with your friends; their children are satisfied too, for they share what is left with their young.


4 I am just - let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.


1 [Psalm 17] A lament of an individual unjustly attacked who has taken refuge in the temple. Confident of being found innocent, the psalmist cries out for God's just judgment ( Psalm 17:1-5) and requests divine help against enemies ( Psalm 17:6-9a). Those ravenous lions ( Psalm 17:9b-12) should be punished ( Psalm 17:13-14). The psalm ends with a serene statement of praise ( Psalm 17:15). The Hebrew text of Psalm 17:3-4, 14 is uncertain.

2 [8] Apple of your eye . . . shadow of your wings: images of God's special care. Cf Deut 32:10; Proverb 7:2; Isaiah 49:2.

3 [10-12,14] An extended metaphor: the enemies are lions.

4 [15] When I awake: probably the psalmist has spent the night in the sanctuary (cf Psalm 17:3) and hopes to wake to an oracle assuring God's protective presence.

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