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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 56


1 2 For the director. According to Yonath elem rehoqim. A miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him at Gath.


Have mercy on me, God, for I am treated harshly; attackers press me all the day.


My foes treat me harshly all the day; yes, many are my attackers. O Most High,


when I am afraid, in you I place my trust.


God, I praise your promise; in you I trust, I do not fear. What can mere flesh do to me?


All the day they foil my plans; their every thought is of evil against me.


They hide together in ambush; they watch my every step; they lie in wait for my life.


They are evil; watch them, God! Cast the nations down in your anger!


3 My wanderings you have noted; are my tears not stored in your vial, recorded in your book?


My foes turn back when I call on you. This I know: God is on my side.


God, I praise your promise;


in you I trust, I do not fear. What can mere mortals do to me?


I have made vows to you, God; with offerings I will fulfill them,


Once you have snatched me from death, kept my feet from stumbling, That I may walk before God in the light of the living.



1 [Psalm 56] Beset physically ( Psalm 56:2-3) and psychologically ( Psalm 56:6-7), the psalmist maintains a firm confidence in God ( Psalm 56:5, 9-10). Nothing will prevent the psalmist from keeping the vow to give thanks for God's gift of life ( Psalm 56:13). A refrain ( Psalm 56:5, 11-12) divides the psalm in two equal parts.

2 [1] Yonath elem rehoqim: Hebrew words probably designating the melody to which the psalm was to be sung.

3 [9] Are my tears not stored in your vial: 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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