Psalms 34:1-22

Psalm 34

Written by David, when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, causing the king to send him away.

34:1 I will praise the Lord at all times;

my mouth will continually praise him.

34:2 I will boast in the Lord;

let the oppressed hear and rejoice!

34:3 Magnify the Lord with me!

Let’s praise his name together!

34:4 I sought the Lord’s help and he answered me;

he delivered me from all my fears.

34:5 Those who look to him for help are happy;

their faces are not ashamed.

34:6 This oppressed man cried out and the Lord heard;

he saved him 10  from all his troubles.

34:7 The Lord’s angel camps around

the Lord’s 11  loyal followers 12  and delivers them. 13 

34:8 Taste 14  and see that the Lord is good!

How blessed 15  is the one 16  who takes shelter in him! 17 

34:9 Remain loyal to 18  the Lord, you chosen people of his, 19 

for his loyal followers 20  lack nothing!

34:10 Even young lions sometimes lack food and are hungry,

but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

34:11 Come children! Listen to me!

I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord. 21 

34:12 Do you want to really live? 22 

Would you love to live a long, happy life? 23 

34:13 Then make sure you don’t speak evil words 24 

or use deceptive speech! 25 

34:14 Turn away from evil and do what is right! 26 

Strive for peace and promote it! 27 

34:15 The Lord pays attention to the godly

and hears their cry for help. 28 

34:16 But the Lord opposes evildoers

and wipes out all memory of them from the earth. 29 

34:17 The godly 30  cry out and the Lord hears;

he saves them from all their troubles. 31 

34:18 The Lord is near the brokenhearted;

he delivers 32  those who are discouraged. 33 

34:19 The godly 34  face many dangers, 35 

but the Lord saves 36  them 37  from each one of them.

34:20 He protects 38  all his bones; 39 

not one of them is broken. 40 

34:21 Evil people self-destruct; 41 

those who hate the godly are punished. 42 

34:22 The Lord rescues his servants; 43 

all who take shelter in him escape punishment. 44 

Psalms 41:1-13

Psalm 41 45 

For the music director; a psalm of David.

41:1 How blessed 46  is the one who treats the poor properly! 47 

When trouble comes, 48  the Lord delivers him. 49 

41:2 May the Lord protect him and save his life! 50 

May he be blessed 51  in the land!

Do not turn him over 52  to his enemies! 53 

41:3 The Lord supports 54  him on his sickbed;

you completely heal him from his illness. 55 

41:4 As for me, I said: 56 

“O Lord, have mercy on me!

Heal me, for I have sinned against you!

41:5 My enemies ask this cruel question about me, 57 

‘When will he finally die and be forgotten?’ 58 

41:6 When someone comes to visit, 59  he pretends to be friendly; 60 

he thinks of ways to defame me, 61 

and when he leaves he slanders me. 62 

41:7 All who hate me whisper insults about me to one another; 63 

they plan ways to harm me.

41:8 They say, 64 

‘An awful disease 65  overwhelms him, 66 

and now that he is bed-ridden he will never recover.’ 67 

41:9 Even my close friend 68  whom I trusted,

he who shared meals with me, has turned against me. 69 

41:10 As for you, O Lord, have mercy on me and raise me up,

so I can pay them back!” 70 

41:11 By this 71  I know that you are pleased with me,

for my enemy does 72  not triumph 73  over me.

41:12 As for me, you uphold 74  me because of my integrity; 75 

you allow 76  me permanent access to your presence. 77 

41:13 The Lord God of Israel deserves praise 78 

in the future and forevermore! 79 

We agree! We agree! 80 

Psalms 116:1-19

Psalm 116 81 

116:1 I love the Lord

because he heard my plea for mercy, 82 

116:2 and listened to me. 83 

As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help. 84 

116:3 The ropes of death tightened around me, 85 

the snares 86  of Sheol confronted me.

I was confronted 87  with trouble and sorrow.

116:4 I called on the name of the Lord,

“Please Lord, rescue my life!”

116:5 The Lord is merciful and fair;

our God is compassionate.

116:6 The Lord protects 88  the untrained; 89 

I was in serious trouble 90  and he delivered me.

116:7 Rest once more, my soul, 91 

for the Lord has vindicated you. 92 

116:8 Yes, 93  Lord, 94  you rescued my life from death,

and kept my feet from stumbling.

116:9 I will serve 95  the Lord

in the land 96  of the living.

116:10 I had faith when I said,

“I am severely oppressed.”

116:11 I rashly declared, 97 

“All men are liars.”

116:12 How can I repay the Lord

for all his acts of kindness to me?

116:13 I will celebrate my deliverance, 98 

and call on the name of the Lord.

116:14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord

before all his people.

116:15 The Lord values

the lives of his faithful followers. 99 

116:16 Yes, Lord! I am indeed your servant;

I am your lowest slave. 100 

You saved me from death. 101 

116:17 I will present a thank offering to you,

and call on the name of the Lord.

116:18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord

before all his people,

116:19 in the courts of the Lord’s temple,

in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

Psalms 138:1-8

Psalm 138 102 

By David.

138:1 I will give you thanks with all my heart;

before the heavenly assembly 103  I will sing praises to you.

138:2 I will bow down toward your holy temple,

and give thanks to your name,

because of your loyal love and faithfulness,

for you have exalted your promise above the entire sky. 104 

138:3 When 105  I cried out for help, you answered me.

You made me bold and energized me. 106 

138:4 Let all the kings of the earth give thanks 107  to you, O Lord,

when they hear the words you speak. 108 

138:5 Let them sing about the Lord’s deeds, 109 

for the Lord’s splendor is magnificent. 110 

138:6 Though the Lord is exalted, he takes note of the lowly,

and recognizes the proud from far away.

138:7 Even when I must walk in the midst of danger, 111  you revive me.

You oppose my angry enemies, 112 

and your right hand delivers me.

138:8 The Lord avenges me. 113 

O Lord, your loyal love endures.

Do not abandon those whom you have made! 114 


sn Psalm 34. In this song of thanksgiving the psalmist praises God for delivering him from distress. He encourages others to be loyal to the Lord, tells them how to please God, and assures them that the Lord protects his servants. The psalm is an acrostic; vv. 1-21 begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (Verse 6 begins with the letter he (ה) and v. 7 with the letter zayin (ז). The letter vav (ו), which comes between ה and ז, seems to be omitted, although it does appear at the beginning of v. 6b. The final verse of the psalm, which begins with the letter pe (פ), is outside the acrostic scheme.

tn Heb “By David, when he changed his sense before Abimelech and he drove him away and he went.”

sn Pretended to be insane. The psalm heading appears to refer to the account in 1 Sam 21:10-15 which tells how David, fearful that King Achish of Gath might kill him, pretended to be insane in hopes that the king would simply send him away. The psalm heading names the king Abimelech, not Achish, suggesting that the tradition is confused on this point. However, perhaps “Abimelech” was a royal title, rather than a proper name. See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 278.

tn Heb “bless.”

tn Heb “continually [will] his praise [be] in my mouth.”

tn Heb “my soul will boast”; or better, “let my soul boast.” Following the cohortative form in v. 1, it is likely that the prefixed verbal form here is jussive.

tn The two prefixed verbal forms in this verse are best taken as jussives, for the psalmist is calling his audience to worship (see v. 3).

tn Or “exalt.”

tn Heb “I sought the Lord.”

tc Heb “they look to him and are radiant and their faces are not ashamed.” The third person plural subject (“they”) is unidentified; there is no antecedent in the Hebrew text. For this reason some prefer to take the perfect verbal forms in the first line as imperatives, “look to him and be radiant” (cf. NEB, NRSV). Some medieval Hebrew mss and other ancient witnesses (Aquila, the Syriac, and Jerome) support an imperatival reading for the first verb. In the second line some (with support from the LXX and Syriac) change “their faces” to “your faces,” which allows one to retain more easily the jussive force of the verb (suggested by the preceding אַל [’al]): “do not let your faces be ashamed.” It is probable that the verbal construction in the second line is rhetorical, expressing the conviction that the action in view cannot or should not happen. See GKC 322 §109.e.

10 tn The pronoun refers back to “this oppressed man,” namely, the psalmist.

11 tn Heb “his”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Heb “those who fear him.”

13 tn The prefixed verb with vav (ו) consecutive here carries the same generalizing force as the active participle in the first line. See GKC 329 §111.u.

14 tn This verb is normally used of tasting or savoring food. The metaphor here appears to compare the Lord to a tasty meal.

15 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 41:1; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

16 tn Heb “man.” The principle of the psalm is certainly applicable to all people, regardless of their gender or age. To facilitate modern application, we translate the gender and age specific “man” with the more neutral “one.”

17 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 2:12; 5:11-12; 31:17-20; 34:21-22).

18 tn Heb “fear.”

19 tn Heb “O holy ones of his.”

20 tn Heb “those who fear him.”

21 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord I will teach you.” In vv. 13-14 the psalmist explains to his audience what it means to “fear” the Lord.

22 tn Heb “Who is the man who desires life?” The rhetorical question is used to grab the audience’s attention. “Life” probably refers here to quality of life, not just physical existence or even duration of life. See the following line.

23 tn Heb “[Who] loves days to see good?”

24 tn Heb “guard your tongue from evil.”

25 tn Heb “and your lips from speaking deception.”

26 tn Or “do good.”

27 tn Heb “seek peace and pursue it.”

28 tn Heb “the eyes of the Lord [are] toward the godly, and his ears [are] toward their cry for help.”

29 tn Heb “the face of the Lord [is] against the doers of evil to cut off from the earth memory of them.”

30 tn Heb “they” (i.e., the godly mentioned in v. 15).

31 tn The three perfect verbal forms are taken in a generalizing sense in v. 17 and translated with the present tense (note the generalizing mood of vv. 18-22).

32 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form highlights the generalizing statement and draws attention to the fact that the Lord typically delivers the oppressed and needy.

33 tn Heb “the crushed in spirit.”

34 tn The Hebrew text uses the singular form; the representative or typical godly person is envisioned.

35 tn Or “trials.”

36 tn The Hebrew imperfect verbal form highlights the generalizing statement and draws attention to the fact that the Lord typically delivers the godly.

37 tn Heb “him,” agreeing with the singular form in the preceding line.

38 tn The Hebrew participial form suggests such protection is characteristic.

39 tn That is, he protects the godly from physical harm.

40 sn Not one of them is broken. The author of the Gospel of John saw a fulfillment of these words in Jesus’ experience on the cross (see John 19:31-37), for the Roman soldiers, when they saw that Jesus was already dead, did not break his legs as was customarily done to speed the death of crucified individuals. John’s use of the psalm seems strange, for the statement in its original context suggests that the Lord protects the godly from physical harm. Jesus’ legs may have remained unbroken, but he was brutally and unjustly executed by his enemies. John seems to give the statement a literal sense that is foreign to its original literary context by applying a promise of divine protection to a man who was seemingly not saved by God. However, John saw in this incident a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ultimate deliverance and vindication. His unbroken bones were a reminder of God’s commitment to the godly and a sign of things to come. Jesus’ death on the cross was not the end of the story; God vindicated him, as John goes on to explain in the following context (John 19:38-20:18).

41 tn Heb “evil kills the wicked [one].” The singular form is representative; the typical evil person is envisioned. The Hebrew imperfect verbal form draws attention to the typical nature of the action.

42 tn Heb “are guilty,” but the verb is sometimes used metonymically with the meaning “to suffer the consequences of guilt,” the effect being substituted for the cause.

43 tn Heb “redeems the life of his servants.” The Hebrew participial form suggests such deliverance is characteristic.

44 tn “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear, and serve the Lord (Pss 2:12; 5:11-12; 31:19).

45 sn Psalm 41. The psalmist is confident (vv. 11-12) that the Lord has heard his request to be healed (vv. 4-10), and he anticipates the joy he will experience when the Lord intervenes (vv. 1-3). One must assume that the psalmist is responding to a divine oracle of assurance (see P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 [WBC], 319-20). The final verse is a fitting conclusion to this psalm, but it is also serves as a fitting conclusion to the first “book” (or major editorial division) of the Psalter. Similar statements appear at or near the end of each of the second, third, and fourth “books” of the Psalter (see Pss 72:19, 89:52, and 106:48 respectively).

46 tn The Hebrew noun is an abstract plural. The word often refers metonymically to the happiness that God-given security and prosperity produce (see Pss 1:1, 3; 2:12; 34:9; 65:4; 84:12; 89:15; 106:3; 112:1; 127:5; 128:1; 144:15).

47 sn One who treats the poor properly. The psalmist is characterizing himself as such an individual and supplying a reason why God has responded favorably to his prayer. The Lord’s attitude toward the merciful mirrors their treatment of the poor.

48 tn Heb “in the day of trouble” (see Ps 27:5).

49 tn That is, the one who has been kind to the poor. The prefixed verbal form could be taken as jussive of prayer (“may the Lord deliver,” see v. 2), but the preceding parallel line is a declaration of fact, not a prayer per se. The imperfect can be taken here as future (“will deliver,” cf. NEB, NASB) or as generalizing (“delivers,” cf. NIV, NRSV). The parallel line, which has a generalizing tone, favors the latter. At the same time, though the psalmist uses a generalizing style here, he clearly has himself primarily in view.

50 tn The prefixed verbal forms are taken as jussives in the translation because the jussive is clearly used in the final line of the verse, suggesting that this is a prayer. The psalmist stops to pronounce a prayer of blessing on the godly individual envisioned in v. 1. Of course, he actually has himself primarily in view. He mixes confidence (vv. 1, 3) with petition (v. 2) because he stands in the interval between the word of assurance and the actual intervention by God.

51 tc The translation follows the consonantal Hebrew text (Kethib), which has a Pual (passive) prefixed form, regarded here as a jussive. The Pual of the verb אָשַׁר (’ashar) also appears in Prov 3:18. The marginal reading (Qere) assumes a vav (ו) consecutive and Pual perfect. Some, with the support of the LXX, change the verb to a Piel (active) form with an objective pronominal suffix, “and may he bless him,” or “and he will bless him” (cf. NIV).

52 tn The negative particle אַל (’al) before the prefixed verbal form indicates the verb is a jussive and the statement a prayer. Those who want to take v. 2 as a statement of confidence suggest emending the negative particle to לֹא (lo’), which is used with the imperfect. See the earlier note on the verbal forms in line one of this verse. According to GKC 322 §109.e, this is a case where the jussive is used rhetorically to “express that something cannot or should not happen.” In this case one might translate, “you will not turn him over to his enemies,” and take the preceding verbal forms as indicative in mood.

53 tn Heb “do not give him over to the desire of his enemies” (see Ps 27:12).

54 tn The prefixed verbal form could be taken as jussive, continuing the prayer of v. 2, but the parallel line in v. 3b employs the perfect, suggesting that the psalmist is again speaking in the indicative mood (see v. 1b). The imperfect can be understood as future or as generalizing (see v. 1).

55 tn Heb “all his bed you turn in his illness.” The perfect is used here in a generalizing sense (see v. 1) or in a rhetorical manner to emphasize that the healing is as good as done.

56 sn In vv. 4-10 the psalmist recites the prayer of petition and lament he offered to the Lord.

57 tn Heb “my enemies speak evil concerning me.”

58 tn Heb “and his name perish.”

59 tn Heb “to see.”

60 tn Heb “he speaks deceitfully.”

61 tn Heb “his heart gathers sin to itself.”

62 tn Heb “he goes outside and speaks.”

63 tn Heb “together against me they whisper, all those who hate me.” The Hitpael of לָחַשׁ (lakhash) refers here to whispering to one another (see 2 Sam 12:19).

64 tn The words “they say” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation to make it clear that v. 8 contains a quotation of what the psalmist’s enemies say about him (see v. 7a).

65 tn Heb “thing of worthlessness.” In Ps 101:3 the phrase refers to evil deeds in general, but here it appears to refer more specifically to the illness that plagues the psalmist.

66 tn Heb “is poured out on him.” The passive participle of יָצַק (yatsaq) is used.

67 tn Heb “and he who lies down will not again arise.”

68 tn Heb “man of my peace.” The phrase here refers to one’s trusted friend (see Jer 38:22; Obad 7).

69 tn Heb “has made a heel great against me.” The precise meaning of this phrase, which appears only here, is uncertain.

sn The language of this verse is applied to Judas Iscariot in John 13:18.

70 tn The cohortative with prefixed vav (ו) here indicates purpose or result (“Then I will repay them”) after the preceding imperatives.

71 sn By this. Having recalled his former lament and petition, the psalmist returns to the confident mood of vv. 1-3. The basis for his confidence may be a divine oracle of deliverance, assuring him that God would intervene and vindicate him. The demonstrative pronoun “this” may refer to such an oracle, which is assumed here, though its contents are not included. See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 319, 321.

72 tn Or “will.” One may translate the imperfect verbal form as descriptive (present, cf. NIV) or as anticipatory (future, cf. NEB).

73 tn Heb “shout.”

74 tn Or “have upheld.” The perfect verbal form can be taken as generalizing/descriptive (present) or as a present perfect.

75 sn Because of my integrity. See Pss 7:8; 25:21; 26:1, 11.

76 tn The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive has the same aspectual function as the preceding perfect. It is either generalizing/descriptive (present) or has a present perfect nuance (“you have allowed”).

77 tn Heb “and you cause me to stand before you permanently.”

78 tn Heb “[be] blessed.” See Pss 18:46; 28:6; 31:21.

79 tn Heb “from everlasting to everlasting.” See 1 Chr 16:36; Neh 9:5; Pss 90:2; 106:48.

80 tn Heb “surely and surely” (אָמֵן וְאָמֵן [’amen vÿamen], i.e., “amen and amen”). This is probably a congregational response to the immediately preceding statement about the propriety of praising God.

81 sn Psalm 116. The psalmist thanks the Lord for delivering him from a life threatening crisis and promises to tell the entire covenant community what God has done for him.

82 tn Heb “I love because the Lord heard my voice, my pleas.” It is possible that “the Lord” originally appeared directly after “I love” and was later accidentally misplaced. The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a preterite. The psalmist recalls that God heard his cry for help (note the perfect in v. 2a and the narrative in vv. 3-4).

83 tn Heb “because he turned his ear to me.”

84 tn Heb “and in my days I will cry out.”

85 tn Heb “surrounded me.”

86 tn The Hebrew noun מצר (“straits; distress”) occurs only here, Ps 118:5 and Lam 1:3. If retained, it refers to Sheol as a place where one is confined or severely restricted (cf. BDB 865 s.v. מֵצַר, “the straits of Sheol”; NIV “the anguish of the grave”; NRSV “the pangs of Sheol”). However, HALOT 624 s.v. מֵצַר suggests an emendation to מְצָדֵי (mÿtsadey, “snares of”), a rare noun attested in Job 19:6 and Eccl 7:26. This proposal, which is reflected in the translation, produces better parallelism with “ropes” in the preceding line.

87 tn The translation assumes the prefixed verbal form is a preterite. The psalmist recalls the crisis from which the Lord delivered him.

88 tn Heb “guards.” The active participle indicates this is a characteristic of the Lord.

89 tn Or “the [morally] naive,” that is, the one who is young and still in the process of learning right from wrong and distinguishing wisdom from folly. See Ps 19:7.

90 tn Heb “I was low.”

91 tn Heb “return, my soul, to your place of rest.”

92 tn The Hebrew idiom גָּמַל עַל (gamalal) means “to repay,” here in a positive sense (cf. Ps 13:5).

93 tn Or “for.”

94 tnLord” is supplied here in the translation for clarification.

95 tn Heb “walk before” (see Ps 56:13). On the meaning of the Hebrew idiom, see the notes at 2 Kgs 20:3/Isa 38:3.

96 tn Heb “lands, regions.”

97 tn Heb “I said in my haste.”

98 tn Heb “a cup of deliverance I will lift up.” Perhaps this alludes to a drink offering the psalmist will present as he thanks the Lord for his deliverance. See v. 17.

99 tn Heb “precious in the eyes of the Lord [is] the death of his godly ones.” The point is not that God delights in or finds satisfaction in the death of his followers! The psalmist, who has been delivered from death, affirms that the life-threatening experiences of God’s followers get God’s attention, just as a precious or rare object would attract someone’s eye. See Ps 72:14 for a similar expression of this belief.

100 tn Heb “I am your servant, the son of your female servant.” The phrase “son of a female servant” (see also Ps 86:16) is used of a son born to a secondary wife or concubine (Exod 23:12). In some cases the child’s father is the master of the house (see Gen 21:10, 13; Judg 9:18). The use of the expression here certainly does not imply that the Lord has such a secondary wife or concubine! It is used metaphorically and idiomatically to emphasize the psalmist’s humility before the Lord and his status as the Lord’s servant.

101 tn Heb “you have loosed my bonds.” In this context the imagery refers to deliverance from death (see v. 3).

102 sn Psalm 138. The psalmist vows to thank the Lord for his deliverance and protection.

103 tn The referent of the Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim) is unclear. It refers either to the angelic assembly (see Gen 3:5; Ps 8:5) or to the pagan gods (see Pss 82:1, 6; 86:8; 97:7), in which case the psalmist’s praise takes on a polemical tone.

104 tc The MT reads, “for you have made great over all your name your word.” If retained, this must mean that God's mighty intervention, in fulfillment of his word of promise, surpassed anything he had done prior to this. However, the statement is odd and several emendations have been proposed. Some read, “for you have exalted over everything your name and your word,” while others suggest, “for you have exalted over all the heavens your name and your word.” The translation assumes an emendation of “your name” to “your heavens” (a construction that appears in Pss 8:3 and 144:5). The point is that God has been faithful to his promise and the reliability of that promise is apparent to all. For a fuller discussion of these options, see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 (WBC), 244.

105 tn Heb “in the day.”

106 tn Heb “you made me bold in my soul [with] strength.”

107 tn The prefixed verbal forms here and in the following verse are understood as jussives, for the psalmist appears to be calling upon the kings to praise God. Another option is to take them as imperfects and translate, “the kings of the earth will give thanks…and will sing.” In this case the psalmist anticipates a universal response to his thanksgiving song.

108 tn Heb “the words of your mouth.”

109 tn Heb “ways.”

110 tn Heb “great.”

111 tn Or “distress.”

112 tn Heb “against the anger of my enemies you extend your hand.”

113 tn Heb “avenges on my behalf.” For the meaning “to avenge” for the verb גָּמַר (gamar), see HALOT 197-98 s.v. גמר.

114 tn Heb “the works of your hands.” Many medieval Hebrew mss read the singular, “work of your hands.”