A Cry for Justice
A priestly prayer # 17 This is the Hebrew word tephillah, and it is found in the titles of five Psalms (17; 86; 90; 102; 142). of David
1Listen to me, Lord.
Hear the passionate prayer of this honest man.
My cause is just and my need is real.
I’ve done what’s right and my lips speak truth.
2Examine and exonerate me.
Vindicate me and show the world I’m innocent.
3For in a visitation of the night
you inspected my heart and refined my soul in fire
until nothing vile was found in me.
I will not sin with my words.
4Following your word has kept me from wrong.
Your ways have molded my footsteps, keeping me
from going down the paths of the violent.
5My steps follow in the tracks of your chariot wheels,
always staying in their path,
never straying from your way.
6You will answer me, God; I know you always will.
Hear my words like you always do as you listen to my every prayer.
7Magnify the marvels of your mercy to all who seek you. # 17:7 As translated from the Septuagint.
You are the loving Savior of all who turn aside
to hide themselves in you.
8Protect me from harm;
keep an eye on me as you would a child # 17:8 Or “daughter.”
who is reflected in the twinkling of your eye.
Yes, hide me within the shelter of your embrace,
under your outstretched wings. # 17:8 This could also be a reference to the mercy seat, where sacred blood was sprinkled in the Holy of Holies. There the golden cherubim overshadowed all who entered the divine chamber (Ex. 25:18–20).
9Protect me there from all my foes.
For there are many who surround my soul
to completely destroy me.
10They are pitiless, heartless—hard as nails,
swollen with pride and filled with arrogance!
11See how they close in on me,
waiting for the chance to throw me to the ground. # 17:11 This is also what the soldiers did to Jesus. They threw him to the ground and nailed him to the cross.
12They’re like lions eager to tear me apart,
like young and fearless lions lurking in secret,
so ferocious and cruel—ready to rip me to shreds.
13Arise, God, and confront them!
Challenge them with your might! # 17:13 The word used here is “sword.” An alternative translation would be “Rescue my soul from the wicked one, who is your sword.” The wicked are sometimes God’s tools to execute his judgments (Isa. 10:5; Jer. 51:20).
Free me from their clutches and rescue me from their rage.
14Throw them down to the ground,
those who live for only this life on earth.
Thrust them out of their prosperity
and into their portion in eternity,
leaving their wealth and wickedness behind!
15As for me, because I am innocent, I will see # 17:15 The Hebrew word for “see,” chaza, means “to see a vision.” your face
until I see you for who you really are.
I will be satisfied in an awakening of your likeness in me!
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