PSALM 17#A lament of an individual unjustly attacked. Confident of being found innocent, the psalmist cries out for God’s just judgment (Ps 17:1–5) and requests divine help against enemies (Ps 17:6–9a). Those ravenous lions (Ps 17:9b–12) should be punished (Ps 17:13–14). The Psalm ends with a serene statement of praise (Ps 17:15). The Hebrew text of Ps 17:3–4, 14 is uncertain.
Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors
1A prayer of David.
Hear, Lord, my plea for justice;
pay heed to my cry;
Listen to my prayer
from lips without guile.
2From you let my vindication come;
your eyes see what is right.
3You have tested my heart,
searched it in the night.#a. [17:3] Ps 26:2; 139:23.
You have tried me by fire,
but find no malice in me.
My mouth has not transgressed
4as others often do.
As your lips have instructed me,
I have kept from the way of the lawless.
5My steps have kept to your paths;
my feet have not faltered.#b. [17:5] Ps 18:36; Jb 23:11–12.
6I call upon you; answer me, O God.
Turn your ear to me; hear my speech.
7Show your wonderful mercy,
you who deliver with your right arm
those who seek refuge from their foes.
8#Apple of your eye…shadow of your wings: images of God’s special care, cf. Dt 32:10; Prv 7:2; Is 49:2.Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9from the wicked who despoil me.#c. [17:9–12] Ps 10:9; 22:14, 22; 35:17; 58:7; Jb 4:10–11.
My ravenous enemies press upon me;#d. [17:9] Ps 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 63:8; 91:4; Dt 32:10; Ru 2:12; Zec 2:12; Mt 23:37.
10#An extended metaphor: the enemies are lions.they close their hearts,
they fill their mouths with proud roaring.
11Their steps even now encircle me;
they watch closely, keeping low to the ground,
12Like lions eager for prey,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
13Rise, O Lord, confront and cast them down;
rescue my soul from the wicked.
14Slay 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.
15I am just—let me see your face;
when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.#e. [17:15] Ps 4:7; 31:17; 67:2; 80:4; Nm 6:25; Dn 9:17.