Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 83

2 Samuel 19–24, Psalms 18 & 50 (optional: Psalm 59)

Bible text(s)

Joab Reprimands David

1Joab was told that King David was weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2And so the joy of victory was turned into sadness for all David's troops that day, because they heard that the king was mourning for his son. 3They went back into the city quietly, like soldiers who are ashamed because they are running away from battle. 4The king covered his face and cried loudly, “O my son! My son Absalom! Absalom, my son!”

5Joab went to the king's house and said to him, “Today you have humiliated your men — the men who saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and of your wives and concubines. 6You oppose those who love you and support those who hate you! You have made it clear that your officers and men mean nothing to you. I can see that you would be quite happy if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. 7Now go and reassure your men. I swear by the LORD's name that if you don't, not one of them will be with you by tomorrow morning. That would be the worst disaster you have suffered in all your life.” 8Then the king got up, and went and sat near the city gate. His men heard that he was there, and they all gathered round him.

David Starts Back to Jerusalem

Meanwhile all the Israelites had fled to their own homes. 9All over the country they started quarrelling among themselves. “King David saved us from our enemies,” they said to one another. “He rescued us from the Philistines, but now he has fled from Absalom and left the country. 10We anointed Absalom as our king, but he has been killed in battle. So why doesn't somebody try to bring King David back?”

11The news of what the Israelites were saying reached King David. So he sent the priests Zadok and Abiathar to ask the leaders of Judah, “Why should you be the last to help bring the king back to his palace? 12You are my relatives, my own flesh and blood; why should you be the last to bring me back?” 13David also told them to say to Amasa, “You are my relative. From now on I am putting you in charge of the army in place of Joab. May God strike me dead if I don't!” 14David's words won the complete loyalty of all the men of Judah, and they sent him word to return with all his officials.

15On his way back the king was met at the River Jordan by the men of Judah, who had come to Gilgal to escort him across the river. 16At the same time the Benjaminite Shimei son of Gera from Bahurim hurried to the Jordan to meet King David. 17He had with him a thousand men from the tribe of Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of Saul's family, also came with his fifteen sons and twenty servants, and they arrived at the Jordan before the king. 18They crossed the river to escort the royal party across and to do whatever the king wanted.

David Shows Kindness to Shimei

As the king was getting ready to cross, Shimei threw himself down in front of him 19and said, “Your Majesty, please forget the wrong I did that day you left Jerusalem. Don't hold it against me or think about it any more. 20I know, sir, that I have sinned, and this is why I am the first one from the northern tribes to come and meet Your Majesty today.”

21Abishai son of Zeruiah spoke up: “Shimei should be put to death because he cursed the one whom the LORD chose as king.”

22But David said to Abishai and his brother Joab, “Who asked your opinion? Are you going to give me trouble? I am the one who is king of Israel now, and no Israelite will be put to death today.” 23And he said to Shimei, “I give you my word that you will not be put to death.”

David Shows Kindness to Mephibosheth

24Then Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson, came down to meet the king. He had not washed his feet, trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes from the time the king left Jerusalem until he returned victorious. 25When Mephibosheth arrived from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, “Mephibosheth, you didn't go with me. Why not?”

26He answered, “As you know, Your Majesty, I am crippled. I told my servant to saddle my donkey so that I could ride along with you, but he betrayed me. 27He lied about me to Your Majesty, but you are like God's angel, so do what seems right to you. 28All my father's family deserved to be put to death by Your Majesty, but you gave me the right to eat at your table. I have no right to ask for any more favours from Your Majesty.”

29The king answered, “You don't have to say anything more. I have decided that you and Ziba will share Saul's property.”

30“Let Ziba have it all,” Mephibosheth answered. “It's enough for me that Your Majesty has come home safely.”

David Shows Kindness to Barzillai

31Barzillai, from Gilead, had also come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 32Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years old. He was very rich and had supplied the king with food while he was staying at Mahanaim. 33The king said to him, “Come with me to Jerusalem, and I will take care of you.”

34But Barzillai answered, “I haven't long to live; why should I go with Your Majesty to Jerusalem? 35I am already eighty years old, and nothing gives me pleasure any more. I can't taste what I eat and drink, and I can't hear the voices of singers. I would only be a burden to Your Majesty. 36I don't deserve such a great reward. So I will go just a little way with you beyond the Jordan. 37Then let me go back home and die near my parents' grave. Here is my son Chimham, who will serve you; take him with you, Your Majesty, and do for him as you think best.”

38The king answered, “I will take him with me and do for him whatever you want. And I will do for you anything you ask.” 39Then David and all his men crossed the Jordan. He kissed Barzillai and gave him his blessing, and Barzillai went back home.

Judah and Israel Argue over the King

40When the king had crossed, escorted by all the people of Judah and half the people of Israel, he went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went with him. 41Then all the Israelites went to the king and said to him, “Your Majesty, why did our brothers, the men of Judah, think they had the right to take you away and escort you, your family, and your men across the Jordan?”

42The men of Judah answered, “We did it because the king is one of us. So why should this make you angry? He hasn't paid for our food nor has he given us anything.”

43The Israelites replied, “We have ten times as many claims on King David as you have, even if he is one of you. Why do you look down on us? Don't forget that we were the first to talk about bringing the king back!”

But the men of Judah were more violent in making their claims than the men of Israel.

2 Samuel 19GNBOpen in Bible reader

Sheba's Rebellion

1There happened to be in Gilgal a worthless character named Sheba son of Bikri, of the tribe of Benjamin. He blew the trumpet and called out, “Down with David! We won't follow him! Men of Israel, let's go home!” 2So the Israelites deserted David and went with Sheba, but the men of Judah remained loyal and followed David from the Jordan to Jerusalem.

3When David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, he took the ten concubines he had left to take care of the palace, and put them under guard. He provided for their needs, but did not have intercourse with them. They were kept confined for the rest of their lives, living like widows.

4The king said to Amasa, “Call the men of Judah together and be back here with them by the day after tomorrow.” 5Amasa went to call them, but he did not get back by the time the king had set. 6So the king said to Abishai, “Sheba will give us more trouble than Absalom. Take my men and go after him, or else he may occupy some fortified towns and escape from us.” 7So Joab's men, the royal bodyguard, and all the other soldiers left Jerusalem with Abishai to go after Sheba. 8When they reached the large rock at Gibeon, Amasa met them. Joab was dressed for battle, with a sword in its sheath fastened to his belt. As he came forward, the sword fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my friend?” and took hold of his beard with his right hand in order to kiss him. 10Amasa was not on guard against the sword that Joab was holding in his other hand, and Joab stabbed him in the belly, and his entrails spilt out on the ground. He died immediately, and Joab did not have to strike again.

Then Joab and his brother Abishai went on after Sheba. 11One of Joab's men stood by Amasa's body and called out, “Everyone who is for Joab and David follow Joab!” 12Amasa's body, covered with blood, was lying in the middle of the road. Joab's man saw that everybody was stopping, so he dragged the body from the road into the field and threw a blanket over it. 13After the body had been removed from the road, everyone followed Joab in pursuit of Sheba.

14Sheba passed through the territory of all the tribes of Israel and came to the city of Abel Beth Maacah, and all the members of the clan of Bikri assembled and followed him into the city. 15Joab's men heard that Sheba was there, and so they went and besieged the city. They built ramps of earth against the outer wall and also began to dig under the wall to make it fall down. 16There was a wise woman in the city who shouted from the wall, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here; I want to speak with him.” 17Joab went, and she asked, “Are you Joab?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered.

“Listen to me, sir,” she said.

“I'm listening,” he answered.

18She said, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Go and get your answer in the city of Abel’ — and that's just what they did. 19Ours is a great city, one of the most peaceful and loyal in Israel. Why are you trying to destroy it? Do you want to ruin what belongs to the LORD?”

20“Never!” Joab answered. “I will never ruin or destroy your city! 21That is not our plan. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, who is from the hill country of Ephraim, started a rebellion against King David. Hand over this one man, and I will withdraw from the city.”

“We will throw his head over the wall to you,” she said. 22Then she went to the people of the city with her plan, and they cut off Sheba's head and threw it over the wall to Joab. He blew the trumpet as a signal for his men to leave the city, and they went back home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

David's Officials

23Joab was in command of the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in charge of David's bodyguard; 24Adoniram was in charge of the forced labour; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was in charge of the records; 25Sheva was the court secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were the priests, 26and Ira from the town of Jair was also one of David's priests.

2 Samuel 20GNBOpen in Bible reader

Saul's Descendants are Put to Death

1During David's reign there was a severe famine which lasted for three full years. So David consulted the LORD about it, and the LORD said, “Saul and his family are guilty of murder; he put the people of Gibeon to death.” 2(The people of Gibeon were not Israelites; they were a small group of Amorites whom the Israelites had promised to protect, but Saul had tried to destroy them because of his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) 3So David summoned the people of Gibeon and said to them, “What can I do for you? I want to make up for the wrong that was done to you, so that you will bless the LORD's people.”

4They answered, “Our quarrel with Saul and his family can't be settled with silver or gold, nor do we want to kill any Israelite.”

“What, then, do you think I should do for you?” David asked.

5They answered, “Saul wanted to destroy us and leave none of us alive anywhere in Israel. 6So hand over seven of his male descendants, and we will hang them before the LORD at Gibeah, the town of Saul, the LORD's chosen king.”

“I will hand them over,” the king answered.

7But because of the sacred promise that he and Jonathan had made to each other, David spared Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul. 8However, he took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons that Rizpah the daughter of Aiah had borne to Saul; he also took the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai, who was from Meholah. 9David handed them over to the people of Gibeon, who hanged them on the mountain before the LORD — and all seven of them died together. It was late in the spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest, when they were put to death.

10Then Saul's concubine Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah, used sackcloth to make a shelter for herself on the rock where the corpses were, and she stayed there from the beginning of harvest until the autumn rains came. During the day she would keep the birds away from the corpses, and at night she would protect them from wild animals.

11When David heard what Rizpah had done, 12he went and got the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan from the people of Jabesh in Gilead. (They had stolen them from the public square in Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hanged the bodies on the day they killed Saul on Mount Gilboa.) 13David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan and also gathered up the bones of the seven men who had been hanged. 14Then they buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan in the grave of Saul's father Kish, in Zela in the territory of Benjamin, doing all that the king had commanded. And after that, God answered their prayers for the country.

Battles against Philistine Giants

(1 Chr 20.4–8)

15There was another war between the Philistines and Israel, and David and his men went and fought the Philistines. During one of the battles David grew tired. 16A giant named Ishbibenob, who was carrying a bronze spear that weighed about 3.5 kilogrammes and who was wearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. 17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David's help, attacked the giant, and killed him. Then David's men made David promise that he would never again go out with them to battle. “You are the hope of Israel, and we don't want to lose you,” they said.

18After this there was a battle with the Philistines at Gob, during which Sibbecai from Hushah killed a giant named Saph.

19There was another battle with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed Goliath from Gath, whose spear had a shaft as thick as the bar on a weaver's loom.

20Then there was another battle at Gath, where there was a giant who loved to fight. He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. 21He defied the Israelites, and Jonathan, the son of David's brother Shammah, killed him.

22These four were descendants of the giants of Gath, and they were killed by David and his men.

2 Samuel 21GNBOpen in Bible reader

David's Song of Victory

(Ps 18)

1When the LORD saved David from Saul and his other enemies, David sang this song to the LORD:

2The LORD is my protector;

he is my strong fortress.

3My God is my protection,

and with him I am safe.

He protects me like a shield;

he defends me and keeps me safe.

He is my saviour;

he protects me and saves me from violence.

4I call to the LORD,

and he saves me from my enemies.

Praise the LORD!

5The waves of death were all round me;

the waves of destruction rolled over me.

6The danger of death was round me,

and the grave set its trap for me.

7In my trouble I called to the LORD;

I called to my God for help.

In his temple he heard my voice;

he listened to my cry for help.

8Then the earth trembled and shook;

the foundations of the sky rocked and quivered

because God was angry!

9Smoke poured out of his nostrils,

a consuming flame and burning coals from his mouth.

10He tore the sky apart and came down,

with a dark cloud under his feet.

11He flew swiftly on his winged creature;

he travelled on the wings of the wind.

12He covered himself with darkness;

thick clouds, full of water, surrounded him;

13burning coals flamed up from the lightning before him.

14Then the LORD thundered from the sky,

and the voice of Almighty God was heard.

15He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;

with flashes of lightning he sent them running.

16The floor of the ocean was laid bare,

and the foundations of the earth were uncovered

when the LORD rebuked his enemies

and roared at them in anger.

17The LORD reached down from above and took hold of me;

he pulled me out of the deep waters.

18He rescued me from my powerful enemies

and from all those who hate me —

they were too strong for me.

19When I was in trouble, they attacked me,

but the LORD protected me.

20He helped me out of danger;

he saved me because he was pleased with me.

21The LORD rewards me because I do what is right;

he blesses me because I am innocent.

22I have obeyed the law of the LORD;

I have not turned away from my God.

23I have observed all his laws;

I have not disobeyed his commands.

24He knows that I am faultless,

that I have kept myself from doing wrong.

25And so he rewards me because I do what is right,

because he knows that I am innocent.

26O LORD, you are faithful to those who are faithful to you,

and completely good to those who are perfect.

27You are pure to those who are pure,

but hostile to those who are wicked.

28You save those who are humble,

but you humble those who are proud.

29You, LORD, are my light;

you dispel my darkness.

30You give me strength to attack my enemies

and power to overcome their defences.

31This God — how perfect are his deeds,

how dependable his words!

He is like a shield

for all who seek his protection.

32The LORD alone is God;

God alone is our defence.

33This God is my strong refuge;

he makes my pathway safe.

34He makes me sure-footed as a deer;

he keeps me safe on the mountains.

35He trains me for battle,

so that I can use the strongest bow.

36O LORD, you protect me and save me;

your help has made me great.

37You have kept me from being captured,

and I have never fallen.

38I pursue my enemies and defeat them;

I do not stop until I destroy them.

39I strike them down, and they cannot rise;

they lie defeated before me.

40You give me strength for the battle

and victory over my enemies.

41You make my enemies run from me;

I destroy those who hate me.

42They look for help, but no one saves them;

they call to the LORD, but he does not answer.

43I crush them, and they become like dust;

I trample on them like mud in the streets.

44You saved me from my rebellious people

and maintained my rule over the nations;

people I did not know have now become my subjects.

45Foreigners bow before me;

when they hear me, they obey.

46They lose their courage

and come trembling from their fortresses.

47The LORD lives! Praise my defender!

Proclaim the greatness of the strong God who saves me!

48He gives me victory over my enemies;

he subdues the nations under me

49and saves me from my foes.

O LORD, you give me victory over my enemies

and protect me from violent men.

50And so I praise you among the nations;

I sing praises to you.

51God gives great victories to his king;

he shows constant love to the one he has chosen,

to David and his descendants for ever.

2 Samuel 22GNBOpen in Bible reader

David's Last Words

1David son of Jesse was the man whom God made great, whom the God of Jacob chose to be king, and who was the composer of beautiful songs for Israel. These are David's last words:

2The Spirit of the LORD speaks through me;

his message is on my lips.

3The God of Israel has spoken;

the protector of Israel said to me:

“The king who rules with justice,

who rules in obedience to God,

4is like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn,

the sun that makes the grass sparkle after rain.”

5And that is how God will bless my descendants,

because he has made an eternal covenant with me,

an agreement that will not be broken,

a promise that will not be changed.

That is all I desire;

that will be my victory,

and God will surely bring it about.

6But godless people are like thorns that are thrown away;

no one can touch them with bare hands.

7You must use an iron tool or a spear;

they will be burnt completely.

David's Famous Soldiers

(1 Chr 11.10–41)

8These are the names of David's famous soldiers: the first was Josheb Basshebeth from Tachemon, who was the leader of “The Three”; he fought with his spear against 800 men and killed them all in one battle.

9The second of the famous three was Eleazar son of Dodo, of the clan of Ahoh. One day he and David challenged the Philistines who had gathered for battle. The Israelites fell back, 10but he stood his ground and fought the Philistines until his hand was so stiff that he could not let go of his sword. The LORD won a great victory that day. After it was over, the Israelites returned to where Eleazar was and stripped the armour from the dead.

11The third of the famous three was Shammah son of Agee, from Harar. The Philistines had gathered at Lehi, where there was a field of peas. The Israelites fled from the Philistines, 12but Shammah stood his ground in the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. The LORD won a great victory that day.

13Near the beginning of harvest time three of “The Thirty” went down to the cave of Adullam, where David was, while a band of Philistines was camping in the Valley of Rephaim. 14At that time David was on a fortified hill, and a group of Philistines had occupied Bethlehem. 15David felt homesick and said, “How I wish someone would bring me a drink of water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem!” 16The three famous soldiers forced their way through the Philistine camp, drew some water from the well, and brought it back to David. But he would not drink it; instead he poured it out as an offering to the LORD 17and said, “LORD, I could never drink this! It would be like drinking the blood of these men who risked their lives!” So he refused to drink it.

Those were the brave deeds of the three famous soldiers.

18Joab's brother Abishai (their mother was Zeruiah) was the leader of “The Famous Thirty”. He fought with his spear against 300 men and killed them, and became famous among “The Thirty”. 19He was the most famous of “The Thirty” and became their leader, but he was not as famous as “The Three”.

20Benaiah son of Jehoiada, from Kabzeel, was another famous soldier; he did many brave deeds, including killing two great Moabite warriors. He once went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21He also killed an Egyptian, a huge man who was armed with a spear. Benaiah attacked him with his club, snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with it. 22Those were the brave deeds of Benaiah, who was one of “The Thirty”. 23He was outstanding among them, but was not as famous as “The Three”. David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24-39Other members of “The Thirty” included:

    Asahel, Joab's brother
    Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem
    Shammah and Elika from Harod
    Helez from Pelet
    Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa
    Abiezer from Anathoth
    Mebunnai from Hushah
    Zalmon from Ahoh
    Maharai from Netophah
    Heleb son of Baanah from Netophah
    Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin
    Benaiah from Pirathon
    Hiddai from the valleys near Gaash
    Abialbon from Arabah
    Azmaveth from Bahurim
    Eliahba from Shaalbon
    The sons of Jashen
    Jonathan
    Shammah from Harar
    Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar
    Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah
    Eliam son of Ahithophel from Gilo
    Hezro from Carmel
    Paarai from Arab
    Igal son of Nathan from Zobah
    Bani from Gad
    Zelek from Ammon
    Naharai from Beeroth, Joab's armour bearer
    Ira and Gareb from Jattir
    Uriah the Hittite.

There were 37 famous soldiers in all.

2 Samuel 23GNBOpen in Bible reader

David Takes a Census

(1 Chr 21.1–27)

1The LORD was angry with Israel once more, and he made David bring trouble on them. The LORD said to him, “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah.” 2So David gave orders to Joab, the commander of his army: “Go with your officers through all the tribes of Israel from one end of the country to the other, and count the people. I want to know how many there are.”

3But Joab answered the king, “Your Majesty, may the LORD your God make the people of Israel a hundred times more numerous than they are now, and may you live to see him do it. But why does Your Majesty want to do this?” 4But the king made Joab and his officers obey his order; they left his presence and went out to count the people of Israel.

5They crossed the Jordan and camped south of Aroer, the city in the middle of the valley, in the territory of Gad. From there they went north to Jazer, 6and on to Gilead and to Kadesh, in Hittite territory. Then they went to Dan, and from Dan they went west to Sidon. 7Then they went south to the fortified city of Tyre, on to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites, and finally to Beersheba, in the southern part of Judah. 8So after nine months and twenty days they returned to Jerusalem, having travelled through the whole country. 9They reported to the king the total number of men capable of military service: 800,000 in Israel and 500,000 in Judah.

10But after David had taken the census, his conscience began to trouble him, and he said to the LORD, “I have committed a terrible sin in doing this! Please forgive me. I have acted foolishly.”

11-12The LORD said to Gad, David's prophet, “Go and tell David that I am giving him three choices. I will do whichever he chooses.” The next morning, after David got up, 13Gad went to him, told him what the LORD had said, and asked, “Which is it to be? Three years of famine in your land or three months of running away from your enemies or three days of an epidemic in your land? Now think it over, and tell me what answer to take back to the LORD.”

14David answered, “I am in a desperate situation! But I don't want to be punished by human beings. Let the LORD himself be the one to punish us, for he is merciful.” 15So the LORD sent an epidemic on Israel, which lasted from that morning until the time that he had chosen. From one end of the country to the other 70,000 Israelites died. 16When the LORD's angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD changed his mind about punishing the people and said to the angel who was killing them, “Stop! That's enough!” The angel was by the threshing place of Araunah, a Jebusite.

17David saw the angel who was killing the people, and said to the LORD, “I am the guilty one. I am the one who did wrong. What have these poor people done? You should punish me and my family.”

18That same day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up to Araunah's threshing place and build an altar to the LORD.” 19David obeyed the LORD's command and went as Gad had told him. 20Araunah looked down and saw the king and his officials coming up to him. He threw himself on the ground in front of David 21and asked, “Your Majesty, why are you here?”

David answered, “To buy your threshing place and build an altar for the LORD, in order to stop the epidemic.”

22“Take it, Your Majesty,” Araunah said, “and offer to the LORD whatever you wish. Here are these oxen to burn as an offering on the altar; here are their yokes and the threshing boards to use as fuel.” 23Araunah gave it all to the king and said to him, “May the LORD your God accept your offering.”

24But the king answered, “No, I will pay you for it. I will not offer to the LORD my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing.” And he bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25Then he built an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. The LORD answered his prayer, and the epidemic in Israel was stopped.

2 Samuel 24GNBOpen in Bible reader

David's Song of Victory

(2 Sam 22.1–51)

1How I love you, LORD!

You are my defender.

2The LORD is my protector;

he is my strong fortress.

My God is my protection,

and with him I am safe.

He protects me like a shield;

he defends me and keeps me safe.

3I call to the LORD,

and he saves me from my enemies.

Praise the LORD!

4The danger of death was all round me;

the waves of destruction rolled over me.

5The danger of death was round me,

and the grave set its trap for me.

6In my trouble I called to the LORD;

I called to my God for help.

In his temple he heard my voice;

he listened to my cry for help.

7Then the earth trembled and shook;

the foundations of the mountains rocked and quivered,

because God was angry.

8Smoke poured out of his nostrils,

a consuming flame and burning coals from his mouth.

9He tore the sky apart and came down

with a dark cloud under his feet.

10He flew swiftly on a winged creature;

he travelled on the wings of the wind.

11He covered himself with darkness;

thick clouds, full of water, surrounded him.

12Hailstones and flashes of fire

came from the lightning before him

and broke through the dark clouds.

13Then the LORD thundered from the sky;

and the voice of the Most High was heard.

14He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies;

with flashes of lightning he sent them running.

15The floor of the ocean was laid bare,

and the foundations of the earth were uncovered,

when you rebuked your enemies, LORD,

and roared at them in anger.

16The LORD reached down from above and took hold of me;

he pulled me out of the deep waters.

17He rescued me from my powerful enemies

and from all those who hate me —

they were too strong for me.

18When I was in trouble, they attacked me,

but the LORD protected me.

19He helped me out of danger;

he saved me because he was pleased with me.

20The LORD rewards me because I do what is right;

he blesses me because I am innocent.

21I have obeyed the law of the LORD;

I have not turned away from my God.

22I have observed all his laws;

I have not disobeyed his commands.

23He knows that I am faultless,

that I have kept myself from doing wrong.

24And so he rewards me because I do what is right,

because he knows that I am innocent.

25O LORD, you are faithful to those who are faithful to you;

completely good to those who are perfect.

26You are pure to those who are pure,

but hostile to those who are wicked.

27You save those who are humble,

but you humble those who are proud.

28O LORD, you give me light;

you dispel my darkness.

29You give me strength to attack my enemies

and power to overcome their defences.

30This God — how perfect are his deeds!

How dependable his words!

He is like a shield

for all who seek his protection.

31The LORD alone is God;

God alone is our defence.

32He is the God who makes me strong,

who makes my pathway safe.

33He makes me sure-footed as a deer;

he keeps me safe on the mountains.

34He trains me for battle,

so that I can use the strongest bow.

35O LORD, you protect me and save me;

your care has made me great,

and your power has kept me safe.

36You have kept me from being captured,

and I have never fallen.

37I pursue my enemies and catch them;

I do not stop until I destroy them.

38I strike them down, and they cannot rise;

they lie defeated before me.

39You give me strength for the battle

and victory over my enemies.

40You make my enemies run from me;

I destroy those who hate me.

41They cry for help, but no one saves them;

they call to the LORD, but he does not answer.

42I crush them, so that they become like dust

which the wind blows away.

I trample on them like mud in the streets.

43You saved me from a rebellious people

and made me ruler over the nations;

people I did not know have now become my subjects.

44Foreigners bow before me;

when they hear me, they obey.

45They lose their courage

and come trembling from their fortresses.

46The LORD lives! Praise my defender!

Proclaim the greatness of the God who saves me.

47He gives me victory over my enemies;

he subdues the nations under me

48and saves me from my foes.

O LORD, you give me victory over my enemies

and protect me from violent people.

49And so I praise you among the nations;

I sing praises to you.

50God gives great victories to his king;

he shows constant love to the one he has chosen,

to David and his descendants for ever.

True Worship

1The Almighty God, the LORD, speaks;

he calls to the whole earth from east to west.

2God shines from Zion,

the city perfect in its beauty.

3Our God is coming, but not in silence;

a raging fire is in front of him,

a furious storm is round him.

4He calls heaven and earth as witnesses

to see him judge his people.

5He says, “Gather my faithful people to me,

those who made a covenant with me by offering a sacrifice.”

6The heavens proclaim that God is righteous,

that he himself is judge.

7“Listen, my people, and I will speak;

I will testify against you, Israel.

I am God, your God.

8I do not reprimand you because of your sacrifices

and the burnt offerings you always bring me.

9And yet I do not need bulls from your farms

or goats from your flocks;

10all the animals in the forest are mine

and the cattle on thousands of hills.

11All the wild birds are mine

and all living things in the fields.

12“If I were hungry, I would not ask you for food,

for the world and everything in it is mine.

13Do I eat the flesh of bulls

or drink the blood of goats?

14Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God,

and give the Almighty all that you promised.

15Call to me when trouble comes;

I will save you,

and you will praise me.”

16But God says to the wicked,

“Why should you recite my commandments?

Why should you talk about my covenant?

17You refuse to let me correct you;

you reject my commands.

18You become the friend of every thief you see

and you associate with adulterers.

19“You are always ready to speak evil;

you never hesitate to tell lies.

20You are ready to accuse your own relatives

and to find fault with them.

21You have done all this, and I have said nothing,

so you thought that I was like you.

But now I reprimand you

and make the matter plain to you.

22“Listen to this, you that ignore me,

or I will destroy you,

and there will be no one to save you.

23Giving thanks is the sacrifice that honours me,

and I will surely save all who obey me.”

A Prayer for Safety

1Save me from my enemies, my God;

protect me from those who attack me!

2Save me from those evil people;

rescue me from those murderers!

3Look! They are waiting to kill me;

cruel people are gathering against me.

It is not because of any sin or wrong I have done,

4nor because of any fault of mine, O LORD,

that they hurry to their places.

5Rise, LORD God Almighty, and come to my aid;

see for yourself, God of Israel!

Wake up and punish the heathen;

show no mercy to evil traitors!

6They come back in the evening,

snarling like dogs as they go about the city.

7Listen to their insults and threats.

Their tongues are like swords in their mouths,

yet they think that no one hears them.

8But you laugh at them, LORD;

you mock all the heathen.

9I have confidence in your strength;

you are my refuge, O God.

10My God loves me and will come to me;

he will let me see my enemies defeated.

11Do not kill them, O God, or my people may forget.

Scatter them by your strength and defeat them,

O Lord, our protector.

12Sin is on their lips; all their words are sinful;

may they be caught in their pride!

Because they curse and lie,

13destroy them in your anger;

destroy them completely.

Then everyone will know that God rules in Israel,

that his rule extends over all the earth.

14My enemies come back in the evening,

snarling like dogs as they go about the city,

15like dogs roaming about for food

and growling if they do not find enough.

16But I will sing about your strength;

every morning I will sing aloud of your constant love.

You have been a refuge for me,

a shelter in my time of trouble.

17I will praise you, my defender.

My refuge is God,

the God who loves me.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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