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Psalm 55 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 55[a]

A Lament over Betrayal

For the leader. On stringed instruments. A maskil of David.


Listen, God, to my prayer;
    do not hide from my pleading;
    hear me and give answer.
I rock with grief; I groan
    at the uproar of the enemy,
    the clamor of the wicked.
They heap trouble upon me,
    savagely accuse me.
My heart pounds within me;
    death’s terrors fall upon me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me;
    shuddering sweeps over me.
I say, “If only I had wings like a dove
    that I might fly away and find rest.
Far away I would flee;
    I would stay in the desert.
“I would soon find a shelter
    from the raging wind and storm.”


10 Lord, check and confuse their tongues.
    For I see violence and strife in the city
11     making rounds on its walls day and night.
Within are mischief and trouble;
12     treachery is in its midst;
    oppression and fraud never leave its streets.
13 For it is not an enemy that reviled me—
    that I could bear—
Not a foe who viewed me with contempt,
    from that I could hide.
14 But it was you, my other self,
    my comrade and friend,
15 You, whose company I enjoyed,
    at whose side I walked
    in the house of God.


16 Let death take them;
    let them go down alive to Sheol,
    for evil is in their homes and bellies.
17 But I will call upon God,
    and the Lord will save me.
18 At dusk, dawn, and noon
    I will grieve and complain,
    and my prayer will be heard.
19 He will redeem my soul in peace
    from those who war against me,
    though there are many who oppose me.
20 God, who sits enthroned forever,
    will hear me and afflict them.
For they will not mend their ways;
    they have no fear of God.
21 He stretched out his hand at his friends
    and broke his covenant.
22 Softer than butter is his speech,
    but war is in his heart.
Smoother than oil are his words,
    but they are unsheathed swords.
23 Cast your care upon the Lord,
    who will give you support.
He will never allow
    the righteous to stumble.
24 But you, God, will bring them down
    to the pit of destruction.
These bloodthirsty liars
    will not live half their days,
    but I put my trust in you.


  1. Psalm 55 The psalmist, betrayed by intimate friends (Ps 55:14–15, 20–21), prays that God punish those oath breakers and thus be acknowledged as the protector of the wronged. The sufferings of the psalmist include both ostracism (Ps 55:4) and mental turmoil (Ps 55:5–6), culminating in the wish to flee society (Ps 55:7–9). The wish for a sudden death for one’s enemies (Ps 55:16) occurs elsewhere in the Psalms; an example of such a death is the earth opening under the wicked Dathan and Abiram (Nm 16:31–32). The psalmist, confident of vindication, exhorts others to a like trust in the God of justice (Ps 55:23). The Psalm is not so much for personal vengeance as for a public vindication of God’s righteousness now. There was no belief in an afterlife where such vindication could take place.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 55 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 55[a]

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil[b] of David.

Listen to my prayer, O God,
    do not ignore my plea;
    hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
    because of what my enemy is saying,
    because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
    and assail me in their anger.

My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;[c]
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.

Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
    for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
    malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
    threats and lies never leave its streets.

12 If an enemy were insulting me,
    I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
    I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
    my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
as we walked about
    among the worshipers.

15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;
    let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
    for evil finds lodging among them.

16 As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
    who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
    because they have no fear of God.

20 My companion attacks his friends;
    he violates his covenant.
21 His talk is smooth as butter,
    yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
    yet they are drawn swords.

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
    will not live out half their days.

But as for me, I trust in you.


  1. Psalm 55:1 In Hebrew texts 55:1-23 is numbered 55:2-24.
  2. Psalm 55:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  3. Psalm 55:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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