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Psalm 68 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 68[a]

The Exodus and Conquest, Pledge of Future Help

For the leader. A psalm of David; a song.


[b]May God arise;
    may his enemies be scattered;
    may those who hate him flee before him.
As the smoke is dispersed, disperse them;
    as wax is melted by fire,
    so may the wicked perish before God.
Then the just will be glad;
    they will rejoice before God;
    they will celebrate with great joy.


Sing to God, praise his name;
    exalt the rider of the clouds.[c]
Rejoice before him
    whose name is the Lord.
Father of the fatherless, defender of widows
    God in his holy abode,
God gives a home to the forsaken,
    who leads prisoners out to prosperity,
    while rebels live in the desert.[d]


God, when you went forth before your people,
    when you marched through the desert,
The earth quaked, the heavens poured,
    before God, the One of Sinai,
    before God, the God of Israel.
10 You poured abundant rains, God,
    your inheritance was weak and you repaired it.
11 Your creatures dwelt in it;
    you will establish it in your goodness for the poor, O God.


12 The Lord announced:
    “Those bringing news are a great Army.
13     The kings of the armies are in desperate flight.
Every household will share the spoil,
14     though you lie down among the sheepfolds,
    you shall be covered with silver as the wings of a dove,
    her feathers bright as fine gold.”
15 When the Almighty routs the kings there,
    it will be as when snow fell on Zalmon.[e]


16 You mountain of God, mountain of Bashan,
    you rugged mountain, mountain of Bashan,
17 You rugged mountains, why look with envy
    at the mountain[f] where God has chosen to dwell,
    where the Lord resides forever?
18 God’s chariots were myriad, thousands upon thousands;
    from Sinai the Lord entered the holy place.
19 You went up to its lofty height;
    you took captives, received slaves as tribute,
    even rebels, for the Lord God to dwell.


20 Blessed be the Lord day by day,
    God, our salvation, who carries us.
21 Our God is a God who saves;
    escape from death is the Lord God’s.
22 God will crush the heads of his enemies,
    the hairy scalp of the one who walks in sin.
23 The Lord has said:
    “Even from Bashan I will fetch them,
    fetch them even from the depths of the sea.[g]
24 You will wash your feet in your enemy’s blood;
    the tongues of your dogs will lap it up.”


25 [h]Your procession comes into view, O God,
    your procession into the holy place, my God and king.
26 The singers go first, the harpists follow;
    in their midst girls sound the timbrels.
27 In your choirs, bless God;
    Lord, Israel’s fountain.
28 In the lead is Benjamin, few in number;
    there the princes of Judah, a large throng,
    the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali, too.


29 Summon again, O God, your power,
    the divine power you once showed for us,
30 From your temple on behalf of Jerusalem,
    that kings may bring you tribute.
31 Roar at the wild beast of the reeds,[i]
    the herd of mighty bulls, the calves of the peoples;
    trampling those who lust after silver
    scatter the peoples that delight in war.
32 Let bronze be brought from Egypt,
    Ethiopia hurry its hands to God.


33 You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
    chant the praises of the Lord,
34 Who rides the heights of the ancient heavens,
    Who sends forth his voice as a mighty voice?
35 Confess the power of God,
    whose majesty protects Israel,
    whose power is in the sky.
36 Awesome is God in his holy place,
    the God of Israel,
    who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!


  1. Psalm 68 The Psalm is extremely difficult because the Hebrew text is badly preserved and the ceremony that it describes is uncertain. The translation assumes the Psalm accompanied the early autumn Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth), which included a procession of the tribes (Ps 68:25–28). Israel was being oppressed by a foreign power, perhaps Egypt (Ps 68:31–32)—unless Egypt stands for any oppressor. The Psalm may have been composed from segments of ancient poems, which would explain why the transitions are implied rather than explicitly stated. At any rate, Ps 68:2 is based on Nm 10:35–36, and Ps 68:8–9 are derived from Jgs 5:4–5. The argument develops in nine stanzas (each of three to five poetic lines): 1. confidence that God will destroy Israel’s enemies (Ps 68:2–4); 2. call to praise God as savior (Ps 68:5–7); 3. God’s initial rescue of Israel from Egypt (Ps 68:8), the Sinai encounter (Ps 68:9), and the settlement in Canaan (Ps 68:10–11); 4. the defeat of the Canaanite kings (Ps 68:12–15); 5. the taking of Jerusalem, where Israel’s God will rule the world (Ps 68:16–19); 6. praise for God’s past help and for the future interventions that will be modeled on the ancient exodus-conquest (Ps 68:20–24); 7. procession at the Feast of Tabernacles (Ps 68:25–28); 8. prayer that the defeated enemies bring tribute to the Temple (Ps 68:29–32); 9. invitation for all kingdoms to praise Israel’s God (Ps 68:33–35).
  2. 68:2 The opening line alluding to Nm 10:35 makes clear that God’s assistance in the period of the exodus and conquest is the model and assurance of all future divine help.
  3. 68:5 Exalt the rider of the clouds: God’s intervention is in the imagery of Canaanite myth in which the storm-god mounted the storm clouds to ride to battle. Such theophanies occur throughout the Psalm: Ps 68:2–3, 8–10, 12–15, 18–19, 22–24, 29–32, 34–35. See Dt 33:26; Ps 18:8–16; Is 19:1.
  4. 68:7 While rebels live in the desert: rebels must live in the arid desert, whereas God’s people will live in the well-watered land (Ps 68:8–11).
  5. 68:15 Zalmon: generally taken as the name of a mountain where snow is visible in winter, perhaps to be located in the Golan Heights or in the mountains of Bashan or Hauran east of the Sea of Galilee.
  6. 68:17 The mountain: Mount Zion, the site of the Temple.
  7. 68:23 Even from Bashan…from the depths of the sea: the heights and the depths, the farthest places where enemies might flee.
  8. 68:25–28 Your procession: the procession renews God’s original taking up of residence on Zion, described in Ps 68:16–19.
  9. 68:31 The wild beast of the reeds: probably the Nile crocodile, a symbol for Egypt; see Ps 68:32 and Ez 29:2–5.
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 68 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 68[a]

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
    may his foes flee before him.
May you blow them away like smoke—
    as wax melts before the fire,
    may the wicked perish before God.
But may the righteous be glad
    and rejoice before God;
    may they be happy and joyful.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds[b];
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[c]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

When you, God, went out before your people,
    when you marched through the wilderness,[d]
the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
    before God, the One of Sinai,
    before God, the God of Israel.
You gave abundant showers, O God;
    you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it,
    and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.

11 The Lord announces the word,
    and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
12 “Kings and armies flee in haste;
    the women at home divide the plunder.
13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,[e]
    the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,
    its feathers with shining gold.”
14 When the Almighty[f] scattered the kings in the land,
    it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.

15 Mount Bashan, majestic mountain,
    Mount Bashan, rugged mountain,
16 why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain,
    at the mountain where God chooses to reign,
    where the Lord himself will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands
    and thousands of thousands;
    the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.[g]
18 When you ascended on high,
    you took many captives;
    you received gifts from people,
even from[h] the rebellious
    that you,[i] Lord God, might dwell there.

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
    the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan;
    I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes,
    while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”

24 Your procession, God, has come into view,
    the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
    with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
26 Praise God in the great congregation;
    praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.
27 There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,
    there the great throng of Judah’s princes,
    and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.

28 Summon your power, God[j];
    show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
    kings will bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds,
    the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.
Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver.
    Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come from Egypt;
    Cush[k] will submit herself to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
    sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
    who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!


  1. Psalm 68:1 In Hebrew texts 68:1-35 is numbered 68:2-36.
  2. Psalm 68:4 Or name, / prepare the way for him who rides through the deserts
  3. Psalm 68:6 Or the desolate in a homeland
  4. Psalm 68:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 19 and 32.
  5. Psalm 68:13 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
  6. Psalm 68:14 Hebrew Shaddai
  7. Psalm 68:17 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text Lord is among them at Sinai in holiness
  8. Psalm 68:18 Or gifts for people, / even
  9. Psalm 68:18 Or they
  10. Psalm 68:28 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts Your God has summoned power for you
  11. Psalm 68:31 That is, the upper Nile region
New International Version (NIV)

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