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Psalm 17:1

ESV A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
NIV A prayer of David. Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer-- it does not rise from deceitful lips.
NASB Hear a just cause, Lord, give Your attention to my cry; Listen to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
CSB Lord, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry; listen to my prayer -- from lips free of deceit.
NLT O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips.
KJV {A Prayer of David.} Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

What does Psalm 17:1 mean?

This psalm follows a structure resembling Psalm 16, but with a distinctly more urgent emphasis. David refers to his need as a "just cause." He was not hypocritical; he was sincere and righteous in pleading his case. Unlike his enemies who leveled false charges against him, David was free of deceit. He had not lied about others or his situation.

David believed the Lord would not hear his prayers if his heart harbored sin. It may have been David who writes in Psalm 66:18–19: "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer." The apostle Paul also called for purity of life as essential when praying. He writes: "I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling" (1 Timothy 2:8).

Despite what Saul and his men had falsely said about David, David had not spoken a word to defame Saul. Although he had occasion to kill Saul, he refused to do so because he believed Saul was God's chosen leader of the nation (1 Samuel 24; 26).
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