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Psalm 17:6

ESV I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
NIV I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
NASB I have called upon You, for You will answer me, God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.
CSB I call on you, God, because you will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say.
NLT I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.
KJV I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.

What does Psalm 17:6 mean?

This verse starts with a simple point: David prays to God because he expects the Lord to answer. He prays in faith (James 1:5–6), trusting and expecting God to do what is right (Psalm 17:1). His prayers are not mere gestures, or hollow traditions. David sincerely, truly believes the Lord is listening—that God will symbolically "give ear" to him.

David addresses the Lord as 'ēl, which is a word literally meaning "power," but which is also used in reference to God. In this context, there is an expectation that God will hear David's prayer, and that He can respond. David's enemies were powerful, but God is all powerful (Genesis 14:18; 17:1). No foe can stand against Him. This psalm might have been written when David was pursued by Saul (1 Samuel 20:32–33), but those enemies were facing a losing battle—they were opposed to God.

Believers today may be confident that they are more than conquerors through Jesus (Romans 8:37). Nothing can separate believers from "the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39). The apostle John was keenly aware of the Lord's invincible power. He writes in 1 John 4:4: "Little children, you are from God and have overcome [false prophets], for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." Like David, every believer can confidently call upon the Lord for His grace and strength in the heat of spiritual battle (Jeremiah 33:3; 1 Peter 5:6–11).
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