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Psalm chapter 27

New International Version

1 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. 7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, 'Seek his face!' Your face, LORD, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
English Standard Version

1 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” 9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. 13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
King James Version

1 {A Psalm of David.} The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. 8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. 9 Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. 10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. 13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
New American Standard Bible

1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? 2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. 4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. 6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.' 9 Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. 12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
New Living Translation

1 A psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation--so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? 2 When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.
4 The one thing I ask of the LORD--the thing I seek most--is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple. 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music.
7 Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'LORD, I am coming.' 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don't leave me now; don't abandon me, O God of my salvation! 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.
11 Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. 12 Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I've never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. 13 Yet I am confident I will see the LORD's goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.
Christian Standard Bible

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--whom should I dread? 2 When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army deploys against me, my heart will not be afraid; though a war breaks out against me, I will still be confident. 4 I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeking him in his temple. 5 For he will conceal me in his shelter in the day of adversity; he will hide me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.
6 Then my head will be high above my enemies around me; I will offer sacrifices in his tent with shouts of joy. I will sing and make music to the LORD. 7 LORD, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me. 8 My heart says this about you: "Seek his face." LORD, I will seek your face. 9 Do not hide your face from me; do not turn your servant away in anger. You have been my helper; do not leave me or abandon me, God of my salvation.
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD cares for me. 11 Because of my adversaries, show me your way, LORD, and lead me on a level path.
12 Do not give me over to the will of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing violence. 13 I am certain that I will see the LORD's goodness in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Wait for the LORD.

What does Psalm chapter 27 mean?

This psalm begins with David's expression of confidence in God as his source of joy and life, his deliverer, and protector. The first verse incorporates the concept of light. This was the Hebrew people's ideal for truth and goodness. David also depicts God as a fortress, or stronghold, meaning a place of safety and security. The question asked is rhetorical: there is no one who "should" frighten a person who trusts in God (Psalm 27:1).

David lays out his reasons for confidence in God using several images. He believes God will protect him even if an army of malicious adversaries surround him. He longs to spend his life in worship in the tabernacle, where he can gaze on the Lord's beauty. He is certain the Lord will preserve him when trouble strikes. He will keep him safe on a high rock. The rock will serve as a fortress. He will once again offer sacrifices in the tabernacle, where he will sing joyfully to the Lord (Psalm 27:2–6).

At this point in the psalm, David's tone seems to change. After describing God's security so eloquently, he now fervently prays for rescue and deliverance. This is a very human, very normal experience. David "knows" he can trust God, but that knowledge does not make a person perfectly immune to fear. Rather than panicking or despairing, David reminds himself of God's goodness and trusts the Lord to provide. David remembers the Lord's command to seek His face, therefore he will seek the Lord (Psalm 27:7–8).

In his anxiety, David calls on the Lord not to forsake him. Still, he is confident that even if his own family were to desert him, God would not. David's writing often requests that God lead him into spiritual truth (Psalm 4:3; 25:5; 86:11). In this case, the language of those prayers also implies a request for physical safety. David's enemies—either Saul or David's rebellious son, Absalom—were lying in wait for him. He asks the Lord not to let his enemies have their way with him, and he says false witnesses have risen up against him (Psalm 27:9–12).

David concludes this psalm on a high note. He believes he will survive, so he encourages himself to wait on the Lord and to be strong and courageous. This last note of assurance might have been directed also at David's soldiers, or the people of Israel (Psalm 27:13–14).