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Psalm chapter 36

New International Version

1 For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes. 2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. 3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong. 5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, LORD, preserve both people and animals. 7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. 10 Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. 11 May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 See how the evildoers lie fallen-- thrown down, not able to rise!
English Standard Version

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD. Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. 3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. 4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil. 5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD. 7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. 10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! 11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.
King James Version

1 {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD.} The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. 3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good. 4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. 6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. 7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. 10 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. 11 Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. 12 There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.
New American Standard Bible

1 Wrongdoing speaks to the ungodly within his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes. 2 For it flatters him in his own eyes Concerning the discovery of his wrongful deed and the hatred of it. 3 The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. 4 He plans wickedness on his bed; He sets himself on a path that is not good; He does not reject evil. 5 Your mercy, LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like the great deep. LORD, You protect mankind and animals. 7 How precious is Your mercy, God! And the sons of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. 8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You allow them to drink from the river of Your delights. 9 For the fountain of life is with You; In Your light we see light. 10 Prolong Your mercy to those who know You, And Your righteousness to the upright of heart. 11 May the foot of pride not come upon me, And may the hand of the wicked not drive me away. 12 Those who do injustice have fallen there; They have been thrust down and cannot rise.
New Living Translation

1 For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the L Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. 2 In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. 3 Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. 4 They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.
5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don't let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.
Christian Standard Bible

1 An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked person: Dread of God has no effect on him. 2 For with his flattering opinion of himself, he does not discover and hate his iniquity. 3 The words from his mouth are malicious and deceptive; he has stopped acting wisely and doing good.
4 Even on his bed he makes malicious plans. He sets himself on a path that is not good, and he does not reject evil. 5 Lord, your faithful love reaches to heaven, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your judgments like the deepest sea. Lord, you preserve people and animals. 7 How priceless your faithful love is, God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They are filled from the abundance of your house. You let them drink from your refreshing stream.
9 For the wellspring of life is with you. By means of your light we see light. 10 Spread your faithful love over those who know you, and your righteousness over the upright in heart. 11 Do not let the foot of the arrogant come near me or the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 There! The evildoers have fallen. They have been thrown down and cannot rise.

What does Psalm chapter 36 mean?

Sin is rooted deeply within the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). That innate wickedness is the source of our evil actions (Matthew 15:18–19). Here, David notes that those who reject God find themselves overtaken by sin. They lose all respect for the Lord (Proverbs 1:7), and all fear of eternal consequences for their actions. Instead, they assume that what they do will never be punished, or never even found out. Sin is so addictive that those who turn from God find themselves constantly pursuing depravity, even when they try to sleep (Psalm 36:1–4).

In contrast, God's character is flawless and perfect. In mercy, God extends a measure of grace to all people and all animals. This is seen in His continued provision in nature. The Lord's graciousness is also expressed in His "steadfast love," or "lovingkindness," from the Hebrew term hesed. This passage uses the imagery of God's protection extending like the wings of a mother bird (Psalm 36:5–9).

David closes the psalm with an appeal for God to maintain that "steadfast love" to His people. David uses references to both hands and feet to depict the attacks of wicked people. He prays for God's protection against those assaults. The psalm ends with David picturing these enemies as already defeated, so utterly conquered that they can never regroup (Psalm 36:10–12).