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Psalm chapter 7

New International Version

1 A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite. LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
2 or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. 3 LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands-- 4 if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe--
5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. 6 Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. 7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. 8 Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.
9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure-- you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. 10 My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. 12 If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. 14 Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. 15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. 17 I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.
English Standard Version

1 A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite. O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, 2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, 4 if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, 5 let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah 6 Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. 7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. 8 The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. 9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! 10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. 12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; 13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. 14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. 15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. 16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. 17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
King James Version

1 {Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the LORD, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.} O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: 2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands; 4 If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:) 5 Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah. 6 Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. 7 So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high. 8 The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. 9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. 11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. 13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. 14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. 15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. 16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. 17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
New American Standard Bible

1 O LORD my God, in You I have taken refuge; Save me from all those who pursue me, and rescue me, 2 Or he will tear my soul like a lion, Dragging me away, while there is no one to rescue me. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands, 4 If I have done evil to my friend, Or have plundered my enemy for no reason, 5 Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it; And let him trample my life to the ground And lay my glory in the dust. Selah 6 Arise, LORD, in Your anger; Raise Yourself against the rage of my enemies, And stir Yourself for me; You have ordered judgment. 7 Let the assembly of the peoples encompass You, And return on high over it. 8 The LORD judges the peoples; Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. 9 Please let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God puts hearts and minds to the test. 10 My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who shows indignation every day. 12 If one does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and taken aim. 13 He has also prepared deadly weapons for Himself; He makes His arrows fiery shafts. 14 Behold, an evil person is pregnant with injustice, And he conceives harm and gives birth to lies. 15 He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made. 16 His harm will return on his own head, And his violence will descend on the top of his own head. 17 I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
New Living Translation

1 A psalm of David, which he sang to the L I come to you for protection, O LORD my God. Save me from my persecutors--rescue me! 2 If you don't, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me. 3 O LORD my God, if I have done wrong or am guilty of injustice, 4 if I have betrayed a friend or plundered my enemy without cause,
5 then let my enemies capture me. Let them trample me into the ground and drag my honor in the dust. Interlude
6 Arise, O LORD, in anger! Stand up against the fury of my enemies! Wake up, my God, and bring justice! 7 Gather the nations before you. Rule over them from on high. 8 The LORD judges the nations. Declare me righteous, O LORD, for I am innocent, O Most High! 9 End the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God.
10 God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right. 11 God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day.
12 If a person does not repent, God will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. 13 He will prepare his deadly weapons and shoot his flaming arrows.
14 The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. 15 They dig a deep pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. 16 The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads.
17 I will thank the LORD because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Lord my God, I seek refuge in you; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me,
2 or they will tear me like a lion, ripping me apart with no one to rescue me. 3 Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is injustice on my hands, 4 if I have done harm to one at peace with me or have plundered my adversary without cause,
5 may an enemy pursue and overtake me; may he trample me to the ground and leave my honor in the dust. Selah 6 Rise up, Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my adversaries; awake for me; you have ordained a judgment. 7 Let the assembly of peoples gather around you; take your seat on high over it.
8 The Lord judges the peoples; vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity. 9 Let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous. The one who examines the thoughts and emotions is a righteous God. 10 My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge and a God who shows his wrath every day. 12 If anyone does not repent, he will sharpen his sword; he has strung his bow and made it ready.
13 He has prepared his deadly weapons; he tips his arrows with fire. 14 See, the wicked one is pregnant with evil, conceives trouble, and gives birth to deceit. 15 He dug a pit and hollowed it out but fell into the hole he had made.
16 His trouble comes back on his own head; his own violence comes down on top of his head. 17 I will thank the Lord for his righteousness; I will sing about the name of the Lord Most High.

What does Psalm chapter 7 mean?

Scripture does not indicate exactly which situation inspired David to write this psalm. There were times when David was pursued by enemies who looked to kill him (1 Samuel 19:1; 20:31–33; 24:1–2). First Samuel chapter 24 includes one such moment of danger, where David expresses thoughts very close to those seen in this passage. The middle verses of the psalm indicate David is responding to false accusations. These may have come from the person named in the title of this psalm. No further information is available about Cush the Benjaminite (Psalm 7:1–2).

Inviting God's judgment can be a risky proposition (Matthew 7:1). David is confident, however, that these accusations are false. He emphasizes his innocence by accepting whatever punishment God might apply. This is somewhat like a modern person saying, "you can take me to jail if I'm lying," when they know they are telling the truth. David is not literally asking God to do these things to him—rather, he is highlighting his confidence that those claims are false (Psalm 7:3–5).

Rather than seeking revenge on his own (Romans 12:19), David calls on God to issue judgment. He recognizes the Lord's role as a perfect, all-knowing God who will always come to the right conclusions. David prays that consequences for sin will fall on those who are attacking him. David's confidence in God allows him to leave all judgment to the Lord. He knows that God sees the evil men do every day, and trusts that His response will be righteous (Psalm 7:6–11).

In closing the psalm, David depicts the Lord as a warrior preparing for battle. The evil person faces a God with a bent bow and a sharp sword. For their part, the evil person deliberately instigates evil, fosters it, and brings about lies and injustice. The end for the wicked person is to suffer from their own sins. Even the traps they lay for other people will, in the end, be part of the judgment against them. Free from those concerns, David can worship and honor God with praise (Psalm 7:12–17).