- A psalm of David. Note to music leader: use stringed instruments1
Prayer for protection
- 1 Please answer my prayer.
You are my righteous God.
You’ve helped me through trouble before.
Be kind, and hear my prayer again.
- 2 People, how long will you trash my good name?
How long will you spout worthless words about me?
How long will you spread lies about me?
- 3 You should know the LORD chose me,
As one of the good and godly.
The LORD himself listens when I pray.
- 4 So, start trembling, but don’t sin.
Think about what you’re doing.
Rest in your bed and be still.
- 5 Offer the sacrifices good people make.
Then trust the LORD.
- 6 People are asking:
“Will anyone treat us well?”
Let it be you, LORD, who lights up my life.
- 7 I’m bursting with joy.
I’m happier now than at harvesttime,
When the grain is abundant,
And the wine is new.
- 8 I’m going to rest peacefully
As I lie down to sleep.
You, LORD, and you alone
Guarantee my safety.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of David,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by David, about David, or was inspired by David. Almost half of the psalms are attributed to David in this way, 73 of 150. Ancient Jewish history tells of David playing a lyre and writing songs. For one, he wrote a song of mourning at the battlefield death of King Saul and his sons: “How have the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27 New American Standard Bible). An ancient Jewish scroll from about the time of Jesus, discovered among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, reports that David wrote 3,600 songs.
The word in the original language of Hebrew is selah. Bible scholars haven’t figured out what it means yet, so all we can do is guess. It could mean “pause for effect,” “instrumental interlude,” or “choir singing ‘Amen.’” We’re offering a guess instead of selah. Though selah might be the better way to go because it’s always correct, it’s also always incomprehensible. “Instruments only” has a good chance of being wrong, but at least we convey the idea that the Hebrew word behind it probably has something to do with enhancing the song.