- A psalm of David. Note to music leader: use stringed instruments.1
- 1 Please God, listen to me.
Please hear this prayer.
- 2 I’m far from home and terrified,
And I’m asking you to help me.
Take me to higher ground,
To the rock where I’ll be safe and secure.
- 3 You have always welcomed me
When I came running to you for help.
You have always defended me
When my enemies attacked.
- 4 Now, I’m asking to move in with you.
Let me stay forever,
Safe in the shelter beneath your wings.
- 5 I’ve given you my word, God,
And you’ve heard what I promised.
I’ll inherit everything that waits
For those who devoted their lives to you.
Long live the king
- 6 Let the king live a long life.
Let him see grandkids and great-grandkids.
- 7 Always be with him as he rules.
Put love and truth in charge of his safety.
- 8 I’m never going to stop singing about you.
I’ll keep my promises, day by day.
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” 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.