1 Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me,
do battle with those who do battle with me.
2 Grasp shield and buckler,
and rise up as my help.
3 Draw spear and battle-axe,
confront those who pursue me.
Assure me that you will help me.
4 Dishonour and shame be on those
who are seeking my life!
Defeat and confusion on those
who are planning my hurt!
5 As chaff before wind may they be,
with the Lord's angel pursuing them.
6 Slippery and dark be their way,
with his angel thrusting them on.
7 For they wantonly hid their net for me,
and dug a pit to destroy me.
8 Upon them may ruin come unawares;
may the net which they hid catch themselves,
and into the pit may they fall.
9 Then I will exult in the Lord,
and be joyful because of his help;
10 and all my being will say,
‘Who, O Lord, is like you,
who save the helpless from those too strong for them,
the poor and the helpless from those who despoil them?’
11 Violent witnesses rise,
and ask of me things that I know not.
12 Evil for good they requite me,
leaving me inwardly comfortless.
13 But when
put on sackcloth,
and chastened myself with fasting.
I prayed with head bowed low,
14 as if for my friend or my brother.
I went about bowed and in mourning,
as one who laments his mother.
15 When I stumbled, they gleefully gathered,
strangers gathered around me,
and tore at me without ceasing,
16 impiously mocking and mocking,
bearing their teeth at me.
17 How long, Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their roaring,
my precious life from the lions.
18 I will then give you thanks in the great congregation,
and praise you before many people.
19 Suffer not those to rejoice over me
who are falsely my foes,
suffer not those who without cause abhor me
20 For it is not peace that they speak
of those who are quiet in the land;
but treacherous charges they plot.
21 With wide open mouths they shout,
With our own eyes we saw it.’
22 But you have seen, too, O Lord,
keep not silence, O Lord,
be not far from me.
23 Bestir you, awake, for my right
my God, my Lord, for my cause.
24 You are just, Lord: win for me justice,
let them not rejoice over me,
25 inwardly saying, ‘Hurrah!
The desire of our hearts at last!
Now we have swallowed him up.’
26 Shame and confusion together
on those who rejoice at my hurt!
Clothed with shame and dishonour
be those who are haughty to me!
27 Let such as delight in my cause
ring out their gladness,
and say evermore,
‘Great is the Lord whose delight
is the well-being of his servant.’
28 Then my tongue will tell of your justice,
and all the day long of your praise.