1 O LORD, oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight against me. 2 Put on your armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid. 3 Lift up your spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Let me hear you say, “I will give you victory!” 4 Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me. 5 Blow them away like chaff in the wind— a wind sent by the angel of the LORD . 6 Make their path dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them. 7 I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me. I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me. 8 So let sudden ruin come upon them! Let them be caught in the trap they set for me! Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me. 9 Then I will rejoice in the LORD . I will be glad because he rescues me. 10 With every bone in my body I will praise him: “ LORD, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?” 11 Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. 12 They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair. 13 Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. 14 I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. 15 But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly. 16 They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me. 17 How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! 18 Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people. 19 Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow. 20 They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. 21 They shout, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we saw him do it!” 22 O LORD, you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now, O Lord. 23 Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord. 24 Declare me not guilty, O LORD my God, for you give justice. Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles. 25 Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted! Now we will eat him alive!” 26 May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor. 27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the LORD, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!” 28 Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long.
1 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.
1 Three days after Festus arrived in Caesarea to take over his new responsibilities, he left for Jerusalem, 2 where the leading priests and other Jewish leaders met with him and made their accusations against Paul. 3 They asked Festus as a favor to transfer Paul to Jerusalem (planning to ambush and kill him on the way). 4 But Festus replied that Paul was at Caesarea and he himself would be returning there soon. 5 So he said, “Those of you in authority can return with me. If Paul has done anything wrong, you can make your accusations.” 6 About eight or ten days later Festus returned to Caesarea, and on the following day he took his seat in court and ordered that Paul be brought in. 7 When Paul arrived, the Jewish leaders from Jerusalem gathered around and made many serious accusations they couldn’t prove. 8 Paul denied the charges. “I am not guilty of any crime against the Jewish laws or the Temple or the Roman government,” he said. 9 Then Festus, wanting to please the Jews, asked him, “Are you willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there?” 10 But Paul replied, “No! This is the official Roman court, so I ought to be tried right here. You know very well I am not guilty of harming the Jews. 11 If I have done something worthy of death, I don’t refuse to die. But if I am innocent, no one has a right to turn me over to these men to kill me. I appeal to Caesar!” 12 Festus conferred with his advisers and then replied, “Very well! You have appealed to Caesar, and to Caesar you will go!” 13 A few days later King Agrippa arrived with his sister, Bernice, to pay their respects to Festus. 14 During their stay of several days, Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. “There is a prisoner here,” he told him, “whose case was left for me by Felix. 15 When I was in Jerusalem, the leading priests and Jewish elders pressed charges against him and asked me to condemn him. 16 I pointed out to them that Roman law does not convict people without a trial. They must be given an opportunity to confront their accusers and defend themselves. 17 “When his accusers came here for the trial, I didn’t delay. I called the case the very next day and ordered Paul brought in. 18 But the accusations made against him weren’t any of the crimes I expected. 19 Instead, it was something about their religion and a dead man named Jesus, who Paul insists is alive. 20 I was at a loss to know how to investigate these things, so I asked him whether he would be willing to stand trial on these charges in Jerusalem. 21 But Paul appealed to have his case decided by the emperor. So I ordered that he be held in custody until I could arrange to send him to Caesar.” 22 “I’d like to hear the man myself,” Agrippa said. And Festus replied, “You will—tomorrow!” 23 So the next day Agrippa and Bernice arrived at the auditorium with great pomp, accompanied by military officers and prominent men of the city. Festus ordered that Paul be brought in. 24 Then Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are here, this is the man whose death is demanded by all the Jews, both here and in Jerusalem. 25 But in my opinion he has done nothing deserving death. However, since he appealed his case to the emperor, I have decided to send him to Rome. 26 “But what shall I write the emperor? For there is no clear charge against him. So I have brought him before all of you, and especially you, King Agrippa, so that after we examine him, I might have something to write. 27 For it makes no sense to send a prisoner to the emperor without specifying the charges against him!”