Psalm 54  Exaudi, Deus

Faithless friend

This Psalm is a difficult one for the Christian to understand.  The easiest way to grasp it is to pray it in the name of the Church: the enemy is the devil and his tools the sinners.  In the curse formulas we do not mean to wish eternal punishment upon the sinner, only to bring God's justice to light.

Lament over personal sufferings

Exáudi, Deus, oratiónem meam et ne despéxeris deprecatiónem meam: * inténde mihi, et exáudi me.
2  Contristátus sum in exercitatióne mea: * et conturbátus sum a voce inimíci, et a tribulatióne peccatóris.
3  Quóniam declinavérunt in me iniquitátes: * et in ira molésti erant mihi.
4  Cor meum conturbátum est in me: * et formído mortis cécidit super me.
5  Timor et tremor venérunt super me: * et contexérunt me ténebræ.
6  Et dixi: Quis dabit mihi pennas sicut colúmbæ, * et volábo, et requiéscam?
7  Ecce elongávi fúgiens: * et mansi in solitúdine.
8  Exspectábam eum, qui salvum me fecit: * a pusillanimitáte spíritus et tempestáte.

Hear my prayer, O God, and despise not my petition : * take heed unto me, and hear me.
2  I am grieved in my prayer, * and am vexed at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner.
3  For they have cast iniquities upon me : * and in wrath they were troublesome unto me.
4  My heart is disquieted within me, * and the fear of death is fallen upon me.
 Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, * and darkness hath overwhelmed me.
6  And I said, O that I had wings like a dove! * for then would I flee away, and be at rest.
7  Lo, I have got me away far off, * and have remained in the wilderness.
8  I have waited for him that hath saved me : * from faintness of heart and from the tempest.

Lament over the turmoil of the city

9  Præcípita, Dómine, dívide linguas eórum: * quóniam vidi iniquitátem et contradictiónem in civitáte.
10  Die ac nocte circúmdabit eam super muros ejus iníquitas: * et labor in médio ejus, et injustítia.
11  Et non defécit de platéis ejus: * usúra, et dolus.

9  Destroy their tongues, O Lord, and divide them; * for I have spied unrighteousness and strife in the city.
10  Day and night shall wickedness go about within the walls thereof: * mischief also and injustice are in the midst of it.
11  And deceit and guile * have not gone out of her streets.

Friend betrays friend

12  Quóniam si inimícus meus maledixísset mihi, * sustinuíssem útique.
13  Et si is, qui óderat me, super me magna locútus fuísset: * abscondíssem me fórsitan ab eo.
14  Tu vero, homo unánimis: * dux meus, et notus meus.
15  Qui simul mecum dulces capiébas cibos: * in domo Dei ambulávimus cum consénsu.

12  For if an open enemy had done me this dishonour; * then I could have borne it;
13  And if he that hated me had magnified himself against me; * then peradventure I would have hid myself from him;
14  But it was even thou, a man of one mind with me, * my guide, and mine own familiar friend.
15  Who took sweet counsel with me together, * and we walked in the house of God as friends.

A curse on our enemies

16  Véniat mors super illos: * et descéndant in inférnum vivéntes :
17  Quóniam nequítiæ in habitáculis eórum: * in médio eórum.

16  Let death come upon them, * and let them go down alive into the pit.
17  For wickedness is in their dwellings, * and in the midst of them.

Plea and trust

18  Ego autem ad Deum clamávi: * et Dóminus salvábit me.
19  Véspere, et mane, et merídie narrábo et annuntiábo: * et exáudiet vocem meam.
20  Rédimet in pace ánimam meam ab his, qui appropínquant mihi: * quóniam inter multos erant mecum.
21  Exáudiet Deus, et humiliábit illos: * qui est ante sæcula.

18  As for me, I have call upon God, * and the Lord shall save me.
19  In the evening, and morning, and at noon-day will I speak and declare : * and he shall hear my voice.
20  He shall deliver my soul in peace from them that draw nigh unto me; * for there were many that strove with me.
21  Yea, even God, that endureth for ever, * shall hear me, and bring them down.

Renewed lament

22  Non enim est illis commutátio, et non timuérunt Deum: * exténdit manum suam in retribuéndo.
23  Contaminavérunt testaméntum ejus, divísi sunt ab ira vultus ejus: * et appropinquávit cor illíus.
24  Mollíti sunt sermónes ejus super óleum: * et ipsi sunt jácula.
25  Jacta super Dóminum curam tuam, et ipse te enútriet: * non dabit in ætérnum fluctuatiónem justo.
26  Tu vero, Deus, dedúces eos, * in púteum intéritus
27  Viri sánguinum, et dolósi non dimidiábunt dies suos: * ego autem sperábo in te, Dómine.

22  For they will not turn, nor have they feared God : * he hath stretched forth his hands to repay.
23  They have defiled his covenant, they are divided by the wrath of his countenance : * and his heart hath drawn nigh.
24  His words are smoother than oil, * and yet be they very swords.
25  O cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee, * and shall not suffer the righteous to waver for ever.
26  But thou, O God, shalt bring them * into the pit of destruction.
27  The blood-thirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days: * but my trust shall be in thee, O Lord.