David Prays for Help
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 17
Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.
Jesus said, 'Ask me for anything in my name. I will do it for you'. (John 14:14)
test ~ give someone an exam
trip over ~ hit something with your feet and fall over
apple ~ a fruit; the 'apple of the eye' is the part of the eye that hurts a lot when somebody touches it
wings ~ the arms of a bird; it uses them to fly with
hunting ~ looking for something to eat
reward ~ what you give somebody for doing something good
Somebody wanted to kill David. It was probably King Saul. He was like a hungry lion. (verse 2) Here are some words from 1 Samuel 23:25-26. 'Saul chased David in the wild country near Maon. David ran away. David was afraid of Saul. Saul and his soldiers were all round David. They were ready to kill him'. What happened next? A message came to Saul. It said, 'We need you to fight the Philistines. Come and give us help'. So Saul left David and went away. God answered the words that David prayed. They are probably in Psalm 17.
Verses 1 – 5: David asks God to look at the secrets of his heart. These are things that people cannot see. Only God can see them. David says, "test me" at night. Probably that was when David was by himself. David says that he will not tell lies to God. Some of Psalm 17 is very difficult to translate. We have put some words in ( ) to give you help. The words in ( ) probably tell us what David meant.
Verses 6 – 8: Here are some wonderful Bible words. "Great love" is "chesed" in Hebrew. It means that God loves us and is kind to us. We are the "apple of God's eye". This means that people that hurt us also hurt God. We are special to God. Also, as a bird hides baby birds under its wing, so God hides us! We hide under his wings, like baby birds. The right hand of God here means what God does on earth.
Verses 9 – 12: David now tells God about his enemies. Really, they are the enemies of God as well. They want to knock David on to the ground. Then they want to kill him. Psalm 17:10 says, "Their hearts have become hard". We are not sure what this means. Perhaps it means that they will not change their minds.
Verses 13 – 14: David tells God what he wants. He wants God to kill his enemies and to save David. That is what "remove them from the world" means. They will get nothing in the next world. This is because "their reward is in this life". We learn that David did not want to kill his enemies. Though it is hard to believe sometimes, God does care for his own people.
Verse 15: This is a wonderful part of the psalm. It tells us that David believes that he is righteous. He also believes that he will rise from the dead. "When I awake" means "awake from the sleep of death". That is when David would see God.
Ask God to make you righteous. This means that:
· you tell God that you are sorry that you broke his rules
· you ask God to forgive you (forgive means that God gives your sins to Jesus who takes them away)
· you ask God to make you a new person (this means that he gives to you his Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is another name for God)
· you try to keep all God's rules; the Holy Spirit will give you help to do this. Then, when you die, you will see God. You will live with him for ever. Look at the end of Psalm 5 to find what "righteous" means.
© 2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)
Visit our website: