God Help Me

Psalm 35

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 35


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


Jesus said, Which one of you can prove that I have sinned? (John 8: 46) "Prove" means "show it is true". The answer is in the Letter to the Hebrews: He did not sin, Hebrews 4: 15)

Psalm 35

  (This is) for David.

v1   Lord, argue with those people that are arguing with me.
  Fight against those people that are fighting against me.

v2   Pick up a small shield and a big one.
  Get up and give me help.

v3   Pull out a small spear and a long one.
  (Use them) against the people that are running after me.
  Say to me. "I will make you safe".

v4   Some people want to kill me.
  I hope that they will become ashamed.
  I hope that everyone else will think that they are very bad.
  Some people are planning to destroy me.
  Turn them back and confuse them.

v5   Make them become like chaff in the wind.
  Let the angel of the LORD send them away.

v6   Make their way dark and dangerous.
  Let the angel of the LORD be unkind to them.

v7   (Do this) because they hid a trap for me.
  There was no reason for it.
  For no reason they dug a pit for me.

v8   Surprise him and destroy him!
  Catch him in the trap that he hid! Let him die in his own pit!

v9   Then I will be pleased because of what the LORD has done.
  I will be happy when the LORD has made me safe.

v10   All my bones will shout, "LORD, who is like you?
  You take the poor man away from the man that is too strong for him.
  You take the people that need help away from those that hurt them".

v11   People say that they saw me do bad things.
  They asked me about it, but I knew nothing.

v12   They paid me evil for the good things that I did.
  I felt as if (my children) had died.

v13   When they were ill I wore clothes made from sacks.
  I hurt myself by not eating food.
  My prayer came back to my own breast.

v14   I cried when I walked about. I became bent because I was so sad.
  I lived as though my friend or my brother or (even) my mother (was ill).

v15   But when I fell down they laughed.
  They all met together. They came together against me.
  I did not know the people that were attacking me.
  They would not stop hurting me.

v16   They were like godless people and they mocked me more and more.
  They showed their teeth (like a wild animal).

v17   LORD, how long will you watch (this)?
  Take me away from the people that are destroying me.
  Save the thing that I love most from the lions.

v18   I will thank you in the great meeting.
  I will praise you when all the people are together.

v19   Do not let my enemies laugh at me.
  They hate me, but have no reason for it.
  Do not let them wink at me with their eye.

v20   They do not talk about peace.
  They say false things to the people in the land that do not want trouble.

v21   They open wide their mouth against me.
  They say, "Aha! Aha! Our eyes saw it!"

v22   LORD, you saw it (also).
  Lord, do not remain silent. Do not stay far from me.

v23   Wake up! Get up and give me justice!
  Argue (for me against them), my Lord and my God.

v24   LORD, you are righteous.
  Give me justice, my God. Do not let them laugh at me.

v25   Do not let them think in their heart, "Aha! (this is) what we wanted".
  Do not let them say, "We have eaten him up!"

v26   (Do this) to them that laughed at me when I became hurt:
   make them ashamed and confused at the same time
   make them sorry that they said that they were greater than me
   make them feel that they are wearing disgrace like clothes

v27   (Other) people will be very happy (when you say) that I am righteous.
  They will shout out in their pleasure.
  They will always say, "The LORD is great!
  He loves it when his servant has peace!"

v28   My mouth will say that you are righteous.
  I will praise you all day long.

Word list

sacks ~ big bags made of material that is not soft

breast ~ here the top part of any human body, male or female

wink ~ close an eye then immediately open it again

Aha! ~ a sound that people make when they think that they are right and that you are wrong

silent ~ not saying anything, no noise

disgrace ~ when people think that you are bad you are "in disgrace"

The Story of Psalm 35

David may have written this:

    either when Saul was trying to catch him

    or when Davidís son Absalom was fighting him

Saul was king of Israel before David. Absalom was Davidís son, who wanted to be king in Davidís place. In the psalm David asks God to fight for him. He asks God to take Saul (or Absalom) away from the earth. To us the language is not very nice, but they would not think this 3 000 years ago. It is the language of war.

War is when countries fight each other. David sees God as a soldier, fighting for him with shields and spears. This is what we call a "human picture" of God. We believe that God sends people or angels to do his work for him. In the psalm the angel is probably one that the Jews called Michael.

The important thing to learn from this psalm is this: David does not try to kill his enemies himself. He wants God to do it in Godís way. When we have enemies we must ask God to do something. We must not try to hurt them ourselves. Look at Psalm 5.

What Psalm 35 means


Parts of the psalm

What David did wrong


 What Davidís enemies did

 What David will do when God sends help

1: verses 1 - 10

nothing, verse 7


they wanted to kill him, verse 4

 be very happy, verses 9 Ė 10

2: verses 11 - 18

nothing, verses 12 Ė 14

they mocked him, and did evil things to him, verses12, 15-16

thank and praise God, verse 18

3: verses 19 - 28

Nothing, verse 19

they say lies, verses 20 Ė21

 praise God all day, verse 28


Some of the ideas are a bit strange to us, but they are how the Jews thought.

Verse 10: "all my bones" means "all of me".

Verse 13: we are not sure what "my prayer comes back" means; there are 2 ways to explain it: either God did, or did not, answer David.

Verse 17: "the thing that I love most" is probably "my life".

Something to do

Find the important words in Psalm 35, and put a mark on them in some way The words are in the table below.



Number of times in Psalm 35



run after


angel of the LORD


no reason














Count argue / arguing, run / running, laugh / laughing as the same words


© 2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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