Bits And Pieces

Psalm 86

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 86

Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.

The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.


They said to Jesus, "Teach us to pray". He said, "Ask and you will receive. Look and you will find. Knock and it will open to you". (From Luke 11: 1 and 9)

Psalm 86

  Words that David prayed.

v1   *LORD,turn your ear (to me), answer me!
  Because I am weak and need (help).

v2   Save me from death because I am one of your people.
  Keep (me) your servant safe. You are my God.
  (I am) someone that is *trusting in you.

v3   My *Lord, give me *mercy!
  All through the day, I am praying (this) to you.

v4   Make (me) your servant happy!
  Because I lift up myself to you, my *Lord.

v5   My *Lord, you are good. Also, you *forgive (people).
  You give your kind love to everyone that prays to you.

v6   *Turn your ear to what I am praying, *LORD.
  And listen to my voice when I cry for *mercy.

v7   On the day that I have trouble I will pray to you,
  because you can answer me.

v8   None among the gods is like you, my *Lord.
  And nobody can do what you can do.

v9   All the countries that you have made will come
  and *worship before you, my *Lord.
  They will say how great your name is.

v10   For you are great. You do great things.
  You alone are God.

v11   *LORD, teach me your way. I will walk in your *truth.
  Make my heart united when I think of your name.

v12   I will *praise you, my *Lord and my God, with my united heart.
  I will always tell people that you are really great!

v13   (I will do this) because there is so much of your kind love to me.
  You will save me from going to the lowest part of *Sheol.

v14   God, *proud people are attacking me.
  A group of cruel men is trying to kill me.
  They do not think about you.

v15   But you, my *Lord, are a God that loves (people) and gives (them) *mercy.
  You are slow to become angry and (you are) full of kind love.
  You do not leave (your people when they have trouble).

v16   Turn to me and give me *mercy. Make (me) your servant strong
  and make the son of your woman servant safe.

v17   Show me something that tells me that you are good.
  Let my enemies see it and be ashamed.
  Because you, *LORD, have given me help and been kind to me.

The Story of Psalm 86

The *psalmist had trouble. Bad people were attacking him. We do not know why or when. He prayed to God about it. This psalm is his *prayer, or the words that he prayed.

But this *prayer is special. The*psalmist did not use his own words. He used the words of David! He also used words that Moses wrote in the Book of Exodus. He took some bits from Psalms 25-28, some pieces from Psalms 54-58 and some from other psalms and other parts of the Bible. And he made a new psalm from them!

What Psalm 86 means

In verse 2, "one of your people" is a special Bible word. It is someone that has accepted Godís love. Some Bibles translate it "*saints". "I lift myself to you" in verse 4 means "I give myself to you". Some Christians show this by lifting their hands when they pray. In verse 5,the word "*forgive" means more to Christians than maybe it did to the *psalmist. To him it meant "excuse". To Christians it means that God gave their *sin to Jesus for them when Jesus died for them. That was when God *punished Jesus for our *sin!

"Answer me" in verses 1 and 7 does not mean that the *psalmist will hear God speak. It means that God will give him help. The gods of verse 8 are the false gods of the people attacking the *psalmist. The united heart in verses 11 and 12 means a heart (or person) that serves (obeys) God only. He does not try to serve (obey) God and somebody or something else. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve God and Mammon". Mammon means money or what money can buy. "When I think of your name" in the *Hebrew Bible is "to be afraid of your name".

"Kind love" in verses 13 and 15 is a word *like "your people" in verse 2 in the *Hebrew Bible. Godís people (or *saints) are the people that have accepted his kind love. Read the note on Psalm 85:10. In verse 16 we read that the *psalmist's mother was also a servant of God.

Something to do

1.  Only one verse in Psalm 86 does not have one of Godís names in it. (The names are: God meaning "powerful", *LORD meaning "always alive" and *Lord meaning "with authority"). Which verse is it?

2.  Here are some verses from other psalms, and one from Exodus. Can you find them (or something *like them) in Psalm 86?

  Psalm 9:1. With my whole (or united) heart.

  Psalm 17:6. *LORD, turn your ear (to me), answer me!

  Psalm 25:1. I lift up myself to you, *LORD.

  Psalm 26:3. I have walked in your *truth.

  Psalm 27:11 *LORD, teach me your way.

  Psalm 28:2. Listen to my voice when I cry.

  Psalm 40:17. I am weak and need (help).

  Psalm 54:3. *Proud people are attacking me. A group of cruel men is trying to kill me. They do not think about God.

  Psalm 55:1. God, turn your ear to what I am praying.

  Psalm 56:13. You saved me from death.

  Psalm 57:2. God, give me *mercy!

  Psalm 77:2. On the day that I had trouble I prayed to the *Lord.

  Psalm 77:15. You are the God that does great things.

  Psalm 90:15. Make us, (your servants), happy.

  Psalm 119:68. You are good.

  Psalm 130:4. You *forgive (people).

  Exodus 34:6. The*LORD God gives (people) *mercy and *grace. He is not quick to become angry. He is very good.

3.  Does the*psalmist always use the same name for God in Psalm 86 as in the other psalms?

4.  When you pray, use words from the Bible sometimes.

Word List

Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.

covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.

forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2).

grace ~ when someone (here God) is kind and *forgives when he does not have to forgive.

Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.

Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.

Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.

like ~ another word for "as".

Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.

LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.

mercy ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.

praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.

prayer ~ words that you say when you pray.

proud people ~ people that think that they are very important.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).

punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.

saints ~ people that have received Godís love, his people.

Sheol ~ where *Jews said that you went when you died.

sin ~ not obeying God, or what you do when you do not obey God.

trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be good to you.

truth ~ usually words that are true; in Psalm 86:11, things that God teaches.

turn your ear ~ a way to say "Listen!" in *Hebrew.

worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.

Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".


© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

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

January 2002

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