Contend, O Lord, with those that contend with me; fight against those that fight against me. Take up shield and buckler and rise up to help me. Draw the spear and bar the way against those who pursue me; say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’
Let those who seek after my life be sham d and disgraced; let those who plot my ruin fall back and be put to confusion.
Let them be as chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord thrusting them down.
Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
For they have secretly spread a net for me without a cause; without any cause they have dug a pit for my soul. Let ruin come upon them unawares; let them be caught in the net they laid; let them fall in it to their destruction. Then will my soul be joyful in the Lord and glory in his salvation.
My very bones will say, ‘Lord, who is like you? You deliver the poor from those that are too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who would despoil them.’
False witnesses rose up against me; they charged me with things I knew not. They rewarded me evil for good, to the desolation of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting; When my prayer returned empty to my bosom, it was as though I grieved for my friend or brother; I behaved as one who mourns for his mother, bowed down and brought very low. But when I stumbled, they gathered in delight; they gathered together against me; as if they were strangers I did not know they tore at me without ceasing. When I fell they mocked me; they gnashed at me with their teeth. O Lord, how long will you look on? Rescue my soul from their ravages, and my poor life from the young lions.
I will give you thanks in the great congregation; I will praise you in the mighty throng. Do not let my treacherous foes rejoice over me, or those who hate me without a cause mock me with their glances. For they do not speak of peace, but invent deceitful schemes against those that are quiet in the land. They opened wide their mouths and derided me, saying ‘We have seen it with our very eyes.’
This you have seen, O Lord; do not keep silent; go not far from me, O Lord. Awake, arise, to my cause, to my defence, my God and my Lord! Give me justice, O Lord my God, according to your righteousness; let them not triumph over me. Let them not say to themselves, ‘Our heart’s desire!’ Let them not say, ‘We have swallowed him up.’
Let all who rejoice at my trouble be put to shame and confusion; let those who boast against me
be clothed with shame and dishonour. Let those who favour my cause rejoice and be glad; let them say always, ‘Great is the Lord, who delights in his servant’s well-being.’ So shall my tongue be talking of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.
Then Judah stepped up to him and said, ‘O my lord, let your servant please speak a word in my lord’s ears, and do not be angry with your servant; for you are like Pharaoh himself. My lord asked his servants, saying, “Have you a father or a brother?” And we said to my lord, “We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead; he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.” Then you said to your servants, “Bring him down to me, so that I may set my eyes on him.” We said to my lord, “The boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.” Then you said to your servants, “Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall see my face no more.” When we went back to your servant my father we told him the words of my lord. And when our father said, “Go again, buy us a little food”, we said, “We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother goes with us, will we go down; for we cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.” Then your servant my father said to us, “You know that my wife bore me two sons; one left me, and I said, Surely he has been torn to pieces; and I have never seen him since. If you take this one also from me, and harm comes to him, you will bring down my grey hairs in sorrow to Sheol.” Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, when he sees that the boy is not with us, he will die; and your servants will bring down the grey hairs of your servant our father with sorrow to Sheol. For your servant became surety for the boy to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then I will bear the blame in the sight of my father all my life.” Now therefore, please let your servant remain as a slave to my lord in place of the boy; and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the suffering that would come upon my father.’
It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,
‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’
‘I will put my trust in him.’
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.’
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.