The prayer of the innocent (Ps 17:3-17:5)

“If you try my heart,

If you visit me by night,

If you test me,

You will find no wickedness in me.

My mouth does not transgress.

As for what others do,

By the word of your lips,

I have avoided the ways of the violent.

My steps have held fast to your paths.

My feet have not slipped.”

David, or the psalmist, proclaims his innocence. His heart is true. Even if you were to visit him at night or test him, no one would find wickedness in him. His mouth does not transgress, even when others do. He has avoided violent ways and held to the path of Yahweh. His feet have not slipped.

Job proclaims his innocence (Job 27:1-27:6)

“Job again took up his discourse.

‘As God lives,

He has taken away my right.

The Almighty Shaddai has made my soul bitter.

As long as my breath is in me,

As long as the spirit of God is in my nostrils,

My lips will not speak falsehood.

My tongue will not utter deceit.

Far be it from me to say that you are right.

Until I die,

I will not put away my integrity from me.

I hold fast to my righteousness.

I will not let it go.

My heart does not reproach me for any of my days.”

Once again, Job proclaimed his innocence before God. This is a discourse, a very solemn statement, like an oath. He maintained that the almighty Shaddai had made his soul bitter. He seemed to be talking to the living God. He said that as long as he was breathing and the spirit of God was in his nose, he would not speak falsehood or utter deceitful things.   “Far be it from me” is a kind of oath. He would maintain his integrity and righteousness until his death. This righteousness often appears to be a form of self-righteousness.