Add parallel Print Page Options

The Brevity of Human Life

For the music director. For Jeduthun.[a] A psalm of David.[b]

39 I said, “I will guard my ways
that I may not sin[c] with my tongue.
I will keep a muzzle over my mouth
as long as the wicked are before me.”
I was mute with silence. I was silent even from saying good things,
and my pain was stirred up.
My heart grew hot inside me;
in my sighing a fire burned.
Then I spoke with my tongue,
“Let me know, O Yahweh, my end,
and what is the measure of my days.
Let me know how transient I am.”
Look, you have made my days mere handbreadths,
and my lifespan as nothing next to you.
Surely every person standing firm is complete vanity. Selah
Surely a man walks about as a mere shadow;[d]
surely in vain they bustle about.
He heaps up possessions but does not know who will gather them in.
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is for you.
From all my transgressions deliver me;
do not make me the taunt of the fool.
I am mute. I do not open my mouth,
for you, yourself, have done it.
10 Remove from me your affliction.
By the opposition of your hand I perish.
11 When with rebukes you chastise a man for sin,
you[e] consume[f] like a moth his delightful things.
Surely everyone is a mere vapor.[g] Selah
12 Hear my prayer, O Yahweh, and listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my tears.
For I am an alien[h] with you,
a sojourner like all my ancestors.[i]
13 Look away from me that I may be cheerful,
before I depart and I am no more.


  1. Psalm 39:1 One of David’s musicians (1 Chr 16:41)
  2. Psalm 39:1 The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
  3. Psalm 39:1 Literally “from sinning”
  4. Psalm 39:6 Literally “image”
  5. Psalm 39:11 Hebrew “and/then you”
  6. Psalm 39:11 Literally “cause to melt”
  7. Psalm 39:11 The word translated “vanity” in vv. 6, 7
  8. Psalm 39:12 Or “stranger”
  9. Psalm 39:12 Or “fathers”