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Psalm 39

For the worship leader, Jeduthun.[a] A song of David.

As an individual lament, Psalm 39 grieves over the brevity of life. The superscription recalls David’s appointment of Jeduthun as one of the tabernacle’s leading musicians (1 Chronicles 16:41–42).

I promised, “I’ll be careful on life’s journey
    not to sin with my words;
I’ll seal my lips
    when wicked people are around.”
I kept my mouth shut;
    I had nothing to say—not even anything good—
    which came to grieve me more and more.
I felt my heart become hot inside me
    as I thought on these things; a fire ignited and burned.
    Then I said,

“Eternal One, let me understand my end
    and how brief my earthly existence is;
    help me realize my life is fleeting.
You have determined the length of my days,
    and my life is nothing compared to You.
Even the longest life is only a breath.”


In truth, each of us journeys through life like a shadow.
    We busy ourselves accomplishing nothing, piling up assets we can never keep;
We can’t even know who will end up with those things.

In light of all this, Lord, what am I really waiting for?
    You are my hope.
Keep me from all the wrong I would do;
    don’t let the foolish laugh at me.
I am quiet; I keep my mouth closed
    because this has come from You.
10 Take Your curse from me;
    I can’t endure Your punishment.

11 You discipline us for our sins.
    Like a moth, You consume everything we treasure;
    it’s evident we are merely a breath.


12 Hear me, O Eternal One;
    listen to my pleading,
    and don’t ignore my tears
Because I am estranged from You—
    a wanderer like my fathers before me.
13 Look away from me so I might have a chance to recover my joy and smile again
    before I lay this life down and am no more.


  1. 39:title 1 Chronicles 9:16
  2. 39:5 Literally, selah, likely a musical direction from a Hebrew root meaning “to lift up”

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