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(A psalm by David for Jeduthun, the music leader.)

A Prayer for Forgiveness

39 I told myself, “I’ll be careful
    not to sin by what I say,
    and I’ll muzzle my mouth
    when evil people are near.”
I kept completely silent,
but it did no good,[a]
    and I hurt even worse.

I felt a fire burning inside,
    and the more I thought,
    the more it burned,
    until at last I said:
“Please, Lord,
show me my future.
    Will I soon be gone?
You made my life short,
so brief that the time
    means nothing to you.

“Human life is but a breath,
    and it disappears
    like a shadow.
Our struggles are senseless;
we store up more and more,
    without ever knowing
    who will get it all.

“What am I waiting for?
    I depend on you, Lord!
    Save me from my sins.
    Don’t let fools sneer at me.
You treated me like this,
    and I kept silent,
    not saying a word.

10 “Won’t you stop punishing me?
    You have worn me down.
11     You punish us severely
    because of our sins.
Like a moth, you destroy
what we treasure most.
    We are as frail as a breath.

12 “Listen, Lord, to my prayer!
    My eyes are flooded with tears,
    as I pray to you.
I am merely a stranger
visiting in your home
    as my ancestors did.
13 Stop being angry with me
and let me smile again
    before I am dead and gone.”


  1. 39.2 but. . . good: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.