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Psalm 39New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 39[a]

The Vanity of Life

For the leader, for Jeduthun. A psalm of David.


I said, “I will watch my ways,
    lest I sin with my tongue;
    I will keep a muzzle on my mouth.”
Mute and silent before the wicked,
    I refrain from good things.
But my sorrow increases;
    my heart smolders within me.
In my sighing a fire blazes up,
    and I break into speech:


Lord, let me know my end, the number of my days,
    that I may learn how frail I am.
To be sure, you establish the expanse of my days;
    indeed, my life is as nothing before you.
    Every man is but a breath.


Man goes about as a mere phantom;
    they hurry about, although in vain;
    he heaps up stores without knowing for whom.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
    You are my only hope.
From all my sins deliver me;
    let me not be the taunt of fools.

10 I am silent and do not open my mouth
    because you are the one who did this.
11 Take your plague away from me;
    I am ravaged by the touch of your hand.
12 You chastise man with rebukes for sin;
    like a moth you consume his treasures.
    Every man is but a breath.
13 Listen to my prayer, Lord, hear my cry;
    do not be deaf to my weeping!
For I am with you like a foreigner,
    a refugee, like my ancestors.
14 Turn your gaze from me, that I may smile
    before I depart to be no more.


  1. Psalm 39 The lament of a mortally ill person who at first had resolved to remain silently submissive (Ps 39:2–4). But the grief was too much and now the psalmist laments the brevity and vanity of life (Ps 39:5–7), yet remaining hopeful (Ps 39:8–10). The psalmist continues to express both acceptance of the illness and hope for healing in Ps 39:11–13.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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