Add parallel Print Page Options

Psalm 39[a]

The Vanity of Life

For the leader, for Jeduthun.(A) 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.(B)
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.(C)


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.(D)
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.