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Psalm 39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Psalm 39

Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness

To the leader: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

I said, “I will guard my ways
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
    as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was silent and still;
    I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
    my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:

Lord, let me know my end,
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.Selah
    Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
    they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
    My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
    Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
I am silent; I do not open my mouth,
    for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
    I am worn down by the blows[a] of your hand.

11 “You chastise mortals
    in punishment for sin,
consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
    surely everyone is a mere breath.Selah

12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    and give ear to my cry;
    do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest,
    an alien, like all my forebears.
13 Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more.”


  1. Psalm 39:10 Heb hostility
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 39 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

(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.
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