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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.”

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 39:10 Heb hostility

(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.”

Footnotes

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