New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Fourth Book—Psalms 90–106
God’s Eternity and Human Frailty
1 A prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Lord, you have been our refuge
through all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born,
the earth and the world brought forth,
from eternity to eternity you are God.(A)
3 You turn humanity back into dust,[b]
saying, “Return, you children of Adam!”(B)
4 A thousand years in your eyes
are merely a day gone by,(C)
Before a watch passes in the night,
5 [c]you wash them away;(D)
and in the morning they sprout again like an herb.
6 In the morning it blooms only to pass away;
in the evening it is wilted and withered.[d](E)
7 Truly we are consumed by your anger,
filled with terror by your wrath.
8 You have kept our faults before you,
our hidden sins in the light of your face.(F)
9 Our life ebbs away under your wrath;(G)
our years end like a sigh.
10 Seventy is the sum of our years,
or eighty, if we are strong;
Most of them are toil and sorrow;
they pass quickly, and we are gone.
11 Who comprehends the strength of your anger?
Your wrath matches the fear it inspires.
12 Teach us to count our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
13 Relent, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
14 Fill us at daybreak with your mercy,(H)
that all our days we may sing for joy.
15 Make us glad as many days as you humbled us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.(I)
16 Show your deeds to your servants,
your glory to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God be ours.(J)
Prosper the work of our hands!
Prosper the work of our hands!
- Psalm 90 A communal lament that describes only in general terms the cause of the community’s distress. After confidently invoking God (Ps 90:1), the Psalm turns to a complaint contrasting God’s eternity with the brevity of human life (Ps 90:2–6) and sees in human suffering the punishment for sin (Ps 90:7–12). The Psalm concludes with a plea for God’s intervention (Ps 90:13–17).
- 90:3 Dust: one word of God is enough to return mortals to the dust from which they were created. Human beings were created from earth in Gn 2:7; 3:19.
- 90:5 You wash them away: the Hebrew of Ps 90:4–5 is unclear.
- 90:6 It is wilted and withered: the transitory nature of the grass under the scorching sun was proverbial, cf. Ps 129:6; Is 40:6–8.
New International Version
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”(E)
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.(F)
5 Yet you sweep people away(G) in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.(H)
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins(I) in the light of your presence.(J)
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.(K)
10 Our days may come to seventy years,(L)
or eighty,(M) if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,(N)
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.(O)
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath(P) is as great as the fear that is your due.(Q)
12 Teach us to number our days,(R)
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.(S)
13 Relent, Lord! How long(T) will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.(U)
14 Satisfy(V) us in the morning with your unfailing love,(W)
that we may sing for joy(X) and be glad all our days.(Y)
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.(Z)
- Psalm 90:17 Or beauty