To the Chief Musician; for Jeduthun +[founder of an official musical family+]. A Psalm of David.
1 I SAID, I will take heed and guard my ways, that I may sin not with my tongue; I will muzzle my mouth as with a bridle while the wicked are before me.
2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace without profit and had no comfort away from good, while my distress was renewed.
3 My heart was hot within me. While I was musing, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
4 Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days–what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].
5 Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Truly every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah [pause, and think calmly of that]!
6 Surely every man walks to and fro–like a shadow in a pantomime; surely for futility and emptiness he is in turmoil; each one heaps up riches, not knowing who will gather them. [I Cor. 7:31; James 4:14.]
7 And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the scorn and reproach of the [self-confident] fool!
9 I am dumb, I open not my mouth, for it is You Who has done it.
10 Remove Your stroke away from me; I am consumed by the conflict and the blow of Your hand.
11 When with rebukes You correct and chasten man for sin, You waste his beauty like a moth and what is dear to him consumes away; surely every man is a mere breath. Selah [pause, and think calmly of that]!
12 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not Your peace at my tears! For I am Your passing guest, a temporary resident, as all my fathers were.
13 O look away from me and spare me, that I may recover cheerfulness and encouraging strength and know gladness before I go and am no more!