The Brevity of Human Life
For the music director. For Jeduthun.#One of David’s musicians (1 Chr 16:41) A psalm of David.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
1I said, “I will guard my ways
that I may not sin#Literally “from sinning” with my tongue.
I will keep a muzzle over my mouth
as long as the wicked are before me.”
2I was mute with silence. I was silent even from saying good things,
and my pain was stirred up.
3My heart grew hot inside me;
in my sighing a fire burned.
Then I spoke with my tongue,
4“Let me know, O Yahweh, my end,
and what is the measure of my days.
Let me know how transient I am.”
5Look, you have made my days mere handbreadths,
and my lifespan as nothing next to you.
Surely every person standing firm is complete vanity. Selah
6Surely a man walks about as a mere shadow;#Literally “image”
surely in vain they bustle about.
He heaps up possessions but does not know who will gather them in.
7And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is for you.
8From all my transgressions deliver me;
do not make me the taunt of the fool.
9I am mute. I do not open my mouth,
for you, yourself, have done it.
10Remove from me your affliction.
By the opposition of your hand I perish.
11When with rebukes you chastise a man for sin,
you#Hebrew “and/then you” consume#Literally “cause to melt” like a moth his delightful things.
Surely everyone is a mere vapor.#The word translated “vanity” in vv. 6, 7 Selah
12Hear my prayer, O Yahweh, and listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my tears.
For I am an alien#Or “stranger” with you,
a sojourner like all my ancestors.#Or “fathers”
13Look away from me that I may be cheerful,
before I depart and I am no more.