God’s Eternity and Human Frailty
A prayer of Moses, the man of God.#The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm
1O Lord, you have been our help#Or “dwelling place” in all generations.#Literally “in a generation and a generation”
2Before the mountains were born
and you brought forth the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
3You return man to the dust,
saying,#Literally “and you say” “Return, O sons of man.”
4For a thousand years in your eyes
are like yesterday when it passes,
or like a watch in the night.
5You sweep them away like a flood.
They fall asleep.#The interpretation of 5a is difficult
In the morning they are like grass that sprouts anew.
6In the morning it blossoms and sprouts anew;
by evening it withers and dries up.
7For we are brought to an end by your anger,
and we hasten off#Or “we are terrified” by your wrath.
8You have put our iniquities before you,
our hidden sins into the light of your countenance.
9For all of our days dwindle away in your rage;
we complete our years like a sigh.
10As for the days of our years, within them are seventy years
or if by strength eighty years, and their pride#Or “span” is trouble and disaster,
for it passes quickly and we fly away.
11Who knows the strength of your anger,
and your rage consistent with#Hebrew “according to” the fear due you?
12So teach us to number our days
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13Return,#Or “Turn back your wrath” O Yahweh. How long?
And have compassion on#Or “change your mind concerning” your servants.
14Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen calamity.
16Let your work be visible to your servants,
and your majesty to their children.
17And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish for us the work of our hands,
yes, the work of our hands, establish it.