The Psalms

Psalm 39

David's care of his thoughts, 1-3. The consideration of the brevity and vanity of life, 4-6; the reverence of God's judgments, 7-9, and prayer, are his bridles of impatience, 10-13.

1 [To the Chief Musician, even to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.]

I said, "I will take heed to my ways/
so that I do not sin with my tongue./
I will keep my mouth with a bridle/
while the wicked is before me."

I was mute with silence./
I held my peace, even from good,/
and my sorrow was stirred.

My heart was hot within me./
While I was musing, the fire burned./
Then I spoke with my tongue:

"LORD, make me to know my end/
and the measure of my days, what it is,/
so that I may know how frail I am.

Behold, you have made my days as a hand-breadth/
and my age is as nothing before you./
Truly every man at his best state is altogether vanity."/

"Surely every man walks in a vain show./
Surely they are disquieted in vain./
He heaps up riches and does not know who gathers them.

And now, Lord, what do I wait for?/
My hope is in you.

Deliver me from all my transgressions./
Do not make me the reproach of the foolish.

I was mute. I did not open my mouth/
because you did it.

10 Remove your stroke away from me./
I am consumed by the blow of your hand.

11 When you, with rebukes, correct man for iniquity,/
you make his beauty to consume away like a moth./
Surely every man is vanity."/

12 "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry./
Do not hold your peace at my tears,/
for I am a stranger with you,/
and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

13 O spare me so that I may recover strength/
before I go from here and am no more."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Psalms, Chapter 39[➚]


John Calvin's Chapter Summary:

In the beginning of the psalm, David intimates that his heart had been seized with extreme bitterness of grief, which forced him to give utterance to complaints with too much vehemence and ardor. He confesses that whilst he was disposed to be silent, and to exercise patience, he was nevertheless compelled, by the vehemence of his sorrow, to break out into an excess which he by no means intended. Then he relates the complaints which he had made mingled with prayers, which indicate great trouble of mind; so that from this it appears that he had wrestled with no ordinary effort in resisting temptation, lest he should fall into despair.