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To the Director: To Jeduthun. A Davidic Psalm.

A Prayer about Life’s Priorities

39 I told myself, “I will keep watch over my tongue to keep from sinning.
    I will muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around.”
I was as silent as a mute person;
    I said nothing, not even something good,
        and my distress deepened.
My heart within me became incensed;[a]
    as I thought about it, the fire burned.

Then I[b] spoke out:
Lord, let me know how my life ends,[c]
    and the standard by which you will measure[d] my days, whatever it is!
        Then I will know how transient my life is.
Look, you have made my life span fit in your hand;
    It is nothing compared to yours.
        Surely every person at their best is a puff of wind.
In fact, people walk around as shadows.
    Surely, they busy themselves for nothing,
        heaping up possessions but not knowing who will get them.
How long, Lord, will I wait expectantly?
    I have placed my hope in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions,
    and do not let fools scorn me.”

I remain silent;
    I do not open my mouth,
        for you are the one who acted.
10 Stop scourging me,
    since I have been crushed by your heavy hand.
11 You rebuke by chastening a man with the consequence of iniquities;
    you destroy what is attractive to him, as one would treat a moth.
        Indeed, every person is a puff of wind.

12 Hear my prayer, Lord,
    pay attention to my cry,
        and do not ignore my tears.
I am an alien in your presence,
    a stranger just like my ancestors were.
13 Stop looking at me with chastisement,[e] so I can smile again,
    before I depart and am no more.


  1. Psalm 39:3 Lit. hot
  2. Psalm 39:3 Lit. Then my mouth
  3. Psalm 39:4 Lit. my end
  4. Psalm 39:4 Lit. the measure of
  5. Psalm 39:13 The Heb. lacks with chastisement

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