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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.
Interlude
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.
Interlude

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.

Footnotes

  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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