Psalm 39

David wrote this song for Jeduthun, the leader of the music.

Life is short

39:1David thinks about death in this psalm. He says that life is short and people soon go from the earth. They are like shadows, or a breath. So David finishes with a prayer: let me live a little longer and be happy.

1 I said, ‘I will be careful what I do,

so that I do not sin.

I will also be careful what I say.

When wicked people are listening,

I will not even open my mouth.’

2 So I did not speak a word,

even about good things.

That made me very upset.

3 It was like a fire inside me!

As I thought more about it,

I just had to say something!

So I said this:

4 ‘Lord, tell me about my life.

Tell me how long it will be,

and when it will finish.

I need to remember that life is only short.

5 Yes, you have made the days of my life only a few!

The time that I live seems very short to you.

Human life is only a breath,

even for those who seem to be strong.


6 As we live, we are just like shadows.

We work to get things for ourselves.

We may get a lot of money,

but we do not know who will have it after we die.’

7 So, my Lord, what help can I hope to get?

You are the only one that I can really trust!

8 Save me from all my sins!

Do not let fools insult me.

9 I will not say anything more.

I will not open my mouth,

because it is you who have punished me!

10 Please do not hurt me any more!

You have already punished me enough,

so that I am almost dead!

11 When people do wrong things,

you warn them and you punish them.

You destroy their valuable things,

like a moth eats cloth!

39:11A moth is an insect that may lay its eggs in clothes and spoil the clothes.

Yes, our lives are only a breath!


12 Lord, please hear my prayer.

Listen to me when I call to you for help.

Do not turn away from me when I weep.

I need your help,

like a foreign person who lives away from his home.

I live on earth as a stranger,

like all my ancestors did.

13 Stop being angry with me,

so that I can be happy again before I die.