Psalm 144:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

King James Bible
Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

American Standard Version
Man is like to vanity: His days are as a shadow that passeth away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Man is like to vanity: his days pass away like a shadow.

English Revised Version
Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

Webster's Bible Translation
Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

Psalm 144:4 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

In this second half the Psalm seems still more like a reproduction of the thoughts of earlier Psalms. The prayer, "answer me speedily, hide not Thy face from me," sounds like Psalm 69:18; Psalm 27:9, cf. Psalm 102:3. The expression of languishing longing, כּלתה רוּחי, is like Psalm 84:3. And the apodosis, "else I should become like those who go down into the pit," agrees word for word with Psalm 28:1, cf. Psalm 88:5. In connection with the words, "cause me to hear Thy loving-kindness in the early morning," one is reminded of the similar prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:14, and with the confirmatory "for in Thee do I trust" of Psalm 25:2, and frequently. With the prayer that the night of affliction may have an end with the next morning's dawn, and that God's helping loving-kindness may make itself felt by him, is joined the prayer that God would be pleased to grant him to know the way that he has to go in order to escape the destruction into which they are anxious to ensnare him. This last prayer has its type in Exodus 33:13, and in the Psalter in Psalm 25:4 (cf. Psalm 142:4); and its confirmation: for to Thee have I lifted up my soul, viz., in a craving after salvation and in the confidence of faith, has its type in Psalm 25:1; Psalm 86:4. But the words אליך כסּיתי, which are added to the petition "deliver me from mine enemies" (Psalm 59:2; Psalm 31:16), are peculiar, and in their expression without example. The Syriac version leaves them untranslated. The lxx renders: ὅτι πρὸς σὲ κατέφυγον, by which the defective mode of writing כסתי is indirectly attested, instead of which the translators read נסתי (cf. נוּס על in Isaiah 10:3); for elsewhere not חסה but נוּס is reproduced with καταφυγεῖν. The Targum renders it מימרך מנּתי לפריק, Thy Logos do I account as (my) Redeemer (i.e., regard it as such), as if the Hebrew words were to be rendered: upon Thee do I reckon or count, כסּיתי equals כּסתּי, Exodus 12:4. Luther closely follows the lxx: "to Thee have I fled for refuge." Jerome, however, inasmuch as he renders: ad te protectus sum, has pointed כסּיתי (כסּיתי). Hitzig (on the passage before us and Proverbs 7:20) reads כסתי from כּסא equals סכא, to look ("towards Thee do I look"). But the Hebrew contains no trace of that verb; the full moon is called כסא (כסה), not as being "a sight or vision, species," but from its covered orb.

The כסּתי before us only admits of two interpretations: (1) Ad (apud) te texi equals to Thee have I secretly confided it (Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, Coccejus, J. H. Michaelis, J. D. Michalis, Rosenmller, Gesenius, and De Wette). But such a constructio praegnans, in connection with which כּסּה would veer round from the signification to veil (cf. כסה מן, Genesis 18:17) into its opposite, and the clause have the meaning of כּי אליך גּלּיתי, Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 20:12, is hardly conceivable. (2) Ad (apud) te abscondidi, scil. me (Saadia, Calvin, Maurer, Ewald, and Hengstenberg), in favour of which we decide; for it is evident from Genesis 38:14; Deuteronomy 22:12, cf. Jonah 3:6, that כּסּה can express the act of covering as an act that is referred to the person himself who covers, and so can obtain a reflexive meaning. Therefore: towards Thee, with Thee have I made a hiding equals hidden myself, which according to the sense is equivalent to חסיתּי, as Hupfeld (with a few MSS) wishes to read; but Abulwald has already remarked that the same goal is reached with כסּתי. Jahve, with whom he hides himself, is alone able to make known to him what is right and beneficial in the position in which he finds himself, in which he is exposed to temporal and spiritual dangers, and is able to teach him to carry out the recognised will of God ("the will of God, good and well-pleasing and perfect," Romans 12:2); and this it is for which he prays to Him in Psalm 143:10 (רצונך; another reading, רצונך). For Jahve is indeed his God, who cannot leave him, who is assailed and tempted without and within, in error; may His good Spirit then (רוּחך טובה for הטּובה, Nehemiah 9:20)

(Note: Properly, "Thy Spirit, רוּח הטּובה, a spirit, the good one, although such irregularities may also be a negligent usage of the language, like the Arabic msjd 'l-jâm‛, the chief mosque, which many grammarians regard as a construct relationship, others as an ellipsis (inasmuch as they supply Arab. 'l-mkân between the words); the former is confirmed from the Hebrew, vid., Ewald, 287, a.))

lead him in a level country, for, as it is said in Isaiah, Isaiah 26:7, in looking up to Jahve, "the path which the righteous man takes is smoothness; Thou makest the course of the righteous smooth." The geographical term ארץ מישׁור, Deuteronomy 4:43; Jeremiah 48:21, is here applied spiritually. Here, too, reminiscences of Psalms already read meet us everywhere: cf. on "to do Thy will," Psalm 40:9; on "for Thou art my God," Psalm 40:6, and frequently; on "Thy good Spirit," Psalm 51:14; on "a level country," and the whole petition, Psalm 27:11 (where the expression is "a level path"), together with Psalm 5:9; Psalm 25:4., Psalm 31:4. And the Psalm also further unrolls itself in such now well-known thoughts of the Psalms: For Thy Name's sake, Jahve (Psalm 25:11), quicken me again (Psalm 71:20, and frequently); by virtue of Thy righteousness be pleased to bring my soul out of distress (Psalm 142:8; Psalm 25:17, and frequently); and by virtue of Thy loving-kindness cut off mine enemies (Psalm 54:7). As in Psalm 143:1 faithfulness and righteousness, here loving-kindness (mercy) and righteousness, are coupled together; and that so that mercy is not named beside towtsiy', nor righteousness beside תּצמית, but the reverse (vid., on Psalm 143:1). It is impossible that God should suffer him who has hidden himself in Him to die and perish, and should suffer his enemies on the other hand to triumph. Therefore the poet confirms the prayer for the cutting off (הצמית as in Psalm 94:23) of his enemies and the destruction (האביד, elsewhere אבּד) of the oppressors of his soul (elsewhere צררי) with the words: for I am Thy servant.

Psalm 144:4 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

man

Psalm 39:5,6 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you...

Psalm 62:9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance...

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?

Job 4:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

Job 14:1-3 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble...

Ecclesiastes 1:2,14 Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity...

Ecclesiastes 12:8 Vanity of vanities, said the preacher; all is vanity.

his days

Psalm 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass.

Psalm 103:15,16 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes...

Psalm 109:23 I am gone like the shadow when it declines: I am tossed up and down as the locust.

2 Samuel 14:14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither does God respect any person...

1 Chronicles 29:15 For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow...

Job 8:9 (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow:)

Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he fears not before God.

Cross References
James 4:14
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Job 8:9
For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow.

Job 11:12
But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey's colt is born a man!

Job 14:2
He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.

Psalm 39:5
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Psalm 39:11
When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah

Psalm 102:11
My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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