Psalm 39:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
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

King James Bible
Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

American Standard Version
Behold, thou hast made my days as handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah

Douay-Rheims Bible
Behold thou hast made my days measurable : and my substance is as nothing before thee. And indeed all things are vanity : every man living.

English Revised Version
Behold, thou hast made my days as handbreadths; and mine age is as nothing before thee: surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, thou hast made my days as a hand-breadth; and my age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Psalm 39:5 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

(Heb.: 38:16-23) Become utterly useless in himself, he renounces all self-help, for (כּי) he hopes in Jahve, who alone can help him. He waits for His answer, for (כי) he says, etc. - he waits for an answer, for the hearing of this his petition which is directed towards the glory of God, that God would not suffer his foes to triumph over him, nor strengthen them in their mercilessness and injustice. Psalm 38:18 appears also to stand under the government of the פּן;

(Note: The following are the constructions of פן when a clause of ore than one member follows it: (1) fut. and perf., the latter with the tone of the perf. consec., e.g., Exodus 34:15., or without it, e.g., Psalm 28:1 (which see); (2) fut. and fut. as in Psalm 2:12, Jeremiah 51:46. This construction is indispensable where it is intended to give special prominence to the subject notion or a secondary notion of the clause, e.g., Deuteronomy 20:6. In one instance פן is even followed (3) by the perf. and fut. consec., viz., 2 Kings 2:10.)

but, since in this case one would look for a Waw relat. and a different order of the words, Psalm 38:18 is to be regarded as a subject clause: "who, when my foot totters, i.e., when my affliction changes to entire downfall, would magnify themselves against me." In Psalm 38:18, כּי connects what follows with בּמוט רגלי by way of confirmation: he is נכון לצלע, ready for falling (Psalm 35:15), he will, if God does not graciously interpose, assuredly fall headlong. The fourth כּי in Psalm 38:19 is attached confirmatorily to Psalm 38:18: his intense pain or sorrow is ever present to him, for he is obliged to confess his guilt, and this feeling of guilt is just the very sting of his pain. And whilst he in the consciousness of well-deserved punishment is sick unto death, his foes are numerous and withal vigorous and full of life. Instead of חיּים, probably חנּם, as in Psalm 35:19; Psalm 69:5, is to be read (Houbigant, Hitzig, Kster, Hupfeld, Ewald, and Olshausen). But even the lxx read חיים; and the reading which is so old, although it does not very well suit עצמוּ (instead of which one would look for ועצוּמים), is still not without meaning: he looks upon himself, according to Psalm 38:9, more as one dead than living; his foes, however, are חיּים, living, i.e., vigorous. The verb frequently ash this pregnant meaning, and the adjective can also have it. Just as the accentuation of the form סבּוּ varies elsewhere out of pause, ורבּוּ here has the tone on the ultima, although it is not perf. consec.

(Note: As perf. consec. the following have the accent on the ultima: - וחתּוּ, Isaiah 20:5, Obadiah 1:9, and ורבּוּ, Isaiah 66:16; perhaps also וחדּוּ, וקלּוּ, Habakkuk 1:8, and ורבּוּ (perf. hypoth.), Job 32:15. But there is no special reason for the ultima-accentuation of רכּוּ, Psalm 55:22; רבּוּ, Psalm 69:5; דּלּוּ, Isaiah 38:14; קלּוּ, Jeremiah 4:13; שׁחוּ, Proverbs 14:19; Habakkuk 3:6; חתּוּ, Job 32:15; זכּוּ, צחוּ, Lamentations 4:7.)

Psalm 38:21 is an apposition of the subject, which remains the same as in Psalm 38:20. Instead of רדופי (Ges. 61, rem. 2) the Ker is רדפי, rādephî (without any Makkeph following), or רדפי, rādophî; cf. on this pronunciation, Psalm 86:2; Psalm 16:1, and with the Chethb רדופי, the Chethb צרופה, Psalm 26:2, also מיורדי, Psalm 30:4. By the "following of that which is good" David means more particularly that which is brought into exercise in relation to his present foes.

(Note: In the Greek and Latin texts, likewise in all the Aethiopic and several Arabic texts, and in the Syriac Psalterium Medilanense, the following addition is found after Psalm 38:21 : Ce aperripsan me ton agapeton osi necron ebdelygmenon, Et projecerunt me dilectum tanquam mortuum abominatum (so the Psalt. Veronense). Theodoret refers it to Absalom's relation to David. The words ὡσεὶ νεκρὸν ἐβδελυγμένον are taken from Isaiah 14:19.)

He closes in Psalm 38:22 with sighs for help. No lighting up of the darkness of wrath takes place. The fides supplex is not changed into fides triumphans. But the closing words, "O Lord, my salvation" (cf. Psalm 51:16), show where the repentance of Cain and that of David differ. True repentance has faith within itself, it despairs of itself, but not of God.

Psalm 39:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold

Psalm 90:4,5,9,10 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night...

Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years...

Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.

Job 9:25,26 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good...

Job 14:1,2 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble...

James 4:14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time...

as nothing

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

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

verily

Psalm 39:11 When you with rebukes do correct man for iniquity, you make his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.

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 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passes away.

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

Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold...

Isaiah 40:17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

at his best state [heb.] settled

Cross References
Matthew 6:27
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Luke 12:25
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Romans 8:20
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope

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 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 39:11
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

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