Psalm 39:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, "I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence."

King James Bible
To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

Darby Bible Translation
{To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.} I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked is before me.

World English Bible
I said, "I will watch my ways, so that I don't sin with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked is before me."

Young's Literal Translation
To the Overseer, to Jeduthun. -- A Psalm of David. I have said, 'I observe my ways, Against sinning with my tongue, I keep for my mouth a curb, while the wicked is before me.'

Psalm 39:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

I said - This refers to a resolution which he had formed. He does not say, however, at what time of his life the resolution was adopted, or how long a period had elapsed from the time when he formed the resolution to the time when he thus made a record of it. He had formed the resolution on some occasion when he was greatly troubled with anxious thoughts; when, as the subsequent verses show, his mind was deeply perplexed about the divine administration, or the dealings of God with mankind. It would seem that this train of thought was suggested by his own particular trials Psalm 39:9-10, from which he was led to reflect on the mysteries of the divine administration in general, and on the fact that man had been subjected by his Creator to so much trouble and sorrow - and that, under the divine decree, human life was so short and so vain.

I will take heed to my ways - To wit, in respect to this matter. I will be cautious, circumspect, prudent. I will not offend or pain the heart of others. The particular thing here referred to was, the resolution not to give utterance to the thoughts which were passing in his mind in regard to the divine administration. He felt that he was in danger, if he stated what he thought on the subject, of saying things which would do injury, or which he would have occasion to regret, and he therefore resolved to keep silent.

That I sin not with my tongue - That I do not utter sentiments which will be wrong, and which I shall have occasion to repent; sentiments which would do injury to those who are already disposed to find ground of complaint against God, and who would thus be furnished with arguments to confirm them in their views. Good men often have such thoughts passing through their minds; thoughts reflecting on the government of God as unequal and severe; thoughts which, if they were suggested, would tend to confirm the wicked and the skeptical in their views; thoughts which they hope, in respect to themselves, to be able to calm down by meditation and prayer, but which would do only unmitigated harm if they were communicated to other men, especially to wicked people.

I will keep my mouth with a bridle - The word used here means rather a "muzzle," or something placed "over" the mouth. The bridle is to restrain or check or guide the horse; the muzzle was something to bind or fasten the mouth so as to prevent biting or eating. Deuteronomy 25:4 : "thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." See the notes at 1 Corinthians 9:9. The meaning here is, that he would restrain himself from uttering what was passing in his mind.

While the wicked is before me - In their presence. He resolved to do this, as suggested above, lest if he should utter what was passing in his own mind - if he should state the difficulties in regard to the divine administration which he saw and felt - if he should give expression to the skeptical or hard thoughts which occurred to him at such times, it would serve only to confirm them in their wickedness, and strengthen them in their alienation from God. A similar state of feeling, and on this very subject, is referred to by the psalmist Psalm 73:15, where he says that if he should utter what was really passing in his mind, it would greatly pain and offend those who were the true children of God; would fill their minds with doubts and difficulties which might never occur to themselves: "If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I shall offend against the generation of thy children." As illustrations of this state of feeling in the minds of good men, and as evidence of the fact that, as in the case of the psalmist, their existence in the mind, even in the severest and the most torturing form, is not proof that the man in whose bosom they arise is not a truly pious man, I make the following extracts as expressing the feelings of two of the most sincere and devoted Christian men that ever lived - both eminently useful, both in an eminent degree ornaments to the Church, Cecil and Payson: "I have read all the most acute, and learned, and serious infidel writers, and have been really surprised at their poverty. The process of my mind has been such on the subject of revelation, that I have often thought Satan has done more for me than the best of them, for I have had, and could have produced, arguments that appeared to me far more weighty than any I ever found in them against revelation." - Cecil. Dr. Payson says in a letter to a friend: "There is one trial which you cannot know experimentally: it is that of being obliged to preach to others when one doubts of everything, and can scarcely believe that there is a God. All the atheistical, deistical, and heretical objections which I meet with in books are childish babblings compared with those which Satan suggests, and which he urges upon the mind with a force which seems irresistible. Yet I am often obliged to write sermons, and to preach when these objections beat upon me like a whirlwind, and almost distract me."

Psalm 39:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Epiphanius of Pavia.
ABOUT the same time that Cæsarius was thus labouring in France, Epiphanius, Bishop of Pavia, was labouring in a like spirit in Italy. He also was a blessing for his land, convulsed by the disturbances of war, and deluged by one barbarous tribe after another. Amidst the strife of hostile tribes, he gained equal confidence and equal respect from the leaders of the adverse parties, and shed benefits alike on friend and foe. When the wild hosts of Odoacer were destroying and plundering Pavia, in
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Period ii. The Church from the Permanent Division of the Empire Until the Collapse of the Western Empire and the First Schism Between the East and the West, or Until About A. D. 500
In the second period of the history of the Church under the Christian Empire, the Church, although existing in two divisions of the Empire and experiencing very different political fortunes, may still be regarded as forming a whole. The theological controversies distracting the Church, although different in the two halves of the Graeco-Roman world, were felt to some extent in both divisions of the Empire and not merely in the one in which they were principally fought out; and in the condemnation
Joseph Cullen Ayer Jr., Ph.D.—A Source Book for Ancient Church History

How those are to be Admonished who Decline the Office of Preaching Out of Too Great Humility, and those who Seize on it with Precipitate Haste.
(Admonition 26.) Differently to be admonished are those who, though able to preach worthily, are afraid by reason of excessive humility, and those whom imperfection or age forbids to preach, and yet precipitancy impells. For those who, though able to preach with profit, still shrink back through excessive humility are to be admonished to gather from consideration of a lesser matter how faulty they are in a greater one. For, if they were to hide from their indigent neighbours money which they possessed
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"And we all do Fade as a Leaf, and Our Iniquities, Like the Wind, have Taken us Away. "
Isaiah lxiv. 6.--"And we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." Here they join the punishment with the deserving cause, their uncleanness and their iniquities, and so take it upon them, and subscribe to the righteousness of God's dealing. We would say this much in general--First, Nobody needeth to quarrel God for his dealing. He will always be justified when he is judged. If the Lord deal more sharply with you than with others, you may judge there is a difference
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Cross References
James 1:26
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.

James 3:2
For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

James 3:5
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

1 Kings 2:4
so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'

2 Kings 10:31
But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin.

1 Chronicles 16:41
With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen, who were designated by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Job 2:10
But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

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