Psalm 62:9
New International Version
Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.

New Living Translation
Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air.

English Standard Version
Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.

Berean Study Bible
Lowborn men are but a vapor, the exalted but a lie. Weighed on the scale, they go up; together they are but a vapor.

King James Bible
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

New King James Version
Surely men of low degree are a vapor, Men of high degree are a lie; If they are weighed on the scales, They are altogether lighter than vapor.

New American Standard Bible
People of low standing are only breath, and people of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up. Together they are lighter than breath.

NASB 1995
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.

NASB 1977
Men of low degree are only vanity, and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.

Amplified Bible
Men of low degree are only a breath (emptiness), and men of [high] rank are a lie (delusion). In the balances they go up [because they have no measurable weight or value]; They are together lighter than a breath.

Christian Standard Bible
Common people are only a vapor; important people, an illusion. Together on a scale, they weigh less than a vapor.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion. Weighed in the scales, they go up; together they are less than a vapor.

American Standard Version
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: In the balances they will go up; They are together lighter than vanity.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And all the false children of men are like a vapor who are placed in a balance, and together they are worthless.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
But the sons of men are vain; the sons of men are false, so as to be deceitful in the balances; they are all alike formed out of vanity.

Contemporary English Version
We humans are only a breath; none of us are truly great. All of us together weigh less than a puff of air.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But vain are the sons of men, the sons of men are liars in the balances: that by vanity they may together deceive.

English Revised Version
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: in the balances they will go up; they are together lighter than vanity.

Good News Translation
Human beings are all like a puff of breath; great and small alike are worthless. Put them on the scales, and they weigh nothing; they are lighter than a mere breath.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Common people are only a whisper in the wind. Important people are only a delusion. When all of them are weighed on a scale, they amount to nothing. They are less than a whisper in the wind.

International Standard Version
Human beings are a mere vapor, while people in high positions are not what they appear. When they are placed on the scales, they weigh nothing; even when weighed together, they are less than nothing.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie; If they be laid in the balances, they are together lighter than vanity.

Literal Standard Version
Surely vanity the low, a lie the high. In balances to go up They [are] lighter than a breath.

NET Bible
Men are nothing but a mere breath; human beings are unreliable. When they are weighed in the scales, all of them together are lighter than air.

New Heart English Bible
Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath.

World English Bible
Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath.

Young's Literal Translation
Only -- vanity are the low, a lie the high. In balances to go up they than vanity are lighter.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Waiting on God
8Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is our refuge. Selah 9Lowborn men are but a vapor, the exalted but a lie. Weighed on the scale, they go up; together they are but a vapor. 10Place no trust in extortion, or false hope in stolen goods. If your riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.…

Cross References
Job 7:16
I loathe my life! I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.

Job 11:12
But a witless man can no more become wise than the colt of a wild donkey can be born a man!

Psalm 9:20
Lay terror upon them, O LORD; let the nations know they are but men. Selah

Psalm 39:5
You, indeed, have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing before You. Truly each man at his best exists as but a breath. Selah

Psalm 49:2
both low and high, rich and poor alike.

Psalm 89:47
Remember the briefness of my lifespan! For what futility You have created all men!

Psalm 116:11
In my alarm I said, "All men are liars!"


Treasury of Scripture

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

Surely

Psalm 39:5,11
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…

1 Samuel 18:5,7
And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants…

1 Samuel 23:12,19,20
Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up…

of high

Psalm 55:13,14
But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance…

Psalm 118:9
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

1 Samuel 18:21-26
And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain…

laid

Daniel 5:27
TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

altogether.

Isaiah 40:15,17
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing…









(9) Are vanity.--Or, mere breath.

To be laid in the balance.--Literally, in the balances to go up, which may mean in the scales they must go up, i.e., kick the beam. But a slight change in one letter gives the more probable, when weighed in the scales.

Verses 9-12. - "Here the psalmist becomes didactic" (Professor Cheyne). He encourages the faithful, and warns the wicked, by the declaration that men of every sort "are but vanity" - have no strength, no permanence - while power belongs only to God. Those who "oppress" and "rob" are, consequently, not to be feared - there is no strength in riches - God alone determines the issues of things. Unto him belongs mercy, or loving kindness - a quality which leads him not only to forgive men their transgressions, but to "reward" them, when, by his assisting grace, they have done good works. Verse 9. - Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie; rather, only vanity - or, nought but vanity - are men of low degree; common men, as we call them - mere sons of Adam. This is too evident for dispute; but, in the view of the psalmist, this is not the worst. "Men of high degree" (beney ish) are no better - they are "a lie" - an unreality - a fading, false illusion. To be laid in the balance; rather, in the balance, they go up (Hupfeld, Ewald Hitzig, Revised Version). They are altogether lighter than vanity; or, altogether made out of vanity (Kay); i.e. there is no substance, no solidity, in them.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Lowborn
בְּנֵֽי־ (bə·nê-)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 1121: A son

men
אָדָם֮ (’ā·ḏām)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 120: Ruddy, a human being

[are] but
אַ֤ךְ ׀ (’aḵ)
Adverb
Strong's 389: A particle of affirmation, surely

a vapor;
הֶ֥בֶל (he·ḇel)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory

the exalted
בְּנֵ֫י (bə·nê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 1121: A son

but a lie.
כָּזָ֪ב (kā·zāḇ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3577: A lie, falsehood, deceptive thing

Weighed on the scale,
בְּמֹאזְנַ֥יִם (bə·mō·zə·na·yim)
Preposition-b | Noun - md
Strong's 3976: A pair of scales

they
הֵ֝֗מָּה (hêm·māh)
Pronoun - third person masculine plural
Strong's 1992: They

are pushed up;
לַעֲל֑וֹת (la·‘ă·lō·wṯ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's 5927: To ascend, in, actively

together
יָֽחַד׃ (yā·ḥaḏ)
Adverb
Strong's 3162: A unit, unitedly

they are but a breath.
מֵהֶ֥בֶל (mê·he·ḇel)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory


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OT Poetry: Psalm 62:9 Surely men of low degree are just (Psalm Ps Psa.)
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