and search for what is deceptive? 5 (Selah)
62:9 Men are nothing but a mere breath;
human beings are unreliable. 6
When they are weighed in the scales,
all of them together are lighter than air. 7
1 tn Heb “sons of man.”
2 tn Heb “how long my honor to shame?”
3 tn The interrogative construction עַד־מֶה (’ad-meh, “how long?”), is understood by ellipsis in the second line.
4 tn Heb “emptiness.”
5 tn Heb “a lie.” Some see the metonymic language of v. 2b (“emptiness, lie”) as referring to idols or false gods. However, there is no solid immediate contextual evidence for such an interpretation. It is more likely that the psalmist addresses those who threaten him (see v. 1) and refers in a general way to their sinful lifestyle. (See R. Mosis, TDOT 7:121.) The two terms allude to the fact that sinful behavior is ultimately fruitless and self-destructive.
6 tn Heb “only a breath [are] the sons of mankind, a lie [are] the sons of man.” The phrases “sons of mankind” and “sons of man” also appear together in Ps 49:2. Because of the parallel line there, where “rich and poor” are mentioned, a number of interpreters and translators treat these expressions as polar opposites, בְּנֵי אָדָם (bÿney ’adam) referring to the lower classes and בְּנֵי אִישׁ (bÿney ’ish) to higher classes. But usage does not support such a view. The rare phrase בְּנֵי אִישׁ (“sons of man”) appears to refer to human beings in general in its other uses (see Pss 4:2; Lam 3:33). It is better to understand the phrases as synonymous expressions.
7 tn The noun הֶבֶל (hevel), translated “a breath” earlier in the verse, appears again here.