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Psalms 8:9


8:9 O Lord, our Lord, 1 

how magnificent 2  is your reputation 3  throughout the earth! 4 

Psalms 39:5-6


39:5 Look, you make my days short-lived, 5 

and my life span is nothing from your perspective. 6 

Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor. 7 

39:6 Surely people go through life as mere ghosts. 8 

Surely they accumulate worthless wealth

without knowing who will eventually haul it away.” 9 

Psalms 90:9-10


90:9 Yes, 10  throughout all our days we experience your raging fury; 11 

the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh. 12 

90:10 The days of our lives add up to seventy years, 13 

or eighty, if one is especially strong. 14 

But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. 15 

Yes, 16  they pass quickly 17  and we fly away. 18 

Psalms 90:12


90:12 So teach us to consider our mortality, 19 

so that we might live wisely. 20 

Psalms 90:14


90:14 Satisfy us in the morning 21  with your loyal love!

Then we will shout for joy and be happy 22  all our days!

Psalms 103:15


103:15 A person’s life is like grass. 23 

Like a flower in the field it flourishes,

1 tn The plural form of the title emphasizes the Lord’s absolute sovereignty.

2 tn Or “awesome, majestic.”

3 tn Heb “name,” which here stands metonymically for God’s reputation.

4 sn Using the poetic device of inclusio, the psalmist ends the psalm the way he began it. The concluding refrain is identical to v. 1.

5 tn Heb “Look, handbreadths you make my days.” The “handbreadth” (equivalent to the width of four fingers) was one of the smallest measures used by ancient Israelites. See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 309.

6 tn Heb “is like nothing before you.”

7 tn Heb “surely, all vapor [is] all mankind, standing firm.” Another option is to translate, “Surely, all mankind, though seemingly secure, is nothing but a vapor.”

8 tn Heb “surely, as an image man walks about.” The preposition prefixed to “image” indicates identity here.

sn People go through life (Heb “man walks about”). “Walking” is here used as a metaphor for living. The point is that human beings are here today, gone tomorrow. They have no lasting substance and are comparable to mere images or ghosts.

9 tc Heb “Surely [in] vain they strive, he accumulates and does not know who gathers them.” The MT as it stands is syntactically awkward. The verb forms switch from singular (“walks about”) to plural (“they strive”) and then back to singular (“accumulates and does not know”), even though the subject (generic “man”) remains the same. Furthermore there is no object for the verb “accumulates” and no plural antecedent for the plural pronoun (“them”) attached to “gathers.” These problems can be removed if one emends the text from הֶבֶל יֶהֱמָיוּן (hevel yehemaun, “[in] vain they strive”) to הֶבְלֵי הָמוֹן (hevley hamon, “vain things of wealth”). This assumes a misdivision in the MT and a virtual dittography of vav (ו) between the mem and nun of המון. The present translation follows this emendation.

10 tn Or “for.”

11 tn Heb “all our days pass by in your anger.”

12 tn Heb “we finish our years like a sigh.” In Ezek 2:10 the word הֶגֶה (hegeh) elsewhere refers to a grumbling or moaning sound. Here a brief sigh or moan is probably in view. If so, the simile pictures one’s lifetime as transient. Another option is that the simile alludes to the weakness that characteristically overtakes a person at the end of one’s lifetime. In this case the phrase could be translated, “we end our lives with a painful moan.”

13 tn Heb “the days of our years, in them [are] seventy years.”

14 tn Heb “or if [there is] strength, eighty years.”

15 tn Heb “and their pride [is] destruction and wickedness.” The Hebrew noun רֹהַב (rohav) occurs only here. BDB 923 s.v. assigns the meaning “pride,” deriving the noun from the verbal root רהב (“to act stormily [boisterously, arrogantly]”). Here the “pride” of one’s days (see v. 9) probably refers to one’s most productive years in the prime of life. The words translated “destruction and wickedness” are also paired in Ps 10:7. They also appear in proximity in Pss 7:14 and 55:10. The oppressive and abusive actions of evil men are probably in view (see Job 4:8; 5:6; 15:35; Isa 10:1; 59:4).

16 tn or “for.”

17 tn Heb “it passes quickly.” The subject of the verb is probably “their pride” (see the preceding line). The verb גּוּז (guz) means “to pass” here; it occurs only here and in Num 11:31.

18 sn We fly away. The psalmist compares life to a bird that quickly flies off (see Job 20:8).

19 tn Heb “to number our days,” that is, to be aware of how few they really are.

20 tn Heb “and we will bring a heart of wisdom.” After the imperative of the preceding line, the prefixed verbal form with the conjunction indicates purpose/result. The Hebrew term “heart” here refers to the center of one’s thoughts, volition, and moral character.

21 sn Morning is used metaphorically for a time of renewed joy after affliction (see Pss 30:5; 46:5; 49:14; 59:16; 143:8).

22 tn After the imperative (see the preceding line) the cohortatives with the prefixed conjunction indicate purpose/result.

23 tn Heb “[as for] mankind, like grass [are] his days.” The Hebrew noun אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) is used here generically of human beings. What is said is true of all mankind.

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