For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
1I said, “I will watch my ways
and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
while in the presence of the wicked.”
2So I remained utterly silent,
not even saying anything good.
But my anguish increased;
3my heart grew hot within me.
While I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 “Show me, LORD, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5YOU Have Made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing Before YOU.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.
6“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
7 “But now, LORD, what do I look for?
My hope is In YOU.
8Save me from all my transgressions;
Do Not Make me the scorn of fools.
9I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
For YOU Are The ONE WHO Has Done this.
10Remove YOUR scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of YOUR Hand.
11When YOU Rebuke and Discipline anyone for their sin,
YOU Consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.
12“Hear my prayer, LORD,
Listen to my cry for help;
Do Not Be Deaf To my weeping.
I dwell with YOU as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
David seems to have been in a great strait when he penned this psalm for it is with some difficulty that he conquers his passion, and composes his spirit himself to take that good counsel, which he had given to others (Psalm 37) to rest in The LORD, and wait patiently for HIM, without fretting. It is easier to give the good advice than to give the good example of quietness under affliction.
What was the particular trouble which gave occasion for the conflict David was now in, we do not know well. Perhaps it was the death of some dear family or friend which was the trial of his patience and at the same time it should seem too, he himself was weak and ill, and under some prevailing distemper.
His enemies likewise were seeking advantages against him, and watched for his halting, that they might have something to reproach him for.
Thus he was aggrieved;
I. He relates the struggle that was in his heart between grace and corruption, between passion and patience (v. 1-3).
II. He meditates upon the doctrine of man's frailty and mortality, and prays to GOD To Instruct him in it (v. 4-6).
III. He applies to GOD for the pardon of his sins, the removal of his afflictions, and the lengthening out of his life till he was ready for death (v. 7-13).