Psalm 144:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them?

New Living Translation
O LORD, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?

English Standard Version
O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?

New American Standard Bible
O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him?

King James Bible
LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

Holman Christian Standard Bible
LORD, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him?

International Standard Version
LORD, what are human beings, that you should care about them, or mortal man, that you should think about him?

NET Bible
O LORD, of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them? Of what importance is mankind, that you should be concerned about them?

New Heart English Bible
LORD, what is man, that you care for him? Or the son of man, that you think of him?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Lord Jehovah, what is a son of man that you know him, and a son of man that you think much of him?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
O LORD, what are humans that you should care about them? What are mere mortals that you should think about them?

JPS Tanakh 1917
LORD, what is man, that Thou takest knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that Thou makest account of him?

New American Standard 1977
O LORD, what is man, that Thou dost take knowledge of him?
            Or the son of man, that Thou dost think of him?

Jubilee Bible 2000
LORD, what is man that thou knowest him? or the son of man, that thou esteemeth him?

King James 2000 Bible
LORD, what is man, that you take knowledge of him! or the son of man, that you make account of him!

American King James Version
LORD, what is man, that you take knowledge of him! or the son of man, that you make account of him!

American Standard Version
Jehovah, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Lord, what is man, that thou art made known to him? or the son of man, that thou makest account of him?

Darby Bible Translation
Jehovah, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him, the son of man, that thou takest thought of him?

English Revised Version
LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him? or the son of man, that thou makest account of him?

Webster's Bible Translation
LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

World English Bible
Yahweh, what is man, that you care for him? Or the son of man, that you think of him?

Young's Literal Translation
Jehovah, what is man that Thou knowest him? Son of man, that Thou esteemest him?
Study Bible
Blessed Be the Lord, My Rock
2My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. 3O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? 4Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.…
Cross References
Hebrews 2:6
But somewhere it is testified in these words: "What is man, that You are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You care for him?

1 Chronicles 16:25
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods.

Job 7:17
"What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him,

Job 14:3
"You also open Your eyes on him And bring him into judgment with Yourself.

Psalm 8:4
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

Isaiah 2:22
Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; For why should he be esteemed?
Treasury of Scripture

LORD, what is man, that you take knowledge of him! or the son of man, that you make account of him!

what is man

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that …

Job 7:17 What is man, that you should magnify him? and that you should set …

Job 16:14 He breaks me with breach on breach, he runs on me like a giant.

Hebrews 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you …

or the son

Psalm 146:3,4 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there …

(3) See Psalm 8:4.

Verse 3. - Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! (comp. Job 7:17, 18; Psalm 8:4). Or the sea of man, that thou makest account of him! It enhances our estimate of God's goodness to consider the insignificance and unworthiness of the creatures on whom he bestows it. Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him?.... Man, that is at most and best but a creature, made of the dust of the earth, is but dust and ashes; yea, a sinful creature, that drinks up iniquity like water: and yet the Lord not only knows him, as he is the omniscient God, but takes notice of him in a way of providence, and in a way of grace. His chosen people are no other nor better than others, of the same original, and of the same character; and yet he owns and acknowledges them as his peculiar people, and makes himself known unto them: and so it is rendered by the Septuagint version, "that thou shouldest be known unto him?" or, "appear to him?" as the Arabic; reveal thyself to him, not only by the light of nature and works of creation, but in Christ, and by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;

or the son of man, that thou makest account of him? as the Lord does, especially of some of the sons of men; whom he reckons as his portion and inheritance, his jewels and peculiar treasure, and who are as dear to him as the apple of his eye; whom he "magnifies", as in Job 7:17; makes them kings and priests; raises them from the dunghill, and sets them among princes, to inherit the throne of glory; on whom he sets his heart, and loves them with an everlasting love: or, "that thou shouldest think of him?" (g) thoughts of peace, and not of evil; so as to provide a Saviour for men, and send down the Spirit of his Son into their hearts to quicken them; so as to bless them with all spiritual blessings, and at last to glorify them. David no doubt had a special respect to himself; and wondered at the goodness of God to him, in taking him from a family of little or no account, from a mean employ, from a shepherd's cottage, and raising him to the throne of Israel; and especially in making him a partaker of grace, and an heir of glory; see Psalm 8:4; which is applied to Christ, Hebrews 2:6.

(g) "quod cogites de eo", Tigurine version, Vatablus. 3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

Psalm 144:3

"Lord what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him!" What a contrast between Jehovah and man! The Psalmist turns from the glorious all-sufficiency of God to the insignificance and nothingness of man. He sees Jehovah to be everything, and then cries, "Lord, what is man!" What is man in the presence of the Infinite God? What can he be compared to? He is too little to be described at all, only God, who knows the most minute object, can tell what man is. Certainly he is not fit to be the rock of our confidence, he is at once too feeble and too fickle to be relied upon. The Psalmist's wonder is that God should stoop to know him, and indeed it is more remarkable than if the greatest archangel should make a study of emmets, or become the friend of mites. God knows his people with a tender intimacy, a constant, careful observation: he foreknew them in love, he knows them by care, he will know them is acceptance at last. Why and wherefore is this? What has man done? What has he been? What is he now that God should know him, and make himself known to him as his goodness, fortress, and high tower? This is an unanswerable question. Infinite condescension can alone account for the Lord stooping to be the friend of man. That he should make man the subject of election, the object of redemption, the child of eternal love, the darling of infallible providence, the next of kin to Deity, is indeed a matter requiring more than the two notes of exclamation found in this verse.

"Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!" The son of man is a weaker being still, - so the original word implies. He is not so much man as God made him, but man as his mother bore him; and how can the Lord think of him, and write down such a cipher in his accounts? The Lord thinks much of man, and in connection with redeeming love makes a great figure of him: this can be believed, but it cannot be explained. Adoring wonder makes us each one cry out, Why dost thou take knowledge of me? We know by experience how little man is to be reckoned upon, and we know by observation how greatly he can vaunt himself, it is therefore meet for us to be humble and to distrust ourselves; but all this should make us the more grateful to the Lord, who knows man better than we do, and yet communes with him, and even dwells in him. Every trace of the misanthrope should be hateful to the believer; for if God makes account of man it is not for us to despise our own kind.

Psalm 144:4

"Man is like to vanity." Adam is like to Abel. He is like that which is nothing at all. He is actually vain, and he resembles that unsubstantial empty thing which is nothing but a blown-up nothing, - a puff, a bubble. Yet he is not vanity, but only like it. He is not so substantial as that unreal thing; he is only the likeness of it. Lord, what is a man? It is wonderful that God should think of such a pretentious insignificance. "His days are as a shadow that passeth away." He is so short-lived that he scarcely attains to years, but exists by the day, like the ephemera, whose birth and death are both seen by the self-same sun. His life is only like to a shadow, which is in itself a vague resemblance absence of something rather than in itself an existence. Observe that human life is not only as a shade, but as a shade which is about to depart. It is a mere mirage, the image of a thing which is not, a phantasm which melts back into nothing. How is it that the Eternal should make so much of mortal man, who begins to die as soon as he begins to live?

The connection of the two verses before us with the rest of the Psalm is not far to seek, David trusts in God and finds him everything; he looks to man and sees him to be nothing; and then he wonders how it is that the great Lord can condescend to take notice of such a piece of folly and deceit as man. 144:1-8 When men become eminent for things as to which they have had few advantages, they should be more deeply sensible that God has been their Teacher. Happy those to whom the Lord gives that noblest victory, conquest and dominion over their own spirits. A prayer for further mercy is fitly begun with a thanksgiving for former mercy. There was a special power of God, inclining the people of Israel to be subject to David; it was typical of the bringing souls into subjection to the Lord Jesus. Man's days have little substance, considering how many thoughts and cares of a never-dying soul are employed about a poor dying body. Man's life is as a shadow that passes away. In their highest earthly exaltation, believers will recollect how mean, sinful, and vile they are in themselves; thus they will be preserved from self-importance and presumption. God's time to help his people is, when they are sinking, and all other helps fail.
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