Psalm 39:1
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New International Version
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. I 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."

New Living Translation
For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David. I said to myself, "I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me."

English Standard Version
I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.”

New American Standard Bible
For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, "I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence."

King James Bible
To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Davidic psalm. I said, "I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle as long as the wicked are in my presence."

International Standard Version
I told myself, "I will keep watch over my tongue to keep from sinning. I will muzzle my mouth when the wicked are around."

NET Bible
For the music director, Jeduthun; a psalm of David. I decided, "I will watch what I say and make sure I do not sin with my tongue. I will put a muzzle over my mouth while in the presence of an evil man."

New Heart English Bible
[For the Chief Musician. For Jeduthun. A Psalm by David.] I said, "I will watch my ways, so that I do not sin with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked is before me."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I have said that I would keep my way and that I would not sin with my tongue. I shall keep my mouth from evil because of the wicked who are before me.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
[For the choir director; for Jeduthun; a psalm by David.] I said, "I will watch my ways so that I do not sin with my tongue. I will bridle my mouth while wicked people are in my presence."

JPS Tanakh 1917
For the Leader, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said: 'I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue; I will keep a curb upon my mouth, While the wicked is before me.'

New American Standard 1977
I Said, “I will guard my ways,
            That I may not sin with my tongue;
            I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle,
            While the wicked are in my presence.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
I said, I will take heed to my ways that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bit while the wicked is against me.

King James 2000 Bible
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked are before me.

American King James Version
I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

American Standard Version
I said, I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, While the wicked is before me.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Unto the end, for Idithun himself, a canticle of David. I said: I will take heed to my ways : that I sin not with my tongue. I have set guard to my mouth, when the sinner stood against me.

Darby Bible Translation
{To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.} I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked is before me.

English Revised Version
For the Chief Musician, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

Webster's Bible Translation
To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

World English Bible
I said, "I will watch my ways, so that I don't sin with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked is before me."

Young's Literal Translation
To the Overseer, to Jeduthun. -- A Psalm of David. I have said, 'I observe my ways, Against sinning with my tongue, I keep for my mouth a curb, while the wicked is before me.'
Study Bible
I will Watch My Ways
1For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, "I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence." 2I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, And my sorrow grew worse.…
Cross References
James 1:26
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless.

James 3:2
We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to control his whole body.

James 3:5
In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it boasts of great things. Consider how small a spark sets a great forest on fire.

1 Kings 2:4
so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'

2 Kings 10:31
But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin.

1 Chronicles 16:41
With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest who were chosen, who were designated by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Job 2:10
But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job 6:24
"Teach me, and I will be silent; And show me how I have erred.

Psalm 17:3
You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.

Psalm 34:13
Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit.
Treasury of Scripture

I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

A.M.

1 Chronicles 6:44 And their brothers the sons of Merari stood on the left hand: Ethan …

Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul waits on God: from him comes my salvation.

Psalm 77:1 I cried to God with my voice, even to God with my voice; and he gave ear to me.

1 Chronicles 16:41 And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, …

1 Chronicles 25:1-6 Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service …

I said

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto …

1 Kings 2:4 That the LORD may continue his word which he spoke concerning me, …

2 Kings 10:31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel …

Proverbs 4:26,27 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established…

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which …

that I

Psalm 12:4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our …

Psalm 73:8,9 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they …

Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love …

Proverbs 21:23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.

my mouth [heb.] a bridle or muzzle for my mouth

James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridles not his tongue, …

James 3:2-8 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, …

while

Amos 5:13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.

Micah 7:5,6 Trust you not in a friend, put you not confidence in a guide: keep …

Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

(1) My tongue.--To enter into the feeling of the poet we must remember the unrestrained way in which Orientals give way to grief. It was natural and becoming for him to "roar" (Psalm 38:8, &c.) out his indignation or his grief, to mutter (Psalm 1:2, &c) aloud his prayers, to speak out on every impulse. Now he determines to endure in silence and mutely bear the worst, rather than speak what may in the eyes of the impious be construed into a murmur against Divine Providence, into impatience under the Divine decree. (Comp. Psalm 38:13-14.)

With a bridle.--See margin, and comp. Deuteronomy 25:4, where the cognate verb occurs. The root-meaning is "stop." For the metaphor comp. James 1:26, and Plato, Laws, 3:701, "the argument, like a horse, ought to be pulled up from time to time, and not be allowed to run away, but held with bit and bridle." (Comp. also Virgil, neid, vi. 79.)

Verse 1. - I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. There are no grounds for connecting this silence with the abstinence from self-vindication mentioned in the preceding psalm (vers. 13, 14). Indeed, it seems to have had a wholly different origin (see the introductory paragraph). I will keep my mouth with a bridle; i.e. "curb my impatience, restrain and keep in my speech." While the wicked is before me. The Prayer-book Version is better, if less literal, "While the ungodly is in my sight." I said,.... That is, in his heart; he purposed and determined within himself to do as follows; and he might express it with his mouth, and so his purpose became a promise;

I will take heed to my ways; as every good man should; that is, to all his actions, conduct, and conversation: it becomes him to take heed what ways he walks in; that they are the ways of God, which he directs to; that they are the ways of Christ, which he has left an example to follow in; and that they are according to the word of God; that he walks in Christ, the way of salvation, and by faith on him; that he chooses and walks in the way of truth, and not error; and in all, the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless; and in the path of holiness, in which, though fools, they shall not err: and it is also necessary that he should take heed that he does nothing, either by embracing error, or going into immorality, by which the ways of God, and Christ, and truth, are evil spoken of, blasphemed and reproached; and that he does not depart out of these ways, nor stumble, slip, and fall in them;

that I sin not with my tongue; which is a world of iniquity, and has a multitude of vices belonging to it; not only in profane men, but in professors of religion; whom it becomes to take heed that they sin not with it, by lying one to another, by angry and passionate expressions, by corrupt communication, filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting, which are not convenient; by whispering, talebearing, backbiting, and by evil speaking one of another: particularly there are vices of the tongue, which the saints are liable to under afflictive providences, and seem chiefly designed here; such as envious expressions at the prosperity of others; words of impatience under their own afflictions, and murmurings at the hand of God upon them; such as these the psalmist determined, within himself, to guard against; in order to which he proposed to take the following method;

I will keep my mouth with a bridle: that is, bridle his tongue, that being an unruly member, and to be kept in with bit and bridle, like an unruly horse; see James 1:26;

while the wicked is before me; or "against me" (t); meaning either while Ahithophel and Absalom were conspiring and rebelling against him, and Shimei was cursing him, under which he behaved with great silence, calmness, and patience; see 2 Samuel 15:25; or while he had the flourishing condition of wicked men in his view, and was meditating on it; or rather, when anyone of them came to visit him in his affliction, he was determined to be wholly silent, that they might have no opportunity of rejoicing over him, nor of reproaching him, and the good ways of God: and indeed it is proper for the people of God to be always upon their guard, when they are in the presence of wicked men; and be careful what they utter with their lips, who watch their words to improve them against them, and the religion they profess.

(t) "adversum me", V. L. "contra me", Cocceius; so the Targum. 1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.

Psalm 39:1

"I said." I steadily resolved and registered a determination. In his great perplexity his greatest fear was lest he should sin; and, therefore, he cast about for the most likely method for avoiding it, and he determined to be silent. It is right excellent when a man can strengthen himself in a good course by the remembrance of a well and wisely-formed resolve. "What I have written I have written," or what I have spoken I will perform, may prove a good strengthener to a man in a fixed course of right. "I will take heed to my ways." To avoid sin one had need be very circumspect, and keep one's actions as with a guard or garrison. Unguarded ways are generally unholy ones. Heedless is another word for graceless. In times of sickness or other trouble we must watch against the sins peculiar to such trials, especially against murmuring and repining. "That I sin not with my tongue." Tongue sins are great sins: like sparks of fire, ill-words spread, and do great damage. If believers utter hard words of God in times of depression, the ungodly will take them up and use them as a justification for their sinful courses. If a man's own children rail at him, no wonder if his enemies' mouths are full of abuse. Our tongue always wants watching, for it is restive as an ill-broken horse; but especially must we hold it in when the sharp cuts of the Lord's rod excite it to rebel. "I will keep my mouth with a bridle," or more accurately, with a muzzle. The original does not so much mean a bridle to check the tongue as a muzzle to stop it altogether. David was not quite so wise as our translation would make him; if he had resolved to be very guarded in his speech, it would have been altogether commendable, but when he went so far as to condemn himself to entire silence, "even from good," there must have been at least a little sullenness in his soul. In trying to avoid one fault, he fell into another. To use the tongue against God is a sin of commission, but not to use it at all involves an evident sin of omission. Commendable virtues may be followed so eagerly that we may fall into vices; to avoid Scylla we run into Charybdis. "While the wicked is before me." This qualifies the silence, and almost screens it from criticism, for bad men are so sure to misuse even our holiest speech, that it is as well not to cast any of our pearls before such swine; but what if the Psalmist meant, "I was silent while I had the prosperity of the wicked in my thoughts," then we see the discontent and questioning of his mind, and the muzzled mouth indicates much that is not to be commended. Yet, if we blame we must also praise, for the highest wisdom suggests that when good men are bewildered with sceptical thoughts, they should not hasten to repeat them, but should fight out their inward battle upon its own battlefield. The firmest believers are exercised with unbelief, and it would be doing the devil's work with a vengeance if they were to publish abroad all their questionings and suspicions. If I have the fever myself, there is no reason why I should communicate it to my neighbours. If any on board the vessel of my soul are diseased, I will put my heart in quarantine, and allow none to go on shore in the boat of speech till I have a clean bill of health.

Psalm 39:2

"I was dumb with silence." He was as strictly speechless as if he had been tongueless - not a word escaped him. He was as silent as the dumb. "I held my peace, even from good." Neither bad nor good escaped his lips. Perhaps he feared that if he began to talk at all, he would be sure to speak amiss, and, therefore, he totally abstained. It was an easy, safe, and effectual way of avoiding sin, if it did not involve a neglect of the duty which he owed to God to speak well of his name. Our divine Lord was silent before the wicked, but not altogether so, for before Pontius Pilate he witnessed a good confession, and asserted his kingdom. A sound course of action may be pushed to the extreme, and become a fault. "And my sorrow was stirred." Inward grief was made to work and ferment by want of vent. The pent-up floods were swollen and agitated. Utterance is the natural outlet for the heart's anguish, and silence is, therefore, both an aggravation of the evil and a barrier against its cure. In such a case the resolve to hold one's peace needs powerful backing, and even this is most likely to give way when grief rushes upon the soul. Before a flood gathering in force and foaming for outlet the strongest banks are likely to be swept away. Nature may do her best to silence the expression of discontent, but unless grace comes to her rescue, she will be sure to succumb. PSALM 39

Ps 39:1-13. To Jeduthun (1Ch 16:41, 42), one of the chief singers. His name mentioned, perhaps, as a special honor. Under depressing views of his frailty and the prosperity of the wicked, the Psalmist, tempted to murmur, checks the expression of his feelings, till, led to regard his case aright, he prays for a proper view of his condition and for the divine compassion.

1. I said—or, "resolved."

will take heed—watch.

ways—conduct, of which the use of the tongue is a part (Jas 1:26).

bridle—literally, "muzzle for my mouth" (compare De 25:4).

while … before me—in beholding their prosperity (Ps 37:10, 36).39:1-6 If an evil thought should arise in the mind, suppress it. Watchfulness in the habit, is the bridle upon the head; watchfulness in acts, is the hand upon the bridle. When not able to separate from wicked men, we should remember they will watch our words, and turn them, if they can, to our disadvantage. Sometimes it may be necessary to keep silence, even from good words; but in general we are wrong when backward to engage in edifying discourse. Impatience is a sin that has its cause within ourselves, and that is, musing; and its ill effects upon ourselves, and that is no less than burning. In our greatest health and prosperity, every man is altogether vanity, he cannot live long; he may die soon. This is an undoubted truth, but we are very unwilling to believe it. Therefore let us pray that God would enlighten our minds by his Holy Spirit, and fill our hearts with his grace, that we may be ready for death every day and hour.
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