Psalm 39:5
Parallel Verses
New International Version
You 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.

New Living Translation
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath." Interlude

English Standard Version
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

New American Standard Bible
"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.

King James Bible
Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Selah "

International Standard Version
Look, you have made my life span fit in your hand; It is nothing compared to yours. Surely every person at their best is a puff of wind. Interlude

NET Bible
Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life span is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Behold, you have given me my days by a measure, and my delay is as nothing before you, because all the children of men abide as a vapor.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Indeed, you have made the length of my days [only] a few inches. My life span is nothing compared to yours. Certainly, everyone alive is like a whisper in the wind. [Selah]

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth, and my age is as nothing before thee; verily every man that lives is altogether vanity. Selah.

King James 2000 Bible
Behold, you have made my days as a handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

American King James Version
Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you: truly every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

American Standard Version
Behold, thou hast made my days as handbreadths; And my life-time is as nothing before thee: Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah

Douay-Rheims Bible
Behold thou hast made my days measurable : and my substance is as nothing before thee. And indeed all things are vanity : every man living.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold, thou hast made my days [as] hand-breadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before thee; verily, every man, [even] the high placed, is altogether vanity. Selah.

English Revised Version
Behold, thou hast made my days as handbreadths; and mine age is as nothing before thee: surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, thou hast made my days as a hand-breadth; and my age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

World English Bible
Behold, you have made my days handbreadths. My lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely every man stands as a breath." Selah.

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, handbreadths Thou hast made my days, And mine age is as nothing before Thee, Only, all vanity is every man set up. Selah.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 5. - Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth. It seems inconsistent that one who professes to be weary of his life should then complain of life's shortness. But such inconsistency is human. Job does the same (Job 14:1, 2). And mine age is as nothing before thee. The short human existence can scarcely be regarded by God as existence at all; rather, it is mere nothingness. Verily every man living at his best state is but vanity. So our Revisers. But most moderns translate, "Verily every man living was ordained for utter vanity" (comp. Psalm 62:9; Psalm 144:4).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth,.... These words, with the following clause, are the psalmist's answer to his own inquiries; or rather a correction of his inquiry and impatience, showing how needless it was to ask such questions, and be impatient to die, when it was so clear and certain a case that life was so short; not a yard or ell (forty five inches), but an handbreadth, the breadth of four fingers; or at most a span of time was allowed to man, whose days are few, like the shadow that declineth, and the grass that withers; by which figurative expressions the brevity of human life is described, Psalm 102:11; and this is the measure made, cut out, and appointed by the Lord himself, who has determined the years, months, and days of man's life, Job 14:5;

and mine age is as nothing before thee; in the sight of God, or in comparison of his eternity; not so much as an handbreadth, or to be accounted as an inch, but nothing at, all; yea, less than nothing, and vanity; see Isaiah 40:17; that is, the age or life of man in this world, as the word (w) used signifies; for otherwise the age or life of man, in the world to come, is of an everlasting duration; but the years of this present life are threescore and ten; ordinarily speaking; an hundred and thirty are by Jacob reckoned but few; and even a thousand years with the Lord are but as one day, Psalm 90:4;

verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. As vanity may signify sin, emptiness, folly, falsehood, fickleness, and inconstancy; for man is a very sinful creature, empty of all that is good; foolish as to the knowledge of divine things; he is deceiving and deceived, his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; and he is unstable in all his ways: he is "all vanity" (x), as the words may be rendered; all that he has, or is, or is in him, is vanity; his body, in the health, beauty, and strength of it, is subject to change; and so are his mind, his memory, his judgment and affections, his purposes and promises; and so are his goods and estate, his riches and honours; yea, all the vanity that is in the creatures, that is, in the vegetable and sensitive creatures, yea, that is in the whole, world, is in him; who is a microcosm, a little world himself: and this is true of every man, even in his "best settled" (y) estate; when he stood the most firm, as the word used signifies; it is true of men of high and low degree, of the wise, knowing, and learned, as well as of the illiterate and ignorant, Psalm 62:9; even of those that are in the most prosperous circumstances, in the greatest ease and affluence, Luke 12:16; David himself had an experience of it, 2 Samuel 7:1; yea, this is true of Adam in his best estate, in his estate of innocence; for he was even then subject to change, as the event has shown; and being in honour, he abode not long; and, though upright, became sinful, and came short of the glory of God: indeed, the spiritual estate of believers in Christ is so well settled as that it cannot be altered; nor is it subject to any vanity.

Selah. See Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(w) "vitale aevum meum", Cocceius; "my worldly time", Ainsworth. (x) "universa, vel omnis vanitas", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis, Musculus, Cocceius; so Ainsworth. (y) "stans", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "quamlibet firmus consistere videatur", Tigurine version, Vatablus; "though settled", Ainsworth; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

5, 6. His prayer is answered in his obtaining an impressive view of the vanity of the life of all men, and their transient state. Their pomp is a mere image, and their wealth is gathered they know not for whom.

Psalm 39:5 Additional Commentaries
Context
I will Watch My Ways
4"LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. 5"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah. 6"Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.…
Cross References
Matthew 6:27
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Luke 12:25
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?

Romans 8:20
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope

James 4:14
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Job 11:12
But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey's colt can be born human.

Job 14:2
They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.

Psalm 39:11
When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth-- surely everyone is but a breath.

Psalm 62:9
Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.

Psalm 89:47
Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity!

Psalm 90:4
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.

Psalm 102:23
In the course of my life he broke my strength; he cut short my days.

Psalm 144:4
They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Ecclesiastes 1:2
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."

Ecclesiastes 6:12
For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

Daniel 4:35
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
Treasury of Scripture

Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you: truly every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Behold

Psalm 90:4,5,9,10 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is …

Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage …

Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.

Job 9:25,26 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good…

Job 14:1,2 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble…

James 4:14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your …

as nothing

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is …

verily

Psalm 39:11 When you with rebukes do correct man for iniquity, you make his beauty …

Psalm 62:9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a …

Psalm 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passes away.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the …

Isaiah 40:17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him …

at his best state [heb.] settled

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