Psalm 62:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
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.

New Living Translation
Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air.

English Standard Version
Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.

New American Standard Bible
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.

King James Bible
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Men are only a vapor; exalted men, an illusion. Weighed in the scales, they go up; together they are less than a vapor.

International Standard Version
Human beings are a mere vapor, while people in high positions are not what they appear. When they are placed on the scales, they weigh nothing; even when weighed together, they are less than nothing.

NET Bible
Men are nothing but a mere breath; human beings are unreliable. When they are weighed in the scales, all of them together are lighter than air.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And all the false children of men are like a vapor who are placed in a balance, and together they are worthless.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Common people are only a whisper in the wind. Important people are only a delusion. When all of them are weighed on a scale, they amount to nothing. They are less than a whisper in the wind.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Surely the sons of Adam are vanity, and the sons of nobles are a lie; to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

King James 2000 Bible
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: if laid on the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

American King James Version
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

American Standard Version
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: In the balances they will go up; They are together lighter than vanity.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But vain are the sons of men, the sons of men are liars in the balances: that by vanity they may together deceive.

Darby Bible Translation
Men of low degree are only vanity; men of high degree, a lie: laid in the balance, they go up together [lighter] than vanity.

English Revised Version
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: in the balances they will go up; they are together lighter than vanity.

Webster's Bible Translation
Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

World English Bible
Surely men of low degree are just a breath, and men of high degree are a lie. In the balances they will go up. They are together lighter than a breath.

Young's Literal Translation
Only -- vanity are the low, a lie the high. In balances to go up they than vanity are lighter.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

62:8-12 Those who have found the comfort of the ways of God themselves, will invite others into those ways; we shall never have the less for others sharing with us. the good counsel given is, to trust wholly in God. We must so trust in him at all times, as not at any time to put that trust in ourselves, or in any creature, which is to be put in him only. Trust in him to guide us when in doubt, to protect us when in danger, to supply us when in want, to strengthen us for every good word and work. We must lay out wants and our wishes before him, and then patiently submit our wills to his: this is pouring out our hearts. God is a refuge for all, even for as many as will take shelter in him. The psalmist warns against trusting in men. The multitude, those of low degree, are changeable as the wind. The rich and noble seem to have much in their power, and lavish promises; but those that depend on them, are disappointed. Weighed in the balance of Scripture, all that man can do to make us happy is lighter than vanity itself. It is hard to have riches, and not to trust in them if they increase, though by lawful and honest means; but we must take heed, lest we set our affections unduly upon them. A smiling world is the most likely to draw the heart from God, on whom alone it should be set. The consistent believer receives all from God as a trust; and he seeks to use it to his glory, as a steward who must render an account. God hath spoken as it were once for all, that power belongs to him alone. He can punish and destroy. Mercy also belongs to him; and his recompensing the imperfect services of those that believe in him, blotting out their transgressions for the Redeemer's sake, is a proof of abundant mercy, and encourages us to trust in him. Let us trust in his mercy and grace, and abound in his work, expecting mercies from him alone.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 9-12. - "Here the psalmist becomes didactic" (Professor Cheyne). He encourages the faithful, and warns the wicked, by the declaration that men of every sort "are but vanity" - have no strength, no permanence - while power belongs only to God. Those who "oppress" and "rob" are, consequently, not to be feared - there is no strength in riches - God alone determines the issues of things. Unto him belongs mercy, or loving kindness - a quality which leads him not only to forgive men their transgressions, but to "reward" them, when, by his assisting grace, they have done good works. Verse 9. - Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie; rather, only vanity - or, nought but vanity - are men of low degree; common men, as we call them - mere sons of Adam. This is too evident for dispute; but, in the view of the psalmist, this is not the worst. "Men of high degree" (beney ish) are no better - they are "a lie" - an unreality - a fading, false illusion. To be laid in the balance; rather, in the balance, they go up (Hupfeld, Ewald Hitzig, Revised Version). They are altogether lighter than vanity; or, altogether made out of vanity (Kay); i.e. there is no substance, no solidity, in them.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Surely men of low degree are vanity,.... Or "sons of Adam" (i); of the earthly man; of fallen Adam; one of his immediate sons was called Hebel, "vanity"; and it is true of all his sons; but here it designs only one sort of them; such as are poor and low in the world; mean men, as the phrase is rendered in Isaiah 2:9; See Gill on Psalm 49:2; these are subject to sinful vanity; their thoughts are vain, their affections vain, their minds vain, their conversation vain, sinful, foolish, fallacious, and inconstant. The wicked poor are, generally speaking, of all persons, the most wicked; and therefore, though they are the multitude, they are not to be trusted in. The Arabic version is, they are as a "shadow", fleeting and unstable, no solidity in them; the Syriac version, "as a vapour", that soon passeth away, like the breath of the mouth, and so not to be accounted of;

and men of high degree are a lie; or "sons of men"; of "the great man" (k), as it is rendered in Isaiah 2:9, noblemen, men of high birth, fortune, rank, and quality; these are a "lie", fallacious and deceitful: they talk of their blood, as if it was different from the rest of mankind; but, trace them up to their original, Adam, and it is a lie. All men are made of one blood, Acts 17:26; their riches promise them peace and pleasure, and long life, but do not give those things, Luke 12:16; their honour is fickle and inconstant; they are act in high places, and those are slippery ones; they are brought to desolation in a moment; and if they continue in them till death, their glory does not descend after them, Psalm 49:17; they make promises of great things to those who apply to them, but rarely perform, and are by no means to be confided in. This distinction of high and low degree is observed in James 1:9;

to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity; take a pair of balances, and put men both of high and low degree together in one scale, and vanity in the other, vanity will weigh heaviest; the scale in which men are will go up, as the word (l) here used signifies: they are "in the balances to ascend"; or being put in the balances, they will ascend, and the scale in which vanity is will go down; for, take them altogether, they are "lighter" than that: the word "lighter" is not in the text, but is rightly supplied, as it is by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech. This last clause, according to the accents, may be best rendered thus; being put "in the balance, they must ascend; they are lighter than vanity together". The Targum is,

"if they should take the sons of men in a balance, and weigh their fates, they themselves would be "lighter" than nothing, as one;''

or than vanity together.

(i) "filii Adam", Musculus, Michaelis; "nati plebeio homine", Junius & Tremellius; "plebeii", Gejerus; "sons of base men", Ainsworth. (k) "nati praestante viro", Junius & Tremellius; "sons of noble men", Ainsworth. Vid. Schindler. col. 214. (l) "ascendant", Pagninus, Cocceius; so Musculus, Junius & Tremellius, &c.

The Treasury of David

9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

11 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.

12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: four thou renderest to every man according to his work.

Psalm 62:9

"Surely men of low degree are vanity." Here the word is only again; men of low degree are only vanity, nothing more. They are many and enthusiastic, but they are not to be depended on; they are mobile as the waves of the sea, ready to be driven to and fro by any and every wind; they cry "Hosanna" to, day, and "crucify him" tomorrow. The instability of popular applause is a proverb; as well build a house with smoke as find comfort in the adulation of the multitude. As the first son of Adam was called Abel or vanity, so here we are taught that all the sons of Adam are Abels: it were well if they were all so in character as well as in name; but alas! in this respect, too many of them are Cains. "And men of high degree are a lie." That is worse. We gain little by putting our trust in the aristocracy, they are not one whit better than the democracy; nay, they are even worse, for we expect something from them, but get nothing. May we not trust the elite? Surely reliance may be placed in the educated, the chivalrous, the intelligent? For this reason are they a lie; because they promise so much, and in the end, when relied upon, yield nothing but disappointment. How wretched is that poor man who puts his trust in princes. The more we rely upon God, the more shall we perceive the utter hollowness of every other confidence. "To be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity." Take a true estimate of them; judge them neither by quantity nor by appearance, but by weight, and they will no longer deceive you. Calmly deliberate, quietly ponder, and your verdict will be that which inspiration here records. Vainer than vanity itself are all human confidences: the great and the mean, alike, are unworthy of our trust. A feather has some weight in the scale, vanity has none, and creature confidence has less than that: yet such is the universal infatuation, that mankind prefer an arm of flesh to the power of the invisible but almighty Creator; and even God's own children are too apt to be bitten with this madness.

Psalm 62:10

"Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery." Wealth ill-gotten is the trust only of fools, for the deadly pest lies in it; it is full of canker, it reeks with God's curse. To tread down the poor and silence their cries for justice, is the delight of many a braggart bully, who in his arrogance imagines that he may defy both God and man; but he is warned in these words, and it will be well for him if he takes the warning, for the Judge of all the earth will surely visit upon men the oppression of the innocent, and the robbery of the poor: both of these may be effected legally in the courts of man, but no twistings of the law, no tricks and evasions will avail with the Court of Heaven. "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them." If they grow in an honest, providential manner, as the result of industry or commercial success, do not make much account of the circumstance; be not unduly elated, do not fix your love upon your money-bags. To bow an immortal spirit to the constant contemplation of fading possessions is extreme folly. Shall those who call the Lord their glory, glory in yellow earth? Shall the image and superscription of Caesar deprive them of communion with him who is the image of the invisible God? As we must not rest in men, so neither must we repose in money. Gain and fame are only so much foam of the sea. All the wealth and honour the whole world can afford would be too slender a thread to bear up the happiness of an immortal soul.

Psalm 62:11

"God hath spoken once." So immutable is God that he need not speak twice, as though he had changed; so infallible, that one utterance suffices, for he cannot err; so omnipotent, that his solitary word achieves all his designs. We speak often and say nothing; God speaks once and utters eternal verities. All our speaking may yet end in sound; but he speaks, and it is done; he commands, and it stands fast. "Twice have I heard this." Our meditative soul should hear the echo of God's voice again and again. What he speaks once in revelation, we should be always hearing. Creation and providence are evermore echoing the voice of God; "He that hath hears to hear, let him hear." We have two ears, that we may hear attentively, and the spiritual have inner ears with which they hear indeed. He hears twice in the best sense who hears with his heart as well as his ears. "That power belongeth unto God." He is the source of it, and in him it actually abides. This one voice of God we ought always to hear, so as to be preserved from putting our trust in creatures in whom there can be no power, since all power is in God. What reason for faith is here! It can never be unwise to rest upon the almighty arm. Out of all troubles he can release us, under all burdens sustain us, while men must fail us at the last, and may deceive us even now. May our souls hear the thunder of Jehovah's voice as he claims all power, and henceforth may we wait only upon God!

Psalm 62:12

"Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy." This tender attribute sweetens the grand thought of his power: the divine strength will not crush us, but will be used for our good; God is so full of mercy that it belongs to him, as if all the mercy in the universe came from God, and still was claimed by him as his possession. His mercy, like his power, endureth for ever, and is ever present in him, ready to be revealed, "For thou renderest to every man according to his work," This looks rather like justice than mercy; but if we understand it to mean that God graciously rewards the poor, imperfect works of his people, we see in it a clear display of mercy. May it not also mean that according to the work he allots us is the strength which he renders to us? he is not a hard master; he does not bid us make bricks without straw, but he metes out to us strength equal to our day. In either meaning we have power and mercy blended, and have a double reason for waiting only upon God. Man neither helps us nor rewards us; God will do both. In him power and grace are eternally resident; our faith should therefore patiently hope and quietly wait, for we shall surely see the salvation of God. Deo soli gloria. All glory be to God only.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. No kind of men are reliable, compared with God (Isa 2:22; Jer 17:5).

altogether—alike, one as the other (Ps 34:3).

Psalm 62:9 Additional Commentaries
My Soul Rests in God Alone
8Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. 9Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath. 10Do not trust in oppression And do not vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.…
Cross References
Job 7:16
I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.

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

Psalm 9:20
Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal.

Psalm 39:5
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.

Psalm 49:2
both low and high, rich and poor alike:

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

Psalm 116:11
in my alarm I said, "Everyone is a liar."

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

Isaiah 2:9
So people will be brought low and everyone humbled-- do not forgive them.

Isaiah 40:15
Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

Isaiah 40:17
Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

Daniel 5:27
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Treasury of Scripture

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.


Psalm 39:5,11 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as …

1 Samuel 18:5,7 And David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: …

1 Samuel 23:12,19,20 Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into …

2 Samuel 15:6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king …

Matthew 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, …

John 19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate …

of high

Psalm 55:13,14 But it was you, a man my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance…

Psalm 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

1 Samuel 18:21-26 And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, …

1 Samuel 26:21-25 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no …

2 Samuel 15:31 And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators …

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is …


Daniel 5:27 TEKEL; You are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting.

altogether. or, alike

Isaiah 40:15,17 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as …

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