Psalm 39:11
When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
(11) When.—This is unnecessary. With judgments for sin Thou chastenest a man.

Rebukes.—The word rendered “reproofs” in Psalm 38:14, where see Note.

Beauty.—Literally, Something desirable. (See margin.) Thou, like a moth (consuming a garment: see Pr. Bk. Version), causest his desirable things to melt. (For the image, singularly apt. and natural in a country where “changes of raiment” were so prized, and hoarded up as wealth, comp. Job 13:28; Matthew 6:19; James 5:2.)

39:7-13 There is no solid satisfaction to be had in the creature; but it is to be found in the Lord, and in communion with him; to him we should be driven by our disappointments. If the world be nothing but vanity, may God deliver us from having or seeking our portion in it. When creature-confidences fail, it is our comfort that we have a God to go to, a God to trust in. We may see a good God doing all, and ordering all events concerning us; and a good man, for that reason, says nothing against it. He desires the pardoning of his sin, and the preventing of his shame. We must both watch and pray against sin. When under the correcting hand of the Lord, we must look to God himself for relief, not to any other. Our ways and our doings bring us into trouble, and we are beaten with a rod of our own making. What a poor thing is beauty! and what fools are those that are proud of it, when it will certainly, and may quickly, be consumed! The body of man is as a garment to the soul. In this garment sin has lodged a moth, which wears away, first the beauty, then the strength, and finally the substance of its parts. Whoever has watched the progress of a lingering distemper, or the work of time alone, in the human frame, will feel at once the force of this comparison, and that, surely every man is vanity. Afflictions are sent to stir up prayer. If they have that effect, we may hope that God will hear our prayer. The believer expects weariness and ill treatment on his way to heaven; but he shall not stay here long : walking with God by faith, he goes forward on his journey, not diverted from his course, nor cast down by the difficulties he meets. How blessed it is to sit loose from things here below, that while going home to our Father's house, we may use the world as not abusing it! May we always look for that city, whose Builder and Maker is God.When thou with rebukes - The word here rendered "rebukes" means properly:

(a) proof or demonstration;

(b) confutation or contradiction;

(c) reproof or admonition by words;

(d) reproof by correction or punishment.

This is the meaning here. The idea of the psalmist is, that God, by punishment or calamity, expresses his sense of the evil of human conduct; and that, under such an expression of it, man, being unable to sustain it, melts away or is destroyed.

Dost correct man for iniquity - Dost punish man for his sin; or dost express thy sense of the evil of sin by the calamities which are brought upon him.

Thou makest his beauty - Margin: "That which is to be desired in him." The Hebrew means "desired, delighted in;" then, something desirable, pleasant; a delight. Its meaning is not confined to "beauty." It refers to anything that is to man an object of desire or delight - strength, beauty, possessions, life itself. All are made to fade away before the expressions of the divine displeasure.

To consume away like a moth - Not as a moth is consumed, but as a moth consumes or destroys valuable objects, such as clothing. See the notes at Job 4:19. The beauty, the vigor, the strength of man is marred and destroyed, as the texture of cloth is by the moth.

Surely every man is vanity - That is, he is seen to be vanity - to have no strength, no permanency - by the ease with which God takes away all on which he had prided himself. See the notes at Psalm 39:5.

11. From his own case, he argues to that of all, that the destruction of man's enjoyments is ascribable to sin. With rebukes, i. e. with punishment, which is oft so called. See Psalm 6:1 76:6.

Dost correct man for iniquity, i. e. dost punish him as his iniquity deserves. His beauty, Heb. his desire, i.e. his desirable things, as this word signifies, Lamentations 1:11 Daniel 9:23 10:3,11,19. His comeliness, strength, wealth, and prosperity, and all his present excellencies or felicities.

Like a moth; either,

1. Passively, as a moth is quickly and easily crushed to pieces with a touch as this phrase is used, Job 4:19. Or,

2. Actively as a moth consumeth a garment, as it is Job 13:28 Isaiah 1:9; to which God compareth himself and his judgments, secretly and insensibly consuming a people, Isaiah 51:8 Hosea 5:12.

Every man is vanity; and this confirms what I said Psalm 39:5, that every man is vanity; which though men in the height of their prosperity will not believe, yet when God contendeth with them by his judgments, they are forced to acknowledge it.

When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity,.... The psalmist illustrates his own case, before suggested, by the common case and condition of men, when God corrects them; which he has a right to do, as the Father of spirits, and which he does with rebukes; sometimes with rebukes of wrath, with furious rebukes, rebukes in flames of fire, as the men of the world; and sometimes with rebukes of love, the chastenings of a father, as his own dear children; and always for iniquity, whether one or another; and not the iniquity of Adam is here meant, but personal iniquity: and correction for it is to be understood of some bodily affliction, as the effect of it shows;

thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth; that is, secretly, suddenly, and at once; as a moth eats a garment, and takes off the beauty of it; or as easily as a moth is crushed between a man's fingers; so the Targum;

"he melts away as a moth, whose body is broken:''

the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions, and so the metaphrase of Apollinarius, read, as a spider which destroys itself. The word rendered "beauty" takes in all that is desirable in man; as his flesh, his strength, his comeliness, his pleasantness of countenance, &c. all which are quickly destroyed by a distemper of the body seizing on it; wherefore the psalmist makes and confirms the conclusion he had made before:

surely every man is vanity; See Gill on Psalm 39:5;

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou {h} makest his {i} beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.

(h) Though your open plagues do not light on them forever, yet your secret curse continually frets them.

(i) The word signifies all that he desires, as health, force, strength, beauty, and in whatever he has delight, so that the rod of God takes away all that is desired in this world.

11. When thou with rebukes dost chasten a man for iniquity,

Thou wastest like a moth his desirableness:

Nought but vanity are all men.

The A.V. obscures the correspondence of the first line with Psalm 38:1; Psalm 6:1. As easily as the moth-grub, working unseen, destroys ‘goodly raiment’ (Genesis 27:15), so easily does God’s chastisement destroy a man’s ‘goodliness,’ the bodily strength and beauty which make him attractive (Isaiah 53:2). It is God’s consuming ‘hand’ which is compared to the ‘moth’ (Hosea 5:12); not, as the A.V. might seem to imply, the ephemeral duration of man’s goodliness. Cp. Job 13:28; Isaiah 50:9; Isaiah 51:8.

Verse 11. - When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity. The calamities which God sends on a man are of the nature of "rebukes" addressed to his spirit. They are intended to teach, instruct, warn, deter from evil-doing (see Job 36:8-10). Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth; or, "thou dost consume, as by a moth, what he prizes;" i.e. his health, his strength, "all wherein he has joy and satisfaction" (Hengstenberg). As a moth corrodes a beautiful garment, so does thy displeasure and heavy hand pressing on him corrode and destroy all which constituted his delight and glory. Surely every man is vanity (comp. ver. 5 ad fin.). This has become a sort of refrain, terminating the second as well as the first part of the psalm (comp. Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31; Ecclesiastes 2:1, 11, 15, 19, 21, 23, 26; Isaiah 9:12, 17, 21). Psalm 39:11(Heb.: 39:8-12) It is customary to begin a distinct turning-point of a discourse with ועתּה: and now, i.e., in connection with this nothingness of vanity of a life which is so full of suffering and unrest, what am I to hope, quid sperem (concerning the perfect, vid., on Psalm 11:3)? The answer to this question which he himself throws out is, that Jahve is the goal of his waiting or hoping. It might appear strange that the poet is willing to make the brevity of human life a reason for being calm, and a ground of comfort. But here we have the explanation. Although not expressly assured of a future life of blessedness, his faith, even in the midst of death, lays hold on Jahve as the Living One and as the God of the living. It is just this which is so heroic in the Old Testament faith, that in the midst of the riddles of the present, and in the face of the future which is lost in dismal night, it casts itself unreservedly into the arms of God. While, however, sin is the root of all evil, the poet prays in Psalm 39:9 before all else, that God would remove from him all the transgressions by which he has fully incurred his affliction; and while, given over to the consequences of his sin, he would become, not only to his own dishonour but also to the dishonour of God, a derision to the unbelieving, he prays in Psalm 39:9 that God would not permit it to come to this. כּל, Psalm 39:9, has Mercha, and is consequently, as in Psalm 35:10, to be read with (not ŏ), since an accent can never be placed by Kametz chatûph. Concerning נבל, Psalm 39:9, see on Psalm 14:1. As to the rest he is silent and calm; for God is the author, viz., of his affliction (עשׂה, used just as absolutely as in Psalm 22:32; Psalm 37:5; Psalm 52:11, Lamentations 1:21). Without ceasing still to regard intently the prosperity of the ungodly, he recognises the hand of God in his affliction, and knows that he has not merited anything better. But it is permitted to him to pray that God would suffer mercy to take the place of right. נגעך is the name he gives to his affliction, as in Psalm 38:12, as being a stroke (blow) of divine wrath; תּגרת ידך, as a quarrel into which God's hand has fallen with him; and by אני, with the almighty (punishing) hand of God, he contrasts himself the feeble one, to whom, if the present state of things continues, ruin is certain. In Psalm 39:12 he puts his own personal experience into the form of a general maxim: when with rebukes (תּוכחות from תּוכחת, collateral form with תּוכחה, תּוכחות) Thou chastenest a man on account of iniquity (perf. conditionale), Thou makest his pleasantness (Isaiah 53:3), i.e., his bodily beauty (Job 33:21), to melt away, moulder away (ותּמס, fut. apoc. from המסה to cause to melt, Psalm 6:7), like the moth (Hosea 5:12), so that it falls away, as a moth-eaten garment falls into rags. Thus do all men become mere nothing. They are sinful and perishing. The thought expressed in Psalm 39:6 is here repeated as a refrain. The music again strikes in here, as there.
Psalm 39:11 Interlinear
Psalm 39:11 Parallel Texts

Psalm 39:11 NIV
Psalm 39:11 NLT
Psalm 39:11 ESV
Psalm 39:11 NASB
Psalm 39:11 KJV

Psalm 39:11 Bible Apps
Psalm 39:11 Parallel
Psalm 39:11 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 39:11 Chinese Bible
Psalm 39:11 French Bible
Psalm 39:11 German Bible

Bible Hub

Psalm 39:10
Top of Page
Top of Page