Psalm 78:39
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.

King James Bible
For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

American Standard Version
And he remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he remembered that they are flesh: a wind that goeth and returneth not.

English Revised Version
And he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

Webster's Bible Translation
For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.

Psalm 78:39 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Passing over to the giving of the quails, the poet is thinking chiefly of the first occasion mentioned in Exodus 16, which directly preceded the giving of the manna. But the description follows the second: יסּע (He caused to depart, set out) after Numbers 11:31. "East" and "south" belong together: it was a south-east wind from the Aelanitic Gulf. "To rain down" is a figurative expression for a plentiful giving of dispensing from above. "Its camp, its tents," are those of Israel, Numbers 11:31, cf. Exodus 16:13. The תּעוה, occurring twice, Psalm 78:29-30 (of the object of strong desire, as in Psalm 21:3), points to Kibroth-hattaavah, the scene of this carnal lusting; הביא is the transitive of the בּוא in Proverbs 13:12. In Psalm 78:30-31 even in the construction the poet closely follows Numbers 11:33 (cf. also זרוּ with לזרא, aversion, loathing, Numbers 11:20). The Waw unites what takes place simultaneously; a construction which presents the advantage of being able to give special prominence to the subject. The wrath of God consisted in the breaking out of a sickness which was the result of immoderate indulgence, and to which even the best-nourished and most youthfully vigorous fell a prey. When the poet goes on in Psalm 78:32 to say that in spite of these visitations (בּכל־זאת) they went on sinning, he has chiefly before his mind the outbreak of "fat" rebelliousness after the return of the spies, cf. Psalm 78:32 with Numbers 14:11. And Psalm 78:33 refers to the judgment of death in the wilderness threatened at that time to all who had come out of Egypt from twenty years old and upward (Numbers 14:28-34). Their life devoted to death vanished from that time onwards בּהבל, in breath-like instability, and בּבּהלה, in undurable precipitancy; the mode of expression in Psalm 31:11; Job 36:1 suggests to the poet an expressive play of words. When now a special judgment suddenly and violently thinned the generation that otherwise was dying off, as in Numbers 21:6., then they inquired after Him, they again sought His favour, those who were still preserved in the midst of this dying again remembered the God who had proved Himself to be a "Rock" (Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:18, Deuteronomy 32:37) and to be a "Redeemer" (Genesis 48:16) to them. And what next? Psalm 78:36-37

(Note: According to the reckoning of the Masora this Psalm 78:36 is the middle verse of the 2527 verses of the Psalter (Buxtorf, Tiberias, 1620, p. 133).)

tell us what effect they gave to this disposition to return to God. They appeased Him with their mouth, is meant to say: they sought to win Him over to themselves by fair speeches, inasmuch as they thus anthropopathically conceived of God, and with their tongue they played the hypocrite to Him; their heart, however, was not sincere towards Him (עם like את in Psalm 78:8), i.e., not directed straight towards Him, and they proved themselves not stedfast (πιστοί, or properly βέβαιοι) in their covenant-relationship to Him.

Psalm 78:39 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

for he

Psalm 103:14-16 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust...

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh...

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

a wind. Or, as the Hebrew rooach holaich welo yashoov may be rendered, the spirit goeth away and returneth not again. To this purpose the Arabic, He remembered that they were flesh; and a spirit which when it departs returneth not again. The human being is composed of flesh and spirit, or body and soul: these are easily separated, and when separated, the body turns to dust, and the spirit returns no more to animate the body in a state of probation.

Job 7:7,16 O remember that my life is wind: my eye shall no more see good...

James 4:14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time...

Cross References
James 4:14
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Genesis 6:3
Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years."

Job 7:7
"Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.

Job 7:16
I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.

Job 10:9
Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?

Psalm 39:4
"O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!

Psalm 90:10
The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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