Psalm 39:5
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

Berean Study Bible
You, indeed, have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing before You. Truly each man at his best exists as but a 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.

New King James Version
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah

New American Standard Bible
“Behold, You have made my days like hand widths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Certainly all mankind standing is a mere breath. Selah

NASB 1995
"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.

NASB 1977
“Behold, Thou hast made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight, Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.

Amplified Bible
“Behold, You have made my days as [short as] hand widths, And my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Surely every man at his best is a mere breath [a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes]! Selah.

Christian Standard Bible
In fact, you have made my days just inches long, and my life span is as nothing to you. Yes, every human being stands as only a vapor. 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 "

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

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.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Behold, thou hast made my days old; and my existence is as nothing before thee: nay, every man living is altogether vanity. Pause.

Contemporary English Version
You made my life short, so brief that the time means nothing to you. "Human life is but a breath,

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.

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

Good News Translation
How short you have made my life! In your sight my lifetime seems nothing. Indeed every living being is no more than a puff of wind,

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]

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

JPS Tanakh 1917
Behold, Thou hast made my days as hand-breadths; And mine age is as nothing before Thee; Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity. Selah

Literal Standard Version
Behold, You have made my days handbreadths, "" And my age [is] as nothing before You, "" Only, every man set up [is] all vanity. Selah.

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.

New Heart English Bible
Look, you have made my days handbreadths. My lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely every man stands as a breath." 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.

Additional Translations ...
Context
I Will Watch My Ways
4“Show me, O LORD, my end and the measure of my days. Let me know how fleeting my life is. 5You, indeed, have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing before You. Truly each man at his best exists as but a breath. Selah 6Surely every man goes about like a phantom; surely he bustles in vain; he heaps up riches not knowing who will haul them away.…

Cross References
Matthew 6:27
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

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

Romans 8:20
For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope

James 4:14
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 a witless man can no more become wise than the colt of a wild donkey can be born a man!

Job 14:2
Like a flower, he comes forth, then withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.

Psalm 39:11
You discipline and correct a man for his iniquity, consuming like a moth what he holds dear; surely each man is but a vapor. Selah

Psalm 62:9
Lowborn men are but a vapor, the exalted but a lie. Weighed on the scale, they go up; together they are but a vapor.

Psalm 89:47
Remember the briefness of my lifespan! For what futility You have created all men!

Psalm 90:4
For in Your sight a thousand years are but a day that passes, or a watch of the night.

Psalm 102:23
He has broken my strength on the way; He has cut short my days.

Psalm 144:4
Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.

Ecclesiastes 1:2
"Futility of futilities," says the Teacher, "futility of futilities! Everything is futile!"

Ecclesiastes 6:12
For who knows what is good for a man during the few days in which he passes through his fleeting life like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will come after him under the sun?

Daniel 4:35
All the peoples of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does as He pleases with the army of heaven and the peoples of the earth. There is no one who can restrain 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 thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night…

Genesis 47:9
And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

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

as nothing

Psalm 89:47
Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

2 Peter 3:8
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

verily

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.

Psalm 62:9
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.

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

at his best state [heb.









(5) Handbreadth.--Better, some spans long. The plural without the article having this indefinite sense.

Mine age.--Literally, duration. (See Psalm 17:14.) The LXX. and Vulg. have "substance."

Before thee.--Since in God's sight "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." "If nature is below any perception of time, God, at the other extremity of being, is above it. God includes time without being affected by it, and time includes nature, which is unaware of it. He too completely transcends it, his works are too profoundly subject to it, to be otherwise than indifferent to its lapse. But we stand at an intermediate point, and bear affinity with both extremes" (J. Martineau, Hours of Thought).

Verily every man . . .--Better, nothing but breath is every man at his best. (Literally, though standing firm.) Comp.

"Reason thus with life--

If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing

That none but fools would keep; a breath thou art.

SHAKESPEARE: Measure for Measure.

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).

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
You, indeed,
הִנֵּ֤ה (hin·nêh)
Interjection
Strong's 2009: Lo! behold!

have made
נָ֘תַ֤תָּה (nā·ṯat·tāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's 5414: To give, put, set

my days
יָמַ֗י (yā·may)
Noun - masculine plural construct | first person common singular
Strong's 3117: A day

[as] handbreadths,
טְפָח֨וֹת ׀ (ṭə·p̄ā·ḥō·wṯ)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 2947: A spread of the hand, a palm-breadth, a corbel

and my lifetime
וְחֶלְדִּ֣י (wə·ḥel·dî)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 2465: Life, the world

as nothing
כְאַ֣יִן (ḵə·’a·yin)
Preposition-k | Adverb
Strong's 369: A non-entity, a negative particle

before You.
נֶגְדֶּ֑ךָ (neḡ·de·ḵā)
Preposition | second person masculine singular
Strong's 5048: A front, part opposite, a counterpart, mate, over against, before

Truly
אַ֥ךְ (’aḵ)
Adverb
Strong's 389: A particle of affirmation, surely

each
כָּֽל־ (kāl-)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 3605: The whole, all, any, every

man
אָ֝דָ֗ם (’ā·ḏām)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 120: Ruddy, a human being

at his best
נִצָּ֥ב (niṣ·ṣāḇ)
Verb - Nifal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 5324: To take one's stand, stand

exists as but a breath.
הֶ֥בֶל (he·ḇel)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory

Selah
סֶֽלָה׃ (se·lāh)
Interjection
Strong's 5542: Suspension, pause


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OT Poetry: Psalm 39:5 Behold you have made my days handbreadths (Psalm Ps Psa.)
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