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Verses of Psalms 39

Psalms 39 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

This Psalm, which is pronounced by Ewald to be “indisputably the most beautiful of all the elegies in the Psalter,” is a sequel to the preceding one. The situation of the Psalmist is in the main the same. Prolonged sickness has brought him to the very edge of the grave. But the crisis of suffering is over, and the taunts of his enemies have ceased for the time.

The Psalm consists of four stanzas, the first three containing three verses each, and the fourth four verses, which fall into two pairs.

The outline of the contents is as follows:

i. As he compares his lot of suffering with the prosperity of the wicked, the Psalmist is tempted to murmur, and resolves to meet the temptation by silence. But the fire of emotion refuses to be suppressed (Psa 39:1-3).

ii. He is forced to seek relief in prayer that he may be taught to understand the transitoriness of human life and the vanity of worldly aims (Psa 39:4-6).

iii. Thus he is brought to feel that his only hope is in Jehovah, to Whom he turns in silent resignation (Psa 39:7-9).

iv. Then, pleading the frailty and the shortness of human life, he prays for relief and respite (Psa 39:10-13).

In order rightly to understand this Psalm, as well as Psalms 38, it must be remembered (1) that sickness was popularly regarded as a proof of God’s displeasure: (2) that to ancient Israel it seemed that death must be an interruption of fellowship with God (Introd. p. xciii ff.).

This Psalm, like Psalms 38, 40, has been regarded by some critics as the utterance of the nation rather than of an individual. But however well it may admit of such an application, this can hardly have been the original meaning.

The Psalm is closely connected in thought and language with Psalms 38 Cp. Psa 39:2 ; Psa 39:9 with Psa 38:13-14; Psa 39:7 with Psa 38:15; Psa 39:8 with Psa 38:16; Psa 38:10-11 with Psa 38:1-3; Psa 38:11. It is also related to Psalms 62. Both Psalms are marked by the same hope in God, and the same view of the vanity of life: and in both the word ak, ‘only’ or ‘surely,’ is characteristic. The parallels with the Book of Job should also be noticed. See note on Psa 39:13.

The title should be rendered, For the Chief Musician Jeduthun. Jeduthun, whose name appears again in the titles of Psalms 62, 77, is mentioned in 1Ch 16:41 f.; Psa 25:1 ff.; 2Ch 5:12 ; 2Ch 35:15, along with Heman and Asaph, as one of the directors of the Temple music. He appears to have been also called Ethan (1Ch 15:17 ff.).

Verses of Psalms 39

Consult other comments:

Psalms 39:0 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Psalms 39:0 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Psalms 39:0 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Psalms 39:0 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Psalms 39:0 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Psalms 39:0 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Psalms 39:0 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Psalms 39:0 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Psalms 39:0 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Psalms 39:0 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges