Psalm 39

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Text and translations

Clementine Vulgate (Psalm 38)

Latin.png Latin text

1  In finem, ipsi Idithun. Canticum David.
2  Dixi: Custodiam vias meas:
  ut non delinquam in lingua mea.
  Posui ori meo custodiam,
  cum consisteret peccator adversum me.
3  Obmutui, et humiliatus sum, et silui a bonis;
  et dolor meus renovatus est.
4  Concaluit cor meum intra me;
  et in meditatione mea exardescet ignis.
5  Locutus sum in lingua mea:
  Notum fac mihi, Domine, finem meum,
  et numerum dierum meorum quis est, ut sciam quid desit mihi.
6  Ecce mensurabiles posuisti dies meos,
  et substantia mea tamquam nihilum ante te.
  Verumtamen universa vanitas, omnis homo vivens.
7  Verumtamen in imagine pertransit homo;
  sed et frustra conturbatur:
  thesaurizat et ignorat cui congregabit ea.
8  Et nunc quae est exspectatio mea: nonne Dominus?
  et substantia mea apud te est.
9  Ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis erue me:
  opprobrium insipienti dedisti me.
10  Obmutui, et non aperui os meum, quoniam tu fecisti;
11  amove a me plagas tuas.
12  A fortitudine manus tuae ego defeci in increpationibus:
  propter iniquitatem corripuisti hominem.
  Et tabescere fecisti sicut araneam animam ejus:
  verumtamen vane conturbatur omnis homo.
13  Exaudi orationem meam, Domine,
  et deprecationem meam;
  auribus percipe lacrimas meas.
  Ne sileas, quoniam advena ego sum apud te,
  et peregrinus sicut omnes patres mei.
14  Remitte mihi, ut refrigerer priusquam abeam
  et amplius non ero.

Church of England 1662 Book of Common Prayer

English.png English text

  A song of David.
1  I said, I will take heed to my ways:
  that I offend not in my tongue.
2  I will keep my mouth as it were with a bridle:
  while the ungodly is in my sight.
3  I held my tongue, and spake nothing:
  I kept silence, yea, even from good words;
  but it was pain and grief to me.
4  My heart was hot within me,
  and while I was thus musing the fire kindled:
  and at the last I spake with my tongue;
5  Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days:
  that I may be certified how long I have to live.
6  Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long:
  and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee;
  and verily every man living is altogether vanity.
7  For man walketh in a vain shadow,
  and disquieteth himself in vain:
  he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.
8  And now, Lord, what is my hope:
  truly my hope is even in thee.
9  Deliver me from all mine offences:
  and make me not a rebuke unto the foolish.
10  I became dumb, and opened not my mouth: for it was thy doing.
11  Take thy plague away from me:
  I am even consumed by the means of thy heavy hand.
12  When thou with rebukes dost chasten man for sin,
  thou makest his beauty to consume away,
  like as it were a moth fretting a garment:
  every man therefore is but vanity.
13  Hear my prayer, O Lord,
  and with thine ears consider my calling:
  hold not thy peace at my tears.
14  For I am a stranger with thee:
  and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
15  O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength:
  before I go hence, and be no more seen.

Metrical 'Old Version' (John Hopkins)

English.png English text

I said, I will look to my ways,
For fear I should go wrong;
I will take heed all times that I
Offend not with my tongue

As with a bit I will keep fast
My mouth with force and might,
Not once to whisper all the while
The wicked are in sight.

I held my tongue and spake no word,
But kept me close and still;
Yea, from good talk I did refrain,
But sore against my will.

My heart grew hot within my breast:
With musing, though, and doubt,
Which did increase and stir the fire,
At last these words burst out;

Lord, number out my life and days,
Which yet I have not passed,
So that I may be certified
How long my life shall last.

For thou hast pointed out my life,
In length much like a span;
My age is nothing unto thee,
So vain is every man!

Man walketh like a shade, and doth
In vain himself annoy,
In getting goods, and cannot tell
Who shall the same enjoy.

Therefore, O Lord, what wait I for?
What help do I desire?
Truly my hope is ev'n in thee,
I nothing else require.

From all the sins that I have done,
Lord, quit me out of hand,
And make me not a scorn to fools,
That nothing understand.

I was so dumb that to complain
No trouble could me move,
Because I knew it was thy work
My patience for to prove.

Lord, take from me thy scourge and plague,
I cannot them withstand;
I faint and pine away for fear
Of thy most heavy hand.

When thou for sin dost man rebuke,
He waxeth pale and wan,
As doth a cloth that moths have fret;
So vain a thing is man.

Lord, hear my suit and give good heed,
Regard my tears that fall;
I sojourn like a stranger here,
As did my fathers all.

O spare a little, give me space
My strength for to restore
Before I go away from hence,
And shall be seen no more.

Metrical version by James Merrick

English.png English text

1  My steps discretion's rules shall guide;
Nor error from my lips shall slide,
(Thus to myself resolv'd I said;)
Nor word, in wisdom's scale unweigh'd

2  While lawless crowds attend me nigh,
And mark me with insidious eye,
Behold me with the steady rein
Each effort of my tongue restrain.

3  Awhile my soul its purpose keeps;
A stubborn silence seals my lips:
But O! from themes of good withheld,
How oft my full-swoll'n heart rebell'd!

4  My thoughts in various tumult roll;
At length, impatient of control,
Forth from my struggling bosom brake
The kindled flame; and thus I spake:

5  Taught by thy wisdom, let me learn
How soon my fabric shall return
To earth, and in the silent tomb
Its seat of lasting rest assume.

6  O let me, heav'nly Lord, extend
My view to life's approaching end;
What are my days? (a span their line)
And what my age compared with thine?

7  Our life advancing to its close,
While scarce its earliest dawn it knows,
Swift through an empty shade we run,
And vanity and man are one:

8  With anxious pain this son of care
Toils to enrich an unknown heir,
And, eying oft his heapy store,
With vain disquiet thirsts for more.

9  Where, Lord, shall I my refuge see?
On whom repose my hope but thee?
O purge my guilt, nor let my foe
Exulting mock my heighten'd woe.

10  Convinc'd that thy paternal hand
Inflicts but what my sins demand,
I speechless sat; nor plaintive word,
Nor murmur, from my lips was heard,

11  But, O, in thy appointed hour
Withdraw thy rod; lest Nature's pow'r,
While griefs on griefs my heart assail,
Unequal to the conflict, fail.

12  O, how thy chastisements impair
The human form, however fair!
How frail the strongest frame we see,
If thou the sinner's fate decree!

13  As when the fretting moths consume
The labour of the curious loom,
The texture fails, the dyes decay,
And all its lustre fades away.

14  Such, man, thy state! then, humbled, own
That vanity and thou are one;
Thyself when in the balance weigh'd
A nothing, and thy life a shade.

15  To thee, great God, my knees I bend;
To thee my ceaseless pray'rs ascend;
O let my sorrows reach thine ears,
And mark my sighs, my groans, my tears.

16  God of my fathers! here, as they,
I walk the pilgrim of a day;
A transient guest, thy works admire,
And instant to my home retire.

17  O spare me, Lord, awhile, O spare,
And nature's ruin'd strength repair,
Ere, life's short circuit wander'd o'er,
I perish and am seen no more.

Metrical version by Isaac Watts

English.png English text

Thus I resolved before the Lord,-
"Now will I watch my tongue;
Lest I let slip one sinful word,
Or do my neighbor wrong."

And if I'm e'er constrained to stay
With men of lives profane,
I'll set a double guard that day,
Nor let my talk be vain.

I'll scarce allow my lips to speak
The pious thoughts I feel,
Lest scoffers should th' occasion take
To mock my holy zeal.

Yet if some proper hour appear,
I'll not be overawed,
But let the scoffing sinners hear
That I can speak for God.


Teach me the measure of my days,
Thou Maker of my frame;
I would survey life’s narrow space,
And learn how frail I am.

A span is all that we can boast,
An inch or two of time;
Man is but vanity and dust
In all his flower and prime.

See the vain race of mortals move
Like shadows o’er the plain;
They rage and strive, desire and love,
But all the noise is vain.

Some walk in honor’s gaudy show,
Some dig for golden ore;
They toil for heirs, they know not who,
And straight are seen no more.

What should I wish or wait for, then,
From creatures earth and dust?
They make our expectations vain,
And disappoint our trust.

Now I forbid my carnal hope,
My fond desires recall;
I give my mortal interest up,
And make my God my all.


God of my life, look gently down,
Behold the pains I feel;
But I am dumb before thy throne,
Nor dare dispute thy will.

Diseases are thy servants, Lord,
They come at thy command;
I'll not attempt a murmering word
Against thy chastening hand.

Yet I may plead with humble cries,
Remove thy sharp rebukes;
My strength consumes, my spirit dies,
Through thy repeated strokes.

Crushed as a moth beneath thy hand,
We moulder to the dust;
Our feeble powers can ne'er withstand,
And all our beauty's lost.

This mortal life decays apace,
How soon the bubble's broke!
Adam and all his numerous race
Are vanity and smoke.

I'm but a sojourner below,
As all my fathers were;
May I be well prepared to go,
When I the summons hear.

But if my life be spared awhile,
Before my last remove,
Thy praise shall be my business still,
And I'll declare thy love.

Káldi fordítás (38. zsoltár)

Hungarian.png Hungarian translation

Végig magának, Iditunnak. Dávid éneke.
Mondám: Megőrzöm útaimat, hogy ne vétkezzem nyelvemmel; őrizet alá vetettem számat, mikor a bűnös ellenem állott.
Elnémúltam, és megalázódtam, és hallgattam a jókról: és fájdalmam megújúlt.
Szivem fölhevűlt bennem, és elmélkedésemben fölgyúlad a tűz.
Szóltam nyelvemmel: Add tudtomra nekem Uram az én végemet, és napjaim száma mennyi, hogy tudjam, mi hiával vagyok.
Ime mértékre tetted napjaimat, és az én létem előtted, mint a semmi. Valóban, merő hiúság minden élő ember.
Valóban elmúlik az ember, mint az árnykép, és hiába nyugtalankodik; kincseket gyűjt, és nem tudja, kinek gyűjti azokat.
És most mi az én várakozásom? nem az Úr-e? mert az én létem nálad vagyon.
Minden gonoszságomból szabadíts meg engem, ki a balgatagnak gyalázatúl adtál engem.
Elnémúltam, és nem nyitottam föl számat, mert te cselekedted.
Vedd el rólam csapásaidat.
A te kezed erőssége miatt én elfogytam a fenyíték alatt. A gonoszságért dorgálod az embert, és elepeszted az ő lelkét, mint a pókot; Valóban hiába aggódik minden ember.
Hallgasd meg, Uram, imádságomat és könyörgésemet, vedd figyelembe könyhullatásimat. Ne némulj el, mert jövevény vagyok én nálad és zarándok, mint atyáim mindnyájan.
Engedj nekem, hogy megenyhűljek, mielőtt elmenjek, és többé nem leszek.