The Vanity of Life.

1
I said, “I will guard my ways

That I may not sin with my tongue;
I will muzzle my mouth
While the wicked are in my presence.”
2

I was mute and silent [before my enemies],
I refrained even from good,
And my (a)distress grew worse.
3

My heart was hot within me.
While I was musing the fire burned;
Then I spoke with my tongue:
4

Lord, let me know my [life’s] end
And [to appreciate] the extent of my days;
Let me know how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].
5

“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]!(A) Selah.
6

“Surely every man walks around like a shadow [in a charade];
Surely they make an uproar for nothing;
Each one builds up riches, not knowing who will receive them.(B)
7
“And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait?
My hope [my confident expectation] is in You.
8

“Save me from all my transgressions;
Do not make me the scorn and reproach of the [self-righteous, arrogant] fool.
9

“I am mute, I do not open my mouth,
Because it is You who has done it.
10

“Remove Your plague from me;
I am wasting away because of the conflict and opposition of Your hand.
11

“With rebukes You discipline man for sin;
You consume like a moth what is precious to him;
Surely every man is a mere breath [a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes]. Selah.
12
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and listen to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am Your temporary guest,
A sojourner like all my fathers.
13

“O look away from me, that I may smile and again know joy
Before I depart and am no more.”

Footnotes:

a. Psalm 39:2: Lit pain.