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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Psalms 39:1-6

David here recollects, and leaves upon record, the workings of his heart under his afflictions; and it is good for us to do so, that what was thought amiss may be amended, and what was well thought of may be improved the next time. I. He remembered the covenants he had made with God to walk circumspectly, and to be very cautious both of what he did and what he said. When at any time we are tempted to sin, and are in danger of falling into it, we must call to mind the solemn vows we have made... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Psalms 39:5

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth ,.... These words, with the following clause, are the psalmist's answer to his own inquiries; or rather a correction of his inquiry and impatience, showing how needless it was to ask such questions, and be impatient to die, when it was so clear and certain a case that life was so short; not a yard or ell (forty five inches), but an handbreadth, the breadth of four fingers; or at most a span of time was allowed to man, whose days are few,... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Psalms 39:5

My days as a handbreadth - My life is but a span; σπιθαμη του βιου . And mine age is as nothing - כאין keein , as if at were not before thee. All time is swallowed up in thy eternity. Verily every man at his best state - נצב אדם כל col adam nitstab , "every man that exists, is vanity." All his projects, plans, schemes, etc., soon come to nothing. His body also moulders with the dust, and shortly passes both from the sight and remembrance of men. read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Psalms 39:1-13

The title assigns the psalm to David, and represents him as having committed the composition for musical arrangement to the precentor, or choir-master, of the time, who is then named as Jeduthun, one of the chief musicians in David's service ( 1 Chronicles 16:41 , 1 Chronicles 16:42 ; 1 Chronicles 25:3-6 ). There is no reason to dispute this attribution. The poetic beauty of the composition is great, and the circumstances are such as suit David's early life. The pause-sign,... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Psalms 39:1-13

Unburdening the heart to God in a time of sore affliction, when nothing can be said to man. Jeduthun, whose name stands at the head of Psalms 39:1-13 , Psalms 62:1-12 , and Psalms 77:1-20 , was one of a musical family entrusted with the conduct of the musical service in the time of David. The psalms having his name at the head were probably intended to be sung by his choir. £ It would thus seem that in the Hebrew service of sacred song the prayers and plaints of the individual... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Psalms 39:1-13

Lessons from a funeral. It is toll of Archbishop Leighton that a friend once met him by the way, and said, "You have been to hear a sermon?" His answer was, "I met a sermon—a sermon de facto , for I met a corpse, and rightly and profitably are the funeral rites performed, when the living lay it to heart." This psalm, so often read at deaths and funerals, suggests some precious lessons for such solemn occasions. 1 . A funeral is a time for silence. There is much to think of and... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Psalms 39:1-13

The afflicted man. The old question of the retributive justice of God lies at the bottom of this psalm. Why should the righteous be afflicted and the wicked prosper, since the sins of the latter are greater and more numerous than those of the former? But he has determined that he will not discuss his difficulties before the wicked, lest he should seem to complain of the Divine ways. But when he can no longer restrain speech, this is what he says, in which we have two main divisions of... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Psalms 39:5

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 , Job 14:2 ). 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... read more

Albert Barnes

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible - Psalms 39:5

Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth - literally, “Lo, handbreadths hast thou given my days.” The word rendered “handbreadth” means properly the spread hand; the palm; the hand when the four fingers are expanded. The word is then used to denote anything very short or brief. It is one of the smallest natural measures, as distinguished from the “foot” - that is, the length of the foot; and from the cubit - that is, the length of the arm to the elbow. It is the “shortness” of life,... read more

Joseph Benson

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments - Psalms 39:5

Psalms 39:5. Behold, thou hast made my days as a hand-breadth The breadth of four fingers, a certain dimension, a small one, and the measure whereof we have always about us, always before our eyes. We need no rod, no measuring-line, wherewith to take the dimension of our days, nor any skill in arithmetic wherewith to compute the number of them; no, we have the standard of them always before us. “The age of man, or of the world, is but a span in dimension, a moment in duration; nay, it is... read more

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