Psalm 39 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 39)

Verse 1

[1] I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

I said — I fully resolved.

Take heed — To order all my actions right, and particularly to govern my tongue.

Verse 2

[2] I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.

Dumb — Two words put together, expressing the same thing, to aggravate or increase it.

I held — I forbear to speak, what I justly might, lest I should break forth into some indecent expressions.

Stirred — My silence did not assuage my grief, but increase it.

Verse 4

[4] LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.

My end — Make me sensible of the shortness and uncertainly of life, and the near approach of death.

Verse 5

[5] 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*/.

Before thee — If compared with thee, and with thy everlasting duration.

Verse 6

[6] Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Vain shew — Heb. in a shadow or image; in an imaginary rather than a real life: in the pursuit of vain imaginations, in which there is nothing solid or satisfactory: man in and his life, and all his happiness in this world, are rather appearances and dreams, than truths and realities.

Disquieted — Heb. They make a noise, bustling, or tumult, with unwearied industry seeking for riches, and troubling and vexing both themselves and others in the pursuit of them.

Verse 7

[7] And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

Mow Lord — Seeing this life and all its enjoyments are so vain and short.

My hope — I will seek for happiness no where but in God.

Verse 10

[10] Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.

Remove — Take off the judgment which thou hast inflicted upon me.

I am — Help me before I am utterly lost.

Verse 11

[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*/.

Beauty — His comeliness and all his excellencies or felicities.

Moth — As a moth consumeth a garment, to which God compares himself and his judgments, secretly and insensibly consuming a people, Isaiah 51:8.

Verse 12

[12] Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

A stranger — I am only in my journey or passage to my real home, which is in the other world.

Verse 13

[13] O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.

No more — Among the living, or in this world.