Psalm 39 – “Petition for Health”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The psalmist confesses his sins and asks God to heal him.

II. Photo
Man’s days are numbered: “No man is more than a breath.” (v. 12b)

III. Select Verses
2-4a:  I resolved I would watch my step lest I offend by my speech; I would keep my mouth muzzled while the wicked man was in my presence. I was dumb, silent; I was very still while my pain was intense. My mind was in a rage, my thoughts were all aflame!
8: What, then, can I count on, O Lord? In You my hope lies.
9: Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the butt of the benighted.
11: Take away Your plague from me; I perish from Your blows.
12: You chastise a man in punishment for his sin, consuming like a moth what he treasures. No man is more than a breath. Selah.

IV. Outline
1. Superscription
2-4. Account of the events that lead to the prayer
5-7. Admission about futility of man
8. Affirmation of trust
9-11. Petition
12. Affirmation of God’s justice
13-14. Final petition

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Craigie, Peter C. “Psalms 1-50” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 19 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1983).
Gerstenberger, Erhard S. “Psalms Part 1 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry” Forms of Old Testament Literature (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988).
Photo taken from