Chapter 39

1For the leader; for Yedutun. A psalm of David.

אלַמְנַצֵּחַ לידיתון [לִידוּתוּן] מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד׃

2I 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.

a-MAR-tee esh-m'-RAH d'-ra-KHAI may-kha-TO vil-sho-NEE esh-m'-RAH l'-FEE makh-SOM b'-OD ra-SHA l'-neg-DEE

באָמַרְתִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה דְרָכַי מֵחֲטוֹא בִלְשׁוֹנִי אֶשְׁמְרָה לְפִי מַחְסוֹם בְּעֹד רָשָׁע לְנֶגְדִּי׃

 39:2   Lest I offend by my speech

The Sages of the Talmud ask (Yoma 9b) why the second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed if there were plenty of people studying the Torah, following Hashem’s commandments and performing acts of kindness for others. They answer that it was because people spoke ill of each other due to baseless hatred. This teaches that such animosity and foul-mouthed behavior is worse than idolatry, sexual immorality and murder, which are the reasons given for the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash. The Sages then ask, was there no slander or baseless hatred among the people in the first Temple period? They answer that, in fact, there was, but those who lived during the first Beit Hamikdash were open with their bitter feelings, thus their punishment was shorter. During the second Beit Hamikdash, the people hid their resentments, secretly slandering and speaking hate, and therefore their exile lasted much longer.

3I was dumb, silent; I was very still while my pain was intense.

גנֶאֱלַמְתִּי דוּמִיָּה הֶחֱשֵׁיתִי מִטּוֹב וּכְאֵבִי נֶעְכָּר׃

4My mind was in a rage, my thoughts were all aflame; I spoke out:

דחַם־לִבִּי בְּקִרְבִּי בַּהֲגִיגִי תִבְעַר־אֵשׁ דִּבַּרְתִּי בִּלְשׁוֹנִי׃

5Tell me, Hashem, what my term is, what is the measure of my days; I would know how fleeting my life is.

ההוֹדִיעֵנִי יְהֹוָה קִצִּי וּמִדַּת יָמַי מַה־הִיא אֵדְעָה מֶה־חָדֵל אָנִי׃

6You have made my life just handbreadths long; its span is as nothing in Your sight; no man endures any longer than a breath. Selah.

והִנֵּה טְפָחוֹת נָתַתָּה יָמַי וְחֶלְדִּי כְאַיִן נֶגְדֶּךָ אַךְ כָּל־הֶבֶל כָּל־אָדָם נִצָּב סֶלָה׃

7Man walks about as a mere shadow; mere futility is his hustle and bustle, amassing and not knowing who will gather in.

זאַךְ־בְּצֶלֶם יִתְהַלֶּךְ־אִישׁ אַךְ־הֶבֶל יֶהֱמָיוּן יִצְבֹּר וְלֹא־יֵדַע מִי־אֹסְפָם׃

8What, then, can I count on, O Hashem? In You my hope lies.

חוְעַתָּה מַה־קִּוִּיתִי אֲדֹנָי תּוֹחַלְתִּי לְךָ הִיא׃

9Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the butt of the benighted.

טמִכָּל־פְּשָׁעַי הַצִּילֵנִי חֶרְפַּת נָבָל אַל־תְּשִׂימֵנִי׃

10I am dumb, I do not speak up, for it is Your doing.

ינֶאֱלַמְתִּי לֹא אֶפְתַּח־פִּי כִּי אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ׃

11Take away Your plague from me; I perish from Your blows.

יאהָסֵר מֵעָלַי נִגְעֶךָ מִתִּגְרַת יָדְךָ אֲנִי כָלִיתִי׃

12You chastise a man in punishment for his sin, consuming like a moth what he treasures. No man is more than a breath. Selah.

יבבְּתוֹכָחוֹת עַל־עָוׂן יִסַּרְתָּ אִישׁ וַתֶּמֶס כָּעָשׁ חֲמוּדוֹ אַךְ הֶבֶל כָּל־אָדָם סֶלָה׃

13Hear my prayer, Hashem; give ear to my cry; do not disregard my tears; for like all my forebears I am an alien, resident with You.

יגשִׁמְעָה־תְפִלָּתִי יְהֹוָה וְשַׁוְעָתִי הַאֲזִינָה אֶל־דִּמְעָתִי אַל־תֶּחֱרַשׁ כִּי גֵר אָנֹכִי עִמָּךְ תּוֹשָׁב כְּכָל־אֲבוֹתָי׃

14Look away from me, that I may recover, before I pass away and am gone.

ידהָשַׁע מִמֶּנִּי וְאַבְלִיגָה בְּטֶרֶם אֵלֵךְ וְאֵינֶנִּי׃