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Psalms 39:1

New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995) [2]
— [[For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.]] I said, “I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence.”
King James Version (KJV 1769) [2]
— [[To the chief Musician, [even] to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.]] 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.
English Revised Version (ERV 1885)
— [[For the Chief Musician, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.]] 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.
American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— [[For the Chief Musician, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.]] 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.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [[To the chief Musician, [even] to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.]] 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.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— [[To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.]] I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a muzzle, while the wicked is before me.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— [[To the Chief Musician. For Jeduthun. A Melody of David.]] I said, [to myself,] I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue,—I will put on my mouth a muzzle, So long as the lawless is before me.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— To the Overseer, to Jeduthun.—A Psalm of David. I have said, 'I observe my ways, Against sinning with my tongue, I keep for my mouth a curb, while the wicked [is] before me.'
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Unto the end, for Idithun himself, a canticle of David. I said: I will take heed to my ways: that I sin not with my tongue. I have set a guard to my mouth, when the sinner stood against me.
Geneva Bible (GNV 1560)
— [[To the excellent musician Ieduthun. A Psalme of Dauid.]] I thought, I will take heede to my wayes, that I sinne not with my tongue: I will keepe my mouth brideled, while the wicked is in my sight.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— [[To the chiefe Musician, [euen] to Ieduthun, A Psalme of Dauid.]] I sayd, I will take heede to my waies, that I sinne not with my tongue: I will keepe my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
Lamsa Bible (1957)
— I SAID, I will take heed to my ways that I sin not with my tongue; I will keep the words of my mouth under control while the wicked is before me.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— [[For the end, a Song of David, to Jeduthun{gr.Idithun}.]] I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I set a guard on my mouth, while the sinner stood in my presence.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [[To the chief Musician, [even] to Yeduthun, A Psalm of Dawid.]] 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.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[[To the chief Musician, 5329
{5329} Prime
A primitive root; properly to glitter from afar, that is, to be eminent (as a superintendent, especially of the Temple services and its music); also (as denominative from H5331), to be permanent.
<8764> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 685
[even] to Yæđûŧûn יְדוּתוּן, 3038
{3038} Prime
Probably from H3034; laudatory; Jeduthun, an Israelite.
A Psalm 4210
{4210} Prime
From H2167; properly instrumental music; by implication a poem set to notes.
of Däwiđ דָּוִד.]] 1732
{1732} Prime
From the same as H1730; loving; David, the youngest son of Jesse.
I said, 559
{0559} Prime
A primitive root; to say (used with great latitude).
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
I will take heed 8104
{8104} Prime
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
to my ways, 1870
{1870} Prime
From H1869; a road (as trodden); figuratively a course of life or mode of action, often adverbially.
that I sin y2398
[2398] Standard
A primitive root; properly to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin; by inference to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn.
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
not x4480
(4480) Complement
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
(2398) Complement
A primitive root; properly to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin; by inference to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn.
with my tongue: 3956
{3956} Prime
From H3960; the tongue (of man or animals), used literally (as the instrument of licking, eating, or speech), and figuratively (speech, an ingot, a fork of flame, a cove of water).
I will keep 8104
{8104} Prime
A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
my mouth 6310
{6310} Prime
From H6284; the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literally or figuratively (particularly speech); specifically edge, portion or side; adverbially (with preposition) according to.
with a bridle, 4269
{4269} Prime
From H2629; a muzzle.
while x5750
(5750) Complement
From H5749; properly iteration or continuance; used only adverbially (with or without preposition), again, repeatedly, still, more.
the wicked 7563
{7563} Prime
From H7561; morally wrong; concretely an (actively) bad person.
is before x5048
(5048) Complement
From H5046; a front, that is, part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate; usually (adverbially, especially with preposition) over against or before.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Psalms 39:1

_ _ Psalms 39:1-13. To Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 16:41, 1 Chronicles 16:42), one of the chief singers. His name mentioned, perhaps, as a special honor. Under depressing views of his frailty and the prosperity of the wicked, the Psalmist, tempted to murmur, checks the expression of his feelings, till, led to regard his case aright, he prays for a proper view of his condition and for the divine compassion.

_ _ I said — or, “resolved.”

_ _ will take heed — watch.

_ _ ways — conduct, of which the use of the tongue is a part (James 1:26).

_ _ bridle — literally, “muzzle for my mouth” (compare Deuteronomy 25:4).

_ _ while ... before me — in beholding their prosperity (Psalms 37:10, Psalms 37:36).

Matthew Henry's 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 against sin, against the particular sin we are upon the brink of. God can, and will, remind us of them (Jeremiah 2:20, Thou saidst, I will not transgress), and therefore we ought to remind ourselves of them. So David did here.

_ _ 1. He remembers that he had resolved, in general, to be very cautious and circumspect in his walking (Psalms 39:1): I said, I will take heed to my ways; and it was well said, and what he would never unsay and therefore must never gainsay. Note, (1.) It is the great concern of every one of us to take heed to our ways, that is, to walk circumspectly, while others walk at all adventures. (2.) We ought stedfastly to resolve that we will take heed to our ways, and frequently to renew that resolution. Fast bind, fast find. (3.) Having resolved to take heed to our ways, we must, upon all occasions, remind ourselves of that resolution, for it is a covenant never to be forgotten, but which we must be always mindful of.

_ _ 2. He remembers that he had in particular covenanted against tongue-sins — that he would not sin with his tongue, that he would not speak amiss, either to offend God or offend the generation of the righteous, Psalms 73:15. it is not so easy as we could wish not to sin in thought; but, if an evil thought should arise in his mind, he would lay his hand upon his mouth, and suppress it, that it should go no further: and this is so great an attainment that, if any offend not in word, the same is a perfect man; and so needful a one that of him who seems to be religious, but bridles not his tongue, it is declared His religion is vain. David had resolved, (1.) That he would at all times watch against tongue-sins: “I will keep a bridle, or muzzle, upon my mouth.” He would keep a bridle upon it, as upon the head; watchfulness in the act and exercise is the hand upon the bridle. he would keep a muzzle upon it, as upon an unruly dog that is fierce and does mischief; by particular stedfast resolution corruption is restrained from breaking out at the lips, and so is muzzled. (2.) That he would double his guard against them when there was most danger of scandal — when the wicked is before me. When he was in company with the wicked he would take heed of saying any thing that might harden them or give occasion to them to blaspheme. If good men fall into bad company, they must take heed what they say. Or, when the wicked is before me, in my thoughts. When he was contemplating the pride and power, the prosperity and flourishing estate, of evil-doers, he was tempted to speak amiss; and therefore then he would take special care what he said. Note, The stronger the temptation to a sin is the stronger the resolution must be against it.

_ _ II. Pursuant to these covenants he made a shift with much ado to bridle his tongue (Psalms 39:2): I was dumb with silence; I held my peace even from good. His silence was commendable; and the greater the provocation was the more praiseworthy was his silence. Watchfulness and resolution, in the strength of God's grace, will do more towards the bridling of the tongue than we can imagine, though it be an unruly evil. But what shall we say of his keeping silence even from good? Was it his wisdom that he refrained from good discourse when the wicked were before him, because he would not cast pearls before swine? I rather think it was his weakness; because he might not say any thing, he would say nothing, but ran into an extreme, which was a reproach to the law, for that prescribes a mean between extremes. The same law which forbids all corrupt communication requires that which is good and to the use of edifying, Ephesians 4:29.

_ _ III. The less he spoke the more he thought and the more warmly. Binding the distempered part did but draw the humour to it: My sorrow was stirred, my heart was hot within me, Psalms 39:3. He could bridle his tongue, but he could not keep his passion under; though he suppressed the smoke, that was as a fire in his bones, and, while he was musing upon his afflictions and upon the prosperity of the wicked, the fire burned. Note, Those that are of a fretful discontented spirit ought not to pore much, for, while they suffer their thoughts to dwell upon the causes of the calamity, the fire of their discontent is fed with fuel and burns the more furiously. Impatience is a sin that has its ill cause within ourselves, and that is musing, and its ill effects upon ourselves, and that is no less than burning. If therefore we would prevent the mischief of ungoverned passions, we must redress the grievance of ungoverned thoughts.

_ _ IV. When he did speak, at last, it was to the purpose: At the last I spoke with my tongue. Some make what he said to be the breach of his good purpose, and conclude that, in what he said, he sinned with his tongue; and so they make what follows to be a passionate wish that he might die, like Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) and Job, Job 6:8, Job 6:9. But I rather take it to be, not the breach of his good purpose, but the reformation of his mistake in carrying it too far; he had kept silence from good, but now he would so keep silence no longer. He had nothing to say to the wicked that were before him, for to them he knew not how to place his words, but, after long musing, the first word he said was a prayer, and a devout meditation upon a subject which it will be good for us all to think much of.

_ _ 1. He prays to God to make him sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the near approach of death (Psalms 39:4): Lord, make me to know my end and the measure of my days. He does not mean, “Lord, let me know how long I shall live and when I shall die.” We could not, in faith, pray such a prayer; for God has nowhere promised to let us know, but has, in wisdom, locked up that knowledge among the secret things which belong not to us, nor would it be good for us to know it. But, Lord, make me to know my end, means, “Lord, give me wisdom and grace to consider it (Deuteronomy 32:29) and to improve what I know concerning it.” The living know that they shall die (Ecclesiastes 9:5), but few care for thinking of death; we have therefore need to pray that God by his grace would conquer that aversion which is in our corrupt hearts to the thoughts of death. “Lord, make me to consider,” (1.) “What death is. It is my end, the end of my life, and all the employments and enjoyments of life. It is the end of all men,” Ecclesiastes 7:2. It is a final period to our state of probation and preparation, and an awful entrance upon a state of recompence and retribution. To the wicked man it is the end of all joys; to a godly man it is the end of all griefs. “Lord, give me to know my end, to be better acquainted with death, to make it more familiar to me (Job 17:14), and to be more affected with the greatness of the change. Lord, give me to consider what a serious thing it is to die.” (2.) “How near it is. Lord, give me to consider the measure of my days, that they are measured in the counsel of God” (the end is a fixed end, so the word signifies; my days are determined, Job 14:5) “and that the measure is but short: My days will soon be numbered and finished.” When we look upon death as a thing at a distance we are tempted to adjourn the necessary preparations for it; but, when we consider how short life is, we shall see ourselves concerned to do what our hand finds to do, not only with all our might, but with all possible expedition. (3.) That it is continually working in us: “Lord, give me to consider how frail I am, how scanty the stock of life is, and how faint the spirits which are as the oil to keep that lamp burning.” We find by daily experience that the earthly house of this tabernacle is mouldering and going to decay: “Lord, make us to consider this, that we may secure mansions in the house not made with hands.”

_ _ 2. He meditates upon the brevity and vanity of life, pleading them with God for relief under the burdens of life, as Job often, and pleading them with himself for his quickening to the business of life.

_ _ (1.) Man's life on earth is short and of no continuance, and that is a reason why we should sit loose to it and prepare for the end of it (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 pole, 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 at our fingers' end, and there is no multiplication of it; it is but one hand-breadth in all. Our time is short, and God has made it so; for the number of our months is with him. It is short, and he knows it to be so: It is as nothing before thee. he remembers how short our time is, Psalms 79:1-13 :47. It is nothing in comparison with thee; so some. All time is nothing to God's eternity, much less our share of time.

_ _ (2.) Man's life on earth is vain and of no value, and therefore it is folly to be fond of it and wisdom to make sure of a better life. Adam is Abel — man is vanity, in his present state. He is not what he seems to be, has not what he promised himself. He and all his comforts lie at a continual uncertainty; and if there were not another life after this, all things considered, he were made in vain. He is vanity; he is mortal, he is mutable. Observe, [1.] How emphatically this truth is expressed here. First, Every man is vanity, without exception; high and low, rich and poor, all meet in this. Secondly, He is so at his best estate, when he is young, and strong, and healthful, in wealth and honour, and the height of prosperity; when he is most easy, and merry, and secure, and thinks his mountain stands strong. Thirdly, He is altogether vanity, as vain as you can imagine. All man is all vanity (so it may be read); every thing about him is uncertain; nothing is substantial and durable but what relates to the new man. Fourthly, Verily he is so. This is a truth of undoubted certainty, but which we are very unwilling to believe and need to have solemnly attested to us, as indeed it is by frequent instances. Fifthly, Selah is annexed, as a note commanding observation. “Stop here, and pause awhile, that you may take time to consider and apply this truth, that every man is vanity.” We ourselves are so. [2.] For the proof of the vanity of man, as mortal, he here mentions three things, and shows the vanity of each of them, Psalms 39:6. First, The vanity of our joys and honours: Surely every man walks (even when he walks in state, when he walks in pleasure) in a shadow, in an image, in a vain show. When he makes a figure his fashion passes away, and his great pomp is but great fancy, Acts 25:23. It is but a show, and therefore a vain show, like the rainbow, the gaudy colours of which must needs vanish and disappear quickly when the substratum is but a cloud, a vapour; such is life (James 4:14), and therefore such are all the gaieties of it. Secondly, The vanity of our griefs and fears. Surely they are disquieted in vain. Our disquietudes are often groundless (we vex ourselves without any just cause, and the occasions of our trouble are often the creatures of our own fancy and imagination), and they are always fruitless; we disquiet ourselves in vain, for we cannot, with all our disquietment, alter the nature of things nor the counsel of God; things will be as they are when we have disquieted ourselves ever so much about them. Thirdly, The vanity of our cares and toils. Man takes a great deal of pains to heap up riches, and they are but like heaps of manure in the furrows of the field, good for nothing unless they be spread. but, when he has filled his treasures with his trash, he knows not who shall gather them, nor to whom they shall descend when he is gone; for he shall not take them away with him. He asks not, For whom do I labour? and that is his folly, Ecclesiastes 4:8. but, if he did ask, he could not tell whether he should be a wise man or a fool, a friend or a foe, Ecclesiastes 2:19. This is vanity.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Psalms 39:1

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

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Psalms 39:1

"To the chief Musician, [even] to (a) Jeduthun, A Psalm of David." I said, (b) 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.

(a) This was one of the chief singers, (1 Chronicles 16:41).

(b) Although he had appointed with himself patiently to have wait for God's timing, yet the vehemency of his pain caused him to break his purpose.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
I said:

Psalms 119:9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word.
1 Kings 2:4 That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
2 Kings 10:31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
Proverbs 4:26-27 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. ... Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip.

that I:

Psalms 12:4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips [are] our own: who [is] lord over us?
Psalms 73:8-9 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly [concerning] oppression: they speak loftily. ... They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
Psalms 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

my mouth:
etc. Heb. a bridle, or muzzle, for my mouth,
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion [is] vain.
James 3:2-8 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body. ... But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.


Amos 5:13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it [is] an evil time.
Micah 7:5-6 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. ... For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies [are] the men of his own house.
Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
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Chain-Reference Bible SearchCross References with Concordance

1K 2:4. 2K 10:31. Ps 12:4; 73:8; 119:9; 141:3. Pv 4:26; 18:21; 21:23. Am 5:13. Mi 7:5. Col 4:5. He 2:1. Jm 1:26; 3:2.

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