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BOOK IV

(Psalms 90–106)

Psalm 90

God’s Eternity and Human Frailty

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.

1

Lord, you have been our dwelling place

in all generations.

2

Before the mountains were brought forth,

or ever you had formed the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 

3

You turn us back to dust,

and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

4

For a thousand years in your sight

are like yesterday when it is past,

or like a watch in the night.

 

5

You sweep them away; they are like a dream,

like grass that is renewed in the morning;

6

in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;

in the evening it fades and withers.

 

7

For we are consumed by your anger;

by your wrath we are overwhelmed.

8

You have set our iniquities before you,

our secret sins in the light of your countenance.

 

9

For all our days pass away under your wrath;

our years come to an end like a sigh.

10

The days of our life are seventy years,

or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;

even then their span is only toil and trouble;

they are soon gone, and we fly away.

 


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Ps 90:1-17. Contrasting man's frailty with God's eternity, the writer mourns over it as the punishment of sin, and prays for a return of the divine favor. A Prayer [mainly such] of Moses the man of God—(De 33:1; Jos 14:6); as such he wrote this (see on Ps 18:1, title, and Ps 36:1, title).

1. dwelling-place—home (compare Eze 11:16), as a refuge (De 33:27).

2. brought forth [and] formed—both express the idea of production by birth.

3. to destruction—literally, "even to dust" (Ge 3:19), which is partly quoted in the last clause.

4. Even were our days now a thousand years, as Adam's, our life would be but a moment in God's sight (2Pe 3:8).

a watch—or, third part of a night (compare Ex 14:24).

5, 6. Life is like grass, which, though changing under the influence of the night's dew, and flourishing in the morning, is soon cut down and withereth (Ps 103:15; 1Pe 1:24).

7, 8. For—A reason, this is the infliction of God's wrath.

troubled—literally, "confounded by terror" (Ps 2:5). Death is by sin (Ro 5:12). Though "secret," the light of God's countenance, as a candle, will bring sin to view (Pr 20:27; 1Co 4:5).

9. are passed—literally, "turn," as to depart (Jer 6:4).

spend—literally, "consume."

as a tale—literally, "a thought," or, "a sigh" (Eze 2:10).

10. Moses' life was an exception (De 34:7).

it is … cut off—or, "driven," as is said of the quails in using the same word (Nu 11:31). In view of this certain and speedy end, life is full of sorrow.




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