The Vanity of Life

For the leader, for Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

I said, "I will watch my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will set a curb on my mouth."

Dumb and silent before the wicked, I refrained from any speech.

But my sorrow increased; my heart smoldered within me.

In my thoughts a fire blazed up, and I broke into speech: Lord, let me know my end, the number of my days, that I may learn how frail I am.

You have given my days a very short span; my life is as nothing before you.

All mortals are but a breath.

Mere phantoms, we go our way; mere vapor, our restless pursuits; we heap up stores without knowing for whom.

And now, Lord, what future do I have? You are my only hope.

From all my sins deliver me; let me not be the taunt of fools.

I was silent and did not open my mouth because you were the one who did this.

Take your plague away from me; I am ravaged by the touch of your hand.

You rebuke our guilt and chasten us; you dissolve all we prize like a cobweb.

All mortals are but a breath.

Listen to my prayer, Lord, hear my cry; do not be deaf to my weeping!

I sojourn with you like a passing stranger, a guest, like all my ancestors.

Turn your gaze from me, that I may find peace before I depart to be no more.