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Psalms 39:1

    Psalms 39:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    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 King James Version (AKJV)

    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)

    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.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    <To the chief music-maker. Of Jeduthun. A Psalm. Of David.> I said, I will give attention to my ways, so that my tongue may do no wrong; I will keep my mouth under control, while the sinner is before me.

    Webster's Revision

    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.

    World English Bible

    I said, "I will watch my ways, so that I don't sin with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked is before me."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    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.

    Definitions for Psalms 39:1

    Heed - To be careful to consider.

    Clarke's Commentary on Psalms 39:1

    I said, I will take heed to my ways - I must be cautious because of my enemies; I must be patient because of my afflictions; I must be watchful over my tongue, lest I offend my God, or give my adversaries any cause to speak evil of me.

    Barnes' Notes on Psalms 39:1

    I said - This refers to a resolution which he had formed. He does not say, however, at what time of his life the resolution was adopted, or how long a period had elapsed from the time when he formed the resolution to the time when he thus made a record of it. He had formed the resolution on some occasion when he was greatly troubled with anxious thoughts; when, as the subsequent verses show, his mind was deeply perplexed about the divine administration, or the dealings of God with mankind. It would seem that this train of thought was suggested by his own particular trials Psalm 39:9-10, from which he was led to reflect on the mysteries of the divine administration in general, and on the fact that man had been subjected by his Creator to so much trouble and sorrow - and that, under the divine decree, human life was so short and so vain.

    I will take heed to my ways - To wit, in respect to this matter. I will be cautious, circumspect, prudent. I will not offend or pain the heart of others. The particular thing here referred to was, the resolution not to give utterance to the thoughts which were passing in his mind in regard to the divine administration. He felt that he was in danger, if he stated what he thought on the subject, of saying things which would do injury, or which he would have occasion to regret, and he therefore resolved to keep silent.

    That I sin not with my tongue - That I do not utter sentiments which will be wrong, and which I shall have occasion to repent; sentiments which would do injury to those who are already disposed to find ground of complaint against God, and who would thus be furnished with arguments to confirm them in their views. Good men often have such thoughts passing through their minds; thoughts reflecting on the government of God as unequal and severe; thoughts which, if they were suggested, would tend to confirm the wicked and the skeptical in their views; thoughts which they hope, in respect to themselves, to be able to calm down by meditation and prayer, but which would do only unmitigated harm if they were communicated to other men, especially to wicked people.

    I will keep my mouth with a bridle - The word used here means rather a "muzzle," or something placed "over" the mouth. The bridle is to restrain or check or guide the horse; the muzzle was something to bind or fasten the mouth so as to prevent biting or eating. Deuteronomy 25:4 : "thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." See the notes at 1 Corinthians 9:9. The meaning here is, that he would restrain himself from uttering what was passing in his mind.

    While the wicked is before me - In their presence. He resolved to do this, as suggested above, lest if he should utter what was passing in his own mind - if he should state the difficulties in regard to the divine administration which he saw and felt - if he should give expression to the skeptical or hard thoughts which occurred to him at such times, it would serve only to confirm them in their wickedness, and strengthen them in their alienation from God. A similar state of feeling, and on this very subject, is referred to by the psalmist Psalm 73:15, where he says that if he should utter what was really passing in his mind, it would greatly pain and offend those who were the true children of God; would fill their minds with doubts and difficulties which might never occur to themselves: "If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I shall offend against the generation of thy children." As illustrations of this state of feeling in the minds of good men, and as evidence of the fact that, as in the case of the psalmist, their existence in the mind, even in the severest and the most torturing form, is not proof that the man in whose bosom they arise is not a truly pious man, I make the following extracts as expressing the feelings of two of the most sincere and devoted Christian men that ever lived - both eminently useful, both in an eminent degree ornaments to the Church, Cecil and Payson: "I have read all the most acute, and learned, and serious infidel writers, and have been really surprised at their poverty. The process of my mind has been such on the subject of revelation, that I have often thought Satan has done more for me than the best of them, for I have had, and could have produced, arguments that appeared to me far more weighty than any I ever found in them against revelation." - Cecil. Dr. Payson says in a letter to a friend: "There is one trial which you cannot know experimentally: it is that of being obliged to preach to others when one doubts of everything, and can scarcely believe that there is a God. All the atheistical, deistical, and heretical objections which I meet with in books are childish babblings compared with those which Satan suggests, and which he urges upon the mind with a force which seems irresistible. Yet I am often obliged to write sermons, and to preach when these objections beat upon me like a whirlwind, and almost distract me."

    Wesley's Notes on Psalms 39:1

    39:1 I said - I fully resolved. Take heed - To order all my actions right, and particularly to govern my tongue.