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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 90


1 A prayer of Moses, the man of God. Lord, you have been our refuge through all generations.


Before the mountains were born, the earth and the world brought forth, from eternity to eternity you are God.


2 A thousand years in your eyes are merely a yesterday,


3 But humans you return to dust, saying, "Return, you mortals!"


Before a watch passes in the night,


4 you have brought them to their end; They disappear like sleep at dawn; they are like grass that dies.


5 It sprouts green in the morning; by evening it is dry and withered.


Truly we are consumed by your anger, filled with terror by your wrath.


You have kept our faults before you, our hidden sins exposed to your sight.


Our life ebbs away under your wrath; our years end like a sigh.


Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong; Most of them are sorrow and toil; they pass quickly, we are all but gone.


Who comprehends your terrible anger? Your wrath matches the fear it inspires.


Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.


Relent, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!


Fill us at daybreak with your love, that all our days we may sing for joy.


Make us glad as many days as you humbled us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.


Show your deeds to your servants, your glory to their children.


May the favor of the Lord our God be ours. Prosper the work of our hands! Prosper the work of our hands!



1 [Psalm 90] A communal lament that describes only in general terms the cause of the community's distress. After confidently invoking God ( Psalm 90:1), the psalm turns to a complaint contrasting God's eternity with the brevity of human life ( Psalm 90:2-6) and sees in human suffering the punishment for sin ( Psalm 90:7-12). The psalm concludes with a plea for God's intervention ( Psalm 90:13-17).

2 [4] The translation reverses the order of the difficult Hebrew verses Psalm 90:3 and 4 to get the probable original order. A watch in the night: the night was divided into three sentry periods or watches. Cf Judges 7:19.

3 [3] Return: one word of God is enough to return mortals to the dust from which they were created. Humans were created from earth in Genesis 2:7; 3:19.

4 [5] You have brought them to their end: an interpretation of the unclear Hebrew.

5 [6] It is dry and withered: the transitory nature of the grass under the scorching sun was proverbial. Cf Psalm 129:6; Isaiah 40:6-8.

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