December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 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!
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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  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  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  You have brought them to their end: an interpretation of the unclear Hebrew.
5  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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