Psalms 78:39

39 God kept remembering that they were just flesh, just breath that passes and doesn't come back.

Psalms 78:39 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 78:39

For he remembered that they [were but] flesh
Or "children of flesh", as the Targum; poor, frail, weak, mortal creatures, unable to bear the weight of his displeasure, the stroke of his hand, and the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his wrath; that they must be crushed before him, and would sink, and fail, and die; see ( Psalms 103:14 ) ( Isaiah 57:16 ) , or that they were naturally sinful and corrupt, prone to evil, easily drawn into sin; it was what their depraved natures inclined unto; they were impotent to that which is good, and unable to withstand temptations to evil; all which was taken notice of and considered by the Lord in his condescending goodness, and therefore he dealt gently with them; see ( Genesis 6:3 ) ( 8:21 ) ,

a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again;
such is the life of man; it may be fitly compared to the wind, which moves swiftly, and, passing on, loses its strength and subsides; so the life of man is quickly gone, his days move swiftly on, he dies, and returns not again to his former state, to a mortal life; and though the spirit returns to the body again, yet not till the resurrection; and then not of itself, but by the power of God; see ( Job 7:7 ) .

Psalms 78:39 In-Context

37 Their hearts weren't firmly set on him; they weren't faithful to his covenant.
38 But God, being compassionate, kept forgiving their sins, kept avoiding destruction; he took back his anger so many times, wouldn't stir up all his wrath!
39 God kept remembering that they were just flesh, just breath that passes and doesn't come back.
40 How often they rebelled against God in the wilderness and distressed him in the desert!
41 Time and time again they tested God, provoking the holy one of Israel.