Psalm 62:9

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.

Read Psalm 62:9 Using Other Translations

Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.
Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air.

What does Psalm 62:9 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Psalms 62:9

Surely men of low degree [are] vanity
Or "sons of Adam" {i}; of the earthly man; of fallen Adam; one of his immediate sons was called Hebel, "vanity"; and it is true of all his sons; but here it designs only one sort of them; such as are poor and low in the world; mean men, as the phrase is rendered in ( Isaiah 2:9 ) ; (See Gill on Psalms 49:2); these are subject to sinful vanity; their thoughts are vain, their affections vain, their minds vain, their conversation vain, sinful, foolish, fallacious, and inconstant. The wicked poor are, generally speaking, of all persons, the most wicked; and therefore, though they are the multitude, they are not to be trusted in. The Arabic version is, they are as a "shadow", fleeting and unstable, no solidity in them; the Syriac version, "as a vapour", that soon passeth away, like the breath of the mouth, and so not to be accounted of;

[and] men of high degree [are] a lie;
or "sons of men"; of (vya) , "the great man" F11, as it is rendered in ( Isaiah 2:9 ) , noblemen, men of high birth, fortune, rank, and quality; these are a "lie", fallacious and deceitful: they talk of their blood, as if it was different from the rest of mankind; but, trace them up to their original, Adam, and it is a lie. All men are made of one blood, ( Acts 17:26 ) ; their riches promise them peace and pleasure, and long life, but do not give those things, ( Luke 12:16-20 ) ; their honour is fickle and inconstant; they are act in high places, and those are slippery ones; they are brought to desolation in a moment; and if they continue in them till death, their glory does not descend after them, ( Psalms 49:17 ) ( 73:18 ) ; they make promises of great things to those who apply to them, but rarely perform, and are by no means to be confided in. This distinction of high and low degree is observed in ( James 1:9 James 1:10 ) ;

to be laid in the balance, they [are] altogether [lighter] than
take a pair of balances, and put men both of high and low degree together in one scale, and vanity in the other, vanity will weigh heaviest; the scale in which men are will go up, as the word F12 here used signifies: they are "in the balances to ascend"; or being put in the balances, they will ascend, and the scale in which vanity is will go down; for, take them altogether, they are "lighter" than that: the word "lighter" is not in the text, but is rightly supplied, as it is by Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech. This last clause, according to the accents, may be best rendered thus; being put "in the balance, they must ascend; they are [lighter] than vanity together". The Targum is,

``if they should take the sons of men in a balance, and weigh their fates, they themselves would be "lighter" than nothing, as one;''

or than vanity together.


F9 (Mda ynb) "filii Adam", Musculus, Michaelis; "nati plebeio homine", Junius & Tremellius; "plebeii", Gejerus; "sons of base men", Ainsworth.
F11 (vya ynb) "nati praestante viro", Junius & Tremellius; "sons of noble men", Ainsworth. Vid. Schindler. col. 214.
F12 (twlel) "ascendant", Pagninus, Cocceius; so Musculus, Junius & Tremellius
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