Psalms 90:10

10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Psalms 90:10 in Other Translations

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
10 Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.
10 We live for seventy years or so (with luck we might make it to eighty), And what do we have to show for it? Trouble. Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.
10 Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away.

Psalms 90:10 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 90:10

The days of our years are threescore years and ten
In the Hebrew text it is, "the days of our years in them are" F1; which refers either to the days in which we live, or to the persons of the Israelites in the wilderness, who were instances of this term of life, in whom perhaps it first took place in a general way: before the flood, men lived to a great age; some nine hundred years and upwards; after the flood, men lived not so long; the term fixed then, as some think, was an hundred and twenty years, grounding it on the passage in ( Genesis 6:3 ) , but now, in the time of Moses, it was brought to threescore years and ten, or eighty at most: of those that were numbered in the wilderness of Sinai, from twenty years and upwards, there were none left, save Joshua and Caleb, when the account was taken in the plains of Moab; see ( Numbers 14:29 ) ( 26:63-65 ) , so that some must die before they were sixty; others before seventy; and perhaps all, or however the generality of them, before eighty: and, from that time, this was the common age of men, some few excepted; to the age of seventy David lived, ( 2 Samuel 5:4 ) , and so it has been ever since; many never come up to it, and few go beyond it: this is not only pointed at in revelation, but is what the Heathens have observed. Solon used to say, the term of human life was seventy years F2; so others; and a people called Berbiccae, as Aelianus relates F3, used to kill those of them that lived above seventy years of age, having exceeded the term of life. The Syriac version is, "in our days our years are seventy years"; with which the Targum agrees,

``the days of our years in this world are seventy years of the stronger;''

for it is in them that such a number of years is arrived unto; or "in them", that is, in some of them; in some of mankind, their years amount hereunto, but not in all: "and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years"; through a good temperament of body, a healthful and strong constitution, under a divine blessing, some may arrive to the age of eighty; there have been some instances of a strong constitution at this age and upwards, but not very common; see ( Joshua 14:11 ) ( Deuteronomy 34:7 ) , for, generally speaking, such who through strength of body live to such an age,

yet is their strength labour and sorrow;
they labour under great infirmities, feel much pain, and little pleasure, as Barzillai at this age intimates, ( 2 Samuel 19:35 ) , these are the evil days F4, in which is no pleasure, ( Ecclesiastes 12:1 ) , or "their largeness or breadth is labour and sin" {e}; the whole extent of their days, from first to last, is spent in toil and labour to live in the world; and is attended with much sin, and so with much sorrow:

for it is soon cut off;
either the strength of man, or his age, by one disease or incident or another, like grass that is cut down with the scythe, or a flower that is cropped by the hand; see ( Job 14:2 ) ,

and we fly away;
as a shadow does, or as a bird with wings; out of time into eternity; from the place of our habitation to the grave; from a land of light to the regions of darkness: it is well if we fly away to heaven and happiness.


F1 (Mhb) "in ipsis", Pagninus, Montanus; "in quibus vivimus", Tigurine version, Vatablus.
F2 Laertius in Vita Solon. p. 36. Herodotus, l. 1. sive Clio, c. 32. Macrob. in Somno Scipionis, l. 1. c. 6. p. 58. & Plin. Epist. l. 1. Ep. 12. & Solon. Eleg. apud Clement. Alex. Stromat. l. 6. p. 685, 686.
F3 Vat. Hist. l. 4. c. 1.
F4 "----tristisque senectus et labor----". Virgil. Georg. l. 3. v. 67.
F5 (Mbhr) "amplitudo eorum", Montanus.

Psalms 90:10 In-Context

8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Isaiah 23:15,17; Jeremiah 25:11
  • 2. 2 Samuel 19:35
  • 3. S Job 5:7
  • 4. S Job 20:8; S Job 34:15
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