"A Thousand Years In Thy Sight Are But As Yesterday"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199

Context: The psalmist declares that all generations of man have identified themselves with the Lord. God, he says, is eternal, immortal, living before the creation of the mountains or the universe. A thousand years would be, in the eyes of God, as "a watch in the night" (the time between sunset and sunrise consisted of three watches). Man's life is, in comparison, very brief, as a sleep or as the grass that quickly grows and quickly withers. Man's sinful nature, admits the psalmist, stands constantly exposed to the pure countenance of God; his years are few. The poet then petitions the Lord to help men live their brief lives judiciously. In speaking of man's mortality and God's immortality, the psalmist says:

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Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
. . .
For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

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