How Long Is Human Lifespan According to Psalm 90?

psalm 90In reading Psalms 90, verse10 says that the lifespan of humans is around 70-80 years?

This verse from Psalm 90 must be understood in its context (as is the case with all scripture). The context of verse 10 is:

Psalm 90:7-12 (NKJV)

For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Notice the Psalmist’s line of thought in this passage. He is speaking on behalf of the nation of Israel (i.e., “we”). The people of Israel were under God’s judgment for their disobedience under the Old Covenant. God was “consuming” Israel in His fury and anger against them. Israel endured exile, bondage, drought, famine and other consequences for their apostasy to the covenant.  psalm 90

In verse 8 the Psalmist says Israel sins were “before” God. Though Israel thought they were sinning in secret, the Psalmist says their secret sins were placed in the light of God’s presence. In other words, they were not so secret after all. Because of Israel’s unrepentant sins, the Old Covenant consumed His people in fury through judgments that weakened them and brought them to early death.

In verse 10 the psalmist says the life of a person is seventy or maybe eighty years, yet the pride of our years is merely labor and sorrow. No matter how long we may live, soon we are gone in the end. Therefore, the psalmist asks God to teach His people to number their days, which means to appreciate the fragile and fleeting nature of life on earth. By gaining a healthy appreciation for our mortality, God’s people would live with wisdom for whatever time the Lord gives.  psalm 90

Therefore in this context, it’s clear the psalmist is not specifying an exact length of life for all human beings. Rather, he’s remarking in a general way that most people live between 70-80 years, which is still true today. Some may live fewer years and some may live longer. Nevertheless, 70-80 years is generally the length of life for mankind, and in eternal terms, it’s a very short time indeed. Therefore, we must live with an appreciation for the eternal consequences of how we live.

 

 

 

“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at http://www.vbvmi.org.”

 

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