CHAPTER CONTEXT from Treasury of David: The psalmist, bowed down with sickness and sorrow, is burdened with unbelieving thoughts, which he resolves to stifle, lest any evil should come from their expression, Ps 39:1-2. But silence creates an insupportable grief, which at last demands utterance, and obtains it in the prayer of Ps 39:3-6, which is almost a complaint and a sigh for death, or at best a very desponding picture of human life. From Ps 39:7-13 the tone is more submissive, and the recognition of the divine hand more distinct; the cloud has evidently passed, and the mourner’s heart is relieved.
Those that know me, understand that I have little concern for end times mumblings. It is not that I deny the Biblical teachings/prophecies about “end times” but rather that I find Apologetics much more interesting (and to me important).
Our text main today, on the surface seems to have David crying out about his “end times” or in other words when he will die. Many folks today live in fear of dying and routinely call out to God with requests for longer life. Yet in CONTEXT, David is asking/praying for something quite different.
Verse 4. also from TOD: David prays,
1. That he may be enabled continually to keep in view the end of life: all things should be judged by their end. “Then understood I their end.” Life may be honourable, and cheerful, and virtuous here; but the end! What will it be?
2. That he may be diligent in the performance of all the duties of this life. The measure of his days, how short, how much to be done, how little time to do it in!
3. He prays that he may gain much instruction and benefit from the frailties of life. That I may know, etc. My frailties may make me more humble, more diligent, while I am able for active service; more dependent upon divine strength, more patient and submissive to the divine will, more ripe for heaven.—G. Rogers
David is not actually asking for an ETA of his death, he is praying what all of us should be praying, God, keep me humble in the time you give me to do Your will.