“זְכָר־אֲנִ֥י מֶה־חָ֑לֶד עַל־מַהשָּׁ֝֗־וְא בָּרָ֥אתָ כָל־בְּנֵי־אָדָֽם׃
מִ֤י גֶ֣בֶר יִֽ֭חְיֶה וְלֹ֣א יִרְאֶה־מָּ֑וֶת יְמַלֵּ֨ט נַפְשֹׁ֖ו מִיַּד־שְׁאֹ֣ול סֶֽלָה׃”
— Psalms 89:48-49 (BHS)
“Remember how short my time is—
for what vanity you have created all mortals!
Who can live and never see death?
Who can escape the power of Sheol?”
— Psalms 89:47-48 (NRSV)
Bouguereau, William-Adolphe. The First Mourning. 1888. Oil on canvas.
“חָנֵּ֣נִי אֱלֹהִ֣ים כְּחַסְדֶּ֑ךָ כְּרֹ֥ב רַ֝חֲמֶ֗יךָ מְחֵ֣ה פְשָׁעָֽי׃
הַרְבֵּה כַּבְּסֵ֣נִי מֵעֲוֹנִ֑י וּֽמֵחַטָּאתִ֥י טַהֲרֵֽנִי׃
כִּֽי־פְ֭שָׁעַי אֲנִ֣י אֵדָ֑ע וְחַטָּאתִ֖י נֶגְדִּ֣י תָמִֽיד׃
לְךָ֤ לְבַדְּךָ֨ ׀ חָטָאתִי֮ וְהָרַ֥ע בְּעֵינֶ֗יךָ עָ֫שִׂ֥יתִי לְ֭מַעַן תִּצְדַּ֥ק בְּדָבְרֶ֗ךָ תִּזְכֶּ֥ה בְשָׁפְטֶֽךָ׃”
— Psalms 51:1-4 (BHS)
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.”
— Psalms 51:1-4 (NRSV)
“Humans have sinned, but God will still work through them; Israel has sinned, but God will still use its people to bless the nations; monarchs have sinned grievously, but God still promises to bring the world into subjection under his anointed king.” — N. T. Wright, The Case for the Psalms
Michelangelo. David. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. 1504. Marble statue.
“Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.”
— Dante Alighieri. La Divina Commedia. BUR Rizzoli, 2016.
“When I had journey half of our life’s way,
I found myself within a shadowed forest,
for I had lost the path that does not stray.”
— Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Translator Allen Mandelbaum.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
you rod and your staff—
they comfort me.”
— Psalms 23:4 (NRSV)
“The days of our life are seventy years,
or perhaps eighty, if we are strong;
even then their span is only toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.”
— Psalms 90:10 (NRSV)
“Therefore a lion from the forest shall kill them,
a wolf from the desert shall destroy them.
A leopard is watching against their cities;
everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces—
because their transgressions are many,
their apostasies are great.”
— Jeremiah 5:6 (NRSV)
Botticelli, Sandro. Dante and the Three Beasts.