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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 6

Verse 1

O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

Title.-See the note on Title of Psalms 4:1-8.

Upon Sheminith - [feminine of Shªmiyniyt (H8067)], the eighth (Exodus 22:30). From 1 Chronicles 15:21, ('the sinkers were appointed) with harps on the Sheminith to excel," or 'oversee,' Gesenius takes it to mean the lowest of the three keys of the human voice, an octave, or eighth below the treble, the base sung by men having a bass voice; as "on Alamoth" [ `ªlaamowt (H5961), 1 Chronicles 15:20 ] answers to the treble, or female voice, as the word literally means. Hengstenberg takes it as indicating the time, as measured according to the number eight. This is the first of the seven Penitential Psalms-namely, Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 38:1-22; Psalms 51:1-19; Psalms 102:1-28; Psalms 130:1-8; Psalms 143:1-12.

Psalms 6:1-10.-David's prayerful complaint in distress well-nigh unto death (Psalms 6:1-7); his triumphant deliverance from foes in answer to prayer (Psalms 6:8-10).

Rebuke - from yaakach (H3198). Do not reprove by laying sufferings on me. Rebuke with words is not what is meant. David prays not merely for an abatement of his suffering, but for its removal (cf. Psalms 6:2, "heal me.") Psalms 6:8-10 imply his complete deliverance. In Jeremiah 10:24 the prayer is for abatement of suffering: "O Lord, correct me but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." Chastisement results from God's "anger;" not always against some special sin of the believer (John 9:2-3), but against his sin in general. David's distress arose from outward enemies in the first instance (Psalms 6:7-10); then, looking on his outward distress as the punishment of past sins, he felt these as a grievous burden, sore vexing his soul (Psalms 6:3). The inward struggle acted on his bodily frame (Psalms 6:2), bringing him to the verge of the "grave (Psalms 6:5). Prayer at last gives vent to his burdened feelings; then follows joy in the Lord, enabling him to triumph over outward distress, and in spirit to see his enemies already conquered (Psalms 6:7-10). 'When plied with such assaults, one must have recourse to no other refuge than to the angry Lord Himself-believing against hope (Romans 4:18). When men seek consolation in a worldly way, and have recourse to some inferior creature they fall, to their great hurt, out of the hand of God, who would have held them up, and purified them. If the clay, while being turned, falls out of the hand of the potter, it becomes more unhappily shattered than before insomuch that it is useless, and the potter throws it away as good for nothing' (Luther).

Verse 2

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

For I am weak - `faint' [ 'umlal (H536), from 'aamal (H535), to droop as a plant]. David's plea is not that his sufferings are not deserved, but that his pain is in bringing him to that extremity from which God's fatherly mercy cannot but deliver His child. The believer is the object of God's love, even in thy sufferings, which God's anger at sin inflicts. When, then, he has been brought to the verge of his powers of endurance (1 Corinthians 10:13), God, who designs by sufferings to consume in him the remainders of sin, and not to destroy him as He does the ungodly, turns, and has mercy on him, in answer to his believing cry.

Heal me - both, in body and spirit.

My bones are vexed - literally, 'terrified,' nibhalu, my acute distress paralyzes all my limbs.

Verse 3

My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

My soul is ... sore vexed - as well as my body, of which the "bones are vexed" (Psalms 6:2). Compare the transfer of the "sore vexed" to his enemies (Psalms 6:10).

How long? - i:e., 'How long wilt thou be angry? (Psalms 79:5:) aposiopesis. The broken-off sentence marks the agitated spirit, wearying of the long delay. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick" (Proverbs 13:12); especially in those troubles in which suspense between hope and fear is intolerable.

Verse 4

Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

Return - back to favour toward me.

Deliver my soul - or life, from "death," which I am on the point of (Psalms 6:5).

Save me for thy mercies' sake! - not for my merits, but for the glory of thy grace, which shall be magnified in my deliverance.

Verse 5

For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

In death there is no remembrance of thee, [ zikrekaa (H2143)] - 'memorial of thee' (as in Psalms 9:6). 'Here and elsewhere (Psalms 30:9; Psalms 115:17-18; Psalms 88:10; Isaiah 38:18) death and the separate state are contemplated in the aspect which they bear to the unpardoned sinner, apart from the influence of redemption: Death, with its sting-and Hades, viewed as the dark prison-house of spirits reserved unto the judgment-another consequence of sin. But the aspect of both is changed by the fact that Christ has encountered death and descended into Hades, by which both are in His power, and are no longer objects of terror (Revelation 1:18). While, even as regards the redeemed, it is still the living who pre-eminently praise God (Isaiah 38:19); as well those who now live, as those who shall hereafter live again out of death by resurrection. The glory of God, in service and testimony, which is the end of man's being, cannot be answered among men in death as in life; and the intermediate state of separation from the body, though blessed, is imperfect, and is one of rest, rather than active service, where there is remembrance of God, but no memorial to His praise' (DeBurgh).

David does not deny consciousness of God in the intermediate state [the English version, "the grave;" rather, Shª'owl (H7585); Greek, ( Hadees (G86)], but implies that the state of disembodied spirits is one in which the praises, which are so grateful to God (Psalms 50:23; cf. Hebrews 13:15), and which are the main end of life, can no longer be rendered by man in his integrity, body, soul, and spirit, and before his fellow-men. David foresaw the resurrection (Psalms 16:9-11; Psalms 17:15) the doctrine which is so clearly brought to light by Christianity (2 Timothy 1:10). The word hell (from the Saxon hillan, or helan, to hide; holl, hole) meant originally the unseen place of spirits, like the Hebrew sheol, not the place of the damned. So in Psalms 16:10; Psalms 49:15, Hebrew, sheol; the English version, "the grave;" margin, 'hell'; 55:15. cf. margin: and in the Apostles' Creed, 'He descended into hell' [The Hebrew is derived from shaa'al (H7592), to demand, referring to its insatiableness (Proverbs 27:20; Proverbs 30:16; Isaiah 5:14; Habakkuk 2:5).]

Verse 6

I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

Another plea why God should have mercy on him-namely, his heartfelt contrition for his sins, which had brought on him God's chastisement.

I am weary with my groaning - and that not only by day, but also

Every night (margin) make I my bed to swim; I water (literally, I dissolve) my couch with my tears - (cf. Psalms 42:3.) His groans and tears for sin caused his general debility.

Verse 7

Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

Mine eye ... waxeth old. The eye generally indicates the state of the body and mind, whether affected with illness or not so. In sickness the eye becomes dull, like that of an aged person. For "grief" translate [ ka`ac (H3708)] vexation, arising from the provocation of enemies, which accords with the parallel.

Because of all mine enemies; literally, oppresses [ tsowrªraay (H6887), distinct from 'oyªbaay (H341), Psalms 6:10, "enemies;" literally, haters].

Verse 8

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.

Immediately after his heartfelt contrition follows his restoration to God's favour, and to confident anticipation of triumph over his enemies.

Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity - i:e. desist from your assaults, because they are all in vain (cf. Psalms 6:10), as I am under God's special protection. After bitter wailings over weakness, faith suddenly gains the victory, God hearing his cry, and giving him peace.

The voice of my weeping. Silent grief is uncommon in the East. It is generally expressed in loud wailings with the "voice,"

Verse 9

The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.

Supplication - literally, 'cry for grace;' techinnathi, from a Hebrew root, 'to be gracious.'

Prayer - from a Hebrew root, 'to urge a plea,' tªpilaatiy (H8605).

Verse 10

Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

Let all ... - or, 'All mine enemies shall be ashamed, etc. But the Chaldaic, Vulgate, Arabic, Syriac, and Septuagint support the English version (Hengstenberg).

Sore vexed - literally, 'terrified;' as also in Psalms 6:2-3, to which he refers here. The terror is transferred, in righteous retribution, from David to those who had caused it, to him.

Let them return - or, 'they shall return.' In either translation he confidently anticipates this result from his prayer. They who were advancing to attack him suddenly, in terror, fall back and "return," because God, in answer to his prayer (Psalms 6:4), has returned to him. The return of Yahweh is the cause; their return from Him effect.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-6.html. 1871-8.