PSALM 6 COMME TARY
Written and edited by Glenn Pease
My goal has been to collect the comments of those who add to our understanding of the Psalms. These comments are available to everyone, but I have brought them together in one place to save the Bible student time in research. There is a great deal more, but this gives a good foundation to build on. If I quote anyone who does not wish to be quoted in this study they can let me know and I will remove their wisdom. My e-mail is email@example.com
1. Calvin, “The name of Song shows that David composed this psalm, in which he describes the passionate workings of his grief in the time of his troubles after he had obtained deliverance from the evils which he deplores. What the kind of chastisement was of which he speaks is uncertain. Those who restrict it to bodily disease do not adduce in support of their opinion any argument of sufficient weight. They insist on the word ,אמלamal, which occurs in verse third, where he says, “I am weak,” which indeed signifies to be sick; but it is more probable that it is here used metaphorically. They allege that Hezekiah, after his recovery from sickness, sung in the same strains as are here recorded, concerning death. But in Psalm 116, where no mention is made of bodily disease, the same complaint is uttered by the Psalmist in the name of the whole Church. We can, indeed, gather from these words that the life of David was in the utmost danger, but it may have been some other kind of affliction than bodily sickness under which he labored. We may, therefore, adopt this as the more certain interpretation, that he had been stricken by some severe calamity, or that some punishment had been inflicted upon him, which presented to his view on every side only the shadow of death. It ought also to be considered, that this psalm was not composed at the very time when he presented to God the prayers recorded in it; but that the prayers which he had meditated and uttered in the midst of his dangers and sadness were, after he had obtained respite, committed to writing. This explains why he joins the sorrow with which he certainly had struggled for a time with the joy which he afterward experienced.” 2. David Guzik, “Psalm 6 is known as the first of seven penitential psalms - songs of confession and humility before God. It was a custom in the early church to sing these psalms on Ash Wednesday, the Wednesday before Easter.” 3. F. B. Meyer, “The first of the Penitential Psalms; the other six being Psalm 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143. Sheminith is evidently a musical term, signifying the octave. The earlier verses of this Psalm are a wail; but it ends in a song. It is like a day of rain which clears at evening. The Psalm is full of beautiful ejaculatory cries.”
4. “David was a man that was often exercised with sickness and troubles from enemies, and in all the instances almost that we meet with in the Psalms of these his afflictions, we may observe the outward occasions of trouble brought him under the suspicion of God's wrath and his own iniquity; so that he was seldom sick, or persecuted, but this called on the disquiet of conscience, and brought his sin to remembrance; as in this Psalm, which was made on the occasion of his sickness, as appears from verse eight, wherein he expresses the vexation of his soul under the apprehension of God's anger; all his other griefs running into this channel, as little brooks, losing themselves in a great river, change their name and nature. He that at first was only concerned for his sickness, is now wholly concerned with sorrow and smart under the fear and hazard of his soul's condition; the like we may see in Psalms 38:1-22, and many places more. Richard Gilpin, 1677.” 5. Warren Wiersbe, “In verses 1-5 David pleads for God not to rebuke him or to chasten him. God's chastening is not punishment. It builds our Christian character. Hebrews 12 talks about chastening, and the word used means "child training." It's the picture of a child learning how to be a good athlete. God chastens us, but He does so in love. David was afraid that God was going to chasten him in His hot displeasure (v. 1). But our God is a God of mercy and grace. This doesn't mean, however, that we can minimize sin. This doesn't mean we should ever say, "Well, God is a forgiving God; therefore, I can do whatever I want to do, and He will forgive me." o, David was saying, "Lord, I've sinned. I'm weary with my groaning. Forgive me. I have done wrong." And God does forgive those who confess their sins to Him. Sin is the Christian's worst possible experience. It's far worse than pain or suffering or even death itself. We are weak, and sometimes we fail. But let's never be afraid to come to our Father with our appeal for forgiveness. The tragedy is that all around us, enemies are waiting for us to fall. They want to point at us and say, "See, that Christian failed." But we can come before the Lord and ask Him for His forgiveness, and He will grant it to us. God will have mercy on us. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). We must never treat sin lightly. Certainly, no Christian should ever harbor sin. But when we do sin, we may lean on God's mercy and grace and confess our sin to a loving Father. One of the great encouragements of the Christian life is that God forgives and restores. Are you living with unconfessed sin? Avoid God's chastening. Confess your sin and ask for His forgiveness.”
TITLE For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith.[b] A psalm of David.
1. Jamison, “ upon Sheminith - the eighth - an instrument for the eighth key; or, more probably, the bass, as it is contrasted with Alamoth (the treble, Psa_46:1) in 1Ch_15:20, 1Ch_15:21. In deep affliction the Psalmist appeals to God’s mercy for relief from chastisement, which otherwise must destroy him, and thus disable him for God’s service. Sure of a gracious answer, he triumphantly rebukes his foes.”
2. Calvin, “With respect to the word eighth, as we have before said that ,נגינותeginoth, signifies a musical instrument, I do not know whether it would be correct to say, that it was a harp of eight strings. I am rather inclined to the opinion that it refers to the tune, and points out the particular kind of music to which the psalm was to be sung. However, in a matter so obscure and of so little importance I leave every one at liberty to form his own conjecture.” Calvin's editor, “ Sheminith, or the eighth, “is thought to be the shrillest or loftiest note, as Alomoth is the lowest; of which see 1 Chronicles 15:20, 21. But all this is only conjecture; and the Jews themselves have no certain knowledge of their ancient music, and of the signification of the terms belonging to it.” — Poole’s Annotations. 3. Treasury of David, “itle. This Psalm is commonly known as the first of the PE ITE TIAL PSALMS, (The other six are Psalms 32:1-11 38:1-22 51:1-19 102:1-7 Psalms 130:1-8 143:1-12) and certainly its language well becomes the lip of a penitent, for it expresses at once the sorrow, (Ps 6:3,6-7), the humiliation (Psalms 6:2,4), and the hatred of sin (Psalms 6:8), which are the unfailing marks of the contrite spirit when it turns to God. O Holy Spirit, beget in us the true repentance which needeth not to be repented of. The title of this Psalm is "To the chief Musician on eginoth upon Sheminith (1 Chronicles 15:21), A Psalm of David," that is, to the chief musician with stringed instruments, upon the eighth, probably the octave. Some think it refers to the bass or tenor key, which would certainly be well adapted to this mournful ode. But we are not able to understand these old musical terms, and even the term "Selah," still remains untranslated. This, however, should be no difficulty in our way. We probably lose but very little by our ignorance, and it may serve to confirm our faith. It is a proof of the high antiquity of these Psalms that they contain words, the meaning of which is lost even to the best scholars of the Hebrew language. Surely these are but incidental (accidental I might almost say, if I did not believe them to be designed by God), proofs of their being, what they profess to be, the ancient writings of King David of olden times. Division. You will observe that the Psalm is readily divided into two parts. First, there is the Psalmist's plea in his great distress, reaching from the first to the end of the seventh verse. Then you have, from the eighth to the end, quite a different theme. The Psalmist has changed his note. He leaves the minor key, and betakes himself to more sublime strains. He tunes his note to the high key of confidence, and declares that God hath heard his prayer, and hath delivered him out of all his troubles.”
1 LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
1. David recognizes that he deserves rebuke and discipline, but he pleads that God would not do so in anger and wrath, for he, though a sinner, is still his child, and he loves the Lord with all his heart. He pleads that he would be dealt with in love rather than wrath. Love still rebukes and
disciplines, but it is with mercy and a mildness that encourages hope rather than fear and despair. Keil wrote, “David prays God to let him experience His loving-kindness and tender mercy in place of the punishment He has a right to inflict; for anguish of soul has already reduced him to the extreme even of bodily sickness.” 1B. Barnes, “O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger - As if God was rebuking him by the affliction which he was bringing upon him. This is the point on which the attention of the psalmist is now fixed. He had been apparently contemplating his afflictions, and inquiring into their cause, and he was led to the conclusion that it might be for his sins, and that his trials were to be interpreted as proof that God was angry with him. He speaks, therefore, of God as visiting him in his “anger,” and in his “hot displeasure,” and pleads with him that he would “not” thus rebuke and chasten him. The word “rebuke” here, like the word rendered “chasten,” properly refers to the reproof of an offender “by words,” but may also be used to denote the reproof which God administers by his providential dealings when he brings judgment upon anyone for his sins. This is the meaning here. The psalmist did not apprehend that God would openly “reprove” him for his sins; but he regarded his dealings with him as such a reproof, and he pleads that the tokens of the reproof might be taken away. The whole language is that which indicates a connection between suffering and sin; the feeling which we have when we are afflicted that it must be on account of our sins. either chasten me - A word denoting substantially the same thing; used here in the sense of “punishing.” In thy hot displeasure - literally, “in thy heat.” We speak of anger or wrath as “burning,” or “consuming.” Compare Gen_39:19; um_11:33; Deu_11:17; Psa_106:40; Job_19:11; Job_32:2-3; Psa_2:12.
2. Clarke, “O Lord, rebuke me not - This Psalm, Which is one of the seven Penitential Psalms, is supposed to have been written during some grievous disease with which David was afflicted after his transgression with Bath-sheba. It argues a deep consciousness of sin, and apprehension of the just displeasure of God. It is the very language of a true penitent who is looking around for help, and who sees, as Bishop Horne well expresses it, “above, an angry God, ready to take vengeance; beneath, the fiery gulf, ready to receive him; without, a world in flames; within, the gnawing worm.” Of all these, none so dreadful as an angry God; his wrath he particularly deprecates. God rebukes and chastens him, and he submits; but he prays not to be rebuked in anger, nor chastened in hot displeasure. because he knows that these must bring him down to total and final destruction.
3. Gill, “ O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, The Lord sometimes rebukes or reproves men by his spirit, and sometimes by his word and ministers, and sometimes by his providences, and that on account of sin; to bring to a sense and acknowledgment of it; and particularly for remissness in duty, or neglect of it; and for trusting in the creature, or in any outward enjoyment, boasting of it, and loving it too much; and these rebukes of his own people are always in love, and never in wrath, though they sometimes fear they are; see Psa_88:7, Lam_3:1; and therefore deprecate them, as the psalmist here does; not the thing itself, but the manner in which it is apprehended it is done, or doing; neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; when God chastens his own people it is not in a way of
vindictive wrath, or as a proper punishment for sin; for this would be contrary to Christ's suretyship engagements and performances, and to the doctrine of his satisfaction for sin; it would draw a veil over it, and render it of none effect; it would be contrary to the justice of God to punish both surety and principal; and to the everlasting love of God to them, in which he always rests, and from which there can be no separation; nor would they be dealt with as children; and besides would be condemned with the world, and killed with the second death; whereas they will not, though chastened of God, it is the chastening of a father, is very instructive to them, and is always for their good, spiritual and eternal; is in measure, in judgment, and in love; and never in fury and hot displeasure; but this being feared, is deprecated. 4. Henry, “These verses speak the language of a heart truly humbled under humbling providences, of a broken and contrite spirit under great afflictions, sent on purpose to awaken conscience and mortify corruption. Those heap up wrath who cry not when God binds them; but those are getting ready for mercy who, under God's rebukes, sow in tears, as David does here. The representation he makes to God of his grievances. He pours out his complaint before him. Whither else should a child go with his complaints, but to his father? The petitions which he offers up to God in this sorrowful and distressed state. 1. That which he dreads as the greatest evil is the anger of God. This was the wormwood and the gall in the affliction and the misery; it was the infusion of this that made it indeed a bitter cup; and therefore he prays (Psa_6:1), O Lord! rebuke me not in thy anger, though I have deserved it, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. He does not pray, “Lord, rebuke me not; Lord, chasten me not;” for, as many as God loves he rebukes and chastens, as a father the son in whom he delights. He can bear the rebuke and chastening well enough if God, at the same time, lift up the light of his countenance upon him and by his Spirit make him to hear the joy and gladness of his loving-kindness; the affliction of his body will be tolerable if he have but comfort in his soul. o matter though sickness make his bones ache, if God's wrath do not make his heart ache; therefore his prayer is, “Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath; let me not lie under the impressions of that, for that will sink me.” Herein David was a type of Christ, whose sorest complaint, in his sufferings, was of the trouble of his soul and of the suspension of his Father's smiles. He never so much as whispered a complaint of the rage of his enemies - “Why do they crucify me?” or the unkindness of his friends - “Why do they desert me?” But he cried with a loud voice, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Let us thus deprecate the wrath of God more than any outward trouble whatsoever and always beware of treasuring up wrath against a day of affliction. 2. That which he desires as the greatest good, and which would be to him the restoration of all good, is the favour and friendship of God. He prays, (1.) That God would pity him and look upon him with compassion. He thinks himself very miserable, and misery is the proper object of mercy. Hence he prays, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord! in wrath remember mercy, and deal not with me in strict justice.” 5. K&D, “There is a chastisement which proceeds from God's love to the man as being pardoned and which is designed to purify or to prove him, and a chastisement which proceeds from God's wrath against the man as striving obstinately against, or as fallen away from, favour, and which satisfies divine justice. Psa_94:12; Psa_118:17; Pro_3:11. speak of this loving chastisement. The man who should decline it, would act against his own salvation. Accordingly David, like Jeremiah (Jer_10:24), does not pray for the removal of the chastisement but of the chastisement in wrath, or what is the same thing, of the judgment proceeding from wrath [Zorngericht]. בְּאַ פּand ְבּחֲמֽת ְ ָ ַֽ stand in the middle, between אַלand the verbs, for the sake of emphasis. Hengstenberg indeed
finds a different antithesis here. He says: “The contrast is not that of chastisement in love with chastisement in wrath, but that of loving rescue in contrast with chastisement, which always proceeds from the principle of wrath.” If what is here meant is, that always when God chastens a man his wrath is the true and proper motive, it is an error, for the refutation of which one whole book of the Bible, viz., the Book of Job, has been written. For there the friends think that God is angry with Job; but we know from the prologue that, so far from being angry with him, he on the contrary glories in him. Here, in this Psalm, assuming David to be its author, and his adultery the occasion of it, it is certainly quite otherwise. The chastisement under which David is brought low, has God's wrath as its motive: it is punitive chastisement and remains such, so long as David remains fallen from favour. But if in sincere penitence he again struggles through to favour, then the punitive becomes a loving chastisement: God's relationship to him becomes an essentially different relationship. The evil, which is the result of his sin and as such indeed originates in the principle of wrath, becomes the means of discipline and purifying which love employs, and this it is that he here implores for himself.” 6. Calvin, “The calamity which David now experienced had, perhaps, been inflicted by men, but he wisely considers that he has to deal with God. Those persons are very unsuitably exercised under their afflictions who do not immediately take a near and a steady view of their sins, in order thereby to produce the conviction that they have deserved the wrath of God. And yet we see how thoughtless and insensible almost all men are on this subject; for while they cry out that they are afflicted and miserable, scarcely one among a hundred looks to the hand which strikes. From whatever quarter, therefore, our afflictions come, let us learn to turn our thoughts instantly to God, and to acknowledge him as the Judge who summons us as guilty before his tribunal, since we, of our own accord, do not anticipate his judgment. But as men, when they are compelled to feel that God is angry with them, often indulge in complaints full of impiety, rather than find fault with themselves and their own sins, it is to be particularly noticed that David does not simply ascribe to God the afflictions under which he is now suffering, but acknowledges them to be the just recompense of his sins. He does not take God to task as if he had been an enemy, treating him with cruelty without any just cause; but yielding to him the right of rebuking and chastening, he desires and prays only that bounds may be set to the punishment inflicted on him. By this he declares God to be a just Judge in taking vengeance on the sins of men. But as soon as he has confessed that he is justly chastised, he earnestly beseeches God not to deal with him in strict justice, or according to the utmost rigour of the law. He does not altogether refuse punishment, for that would be unreasonable; and to be without it, he judged would be more hurtful than beneficial to him: but what he is afraid of is the wrath of God, which threatens sinners with ruin and perdition. To anger and indignation David tacitly opposes fatherly and gentle chastisement, and this last he was willing to bear. We have a similar contrast in the words of Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 10:24,) “O Lord,” says he, “correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger.” God is, indeed, said to be angry with sinners whenever he inflicts punishment upon them, but not in the proper and strict sense, inasmuch as he not only mingles with it some of the sweetness of his grace to mitigate their sorrow, but also shows himself favorable to them, in moderating their punishment, and in mercifully drawing back his hand. But, as we must necessarily be stricken with terror whenever he shows himself the avenger of wickedness, it is not without cause that David, according to the sense of the flesh, is afraid of his anger and indignation. The meaning therefore is this: I indeed confess, O Lord, that I deserve to be destroyed and brought to nought; but as I would be unable to endure the severity of thy wrath, deal not with me according to my deserts, but rather pardon my sins, by which I have provoked thine anger against me. As often, then, as we are pressed down by adversity, let us learn, from the example of David, to have recourse to this remedy, that we may be brought into a state of peace
with God; for it is not to be expected that it can be well or prosperous with us if we are not interested in his favor. Whence it follows, that we shall never be without a load of evils, until he forgive us our sins.” 7. Spurgeon, “O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger. The Psalmist is very conscious that he deserves to be rebuked, and he feels, moreover, that the rebuke in some form or other must come upon him, if not for condemnation, yet for conviction and sanctification. "Corn is cleaned with wind, and the soul with chastenings." It were folly to pray against the golden hand which enriches us by its blows. He does not ask that the rebuke may be totally withheld, for he might thus lose a blessing in disguise; but, "Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger." If you remind me of my sin, it is good; but, oh, remind me not of it as one incensed against me, lest thy servant's heart should sink in despair. Thus saith Jeremiah, "O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." I know that I must be chastened, and though I shrink from the rod yet do I feel that it will be for my benefit; but, oh, my God, chasten me not in thy hot displeasure, lest the rod become a sword, and lest in smiting, thou shouldest also kill. So may we pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are "not in anger, but in his dear covenant love." 8. When you approach the Lord with boldness, When you pray in Jesus' name, Just tell Him all the pain you're feeling— There's no need for fear or shame. —Fitzhugh 9. Treasury of David, “Verse 1. Rebuke me not. God hath two means by which he reduces his children to obedience; his word, by which he rebukes them; and his rod, by which he chastiseth them. The word precedes, admonishing them by his servants whom he hath sent in all ages to call sinners to repentance: of the which David himself saith, "Let the righteous rebuke me;" and as a father doth first rebuke his disordered child, so doth the Lord speak to them. But when men neglect the warnings of his word, then God as a good Father, takes up the rod and beats them. Our Saviour wakened the three disciples in the garden three times, but seeing that served not, he told them that Judas and his band were coming to awaken them whom his own voice could not waken. A. Symson, 1638. Verse 1. Jehovah, rebuke me not in thine anger, etc. He does not altogether refuse punishment, for that would be unreasonable; and to be without it, he judged would be more hurtful than beneficial to him; but what he is afraid of is the wrath of God, which threatens sinners with ruin and perdition. To anger and indignation David tacitly opposes fatherly and gentle chastisement, and this last he was willing to bear. John Calvin, 1509-1564. Verse 1. O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger. The anger of the Lord? Oh, dreadful thought! How can a creature frail as man endure The tempest of his wrath? Ah, whither flee To escape the punishment he well deserves? Flee to the cross! the great atonement there Will shield the sinner, if he supplicate For pardon with repentance true and deep, And faith that questions not. Then will the frown Of anger pass from off the face of God, Like a black tempest cloud that hides the sun. Anon. Verse 1. Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, etc.; that is, do not lay upon me that thou hast threatened in thy law; where anger is not put for the decree nor the execution, but for the
denouncing. So (Matthew 3:11, and so Hosea 11:9), "I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger," that is, I will not execute my wrath as I have declared it. Again, it is said, he executes punishment on the wicked; he declares it not only, but executeth it, so anger is put for the execution of anger. Richard Stock, 1641. Verse 1. either chasten me in thine hot displeasure. O keep up life and peace within, If I must feel thy chastening rod! Yet kill not me, but kill my sin, And let me know thou art my God. O give my soul some sweet foretaste Of that which I shall shortly see! Let faith and love cry to the last, "Come, Lord, I trust myself with thee!" Richard Baxter, 1615-1691.”
2 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
1. David is hurting both mentally and physically, and we get an example here of how the mind affects the body. He is struggling with guilt, and this, as well as other mental battles, can lead to problems in the body. He feels his bones aching because of the stress in his mind. The Bible makes it clear that you need to get the poison of guilt out of your mind or it will damage your body. Confession is not just good for the soul, it is good for the body. The body can be healed when sin is confessed and dealt with. Hold it in and refuse to confess and you become your own worst enemy. 1B. Barnes. “Have mercy upon me, O Lord - That is, be gracious to me; or, show me compassion. This language may be used either in view of sin, of suffering, or of danger. It is a cry to God to interpose, and remove some present source of trouble, and may be employed by one who feels that he is a sinner, or by one on a bed of pain, or by one surrounded by enemies, or by one at the point of death, or by one who is looking out with apprehension upon the eternal world. It is commonly, indeed (compare Psa_51:1), a cry to God in view of sin, pleading for pardon and salvation; but here it is a cry in view of trouble and danger, outward sorrow and mental anguish, that had overcome the strength of the sufferer and laid him on a bed of languishing. See introduction to the psalm, Section 3. For I am weak - The original word here, ' אמללûmlal, means properly to languish or droop, as plants do that are blighted, Isa_24:7, or as fields do in a drought, Isa_16:8, and is here applied to a sick person whose strength is withered and gone. The condition of such an one is beautifully compared with a plant that withers for lack of moisture; and the word is used in this sense here, as referring to the psalmist himself when sick, as the result of his outward and mental sorrows. Such an effect has not been uncommon in the world. There have been numberless cases where sorrow has prostrated the strength - as a plant withers - and has brought on languishing sickness. O Lord, heal me - This is language which would be properly applied to a case of sickness, and
therefore, it is most natural to interpret it in this sense in this place. Compare Isa_19:22; Isa_30:26; Job_5:18; Gen_20:17; Psa_60:2; 2Ch_16:12; Deu_28:27. For my bones are vexed - The word “vexed” we now commonly apply to mental trouble, and especially the lighter sort of mental trouble - to irritate, to make angry by little provocations, to harass. It is used here, however, as is common in the Scriptures, in reference to torment or to anguish. The bones are the strength and framework of the body, and the psalmist means here to say that the very source of his strength was gone; that that which supported him was prostrated; that his disease and sorrow had penetrated the most firm parts of his body. Language is often used in the Scriptures, also, as if the “bones” actually suffered pain, though it is now known that the bones, as such, are incapable of pain. And in the same manner, also, language is often used, though that use of the word is not found in the Scriptures, as if the “marrow” of the bones were especially sensitive, like a nerve, in accordance with what is the common and popular belief, though it is now known that the marrow of the bones is entirely insensible to suffering. The design of the psalmist here is to say that he was crushed and afflicted in every part of his frame.
2. Clarke, “Have mercy - I have no merit. I deserve all I feel and all I fear. O Lord, heal me - o earthly physician can cure my malady. Body and soul are both diseased, and only God can help me. I am weak - אמללumlal. I am exceedingly weak; I cannot take nourishment, and my strength is exhausted. My bones are vexed - The disease hath entered into my bones.
3. Gill, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord,.... He knew he was a sinner, both by original sin and actual transgression, which he was always ready to own; he knew that what he had done deserved the wrath of God, even his hot displeasure; and that for such things it came upon the children of disobedience: he knew that there was mercy with God through Christ, and therefore he flees unto it, pleads for it, and entreats the manifestation of forgiving love: he pleads no merits of his own, nor makes any mention of former works of righteousness done by him, but throws himself upon the mercy of God in Christ; giving this as a reason, for I am weak; either in body, through some disease upon him; or in soul, being enfeebled by sin, and so without spiritual strength to do that which was good of himself; to exercise grace, and perform duty, and much less to keep the law of God, or make atonement for sin, or to bear the punishment of it; O Lord, heal me; meaning either his body, for God is the physician of the body, he wounds and he heals; so he healed Hezekiah and others; and he should be sought to in the first place by persons under bodily disorders: or else his soul, as in Psa_41:4; sin is the disease of the soul, and a very loathsome one it is, and is incurable but by the balm of Gilead, and the physician there; by the blood of Christ, and forgiveness through it; and the forgiveness of sin is the healing of the diseases of the soul, Psa_103:3; for my bones are vexed; with strong pain; meaning his body, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra observe; because these are the foundation of the body, and the more principal parts of it: and this may be
understood of his grief and trouble of heart for his sins and transgressions, which is sometimes expressed by the bones being broke, and by there being no rest in them, Psa_51:8. 4. Henry, “He complains of bodily pain and sickness (Psa_6:2): My bones are vexed. His bones and his flesh, like Job's, were touched. Though David was a king, yet he was sick and pained; his imperial crown could not keep his head from aching. Great men are men, and subject to the common calamities of human life. Though David was a stout man, a man of war from his youth, yet this could not secure him from distempers, which will soon make even the strong men to bow themselves. Though David was a good man, yet neither could his goodness keep him in health. Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. Let this help to reconcile us to pain and sickness, that it has been the lot of some of the best saints, and that we are directed and encouraged by their example to show before God our trouble in that case, who is for the body, and takes cognizance of its ailments.” 5. Calvin, “Have mercy upon me. As he earnestly calls upon God to be merciful to him, it is from this the more clearly manifest, that by the terms anger and indignation he did not mean cruelty or undue severity, but only such judgment as God executes upon the reprobate, whom he does not spare in mercy as he does his own children. If he had complained of being unjustly and too severely punished, he would now have only added something to this effect: Restrain thyself, that in punishing me thou mayest not exceed the measure of my offense. In betaking himself, therefore, to the mercy of God alone, he shows that he desires nothing else than not to be dealt with according to strict justice, or as he deserved. In order to induce God to exercise his forgiving mercy towards him, he declares that he is ready to fail: Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah, for I am weak As I have said before, he calls himself weak, not because he was sick, but because he was cast down and broken by what had now befallen him. And as we know that the design of God in inflicting punishment upon us, is to humble us; so, whenever we are subdued under his rod, the gate is opened for his mercy to come to us. Besides, since it is his peculiar office to heal the diseased to raise up the fallen, to support the weak, and, finally, to give life to the dead; this, of itself, is a sufficient reason why we should seek his favor, that we are sinking under our afflictions. After David has protested that he placed his hope of salvation in the mercy of God alone, and has sorrowfully set forth how much he is abased, he subjoins the effect which this had in impairing his bodily health, and prays for the restoration of this blessing: Heal me, O Jehovah And this is the order which we must observe, that we may know that all the blessings which we ask from God flow from the fountain of his free goodness, and that we are then, and then only, delivered from calamities and chastisements, when he has had mercy upon us. — For my bones are afraid This confirms what I have just now observed, namely, that, from the very grievousness of his afflictions, he entertained the hope of some relief; for God, the more he sees the wretched oppressed and almost overwhelmed, is just so much the more ready to succor them. He attributes fear to his bones, not because they are endued with feeling, but because the vehemence of his grief was such that it affected his whole body. He does not speak of his flesh, which is the more tender and susceptible part of the corporeal system, but he mentions his bones, thereby intimating that the strongest parts of his frame were made to tremble for fear. He next assigns the cause of this by saying, And my soul is greatly afraid. The connective particle and, in my judgment, has here the meaning of the causal particle for, as if he had said, so severe and violent is the inward anguish of my heart, that it affects and impairs the strength of every part of my body. I do not approve of the opinion which here takes soul for life, nor does it suit the scope of the passage.”
6. Spurgeon, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak. Though I deserve destruction, yet let thy mercy pity my frailty. This is the right way to plead with God if we would prevail. Urge not your goodness or your greatness, but plead your sin and your littleness. Cry, "I am weak," therefore, O Lord, give me strength and crush me not. Send not forth the fury of thy tempest against so weak a vessel. Temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Be tender and pitiful to a poor withering flower, and break it not from its stem. Surely this is the plea that a sick man would urge to move the pity of his fellow if he were striving with him, "Deal gently with me, `for I am weak.'" A sense of sin had so spoiled the Psalmist's pride, so taken away his vaunted strength, that he found himself weak to obey the law, weak through the sorrow that was in him, too weak, perhaps, to lay hold on the promise. "I am weak." The original may be read, "I am one who droops," or withered like a blighted plant. Ah! beloved, we know what this means, for we, too, have seen our glory stained, and our beauty like a faded flower.” 8. Treasury of David, “Verse 2. Have mercy upon me, O Lord. To fly and escape the anger of God, David sees no means in heaven or in earth, and therefore retires himself to God, even to him that wounded him that he might heal him. He flies not with Adam to the bush, nor with Saul to the witch, nor with Jonah to Tarshish; but he appeals from an angry and just God to a merciful God, and from himself to himself. The woman who was condemned by King Philip, appealed from Philip being drunken to Philip being sober. But David appeals from one virtue, justice, to another, mercy. There may be appellation from the tribunal of man to the justice seat of God; but when thou art indicted before God's justice seat, whither or to whom wilt thou go but to himself and his mercyseat, which is the highest and last place of appellation? "I have none in heaven but thee, nor in earth besides thee." ... David, under the name of mercy, includes all things, according to that of Jacob to his brother Esau, "I have gotten mercy, and therefore I have gotten all things." Desirest thou any thing at God's hands? Cry for mercy, out of which fountain all good things will spring to thee. Archibald Symson. Verse 2. For I am weak. Behold what rhetoric he useth to move God to cure him, "I am weak," an argument taken from his weakness, which indeed were a weak argument to move any man to show his favour, but is a strong argument to prevail with God. If a diseased person would come to a physician, and only lament the heaviness of his sickness, he would say, God help thee; or an oppressed person come to a lawyer, and show him the estate of his action and ask his advice, that is a golden question; or to a merchant to crave raiment, he will either have present money or a surety; or a courtier favour, you must have your reward ready in your hand. But coming before God, the most forcible argument that you can use is your necessity, poverty, tears, misery, unworthiness, and confessing them to him, it shall be an open door to furnish you with all things that he hath...The tears of our misery are forcible arrows to pierce the heart of our heavenly Father, to deliver us and pity our hard case. The beggars lay open their sores to the view of the world, that the more they may move men to pity them. So let us deplore our miseries to God, that he, with the pitiful Samaritan, at the sight of our wounds, may help us in due time. Archibald Symson. Verse 2. Heal me, etc. David comes not to take physic upon wantonness, but because the disease is violent, because the accidents are vehement; so vehement, so violent, as that it hath pierced ad ossa, and ad animam, "My bones are vexed, and my soul is sore troubled," therefore "heal me;" which is the reason upon which he grounds this second petition, "Heal me, because my bones are vexed," etc. John Donne. Verse 2. My bones are vexed. The Lord can make the strongest and most insensible part of a man's body sensible of his wrath when he pleaseth to touch him, for here David's bones are
vexed. David Dickson. Verse 2. The term bones frequently occurs in the Psalms, and if we examine we shall find it used in three different senses. 1. It is sometimes applied literally to our blessed Lord's human body, to the body which hung upon the cross, as, "They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones," 2. It has sometimes also a further reference to his mystical body the church. And then it denotes all the members of Christ's body that stand firm in the faith, that cannot be moved by persecutions, or temptations, however severe, as, "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee?" 3. In some passages the term bones is applied to the soul, and not to the body, to the inner man of the individual Christian. Then it implies the strength and fortitude of the soul, the determined courage which faith in God gives to the righteous. This is the sense in which it is used in the second verse of Psalm 6, O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. Augustine, Ambrose, and Chrysostom; quoted by F. H. Dunwell, B.A., in "Parochial Lectures on the Psalms," 1855.”
3 My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?
1. Barnes, “My soul is also sore vexed - The word “soul” here is used in the sense in which it is commonly with us, as denoting the mind. The idea is, that his sorrows were not merely those of the bodily frame. They had a deeper seat than even the bones. His mind, his soul, was full of anguish also, in view of the circumstances which surrounded him, and which had brought on these bodily afflictions. But thou, O Lord - This is a broken sentence, as if he had commenced an address to God, but did not complete it. It is as if he had said, “Here I suffer and languish; my sorrows are deep and unmitigated; as for thee, O Lord” - as if he were about to say that he had hoped God would interpose; or, that his dealings were mysterious; or, that they seemed strange or severe; but he ends the sentence by no language of complaint or complaining, but by simply asking “how long” these sorrows were to continue. How long? - That is, how long wilt thou leave me thus to suffer? How long shall my unmitigated anguish continue? How long will it be ere thou wilt interpose to relieve me? The language implies that in his apprehension it was already a long time - as time usually seems long to a sufferer (compare Job_7:2-4), and that he was constantly looking out for God to interpose and help him. This is language such as all persons may be inclined to use on beds of pain and languishing. It seems indeed long to them now; it will, however, seem short when they look back upon it from the glories of the heavenly world. Compare 2Co_4:17-18.
2. Gill, “My soul is also sore vexed,.... Or "exceedingly troubled" (c), and even frightened and thrown into a consternation with indwelling sin, and on account of actual transgressions, and by reason of the hidings of God's face, and through the temptations of Satan, and because of the fear of death; to which Old Testament saints were very incident. But thou, O Lord, how long? it is an abrupt expression, the whole he designed is not spoken, being hindered through the grief and sorrow with which his heart was overwhelmed; and is to be supplied after this manner, "shall I have refreshment?'' as the Chaldee paraphrase; or, "wilt thou look and not heal me?'' as Jarchi; or "my soul be troubled?'' as Aben Ezra; or "shall I be afflicted, and thou wilt not heal me?'' as Kimchi; or "wilt thou afflict me, and not arise to my help?'' see Psa_13:1. 3. K&D, “His soul is still more shaken than his body. The affliction is therefore not a merely bodily ailment in which only a timorous man loses heart. God's love is hidden from him. God's wrath seems as though it would wear him completely away. It is an affliction beyond all other afflictions. Hence he enquires: And Thou, O Jahve, how long?!” 4. Calvin, “And thou, O Jehovah, how long? This elliptical form of expression serves to express more strongly the vehemence of grief, which not only holds the minds of men bound up, but likewise their tongues, breaking and cutting short their speech in the middle of the sentence. The meaning, however, in this abrupt expression is doubtful. Some, to complete the sentence, supply the words, Wilt thou afflict me, or continue to chasten me? Others read, How long wilt thou delay thy mercy? But what is stated in the next verse shows that this second sense is the more probable, for he there prays to the Lord to look upon him with an eye of favor and compassion. He, therefore, complains that God has now forsaken him, or has no regard to him, just as God seems to be far of from us whenever his assistance or grace does not actually manifest itself in our behalf. God, in his compassion towards us, permits us to pray to him to make haste to succor us; but when we have freely complained of his long delay, that our prayers or sorrow, on this account, may not pass beyond bounds we must submit our case entirely to his will, and not wish him to make greater haste than shall seem good to him.”
5. David Guzik, “David Guzik, “How long? David sensed he was under the chastisement of God, but he still knew he should ask God to shorten the trial. There is a place for humble resignation to chastisement, but God wants us to yearn for higher ground and to use that yearning as a motivation to seek Him and get things right with the LORD.” 6. Spurgeon, “. O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. Here he prays for healing, not merely the mitigation of the ills he endured, but their entire removal, and the curing of the wounds which had arisen therefrom. His bones were "shaken," as the Hebrew has it. His terror had become so great that his very bones shook; not only did his flesh quiver, but the bones, the solid pillars of the house of manhood, were made to tremble. "My bones are shaken." Ah, when the soul has a sense of sin, it is enough to make the bones shake; it is enough to make a man's hair stand up on end to see the flames of hell beneath him, an angry God above him, and danger and doubt surrounding him. Well might he say, "My bones are shaken." Lest, however, we should imagine that it was merely bodily sickness -- although bodily sickness might be the outward sign -- the Psalmist goes on to say, My soul is also sore vexed. Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed. But thou, O Lord, how long? This sentence ends abruptly, for words failed, and grief drowned the little comfort which dawned upon him. The Psalmist had still, however, some hope; but that hope was only in his God. He therefore cries, "O Lord, how long?" The coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ's appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints. Calvin's favourite exclamation was, "Domine usquequo" -- O Lord, how long? or could his sharpest pains, during a life of anguish, force from him any other word. Surely this is the cry of the saints under the altar, "O Lord, how long?" And this should be the cry of the saints waiting for the millennial glories, "Why are his chariots so long in coming; Lord, how long?" Those of us who have passed through conviction of sin knew what it was to count our minutes hours, and our hours years, while mercy delayed its coming. We watched for the dawn of grace, as they that watch for the morning. Earnestly did our anxious spirits ask, "O Lord, how long?" 7. Treasury of David, “Verse 3. My soul. Yoke fellows in sin are yokefellows in pain; the soul is punished for informing, the body for performing, and as both the informer and performer, the cause and the instrument, so shall the stirrer up of sin and the executor of it be punished. John Donne. Verse 3. O Lord, how long? Out of this we have three things to observe; first, that there is an appointed time which God hath measured for the crosses of all his children, before which time they shall not be delivered, and for which they must patiently attend, not thinking to prescribe time to God for their delivery, or limit the Holy One of Israel. The Israelites remained in Egypt till the complete number of four hundred and thirty years were accomplished. Joseph was three years and more in the prison till the appointed time of his delivery came. The Jews remained seventy years in Babylon. So that as the physician appointeth certain times to the patient, both wherein he must fast, and be dieted, and wherein he must take recreation, so God knoweth the convenient times both of our humiliation and exaltation. ext, see the impatience of our nature in our miseries, our flesh still rebelling against the Spirit, which oftentimes forgetteth itself so far, that it will enter into reasoning with God, and quarrelling with him, as we may read in Job,
Jonas, etc., and here also of David. Thirdly, albeit the Lord delay his coming to relieve his saints, yet hath he great cause if we could ponder it; for when we were in the heat of our sins, many times he cried by the mouth of his prophets and servants, "O fools, how long will you continue in your folly?" And we would not hear; and therefore when we are in the heat of our pains, thinking long, yea, every day a year till we be delivered, no wonder is it if God will not hear; let us consider with ourselves the just dealing of God with us; that as he cried and we would not hear, so now we cry, and he will not hear. A. Symson. Verse 3. O Lord, how long? As the saints in heaven have their usque quo, how long, Lord, holy and true, before thou begin to execute judgment? So, the saints on earth have their usque quo. How long, Lord, before thou take off the execution of this judgment upon us? For, our deprecatory prayers are not mandatory, they are not directory, they appoint not God his ways, nor times; but as our postulatory prayers are, they also are submitted to the will of God, and have all in them that ingredient, that herb of grace, which Christ put into his own prayer, that veruntamen, yet not my will, but thy will be fulfilled; and they have that ingredient which Christ put into our prayer, fiat voluntas, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven; in heaven there is no resisting of his will; yet in heaven there is a soliciting, a hastening, an accelerating of the judgment, and the glory of the resurrection; so though we resist not his corrections here upon the earth, we may humbly present to God the sense which we have of his displeasure, for this sense and apprehension of his corrections is one of the principal reasons why he sends them; he corrects us therefore that we might be sensible of his corrections; that when we, being humbled under his hand, have said with his prophet, "I will bear the wrath of the Lord, because I have sinned against him" (Micah 7:9), he may be pleased to say to his correcting angel, as he did to his destroying angel, This is enough, and so burn his rod now, as he put up his sword then. John Donne.
4 Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
1. Just as man can turn from sin and go the way of righteousness, so God can turn from the way of judgment and discipline to the way of deliverance and healing. This is a valuable prayer we need to pray often for our health. Here is a case of mental, emotional and physical salvation. He is not asking for salvation in the sense of eternal life, but for salvation from the effects of his sin,and the problems in his life because of enemies. He is praying for this deliverance, not because he is worthy of being delivered, but based on God's loving mercy. 2. Barnes, “Return, O Lord, deliver my soul - As if he had departed from him, and had left him to die. The word “soul” in this place is used, as it often is, in the sense of “life,” for in the next verse he speaks of the grave to which he evidently felt he was rapidly descending. O save me - Save my life; save me from going down to the grave. Deliver me from these troubles and dangers. For thy mercies’ sake (a) As an act of mere mercy, for he felt that he had no claim, and could not urge it as a matter
of right and justice; and (b) in order that God’s mercy might be manifest, or because he was a merciful Being, and might, therefore, be appealed to on that ground. These are proper grounds, now, on which to make an appeal to God for his interposition in our behalf; and, indeed, these are the only grounds on which we can plead with him to save us.
2. Clarke, “Return, O Lord - Once I had the light of thy countenance, by sin I have forfeited this; I have provoked thee to depart: O Lord, return! It is an awful thing to be obliged to say, Return, O Lord, for this supposes backsliding; and yet what a mercy it is that a backslider may Return to God, with the expectation that God will return to him!
3. Gill, “Return, O Lord,.... By this it seems that the Lord had withdrawn himself, and was departed from the psalmist, wherefore he entreats him to return unto him, and grant him his gracious presence. God is immense and omnipresent, he is everywhere: going away and returning cannot be properly ascribed to him; but he, nay be said to depart from his people, as to sensible communion with him, and enjoyment of him, when he hides his face, withdraws his gracious presence, and the comfortable discoveries and influences of his love; and he may be said to return when he visits them again, and manifests his love and favour to them: the Jewish writers (d) interpret it, "return from the fierceness of thine anger,'' as in Psa_85:3; and though there is no such change in God, as from love to wrath, and from wrath to love; but inasmuch as there is a change in his dispensations towards his people, it is as if it was so; and thus it is apprehended by them; deliver my soul; from the anxiety, distress, and sore vexation it was now in, for of all troubles soul troubles are the worst: and from all enemies and workers of iniquity which were now about him, and gave him much grief and uneasiness; and from death itself, he was in fear of; O, save me for thy mercy's sake; out of all troubles of soul and body, and out of the hands of all enemies, inward and outward; and with temporal, spiritual, and eternal salvation; not for his righteousness's sake, as Kimchi well observes; for salvation is according to the abundant mercy of God, and not through works of righteousness done by men, otherwise it would not be of grace. 4. Henry, ““Return, O Lord! receive me into thy favour again, and be reconciled to me. Thou hast seemed to depart from me and neglect me, nay, to set thyself at a distance, as one angry; but now, Lord, return and show thyself nigh to me.” (5.) That he would especially preserve the inward man and the interests of that, whatever might become of the body: “O Lord! deliver my soul from sinning, from sinking, from perishing for ever.” It is an unspeakable privilege that we have a God to go to in our afflictions, and it is our duty to go to him, and thus to wrestle with him, and we shall not seek in vain. IV. The pleas with which he enforces his petitions, not to move God (he knows our cause and the true merits of it better than we can state them), but to move himself. 1. He pleads God's mercy; and thence we take some of our best encouragements in prayer: Save me, for thy mercies' sake.
5. Calvin, “Return, O Lord. In the preceding verses the Psalmist bewailed the absence of God, and now he earnestly requests the tokens of his presence, for our happiness consists in this, that we are the objects of the Divine regard, but we think he is alienated from us, if he does not give us some substantial evidence of his care for us. That David was at this time in the utmost peril, we gather from these words, in which he prays both for the deliverance of his soul, as it were, from the jaws of death, and for his restoration to a state of safety. Yet no mention is made of any bodily disease, and, therefore, I give no judgment with respect to the kind of his affliction. David, again, confirms what he had touched upon in the second verse concerning the mercy of God, namely, that this is the only quarter from which he hopes for deliverance: Save me for thy mercy’s sake Men will never find a remedy for their miseries until, forgetting their own merits, by trusting to which they only deceive themselves, they have learned to betake themselves to the free mercy of God.” 6. David Guzik, “Save me for Your mercies' sake: The note of confession of sin is not strong in this Psalm of Penitence, but it is not absent. The fact that David appeals to the mercy of God for deliverance is evidence that he is aware that he doesn't deserve it. "David's conscience is uneasy, and he must appeal to grace to temper the discipline he deserves." (Kidner) 7. Spurgeon, “Return, O Lord; deliver my soul. As God's absence was the main cause of his misery, so his return would be enough to deliver him from his trouble. Oh save me for thy mercies' sake. He knows where to look, and what arm to lay hold upon. He does not lay hold on God's left hand of justice, but on his right hand of mercy. He knew his iniquity too well to think of merit, or appeal to anything but the grace of God. For thy mercies' sake. What a plea that is! How prevalent it is with God! If we turn to justice, what plea can we urge? but if we turn to mercy we may still cry, notwithstanding the greatness of our guilt, "Save me for thy mercies' sake." Observe how frequently David here pleads the name of Jehovah, which is always intended where the word LORD is given in capitals. Five times in four verses we here meet with it. Is not this a proof that the glorious name is full of consolation to the tempted saint? Eternity, Infinity, Immutability, Self existence, are all in the name Jehovah, and all are full of comfort. 8. Treasury of David, “Verse 4. Return, O Lord, deliver my soul, etc. In this his besieging of God, he brings up his works from afar off, closer; he begins in this Psalm, at a deprecatory prayer; he asks nothing, but that God would do nothing, that he would forbear him -- rebuke me not, correct me not. ow, it costs the king less to give a pardon than to give a pension, and less to give a reprieve than to give a pardon, and less to connive, not to call in question, than either reprieve, pardon, or pension; to forbear is not much. But then as the mathematician said, that he could make an engine, a screw, that should move the whole frame of the world, if he could have a place assigned him to fix that engine, that screw upon, that so it might work upon the world; so prayer, when one petition hath taken hold upon God, works upon God, moves God, prevails with God, entirely for all. David then having got this ground, this footing in God, he brings his works closer; he comes from the deprecatory to a postulatory prayer; not only that God would do nothing against him, but that he would do something for him. God hath suffered man to see Arcana imperii, the secrets of his state, how he governs -- he governs by precedent; by precedents of his predecessors, he cannot, he hath none; by precedents of other gods he cannot, there are none; and yet he proceeds by precedents, by his own precedents, he does as he did before, habenti dat, to him that hath received he gives more, and is willing to be wrought and prevailed upon, and
pressed with his own example. And, as though his doing good were but to learn how to do good better, still he writes after his own copy, and nulla dies sine linea. He writes something to us, that is, he doth something for us every day. And then, that which is not often seen in other masters, his copies are better than the originals; his latter mercies larger than his former; and in this postulatory prayer, larger than the deprecatory, enters our text, Return, O Lord; deliver my soul: O save me, etc. John Donne.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?
1. We in the ew Testament days have a much more glorious view of the after death experience of those who have gone on, but the fact is, death still today for the Christian ends all of the earthly experience of praise. You hear no songs at the cemetery, for all the voices of the dead are now silent on earth. In heaven they praise without end, but on earth their praise has come to an end. 1B. Barnes, “For in death - In the state of the dead; in the grave. There is no remembrance of thee - They who are dead do not remember thee or think of thee. The “ground” of this appeal is, that it was regarded by the psalmist as a “desirable” thing to remember God and to praise him, and that this could not be done by one who was dead. He prayed, therefore, that God would spare his life, and restore him to health, that he might praise him in the land of the living. A sentiment similar to this occurs in Psa_30:9, “What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?” So also Psa_88:11, “Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?” So also in Isa_38:18, in the language of Hezekiah, “The grave cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” See the notes at that passage. A similar sentiment also is found in Job_10:21-22. See the notes at that passage. In regard to the meaning of this it may be remarked (a) that it is to be admitted that there was among the ancient saints much less light on the subject of the future state than there is with us, and that they often, in giving utterance to their feelings, seemed to speak as if all were dark beyond the grave. (b) But, though they thus spoke in their sorrow and in their despondency, they also did, on other occasions, express their belief in a future state, and their expectation of happiness in a coming world (compare, for example, Psa_16:10-11; Psa_17:15). (c) Does not their language in times of despondency and sickness express the feelings which “we” often have now, even with all the light which we possess, and all the hopes which we cherish? Are there not times in the lives of the pious, even though they have a strong prevailing hope of heaven, when the thoughts are fixed on the grave as a dark, gloomy, repulsive prison, and “so” fixed on it as to lose sight of the world beyond? And in such moments does not “life” seem as precious to us, and as desirable, as it did to David, to Hezekiah, or to Job? In the grave - Hebrew, בשׁאולbishe'ôl, “in Sheol.” For the meaning of the word, see Isa_5:14, note; Isa_14:9, note; Job_7:9, note. Its meaning here does not differ materially from the word
“grave.” Who shall give thee thanks? - Who shall “praise” thee? The idea is that “none” would then praise God. It was the land of “silence.” See Isa_38:18-19. This language implies that David “desired” to praise God, but that he could not hope to do it in the grave.
2. Clarke, “In death there is no remembrance of thee - Man is to glorify thee on earth. The end for which he was born cannot be accomplished in the grave; heal my body, and heal my soul, that I may be rendered capable of loving and serving thee here below. A dead body in the grave can do no good to men, nor bring any glory to thy name! 3. Gill, “For in death there is no remembrance of thee,.... Of the goodness, truth, power, and faithfulness of God; no notice can be taken nor mention, made either of the perfections or works of God, whether of nature or of grace, by a dead man to others; he is wholly useless to men on earth with respect to these things; in the grave who shall give thee thanks? for mercies temporal or spiritual; the dead cannot praise the Lord among men, only the living; see Psa_30:9; wherefore the psalmist desires that he might live and praise the Lord: this argument is taken from the glory of God, which end cannot be answered among men by death, as by life. It does not follow from hence that the soul either dies or sleeps with the body, and is inactive until the resurrection morn, neither of which are true; or that the souls of departed saints are unemployed in heaven; they are always before the throne, and serve the Lord day and night; they remember, with the utmost gratitude and thankfulness, all the goodness and grace of God unto them, and praise him for all his wondrous works: but the sense is, that when a saint is dead, he can no more serve and glorify God on earth among men. 4. Henry, “He pleads God's glory (Psa_6:5): “For in death there is no remembrance of thee. Lord, if thou deliver me and comfort me, I will not only give thee thanks for my deliverance, and stir up others to join with me in these thanksgivings, but I will spend the new life thou shalt entrust me with in thy service and to thy glory, and all the remainder of my days I will preserve a grateful remembrance of thy favors to me, and be quickened thereby in all instances of service to thee; but, if I die, I shall be cut short of that opportunity of honoring thee and doing good to others, for in the grave who will give the thanks?” ot but that separate souls live and act, and the souls of the faithful joyfully remember God and give thanks to him. But, (1.) In the second death (which perhaps David, being now troubled in soul under the wrath of God, had some dreadful apprehensions of) there is no pleasing remembrance of God; devils and damned spirits blaspheme him and do not praise him. “Lord, let me not lie always under this wrath, for that is sheol, it is hell itself, and lays me under an everlasting disability to praise thee.” Those that sincerely seek God's glory, and desire and delight to praise him, may pray in faith, “Lord, send me not to that dreadful place, where there is no devout remembrance of thee, nor are any thanks given to thee.” (2.) Even the death of the body puts an end to our opportunity and capacity of glorifying God in this world, and serving the interests of his kingdom among men by opposing the powers of darkness and bringing many on this earth to know God and devote themselves to him. Some have maintained that the joys of the saints in heaven are more desirable, infinitely more so, than the comforts of saints on earth; yet the services of saints on earth, especially such
eminent ones as David was, are more laudable, and redound more to the glory of the divine grace, than the services of the saints in heaven, who are not employed in maintaining the war against sin and Satan, nor in edifying the body of Christ. Courtiers in the royal presence are most happy, but soldiers in the field are more useful; and therefore we may, with good reason, pray that if it be the will of God, and he has any further work for us or our friends to do in this world, he will yet spare us, or them, to serve him. To depart and be with Christ is most happy for the saints themselves; but for them to abide in the flesh is more profitable for the church. This David had an eye to when he pleaded this, In the grave who shall give thee thanks? Psa_30:9; Psa_88:10; Psa_115:17; Isa_38:18. And this Christ had an eye to when he said, I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world. We should sing these verses with a deep sense of the terrors of God's wrath, which we should therefore dread and deprecate above any thing; and with thankfulness if this be not our condition, and compassion to those who are thus afflicted: if we be thus troubled, let it comfort us that our case is not without precedent, nor, if we humble ourselves and pray, as David did, shall it be long without redress. 5. Calvin, “For in death there is no remembrance of thee. After God has bestowed all things freely upon us, he requires nothing in return but a grateful remembrance of his benefits. To this gratitude reference is made when David says, that there will be no remembrance of God in death, nor any celebration of his praise in the grave His meaning is, that if, by the grace of God, he shall be delivered from death, he will be grateful for it, and keep it in remembrance. And he laments, that if he should be removed out of the world, he would be deprived of the power and opportunity of manifesting his gratitude, since in that case he would no longer mingle in the society of men, there to commend or celebrate the name of God. From this passage some conclude, that the dead have no feeling, and that it is wholly extinct in them; but this is a rash and unwarranted inference, for nothing is here treated of but the mutual celebration of the grace of God, in which men engage while they continue in the land of the living. We know that we are placed on the earth to praise God with one mind and one mouth, and that this is the end of our life. Death, it is true, puts an end to such praises; but it does not follow from this, that the souls of the faithful, when divested of their bodies, are deprived of understanding, or touched with no affection towards God. It is also to be considered, that, on the present occasion, David dreaded the judgment of God if death should befall him, and this made him dumb as to singing the praises of God. It is only the goodness of God sensibly experienced by us which opens our mouth to celebrate his praise; and whenever, therefore, joy and gladness are taken away, praises also must cease. It is not then wonderful if the wrath of God, which overwhelms us with the fear of eternal destruction, is said to extinguish in us the praises of God. From this passage, we are furnished with the solution of another question, why David so greatly dreaded death, as if there had been nothing to hope for beyond this world. Learned men reckon up three causes why the fathers under the law were so much kept in bondage by the fear of death. The first is, because the grace of God, not being then made manifest by the coming of Christ, the promises, which were obscure, gave them only a slight acquaintance with the life to come. The second is, because the present life, in which God deals with us as a Father, is of itself desirable. And the third, because they were afraid lest, after their decease, some change to the worse might take place in religion. But to me these reasons do not appear to be sufficiently solid. David’s mind was not always occupied by the fear he now felt; and when he came to die, being full of days and weary of this life, he calmly yielded up his soul into the bosom of God. The second reason is equally applicable to us at the present day, as it was to the ancient fathers, inasmuch as God’s fatherly love shines forth towards us also even in this life, and with much more illustrious proofs
than under the former dispensation. But, as I have just observed, I consider this complaint of David as including something different, namely, that feeling the hand of God to be against him, and knowing his hatred of sin, he is overwhelmed with fear and involved in the deepest distress. The same may also be said of Hezekiah, inasmuch as he did not simply pray for deliverance from death, but from the wrath of God, which he felt to be very awful, (Isaiah 38:3.)” 6. David Guzik, “In death there is no remembrance of You: It would be wrong to take these agonized words of David as evidence that there is no life beyond this life. The Old Testament has a shadowy understanding of the world beyond. Sometimes it shows a clear confidence (Job 19:25), and sometimes it has the uncertainty David shows here. i. "Churchyards are silent places; the vaults of the sepulcher echo not with songs. Damp earth covers dumb mouths." (Spurgeon) ii. 2 Timothy 2:10 says that Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of the after-life was murky at best in the Old Testament; but Jesus let us know more about heaven and hell than anyone else could. Jesus could do this because He had firsthand knowledge of the world beyond. iii. David's point isn't to present a comprehensive theology of the world beyond. He is in agony, fearing for his life, and he knows he can remember God and give Him thanks now. He doesn't have the same certainty about the world beyond, so he asks God to act according to his certainty. iv. "At rare moments the Psalms have glimpses of rescue from Sheol, in terms that suggest resurrection, or a translation like that of Enoch or Elijah (c.f. 16:10; 17:15; 49:15; 73:24)." (Kidner)” 7. Spurgeon, “And now David was in great fear of death -- death temporal, and perhaps death eternal. Read the passage as you will, the following verse is full of power. For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who shall give thee thanks? Churchyards are silent places; the vaults of the sepulchre echo not with songs. Damp earth covers dumb mouths. "O Lord!" saith he, "if thou wilt spare me I will praise thee. If I die, then must my mortal praise at least be suspended; and if I perish in hell, then thou wilt never have any thanksgiving from me. Songs of gratitude cannot rise from the flaming pit of hell. True, thou wilt doubtless be glorified, even in my eternal condemnation, but then O Lord, I cannot glorify thee voluntarily; and among the sons of men, there will be one heart the less to bless thee." Ah! poor trembling sinners, may the Lord help you to use this forcible argument! It is for God's glory that a sinner should be saved. When we seek pardon, we are not asking God to do that which will stain his banner, or put a blot on his escutcheon. He delighteth in mercy. It is his peculiar, darling attribute. Mercy honours God. Do not we ourselves say, "Mercy blesseth him that gives, and him that takes?" And surely, in some diviner sense, this is true of God, who, when he gives mercy, glorifies himself. 8. Treasury of David, “Verse 5. For in death there is no remembrance of thee, in the grave who will give thee thanks? Lord, be thou pacified and reconciled to me ... for shouldest thou now proceed to take away my life, as it were a most direful condition for me to die before I have propitiated thee, so I may well demand what increase of glory or honour will it bring unto thee? Will it not be infinitely more glorious for thee to spare me, till by true contrition I may regain thy favour? -and then I may live to praise and magnify thy mercy and thy grace: thy mercy in pardoning so great a sinner, and then confess thee by vital actions of all holy obedience for the future, and so
demonstrate the power of thy grace which hath wrought this change in me; neither of which will be done by destroying me, but only thy just judgments manifested in thy vengeance on sinners, Henry Hammond, D.D., 1659
6 I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
1. It is a valid way to express emotions in poetry by using exaggeration. We do it all the time in romantic poetry, and it is necessary also in spiritual poetry because there are no adequate words to express the depth of our feelings, and no language to convey our awesome wonder at the nature and works of God. 1B. Barnes, “I am weary with my groaning - I am exhausted or worn out with it. That is, his sorrows were so deep, and his groaning was so constant, that his strength failed. He became “faint” under the weight of his sorrows. All persons in trouble have experienced this effect - the sense of weariness or exhaustion from sorrow. All the night make I my bed to swim - That is, he wept so much that his bed seemed to be immersed in tears. This is, of course, hyperbolical language, expressing in a strong and emphatic manner the depth of his sorrows. I water my couch with my tears - The word here rendered “water” means to melt, to flow down; then, in the Hiphil, to cause to flow, to dissolve. The sense here is, that he caused his couch to “flow” or “overflow” with his tears. We would say, he “flooded” his bed with tears. This verse discloses the true source of the trials referred to in the psalm. It was some deep mental anguish some source of grief - that exhausted his strength, and that laid him on a bed of languishing. o circumstances in the life of David better accord with this than the troubles which existed on account of the ungrateful and rebellious conduct of Absalom, and it is most natural to refer it to this. Many a parent since the time of David has experienced “all,” both mental and bodily, which is here described as a consequence of the ingratitude and evil conduct of his children. The tragedy of “Lear” turns entirely on this.
2. Gill, “I am weary with my groanings,.... By reason of bodily illness, or indwelling sin, or the guilt of actual transgressions, or the hidings of God's face, or a sense of divine wrath, or the temptations of Satan, or afflictions and crosses of various kinds, or fears of death, or even earnest desires after heaven and eternal happiness, or the low estate of Zion; each of which at times occasion groaning in the saints, as in the psalmist, and is the common experience of all good men. The psalmist being weary of his disease, or of sin, groaned till he was weary with his groaning;
inward groaning affects the body, wastes the animal spirits, consumes the flesh, and induces weariness and faintness; see Psa_102:5; all the night make I my bed to swim: I water my couch with my tears; these are hyperbolical phrases (e), expressing more than is intended, and are not to be literally understood; for such a quantity of tears a man could never shed, as to water his couch and make his bed to swim with them, but they are used to denote the multitude of them, and the excessiveness of his sorrow; see Psa_119:136; and these tears were shed, not to atone and satisfy for sin, for nothing but the blood and sacrifice of Christ can do that; but to express the truth and reality, as well as the abundance of his grief; and this was done "all the night long"; see Job_7:3; when he had leisure to think and reflect upon his sins and transgressions, and when he was clear of all company, and no one could hear or see him, nor interrupt him in the vent of his sorrow, and when his disease might be heavier upon him, as some diseases increase in the night season: this may also be mystically understood, of a night of spiritual darkness and desertion, when a soul is without the discoveries of the love of God, and the influences of his grace; and has lost sight of God and Christ, and interest in them, and does not enjoy communion with them; and throughout this night season weeping endures, though joy comes in the morning. And it may be applicable to David's antitype, to the doleful night in which he was betrayed, when it was the hour and power of darkness, and when he had no other couch or bed but the ground itself; which was watered, not only with his tears, but with his sweat and blood, his sweat being as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground; so he is often said to sigh and groan in spirit, Mar_7:34. 3. Calvin, “These forms of expression are hyperbolical, but it must not be imagined that David, after the manner of poets, exaggerates his sorrow; but he declares truly and simply how severe and bitter it had been. It should always be kept in mind, that his affliction did not proceed so much from his having been severely wounded with bodily distress; but regarding God as greatly displeased with him, he saw, as it were, hell open to receive him; and the mental distress which this produces exceeds all other sorrows. Indeed, the more sincerely a man is devoted to God, he is just so much the more severely disquieted by the sense of his wrath; and hence it is that holy persons, who were otherwise endued with uncommon fortitude, have showed in this respect the greatest softness and want of resolution. And nothing prevents us at this day from experiencing in ourselves what David describes concerning himself but the stupidity of our flesh. Those who have experienced, even in a moderate degree, what it is to contend with the fear of eternal death, will be satisfied that there is nothing extravagant in these words. Let us, therefore, know that here David is represented to us as being afflicted with the terrors of his conscience,“With the terrors of death.” and feeling within him torment of no ordinary kind, but such as made him almost faint away, and lie as if dead. With respect to the words, he says, Mine eye hath waxed dim; for grief of mind easily makes its way to the eyes, and from them very distinctly shows itself. As the word עתק athak, which I have translated it hath waxed old, sometimes signifies to depart from one’s place, some expound it, that the goodness of his eyesight was lost, and his sight, as it were, had vanished. Others understand by it that his eyes were hidden by the swelling which proceeds from weeping. The first opinion, however, according to which David complains of his eyes failing him, as it were, through old age, appears to me the more simple. As to what he adds, every night, we learn from it that he was almost wholly wasted away with protracted sorrow, and yet all the while never ceased from praying to God.” 4. Spurgeon, “I am weary with my groaning. He has groaned till his throat was hoarse; he had cried for mercy till prayer became a labour. God's people may groan, but they may not grumble.
Yea, they must groan, being burdened, or they will never shout in the day of deliverance. The next sentence, we think, is not accurately translated. It should be, I shall make my bed to swim every night (when nature needs rest, and when I am most alone with my God). That is to say, my grief is fearful even now, but if God do not soon save me, it will not stay of itself, but will increase, until my tears will be so many, that my bed itself shall swim. A description rather of what he feared would be, than of what had actually taken place. May not our forebodings of future woe become arguments which faith may urge when seeking present mercy? 5. Bill Crowder has one of the best devotionals on this:, “Recording artist James Taylor exploded onto the music scene in early 1970 with the song “Fire and Rain.” In it, he talked about the disappointments of life, describing them as “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.” That was a reference to Taylor’s original band Flying Machine, whose attempt at breaking into the recording industry had failed badly, causing him to wonder if his dreams of a musical career would ever come true. The reality of crushed expectations had taken their toll, leaving Taylor with a sense of loss and hopelessness. The psalmist David also experienced hopeless despair as he struggled with his own failures, the attacks of others, and the disappointments of life. In Psalm 6:6 he said, “I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears.” The depth of his sorrow and loss drove him to heartache—but in that grief he turned to the God of all comfort. David’s own crushed and broken “flying machines” gave way to the assurance of God’s care, prompting him to say, “The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer” (v.9). In our own seasons of disappointment, we too can find comfort in God, who cares for our broken hearts. Even in my darkest hour The Lord will bless me with His power; His loving grace will sure abound, In His sweet care I shall be found. —Brandt 6. Treasury of David, “Verse 6. I fainted in my mourning. It may seem a marvellous change in David, being a man of such magnitude of mind, to be thus dejected and cast down. Prevailed he not against Goliath, against the lion and the bear, through fortitude and magnanimity? But now he is sobbing, sighing, and weeping as a child! The answer is easy; the diverse persons with whom he hath to do occasions the same. When men and beasts are his opposites, then he is more than a conqueror; but when he hath to do with God against whom he sinned, then he is less than nothing. Verse 6. I caused my bed to swim. ... Showers be better than dews, yet it is sufficient if God at least hath bedewed our hearts, and hath given us some sign of a penitent heart. If we have not rivers of waters to pour forth with David, neither fountains flowing with Mary Magdalene, nor as Jeremy, desire to have a fountain in our head to weep day and night, nor with Peter weep bitterly; yet if we lament that we cannot lament, and mourn that we cannot mourn: yea, if we have the smallest sobs of sorrow and tears of compunction, if they be true and not counterfeit, they will make us acceptable to God; for as the woman with the bloody issue that touched the hem of Christ's
garment, was no less welcome to Christ than Thomas, who put his fingers in the print of the nails; so, God looketh not at the quantity, but the sincerity of our repentance. Verse 6. My bed. The place of his sin is the place of his repentance, and so it should be; yea, when we behold the place where we have offended, we should be pricked in the heart, and there again crave him pardon. As Adam sinned in the garden, and Christ sweat bloody tears in the garden. "Examine your hearts upon your beds, and convert unto the Lord;" and whereas ye have stretched forth yourselves upon your bed to devise evil things, repent there and make them sanctuaries to God. Sanctify by your tears every place which ye have polluted by sin. And let us seek Christ Jesus on our own bed, with the spouse in the Canticles, who saith, "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth." Archibald Symson. Verse 6. I water my couch with tears. ot only I wash, but also I water. The faithful sheep of the great Shepherd go up from the washing place, every one bringeth forth twins, and none barren among them. Song of Solomon 4:2. For so Jacob's sheep, having conceived at the watering troughs, brought forth strong and party coloured lambs. David likewise, who before had erred and strayed like a lost sheep making here his bed a washing place, by so much the less is barren in obedience, by how much the more he is fruitful in repentance. In Solomon's temple stood the caldrons of brass, to wash the flesh of those beasts which were to be sacrificed on the altar. Solomon's father maketh a water of his tears, a caldron of his bed, an altar of his heart, a sacrifice, not of the flesh of unreasonable beasts, but of his own body, a living sacrifice, which is his reasonable serving of God. ow the Hebrew word here used signifies properly, to cause to swim, which is more than simply to wash. And thus the Geneva translation readeth it, I cause my bed every night to swim. So that as the priests used to swim in the molten sea, that they might be pure and clean, against they performed the holy rites and services of the temple, in like manner the princely prophet washes his bed, yea, he swims in his bed, or rather he causes his bed to swim in tears, as in a sea of grief and penitent sorrow for his sin. Thomas Playfere, 1604. Verse 6. I water my couch with my tears. Let us water our bed every night with our tears. Do not only blow upon it with intermissive blasts, for then like fire, it will resurge and flame the more. Sin is like a stinking candle newly put out, it is soon lighted again. It may receive a wound, but like a dog it will easily lick itself whole; a little forbearance multiplies it like Hydra's heads. Therefore, whatsoever aspersion the sin of the day has brought upon us, let the tears of the night wash away. Thomas Adams. Verse 6-7. Soul trouble is attended usually with great pain of body too, and so a man is wounded and distressed in every part. There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger, says David. "The arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit." Job 6:4. Sorrow of heart contracts the natural spirits, making all their motions slow and feeble; and the poor afflicted body does usually decline and waste away; and, therefore, saith Heman, "My soul is full of troubles, and my life draweth nigh unto the grave." In this inward distress we find our strength decay and melt, even as wax before the fire; for sorrow darkeneth the spirits, obscures the judgment, blinds the memory, as to all pleasant things, and beclouds the lucid part of the mind, causing the lamp of life to burn weakly. In this troubled condition the person cannot be without a countenance that is pale, and wan, and dejected, like one that is seized with strong fear and consternation; all his motions are sluggish, and no sprightliness nor activity remains. A merry heart doth good, like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Hence come those frequent complaints in Scripture: My moisture is turned into the drought of the summer: I am like a bottle in the smoke; my soul cleaveth unto the dust: my face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelid is the shadow of death. Job 16:16 30:17-19. "My bones are pierced in me, in the night seasons, and my sinews take no rest; by the great force of my disease is my garment changed. He
hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes." Many times indeed the trouble of the soul does begin from the weakness and indisposition of the body. Long affliction, without any prospect of remedy, does, in process of time, begin to distress the soul itself. David was a man often exercised with sickness and the rage of enemies; and in all the instances almost that we meet with him in the Psalms, we may observe that the outward occasions of trouble brought him under an apprehension of the wrath of God for his sin. (Psalms 6:1-2; and the reasons given, Psalms 6:5-6.) All his griefs running into this most terrible thought, that God was his enemy. As little brooks lose themselves in a great river, and change their name and nature, it most frequently happens that when our pain is long and sharp, and helpless and unavoidable, we begin to question the sincerity of our estate toward God, though at its first assault we had few doubts or fears about it. Long weakness of body makes the soul more susceptible of trouble, and uneasy thoughts. Timothy Rogers on Trouble of Mind.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
1. Barnes, “Mine eye is consumed - The word here rendered “consumed” - ‛ עשׁשׁâshêsh - means properly to fall in, to fall away, and is applied here to the “eye” as pining or wasting away from care, anxiety, and sorrow. Tears were poured forth from the eye, and it seemed to be exhausting itself in this manner. The meaning is, that it had grown “dim,” or that its sight began to fail, like that of an old man, on account of his troubles. Many have understood the word here rendered “eye” as referring to the “countenance;” but it is doubtful whether the word ever has this signification; and at any rate the common signification, referring it to the “eye,” best suits this connection. It waxeth old - It seems to grow old; it experiences the effects commonly produced by age in blunting the power of vision. This is not an uncommon effect of grief and sadness. Even while I am writing this I am called in my pastoral visitations to attend on a young lady lying on a bed of languishing, and probably of death, one of whose symptoms is a quite diminished, and indeed almost total loss of vision, as the effect of trouble and disease. Because of all mine enemies - From the trouble which they have brought upon me. The reference here, according to the interpretation proposed of the psalm, is to Absalom and those who were associated with him. Their conduct had been such as to bring upon David this overwhelming tide of sorrows. 2. Gill, “Mine eye is consumed because of grief,.... Either by reason of the affliction he laboured under, which could not he joyous, but grievous; or because, of the sin that was in him, and those that he had committed, which were grieving to him; or through the sins of other professors of religion, or profane sinners, whom he beheld with grief of heart and weeping eyes: the word (f)
used signifies anger and indignation, and sorrow arising from thence, and may denote either indignation in himself at his enemies, who were rejoicing at his calamities; or the sense he had of the anger of God, and his hot displeasure, which he feared he was rebuking and chastening him with; and now his heart being filled with grief on one or other of these accounts, or all of them, vented itself in floods of tears, which hurt the visive faculty; for through much weeping the eye is weakened and becomes dim; and through a multitude of tears, and a long continuance of them, it fails; see Job_17:7; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies; saints have many enemies, sin, Satan, and the world; and these are very oppressive ones, as the word (g) here signifies; such as beset them about, straiten them on all hands, and press them sore; and they must be pressed down by them, were it not that he that is in them is greater than he that is in the world; and David's enemies gave him so much trouble, and caused him to shed such plenty of tears, that his eye waxed old, was shrunk up, and beset with wrinkles, the signs of old age; or it was removed out of its place, as the word is rendered in Job_18:4; or the sight was removed from that, it was gone from him, Psa_38:10. 3. Henry, “The impression which his troubles made upon him. They lay very heavily; he groaned till he was weary, wept till he made his bed to swim, and watered his couch (Psa_6:6), wept till he had almost wept his eyes out (Psa_6:7): My eye is consumed because of grief. David had more courage and consideration than to mourn thus for any outward affliction; but, when sin sat heavily upon his conscience and he was made to possess his iniquities, when his soul was wounded with the sense of God's wrath and his withdrawings from him, then he thus grieves and mourns in secret, and even his soul refuses to be comforted. This not only kept his eyes waking, but kept his eyes weeping. ote, 1. It has often been the lot of the best of men to be men of sorrows; our Lord Jesus himself was so. Our way lies through a vale of tears, and we must accommodate ourselves to the temper of the climate. 2. It well becomes the greatest spirits to be tender, and to relent, under the tokens of God's displeasure. David, who could face Goliath himself and many another threatening enemy with an undaunted bravery, yet melts into tears at the remembrance of sin and under the apprehensions of divine wrath; and it was no diminution at all to his character to do so. 3. True penitents weep in their retirements. The Pharisees disguised their faces, that they might appear unto men to mourn; but David mourned in the night upon the bed where he lay communing with his own heart, and no eye was a witness to his grief, but the eye of him who is all eye. Peter went out, covered his face, and wept. 4. Sorrow for sin ought to be great sorrow; so David's was; he wept so bitterly, so abundantly, that he watered his couch. 5. The triumphs of wicked men in the sorrows of the saints add very much to their grief. David's eye waxed old because of his enemies, who rejoiced in his afflictions and put bad constructions upon his tears. In this great sorrow David was a type of Christ, who often wept, and who cried out, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, Heb_5:7. 4. Spurgeon, “I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all my enemies. As an old man's eye grows dim with years, so, says David, my eye is grown red and feeble through weeping. Conviction sometimes has such an effect upon the body, that even the outward organs are made to suffer. May not this explain some of the convulsions and hysterical attacks which have been experienced under convictions in the revivals in Ireland? Is it surprising that some souls be smitten to the earth, and begin to cry aloud; when we find that David himself made his bed to swim, and grew old while he was under the heavy hand of God? Ah! brethren, it is no light matter to feel one's self a sinner, condemned at the bar of God. The language of this Psalm is not strained and forced, but perfectly natural to one in so sad a plight.
5. Treasury of David, “Verse 6-7. See Psalms on "Psalms 6:6" for further information. Verse 7. Mine eye is consumed. Many make those eyes which God hath given them, as it were two lighted candles to let them see to go to hell; and for this God in justice requites them, seeing their minds are blinded by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, God, I say, sendeth sickness to debilitate their eyes which were so sharp sighted in the devil's service, and their lust now causeth them to want the necessary sight of their body. Verse 7. Mine enemies. The pirates seeing an empty bark, pass by it; but if she be loaded with precious wares, then they will assault her. So, if a man have no grace within him, Satan passeth by him as not a convenient prey for him; but being loaded with graces, as the love of God, his fear, and such other spiritual virtues, let him be persuaded that according as he knows what stuff is in him, so will he not fail to rob him of them, if in any case he may, Archibald Symson. Verse 7. That eye of his that had looked and lusted after his neighbour's wife is now dimmed and darkened with grief and indignation. He has wept himself almost blind. John Trapp.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.
1. Jamison, “Assured of God’s hearing, he suddenly defies his enemies by an address indicating that he no longer fears them. 2. Barnes, “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity - Referring, by the “workers of iniquity,” to his enemies, as if they now surrounded him, and calling on them “now” to leave him, since God had heard his prayer, and they could not be successful in their purposes. This is an indirect but most emphatic way of saying that God had heard his prayer; and the sentiment in this verse is strongly in contrast with the desponding state of feeling - the deep and dreadful sorrow indicated in the previous verses. Light broke in suddenly upon him; his prayer had come up before God, and, in some way, he was assured that it would be answered. Already he sees his enemies scattered, and his own cause triumphant; and in this exulting feeling he addresses his foes, and commands them to leave him. This is, therefore, a remarkable and striking proof that prayer may be heard, even while we are speaking to God (compare Isa_65:24); that the assurance may be conveyed suddenly to the mind that God will hear and answer the prayer which is addressed to him; and also a beautiful illustration of the effect of this on a mind overwhelmed with trouble and sorrow, in giving it calmness and peace. For the Lord hath heard - That is, my prayer has ascended before him, and I am certain that he regards it favorably, and will answer it. “In what way” he had this assurance he does not inform us. As he was an inspired man, we may suppose that the assurance was given to him directly by the Holy Spirit. “We” are not to expect the “same kind” of assurance that our prayers are heard; we are to look for no revelation to that effect; but there may be “as real” an intimation
to the mind that our prayers are heard - as real “evidence” - as in this case. There may be a firm confidence of the mind that God is a hearer of prayer now coming to the soul with the freshness of a new conviction of that truth; and there may be, in trouble and sorrow, a sweet calmness and peace breathed through the soul - an assurance that all will be right and well, as if the prayer were heard, and such as there would be if we were assured by direct revelation that it is heard. The Spirit of God can produce this in our case as really as he did in the case of David. The voice of my weeping - The voice of prayer that accompanied my weeping, or the voice of the weeping itself - the cry of anguish and distress which was in itself of the nature of prayer.
3. Clarke, “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity - It seems that while he was suffering grievously through the disease, his enemies had insulted and mocked him; - upbraided him with his transgressions, not to increase his penitence, but to cast him into despair. The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping - The Lord pitifully beheld the sorrows of his heart, and mercifully forgave his sins.
4. Gill, “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity,.... The psalmist being fully assured that God had heard his prayer, that he should recover from his disorder, or be delivered out of his calamities, whether corporeal or spiritual, has on a sudden a spring of joy, faith, and comfort; as sometimes there is a quick transition from comfortable to uncomfortable frames; see Psa_30:7; so on the contrary, there is as quick a passage from uncomfortable to comfortable ones; see Lam_3:18; who may be called "workers of iniquity" See Gill on Psa_5:5; and these were either his open enemies, as Saul and his men, or Absalom and the conspirators with him, whom he bids to cease from following and pursuing after him; or his secret ones, hypocritical courtiers, that were about him, who were wishing and hoping for his death. It is the lot of God's people to be among the workers of iniquity; Lot was among the Sodomites, David was in Meshech and in the tents of Kedar, Isaiah was among men of unclean lips; Christ's lily is among thorns, and his sheep among goats; and though in some respects a civil conversation with wicked men cannot be avoided, for then good men must needs go out of the world; yet as little company should be kept with them as can be, and no fellowship should be had with them in sinful practices, nor in superstitious worship; and though there will not be a full and final separation from them in the present state of things, there will be hereafter, when these very words will be used by David's antitype, the Lord Jesus Christ; not only to profane sinners, but to carnal professors of religion, who have herded themselves with the people of God, Mat_25:41. The reason why the psalmist took heart and courage, and ordered his wicked persecutors, or sycophants, to be gone from him, was his assurance of being heard by the Lord; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping; referring to what is said Psa_6:6; he had not only lifted up his voice in prayer, but he had wept and made supplication, as Jacob did, Hos_12:4; sometimes God brings his people to the throne of grace weeping, and with supplications leads them, Jer_31:9; and then hears their cry and answers them. 5. Henry, “What a sudden change is here for the better! He that was groaning, and weeping, and giving up all for gone (Psa_6:6, Psa_6:7), here looks and speaks very pleasantly. Having made his requests known to God, and lodged his case with him, he is very confident the issue will be good and his sorrow is turned into joy.
I. He distinguishes himself from the wicked and ungodly, and fortifies himself against their insults (Psa_6:8): Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. When he was in the depth of his distress, 1. He was afraid that God's wrath against him would give him his portion with the workers of iniquity; but now that this cloud of melancholy had blown over he was assured that his soul would not be gathered with sinners, for they are not his people. He began to suspect himself to be one of them because of the heavy pressures of God's wrath upon him; but now that all his fears were silenced he bade them depart, knowing that his lot was among the chosen. 2. The workers of iniquity had teased him, and taunted him, and asked him, “Where is thy God?” triumphing in his despondency and despair; but now he had wherewith to answer those that reproached him, for God, who was about to return in mercy to him, had now comforted his spirit and would shortly complete his deliverance. 3. Perhaps they had tempted him to do as they did, to quit his religion and betake himself for ease to the pleasures of sin. But now, “depart from me; I will never lend an ear to your counsel; you would have had me to curse God and die, but I will bless him and live.” This good use we should make of God's mercies to us, we should thereby have our resolution strengthened never to have any thing more to do with sin and sinners. David was a king, and he takes this occasion to renew his purpose of using his power for the suppression of sin and the reformation of manners, Psa_75:4; Psa_101:3. When God has done great things for us, this should put us upon studying what we shall do for him. Our Lord Jesus seems to borrow these words from the mouth of his father David, when, having all judgment committed to him, he shall say, Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity (Luk_13:27), and so teaches us to say so now, Psa_119:115.
6. Calvin, “After David has disburdened his griefs and troubles into the bosom of God, he now, as it were, assumes a new character. And, without doubt, he had been afflicted with long-continued despondency of spirit before he could recover himself, and attain to such a degree of assurance as he here displays; for we have already seen that he had spent many nights in continual weeping. ow, the more he had been distressed and wearied by the long delay of his deliverance, with so much the more alacrity does he stir up himself to sing of victory. Directing his discourse against his adversaries, he represents it as not the least part of his temptations that ungodly men triumphed over him, and derided him as lost, and in a hopeless condition; for we know with what insolence their pride and cruelty magnify themselves against the children of God, when they see them oppressed under the cross. And to this Satan moves them, in order to drive the faithful to despair, when they see their hope made the subject of mockery. This passage teaches us, that the grace of God is the only light of life to the godly; and that, as soon as He has manifested some token of his anger, they are not only greatly afraid, but also, as it were, plunged into the darkness of death; while, on the other hand, as soon as they discover anew that God is merciful to them, they are immediately restored to life. David, it is to be noticed, repeats three times that his prayers were heard, by which he testifies that he ascribes his deliverance to God, and confirms himself in this confidence, that he had not betaken himself to God in vain. And if we would receive any fruit from our prayers, we must believe that God’s ears have not been shut against them. By the word weeping, “Silent grief is not much known in the East. Hence, when the people speak of lamentation, they say, Have I not heard the voice of his mourning?” he not only indicates vehemence and earnestness, but also intimates that he had been wholly occupied in mourning and sorrowful lamentations. The confidence and security which David takes to himself from the favor of God ought also to be noticed. From this, we are taught that there is nothing in the whole world, whatever it may be, and whatever opposition it may make to us, which we may not despise, if we are fully persuaded of our being beloved by God; and by this also we
understand what his fatherly love can do for us. By the adverb suddenly, he signifies, that when there is apparently no means of delivering the faithful from affliction, and when all seems desperate or hopeless, then they are delivered by the power of God contrary to all expectation. When God suddenly changes men’s afflicted condition into one of joy and happiness, he thereby manifests more illustriously his power, and makes it appear the more wonderful.” 7. David Guzik, “Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity: It may be that the sin that led David into this chastisement was association with the ungodly. Here we see David acting consistently with his change of heart, and telling all ungodly associates to depart. i. It is important to separate from ungodly associations. J. Edwin Orr describes some of the work among new converts in Halifax during the Second Great Awakening in Britain: "Among them was a boxer who had just won a money-prize and a belt. A crowd of his erstwhile companions stood outside the hall in order to ridicule him, and they hailed the converted boxer with a shout: 'He's getting' converted! What about that belt? Tha'lt either have to fight for it or give it up!' The boxer retorted: 'I'll both give it up and you up! If you won't go with me to heaven, I won't go with you to hell!' He gave them the belt, but persuaded some of them to accompany him to the services, where another was converted and set busily working." 8. Spurgeon, “Hitherto, all has been mournful and disconsolate, but now -"Your harps, ye trembling saints, Down from the willows take." Ye must have your times of weeping, but let them be short. Get ye up, get ye up, from your dunghills! Cast aside your sackcloth and ashes! Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. David has found peace, and rising from his knees he begins to sweep his house of the wicked. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. The best remedy for us against an evil man is a long space between us both. "Get ye gone; I can have no fellowship with you." Repentance is a practical thing. It is not enough to bemoan the desecration of the temple of the heart, we must scourge out the buyers and sellers, and overturn the tables of the money changers. A pardoned sinner will hate the sins which cost the Saviour his blood. Grace and sin are quarrelsome neighbours, and one or the other must go to the wall. For the Lord hath hear the voice of my weeping. What a fine Hebraism, and what grand poetry it is in English! "He hath heard the voice of my weeping." Is there a voice in weeping? Does weeping speak? In what language doth it utter its meaning? Why, in that universal tongue which is known and understood in all the earth, and even in heaven above. When a man weeps, whether he be a Jew or Gentile, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, it has the same meaning in it. Weeping is the eloquence of sorrow. It is an unstammering orator, needing no interpreter, but understood of all. Is it not sweet to believe that our tears are understood even when words fail? Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers, and of weeping as a constant dropping of importunate intercession which will wear its way right surely into the very heart of mercy, despite the stony difficulties which obstruct the way. My God, I will "weep" when I cannot plead, for thou hearest the voice of my weeping. 9. Treasury of David, “Verse 8. Depart from me, etc., i.e., you may now go your way; for that which you look for, namely, my death, you shall not have at this present; for the Lord hath heard
the voice of my weeping, i.e., has graciously granted me that which with tears I asked of him. Thomas Wilcocks. Verse 8. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. May not too much familiarity with profane wretches be justly charged upon church members? I know man is a sociable creature, but that will not excuse saints as to their carelessness of the choice of their company. The very fowls of the air, and beasts of the field, love not heterogeneous company. "Birds of a feather flock together." I have been afraid that many who would be thought eminent, of a high stature in grace and godliness, yet see not the vast difference there is between nature and regeneration, sin and grace, the old and the new man, seeing all company is alike unto them. Lewis Stuckley's "Gospel Glass", 1667. Verse 8. The voice of my weeping. Weeping hath a voice, and as music upon the water sounds farther and more harmoniously than upon the land, so prayers, joined with tears, cry louder in God's ears, and make sweeter music than when tears are absent. When Antipater had written a large letter against Alexander's mother unto Alexander, the king answered him, "One tear from my mother will wash away all her faults." So it is with God. A penitent tear is an undeniable ambassador, and never returns from the throne of grace unsatisfied. Spencer's Things ew and Old. Verse 8. The wicked are called, workers of iniquity, because they are free and ready to sin, they have a strong tide and bent of spirit to do evil, and they do it not to halves but thoroughly; they do not only begin or nibble at the bait a little (as a good man often doth), but greedily swallow it down, hook and all; they are fully in it, and do it fully; they make a work of it, and so are "workers of iniquity." Joseph Caryl. Verse 8. Some may say, "My constitution is such that I cannot weep; I may as well go to squeeze a rock, as think to get a tear." But if thou canst not weep for sin, canst thou grieve? Intellectual mourning is best; there may be sorrow where there are no tears, the vessel may be full though it wants vent; it is not so much the weeping eye God respects as the broken heart; yet I would be loath to stop their tears who can weep. God stood looking on Hezekiah's tears (Isaiah 38:5), "I have seen thy tears." David's tears made music in God's ears, The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. It is a sight fit for angels to behold, tears as pearls dropping from a penitent eye. T. Watson. Verse 8. The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. God hears the voice of our looks, God hears the voice of our tears sometimes better than the voice of our words; for it is the Spirit itself that makes intercession for us. Romans 8:26. Gemitibus inenarrabilibus, in those groans, and so in those tears, which we cannot utter; ineloquacibus, as Tertullian reads that place, devout, and simple tears, which cannot speak, speak aloud in the ears of God; nay, tears which we cannot utter; not only utter the force of the tears, but not utter the very tears themselves. As God sees the water in the spring in the veins of the earth before it bubble upon the face of the earth, so God sees tears in the heart of a man before they blubber his face; God hears the tears of that sorrowful soul, which for sorrow cannot shed tears. From this casting up of the eyes, and pouring out the sorrow of the heart at the eyes, at least opening God a window through which he may see a wet heart through a dry eye; from these overtures of repentance, which are as those imperfect sounds of words, which parents delight in, in their children, before they speak plain, a penitent sinner comes to a verbal and a more expressive prayer. To these prayers, these vocal and verbal prayers from David, God had given ear, and from this hearing of those prayers was David come to this thankful confidence, The Lord hath heard, the Lord will hear. John Donne. Verse 8. What a strange change is here all of a sudden! Well might Luther say, "Prayer is the leech
of the soul, that sucks out the venom and swelling thereof." "Prayer," saith another, "is an exorcist with God, and an exorcist against sin and misery." Bernard saith, "How oft hath prayer found me despairing almost, but left me triumphing, and well assured of pardon!" The same in effect saith David here, "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping." What a word is that to his insulting enemies! Avaunt! come out! vanish! These be words used to devils and dogs, but good enough for a Doeg or a Shimei. And the Son of David shall say the same to his enemies when he comes to judgment. John Trapp.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
1. Barnes, “The Lord hath heard my supplication - Repeating the sentiment in the previous verse, to express his assurance and his joy. othing is more natural in such circumstances than to dwell on the joyous thought, and to repeat it to ourselves, that it may make its full impression. The Lord will receive my prayer - As he has done it, so he will still do it. This allays all fears of the future, and makes the mind calm. The state of mind here is this: “The Lord has heard my prayer; I am assured that he will do it hereafter; I have, therefore, nothing to fear.”
2. Gill, “The Lord hath heard my supplication,.... Which he had presented to him, Psa_6:1; in which he deprecates his anger and hot displeasure; entreats his free favour, grace, and mercy; desires healing for soul or body, or both; prays a return of his gracious presence; and deliverance and salvation out of all his troubles, from all his enemies, and from death itself. The word (h) used properly signifies petitions for grace and mercy, which the psalmist put up under the influence of the spirit of grace and supplication, and which were heard; the Lord will receive my prayer; instead of a burnt offering, as Aben Ezra glosses it; as sweet incense, as what is grateful and delightful, coming up out of the hands of Christ the Mediator, perfumed with the sweet incense of his mediation: the word (i) signifies prayer made to God as the righteous Judge, as the God of his righteousness, who would vindicate his cause and right his wrongs; and a believer, through the blood and righteousness of Christ, can go to God as a righteous God, and plead with him even for pardon and cleansing, who is just and faithful to grant both unto him. The psalmist three times expresses his confidence of his prayers being heard and received, which may be either in reference to his having prayed so many times for help, as the Apostle Paul did, 2Co_12:8; and as Christ his antitype did, Mat_26:39; or to express the certainty of it, the strength of his faith in it, and the exuberance of his joy on account of it. 3. Henry, “He assures himself that God was, and would be, propitious to him, notwithstanding the present intimations of wrath which he was under. 1. He is confident of a gracious answer to this prayer which he is now making. While he is yet speaking, he is aware that God hears (as Isa_65:24, Dan_9:20), and therefore speaks of it as a thing done, and repeats it with an air of triumph, “The Lord hath heard” (Psa_6:8), and again (Psa_6:9), “The Lord hath heard.” By the
workings of God's grace upon his heart he knew his prayer was graciously accepted, and therefore did not doubt but it would in due time be effectually answered. His tears had a voice, a loud voice, in the ears of the God of mercy: The Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. Silent tears are not speechless ones. His prayers were cries to God: “The Lord has heard the voice of my supplication, has put his Fiat - Let it be done, to my petitions, and so it will appear shortly.” 2. Thence he infers the like favourable audience of all his other prayers: “He has heard the voice of my supplication, and therefore he will receive my prayer; for he gives, and does not upbraid with former grants.” 4. F. B. Meyer, “The prayer is no sooner uttered than answered. The consciousness of having been heard steals over the weary soul like a glint of light on to a bed in the hospital ward. David knows that the petition is granted, though it has not yet come to hand (1 John 5:15). Weeping has a voice for the ear of God. He can interpret sighs and tears (Psalm 6:8). In the Revised Version, the words of Psalm 6:10 read like an imprecation--they shall be ashamed and turn back. When God returns (Psalm 6:4), our enemies turn back (Psalm 6:10).” 5. Spurgeon, “The Lord hath heard my supplication. The Holy Spirit had wrought into the Psalmist's mind the confidence that his prayer was heard. This is frequently the privilege of the saints. Praying the prayer of faith, they are often infallibly assured that they have prevailed with God. We read of Luther that, having on one occasion wrestled hard with God in prayer, he came leaping out of his closet crying, "Vicimus, vicimus;" that is, "We have conquered, we have prevailed with God." Assured confidence is no idle dream, for when the Holy Ghost bestows it upon us, we know its reality, and could not doubt it, even though all men should deride our boldness. The Lord will receive my prayer. Here is past experience used for future encouragement. He hath, he will. ote this, O believer, and imitate its reasoning. The experience here recorded is mine. I can set to my seal that God is true. In very wonderful ways He has answered the prayers of His servant many and many a time. Yes, and He is hearing my present supplication, and He is not turning away His ear from me. Blessed be His holy name! What then? Why, for certain the promise which lies sleeping in the psalmist's believing confidence is also mine. Let me grasp it by the hand of faith: "The LORD will receive my prayer." He will accept it, think of it, and grant it in the way and time which His loving wisdom judges to be best. I bring my poor prayer in my hand to the great King, and He gives me audience and graciously receives my petition. My enemies will not listen to me, but my LORD will. They ridicule my tearful prayers, but my LORD does not; He receives my prayer into His ear and His heart. What a reception this is for a poor sinner! We receive Jesus, and then the LORD receives us and our prayers for His Son's sake. Blessed be that dear name which franks (Ed: frank as a transitive verb means to enable to pass or go freely or easily) our prayers so that they freely pass even within the golden gates. LORD, teach me to pray, since Thou hearest my prayers.” 6. Treasury of David, “Verse 9. The Lord hath heard my supplication, etc. The psalmist three times expresses his confidence of his prayers being heard and received, which may be either in reference to his having prayed so many times for help, as the apostle Paul did (2 Corinthians 12:8); and as Christ his antitype did (Matthew 26:39,42,44); or to express the certainty of it, the strength of his faith in it, and the exuberance of his joy on account of it. John Gill, D.D., 16971771.
7. God hears us when we call to Him, ot one voice is ignored; The sounds of praise, the pleas of pain Are all heard by the Lord. —Sper
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.
1. Barnes, “Let all mine enemies be ashamed - Be so brought to see their folly that they shall be ashamed of their conduct. The wish is that they might be brought to see their own guilt - a wish certainly which it is right to cherish in regard to all evil-doers. And sore vexed - Compare the notes at Psa_5:10. The same Hebrew word is used here which occurs in Psa_6:2-3, and rendered “vexed.” It is a word which denotes trouble, trembling, consternation; and the meaning here is, that the psalmist prayed that they might be confounded or disconcerted in their plans - a prayer which is certainly proper in regard to all the purposes of the wicked. o one should desire that the purposes of the wicked should prosper; and not to desire this is to desire that they may be foiled and overcome in their schemes. This must be the wish of every good man. Let them return - Turn back, or be turned back; that is, let them be repulsed, and compelled to turn back from their present object. And be ashamed suddenly - Hebrew, “In a moment;” instantaneously. He desired that there might be no delay, but that their defeat might be accomplished at once. As it was right to pray that this might occur, so it was right to pray that it might occur without delay, or as speedily as possible. The sooner the plans of sinners are confounded, the better. 2. “Ashamed and sore vexed - May they as deeply deplore their transgressions as I have done mine! May they return; may they be suddenly converted! The original will bear this meaning, and it is the most congenial to Christian principles.” 3. “ Let all mine enemies be ashamed,.... Or "they shall be ashamed" (k); and so the following clauses may be rendered, and be considered as prophecies of what would be; though if this be considered as an imprecation, it is wishing no ill; wicked men are not ashamed of their abominations committed by them, neither can they blush; it would be well if they were ashamed of them, and brought to true repentance for them; and if they are not ashamed now, they will be hereafter, when the Judge of quick and dead appears; and sore vexed; or "troubled" (l); as his bones had been vexed, and his soul had been sore vexed by them; as he knew they would be through disappointment at his recovery, and at his
deliverance from the distresses and calamities he was now in, when he should sing for joy of heart, and they should howl for vexation of spirit; let them return; meaning either from him, from pursuing after him; or to him, to seek his favour, and be reconciled to him, and be at peace with him, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi explain it; unless this word should only signify "again", as it sometimes does, and be read in connection with what follows; and let them be again ashamed suddenly (m); intimating that his deliverance would be sudden, in a moment, in a very little time, and so would be their disappointment, shame, and confusion. Jarchi, from R. Jonathan and R. Samuel bar achmani, refers this to the shame of the wicked in the world to come. 4. Henry, “He either prays for the conversion or predicts the destruction of his enemies and persecutors, Psa_6:10. 1. It may very well be taken as a prayer for their conversion: “Let them all be ashamed of the opposition they have given me and the censures they have passed upon me. Let them be (as all true penitents are) vexed at themselves for their own folly; let them return to a better temper and disposition of mind, and let them be ashamed of what they have done against me and take shame to themselves.” 2. If they be not converted, it is a prediction of their confusion and ruin. They shall be ashamed and sorely vexed (so it maybe read), and that justly. They rejoiced that David was vexed (Psa_6:2, Psa_6:3), and therefore, as usually happens, the evil returns upon themselves; they also shall be sorely vexed. Those that will not give glory to God shall have their faces filled with everlasting shame. In singing this, and praying over it, we must give glory to God, as a God ready to hear prayer, must own his goodness to us in hearing our prayers, and must encourage ourselves to wait upon him and to trust in him in the greatest straits and difficulties.” 5. Spurgeon, “Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed. This is rather a prophecy than an imprecation, it may be read in the future, "All my enemies shall be ashamed and sore vexed." They shall return and be ashamed instantaneously, -- in a moment; -- their doom shall come upon them suddenly. Death's day is doom's day, and both are sure and may be sudden. The Romans were wont to say, "The feet of the avenging Deity are shod with wool." With noiseless footsteps vengeance nears its victim, and sudden and overwhelming shall be its destroying stroke. If this were an imprecation, we must remember that the language of the old dispensation is not that of the new. We pray for our enemies, not against them. God have mercy on them, and bring them into the right way. Thus the Psalm, like those which precede it, shows the different estates of the godly and the wicked. O Lord, let us be numbered with thy people, both now and forever! 6. Treasury of David, “Verse 10. Let all mine enemies be ashamed, etc. If this were an imprecation, a malediction, yet it was medicinal, and had rationem boni, a charitable tincture and nature in it; he wished the men no harm as men. But it is rather predictorium, a prophetical vehemence, that if they will take no knowledge of God's declaring himself in the protection of his servants, if they would not consider that God had heard, and would hear, had rescued, and would rescue his children, but would continue their opposition against him, heavy judgments would certainly fall upon them; their punishment should be certain, but the effect should be uncertain; for God only knows whether his correction shall work upon his enemies to their mollifying, or to their
obduration ... In the second word, Let them be sore vexed, he wishes his enemies no worse than himself had been, for he had used the same word of himself before, Ossa turbata, My bones are vexed; and Anima turbata, My soul is vexed; and considering that David had found this vexation to be his way to God, it was no malicious imprecation to wish that enemy the same physic that he had taken, who was more sick of the same disease than he was. For this is like a troubled sea after a tempest; the danger is past, but yet the billow is great still; the danger was in the calm, in the security, or in the tempest, by misinterpreting God's correction to our obduration, and to a remorseless stupefication; but when a man is come to this holy vexation, to be troubled, to be shaken with the sense of the indignation of God, the storm is past, and the indignation of God is blown over. That soul is in a fair and near way of being restored to a calmness, and to reposed security of conscience that is come to this holy vexation. John Donne. Verse 10. Let all mine enemies or (all mine enemies shall) be ashamed, and sore vexed, etc. Many of the mournful Psalms end in this manner, to instruct the believer that he is continually to look forward, and solace himself with beholding that day, when his warfare shall be accomplished; when sin and sorrow shall be no more; when sudden and everlasting confusion shall cover the enemies of righteousness; when the sackcloth of the penitent shall be exchanged for a robe of glory, and every tear becomes a sparkling gem in his crown; when to sighs and groans shall succeed the songs of heaven, set to angels harps, and faith shall be resolved into the vision of the Almighty. George Horne.