|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
38:1-11 Nothing will disquiet the heart of a good man so much as the sense of God's anger. The way to keep the heart quiet, is to keep ourselves in the love of God. But a sense of guilt is too heavy to bear; and would sink men into despair and ruin, unless removed by the pardoning mercy of God. If there were not sin in our souls, there would be no pain in our bones, no illness in our bodies. The guilt of sin is a burden to the whole creation, which groans under it. It will be a burden to the sinners themselves, when they are heavy-laden under it, or a burden of ruin, when it sinks them to hell. When we perceive our true condition, the Good Physician will be valued, sought, and obeyed. Yet many let their wounds rankle, because they delay to go to their merciful Friend. When, at any time, we are distempered in our bodies, we ought to remember how God has been dishonoured in and by our bodies. The groanings which cannot be uttered, are not hid from Him that searches the heart, and knows the mind of the Spirit. David, in his troubles, was a type of Christ in his agonies, of Christ on his cross, suffering and deserted.
Verse 11. - My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; or, from my stroke (comp. Psalm 39:10, where the same word is used). The psalmist feels himself to be "stricken, smitten of God" (Isaiah 53:4). He looks for comfort and sympathy to his friends, but they, with a selfishness that is only too common, hold aloof, draw away item him, and desert him (comp. Job 19:13, 14). And my kinsmen stand afar off; or, my neighbours. The stricken deer is forsaken by the rest of the herd (comp. Matthew 26:56, 58).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore,.... As if it was a plague sore, lest they should be infected with it; or because they could not bear the stench of his wounds, and the loathsomeness of his disease, or to see him in his agonies, and hear his roaring and his groans, Psalm 38:2; or as taking his case to be desperate, as if he was just dying, and no help could be given him, Psalm 38:10; If it was the leprosy, as some Jewish writers have affirmed, the word translated "sore", being used for the plague of the leprosy, they were obliged by the ceremonial law to keep at a distance from him: but this rather seems to be voluntary, and to proceed from neglect and contempt. These "lovers" and "friends" were such for whom David had had an affection, and had been friendly to, and therefore it was ungrateful in them to act the part they did; and such who had pretended love and friendship to him in his health and prosperity, but now had deserted him, which is a common case; see Job 19:13. Afflictions try men's friends; and as that is a time when friendly visits are most wanting and most useful, so it is an aggravation of the affliction, and makes it the heavier when such are denied;
and my kinsmen stand afar off; that were near to him by the ties of nature or friendship.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11, 12. Friends desert, but foes increase in malignity.
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