Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 38:1-22. To bring to remembrance, or, remind God of His mercy and himself of his sin. Appealing to God for relief from His heavy chastisement, the Psalmist avows his integrity before men, complains of the defection of friends and persecution of enemies, and in a submissive spirit, casting himself on God, with penitent confession he pleads God's covenant relation and his innocence of the charges of his enemies, and prays for divine comfort and help.
1-4. He deprecates deserved punishment, which is described (Ps 6:1), under the figure of bodily disease [Ps 38:3].
For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
2. arrows … and thy hand—the sharp and heavy afflictions he suffered (De 32:23).
There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
4. iniquities—afflictions in punishment of sin (2Sa 16:12; Ps 31:10; 40:12).
gone over mine head—as a flood.
My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.
5-8. The loathsomeness, corruption, and wasting torture of severe physical disease set forth his mental anguish [Ps 38:6]. It is possible some bodily disease was connected. The
loins are the seat of strength. His exhaustion left him only the power to groan [Ps 38:9].
I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
9. That God can hear (Ro 8:26).
My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
10. My heart panteth—as if barely surviving.
light … from me—utter exhaustion (Ps 6:7; 13:3).
My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
11, 12. Friends desert, but foes increase in malignity.
They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
12. seek after my life—(1Sa 20:1; 22:23).
But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
13, 14. He patiently submits, uttering no reproaches or replies (Joh 19:9) to their insulting speeches;
Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
15-17. for he is confident the
Lord—literally, "Sovereign" (to whom he was a servant), would answer his prayer (Ps 3:4; 4:1), and not permit their triumph in his partial halting, of which he was in danger.
For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.
For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.
For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
18. Consciousness of sin makes suffering pungent, and suffering, rightly received, leads to confession.
But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
19, 20. Still, while humbled before God, he is the victim of deadly enemies, full of malice and treachery.
enemies are lively—literally, "of life," who would take my life, that is, deadly.
They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
21, 22. (Compare Ps 22:19; 35:3). All terms of frequent use. In this Psalm the language is generally susceptible of application to Christ as a sufferer, David, as such, typifying Him. This does not require us to apply the confessions of sin, but only the pains or penalties which He bore for us.
Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.