Psalm 38:10
My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBTODWESTSK
(10) Panteth.—Better, palpitates. The Hebrew word, like palpitate, expresses the beating of the heart, by its sound, secharchar.

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.My heart panteth - The word rendered "panteth," in its original form, means properly to go about; to travel around; and then, to travel around as a merchant or pedlar, or for purposes of traffic: Genesis 23:16; Genesis 37:28; Genesis 42:34. Applied to the heart, as it is here, it means to move about rapidly; to palpitate; to beat quick. It is an expression of pain and distress, indicated by a rapid beating of the heart.

My strength faileth me - It is rapidly failing. He regarded himself as rapidly approaching death.

As for the light of mine eyes - My vision; my sight.

It also is gone from me - Margin, as in Hebrew: "is not with me." This is usually an indication of approaching death; and it would seem from all these symptoms that he appeared to be drawing near to the end of life. Compare Psalm 13:3; Psalm 6:7; Psalm 31:9.

10. My heart panteth—as if barely surviving.

light … from me—utter exhaustion (Ps 6:7; 13:3).

10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore: and my kinsmen stand afar off.

12 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.

13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

Psalm 38:10

"My heart panteth." Here begins another tale of woe. He was so dreadfully pained by the unkindness of friends, that his heart was in a state of perpetual palpitation. Sharp and quick were the beatings of his heart; he was like a hunted roe, filled with distressing alarms, and ready to fly out of itself with fear. The soul seeks sympathy in sorrow, and if it finds none, its sorrowful heart-throbs are incessant. "My strength faileth me." What with disease and distraction, he was weakened and ready to expire. A sense of sin, and a clear perception that none can help us in our distress, are enough to bring a man to death's door, especially if there be none to speak a gentle word, and point the broken spirit to the beloved Physician. "As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me." Sweet light departed from his bodily eye, and consolation vanished from his soul. Those who were the very light of his eyes forsook him. Hope, the last lamp of night, was ready to go out. What a plight was the poor convict in! Yet here we have some of us been; and here should we have perished had not infinite mercy interposed. Now, as we remember the lovingkindness of the Lord, we see how good it was for us to find our own strength fail us, since it drove us to the strong for strength; and how right it was that our light should all be quenched, that the Lord's light should be all in all to us.

Psalm 38:11

"My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore." Whatever affection they might pretend to, they kept out of his company, lest as a sinking vessel often draws down boats with it, they might be made to suffer through his calamities. It is very hard when those who should be the first to come to the rescue, are the first to desert us. In times of deep soul trouble even the most affectionate friends cannot enter into the sufferer's case; let them be as anxious as they may, the sores of a tender conscience they cannot bind up. Oh, the loneliness of a soul passing under the convincing power of the Holy Ghost! "And my kinsmen stand afar off." As the women and others of our Lord's acquaintances from afar gazed on his cross, so a soul wounded for sin sees all mankind as distant spectators, and in the whole crowd finds none to aid. Often relatives hinder seekers after Jesus, oftener still they look on with unconcern, seldom enough to do they endeavour to lead the penitent to Jesus.

Psalm 38:12

"They also that seek after my life lay snares for me." Alas! for us when in addition to inward griefs, we are beset by outward temptations. David's foes endeavoured basely to ensnare him. If fair means would not overthrow him, foul should be tried. This snaring business is a vile one, the devil's own poachers alone condescend to it; but prayer to God will deliver us, for the craft of the entire college of tempters can be met and overcome by those who are led of the Spirit. "They that seek my hurt speak mischievous things." Lies and slanders poured from them like water from the town pump. Their tongue was for ever going, and their heart for ever inventing lies. "And imagine deceits all the day long." They were never done, their forge was going from morning to night. When they could not act they talked, and when they could not talk they imagined, and schemed, and plotted. Restless is the activity of malice. Bad men never have enough of evil. They compass sea and land to injure a saint; no labour is too severe, no cost too great if they may utterly destroy the innocent. Our comfort is, that our glorious Head knows the pertinacious malignity of our foes, and will in due season put an end to it, as he even now sets a bound about it.

Psalm 38:13

"But I, as a deaf man, heard not." Well and bravely was this done. A sacred indifference to the slanders of malevolence is true courage and wise policy. It is well to be as if we could not hear or see. Perhaps the Psalmist means that this deafness on his part was unavoidable because he had no power to answer the taunts of the cruel, but felt much of the truth of their ungenerous accusations. "And I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth." David was bravely silent, and herein was eminently typical of our Lord Jesus, whose marvellous silence before Pilate was far more eloquent than words. To abstain from self-defence is often most difficult, and frequently most wise.

Psalm 38:14


Panteth; or, goes round; wanders hither and thither, as the word signifies; is perplexed and tossed with many and various thoughts, not knowing what to do, nor whither to go. Mine eyes are grown dim; either through grief and tears, as @Psalm 6:7; or through weakness, as 1 Samuel 14:28,29.

My heart panteth,.... Or "goes about" (m); runs here and there, and finds no rest; as Aben Ezra interprets the word from the Targum he cites; though the Targum we have renders it, "my heart shakes with fear", or dread, as persons in a fever. Jarchi interprets the word, surrounded with grief; it denotes the panting or palpitation of the heart, through sorrow and dread, and the failing of it, even as at death;

my strength faileth me, or "forsakes me" (n); bodily strength and spiritual strength; the strength of faith, hope, and confidence;

as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me; which is often the case of persons under bodily disorders, their eyes grow dim, and sight fails them; and this might be true in a spiritual sense of the psalmist, who had lost sight of God as his covenant God; of his interest in his love, in the blessings of his grace, and in eternal salvation, and was walking in darkness, and saw no light.

(m) "circuivit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus. (n) "dereliquit me", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Musculus, Cocceius.

My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, {h} it also is gone from me.

(h) My sight fails me for sorrow.

10. panteth] R.V. excellently, throbbeth.

as for the light of mine eyes &c.] His eyes are dim and dull with weakness and weeping. Cp. Psalm 6:7; Psalm 13:3, note; Psalm 31:9; Job 17:7; Lamentations 2:11.

Verse 10. - My heart panteth. This verse, which reverts to the bodily sufferings, seems a little out of place. But Hebrew poetry is not logical, and cares little for exact arrangement. Three more bodily troubles are noticed, of which this is the first - the heart "pants," i.e. throbs, or palpitates violently. My strength faileth me. The strength suddenly fails. As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. The sight swims, and is swallowed up in darkness (comp. Job 17:7). Psalm 38:10(Heb.: 38:10-15) Having thus bewailed his suffering before God, he goes on in a somewhat calmer tone: it is the calm of weariness, but also of the rescue which shows itself from afar. He has complained, but not as if it were necessary for him first of all to make God acquainted with his suffering; the Omniscient One is directly cognisant of (has directly before Him, נגד, like לנגד in Psalm 18:25) every wish that his suffering extorts from him, and even his softer sighing does not escape His knowledge. The sufferer does not say this so much with the view of comforting himself with this thought, as of exciting God's compassion. Hence he even goes on to draw the piteous picture of his condition: his heart is in a state of violent rotary motion, or only of violent, quickly repeated contraction and expansion (Psychol. S. 252; tr. p. 297), that is to say, a state of violent palpitation (סחרחר, Pealal according to Ges. 55, 3). Strength of which the heart is the centre (Psalm 40:13) has left him, and the light of his eyes, even of these (by attraction for גּם־הוּא, since the light of the eyes is not contrasted with anything else), is not with him, but has become lost to him by weeping, watching, and fever. Those who love him and are friendly towards him have placed themselves far from his stroke (nega`, the touch of God's hand of wrath), merely looking on (Obadiah 1:11), therefore, in a position hostile (2 Samuel 18:13) rather than friendly. מנּגד, far away, but within the range of vision, within sight, Genesis 21:16; Deuteronomy 32:52. The words וּקרובי מרחק עמדוּ, which introduce a pentastich into a Psalm that is tetrastichic throughout, have the appearance of being a gloss or various reading: מנּגד equals מרחק, 2 Kings 2:7. His enemies, however, endeavour to take advantage of his fall and helplessness, in order to give him his final death-blow. וינקּשׁוּ (with the ק dageshed)

(Note: The various reading וינקּשׁוּ in Norzi rests upon a misapprehended passage of Abulwald (Rikma, p. 166).)

describes what they have planned in consequence of the position he is in. The substance of their words is הוּות, utter destruction (vid., Psalm 5:10); to this end it is מרמות, deceit upon deceit, malice upon malice, that they unceasingly hatch with heart and mouth. In the consciousness of his sin he is obliged to be silent, and, renouncing all self-help, to abandon his cause to God. Consciousness of guilt and resignation close his lips, so that he is not able, nor does he wish, to refute the false charges of his enemies; he has no תּוכחות, counter-evidence wherewith to vindicate himself. It is not to be rendered: "just as one dumb opens not his mouth;" כ is only a preposition, not a conjunction, and it is just here, in Psalm 38:14, Psalm 38:15, that the manifest proofs in support of this are found.

(Note: The passages brought forward by Hupfeld in support of the use of כ as a conjunction, viz., Psalm 90:5; Psalm 125:1; Isaiah 53:7; Isaiah 61:11, are invalid; the passage that seems most to favour it is Obadiah 1:16, but in this instance the expression is elliptical, כּלא being equivalent to כאשׁר לא, like ללא, Isaiah 65:1, equals לאשׁר לא. It is only כּמו (Arab. kmâ) that can be used as a conjunction; but כ (Arab. k) is always a preposition in ancient Hebrew just as in Syriac and Arabic (vid., Fleischer in the Hallische Allgem. Lit. Zeitschr. 1843, Bd. iv. S. 117ff.). It is not until the mediaeval synagogal poetry (vid., Zunz, Synagogal-poesie des Mittelalters, S. 121, 381f.) that it is admissible to use it as a conjunction (e.g., כּמצא, when he had found), just as it also occurs in Himjaritic, according to Osiander's deciphering of the inscriptions. The verbal clause appended to the word to which this כ, instar, is prefixed is for the most part an attributive clause as above, but sometimes even a circumstantial clause (Arab. ḥâl), as in Psalm 38:14; cf. Sur. lxii. 5: "as the likeness of an ass carrying books.")

Psalm 38:10 Interlinear
Psalm 38:10 Parallel Texts

Psalm 38:10 NIV
Psalm 38:10 NLT
Psalm 38:10 ESV
Psalm 38:10 NASB
Psalm 38:10 KJV

Psalm 38:10 Bible Apps
Psalm 38:10 Parallel
Psalm 38:10 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 38:10 Chinese Bible
Psalm 38:10 French Bible
Psalm 38:10 German Bible

Bible Hub

Psalm 38:9
Top of Page
Top of Page