Psalm 38:11
My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
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(11) Sore is rather stroke, as in margin, or plague. His friends, looking on him as “one smitten of God,” and thinking “he must be wicked to deserve such pain,” abandon him as too vile for their society.

Kinsmen.—Render rather, as in margin, neighbours, or near ones.

Those who should have been near me stand aloof.

Psalm 38:11-13. My lovers and friends stand aloof — Either through neglect and contempt, or disdain of me. They that seek my life lay snares for me — That if my affliction or trouble do not kill me, they may destroy me some other way; and imagine deceits all the day long — They design mischief, but cover it with fair pretences. But I, as a deaf man, heard it not — I carried myself toward them as if I had no ears to hear what they said, either to me or of me, nor a tongue to answer or reprove them for their reproaches and calumnies. And he was thus silent, not for want of just answers to them, but to testify his humiliation for his sins, and his acceptation of the punishment which he had brought upon himself.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 lovers - See the notes at Psalm 31:11. The reference here is to those who professed to be his friends.

And my friends - The word used here means properly an acquaintance, a companion, a friend, Job 2:11; Job 19:21; then, a lover, a friend, a neighbor. The phrase here would be synonymous with our word "kinsmen."

Stand aloof - They are unwilling to come near me; they leave me to suffer alone.

From my sore - Margin: "stroke." The Hebrew word means properly a stroke, a blow, Deuteronomy 17:8; Deuteronomy 21:5; then a stroke in the sense of calamities or judgments, such as God brings upon men: Genesis 12:17; Exodus 11:1. The meaning here is, that they stand aloof from him, or refuse to come near him, as if he were afflicted with some contagious disease.

And my kinsmen - Margin: "neighbors." The Hebrew word used here - קרוב qârôb - means properly near, nigh; spoken of a place, Genesis 19:20; then of time, Isaiah 13:6; then of kindred or affinity, Numbers 27:11; and then of friendship, meaning our intimate acquaintance - as we should say, those who are "near" to us, Job 19:14. The word would be applicable to neighbors or to warm personal friends.

11, 12. Friends desert, but foes increase in malignity. Either through neglect, and contempt, or disdain of me; or through delicacy and abhorrency from loathsome and sadding spectacles; or through fear of infection, or some other inconveniences. 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.

My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my {i} kinsmen stand afar off.

(i) Partly for fear and partly for pride, they denied all duty and friendship.

11. from my sore] R.V. from my plague. The word is specially used of the plague of leprosy (Leviticus 13:3, &c.). His friends treat him as a leper, standing over against him, within sight but at a distance. Even his near kinsmen falsify their name by standing afar off. (LXX. οἱ ἔγγιστά μου μακρόθεν ἔστησαν.)

Comp. Psalm 31:11-13; Psalm 69:8; Psalm 88:18; Job 19:13 ff.; Isaiah 53:4.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). (Heb.: 38:2-9) David begins, as in Psalm 6:1-10, with the prayer that his punitive affliction may be changed into disciplinary. Bakius correctly paraphrases. Psalm 38:2 : Corripe sane per legem, castiga per crucem, millies promerui, negare non possum, sed castiga, quaeso, me ex amore ut pater, non ex furore et fervore ut judex; ne punias justitiae rigore, sed misericordiae dulcore (cf. on Psalm 6:2). The negative is to be repeated in Psalm 38:2, as in Psalm 1:5; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 75:6. In the description, which give the ground of the cry for pity, נחת, is not the Piel, as in Psalm 18:35, but the Niphal of the Kal נחת immediately following (root נח). קצף is anger as a breaking forth, fragor (cf. Hosea 10:7, lxx φρύγανον), with ĕ instead of ı̆ in the first syllable, vowels which alternate in this word; and חמה, as a glowing or burning. חצּים (in Homer, κῆλα), God's wrath-arrows, i.e., lightnings of wrath, are His judgments of wrath; and יד, as in Psalm 32:4; Psalm 39:11, God's punishing hand, which makes itself felt in dispensing punishment, hence תּנחת might be attached as a mood of sequence. In Psalm 38:4 wrath is called זעם as a boiling up. Sin is the cause of this experiencing wrath, and the wrath is the cause of the bodily derangement; sin as an exciting cause of the wrath always manifests itself outwardly even on the body as a fatal power. In Psalm 38:5 sin is compared to waters that threaten to drown one, as in Psalm 38:5 to a burden that presses one down. ככבּדוּ ממּנּי, they are heavier than I, i.e., than my power of endurance, too heavy for me. In Psalm 38:6 the effects of the operation of the divine hand (as punishing) are wounds, חבּוּרת (properly, suffused variegated marks from a blow or wheals, Isaiah 1:6; from חבר, Arab. ḥbr, to be or make striped, variegated), which הבאישׁוּ, send forth an offensive smell, and נמקּוּ, suppurate. Sin, which causes this, is called אוּלת, because, as it is at last manifest, it is always the destruction of itself. With emphasis does מפּני אוּלתּי form the second half of the verse. To take נעויתי out of Psalm 38:7 and put it to this, as Meier and Thenius propose, is to destroy this its proper position. On the three מפּני, vid., Ewald, 217, l. Thus sick in soul and body, he is obliged to bow and bend himself in the extreme. נעוה is used of a convulsive drawing together of the body, Isaiah 21:3; שׁחח, of a bowed mien, Psalm 35:14; הלּך, of a heavy, lagging gait. With כּי in Psalm 38:8 the grounding of the petition begins for the third time. His כּסלים, i.e., internal muscles of the loins, which are usually the fattest parts, are full of נקלה, that which is burnt, i.e., parched. It is therefore as though the burning, starting from the central point of the bodily power, would spread itself over the whole body: the wrath of God works commotion in this latter as well as in the soul. Whilst all the energies of life thus yield, there comes over him a partial, almost total lifelessness. פּוּג is the proper word for the coldness and rigidity of a corpse; the Niphal means to be brought into this condition, just as נדכּא means to be crushed, or to be brought into a condition of crushing, i.e., of violent dissolution. The מן of מנּהמת is intended to imply that the loud wail is only the utterance of the pain that is raging in his heart, the outward expression of his ceaseless, deep inward groaning.
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