Psalm 38:3
There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
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(3) Rest . . .—Better, health. The Hebrew is from a root meaning to be whole. Peace (see margin), the reading of the LXX. and Vulg. is a derived meaning.

Psalm 38:3-6. There is no soundness, &c. — My disease or grief hath seized upon all the parts of my body, my very bones not excepted, so that my bed can give me no rest; because of my sin — Which hath provoked thee to deal thus severely with me. For my iniquities, &c. — Or, the punishment of my iniquities, as this word is frequently used; are gone over my head — Like deep waters, wherewith I am overwhelmed. My wounds are corrupt — The bruises and sores, caused by my disease, are not only painful, but loathsome to myself and others; because of my foolishness — As a just punishment of my folly; whereby, to satisfy my unreasonable desires, I have inconsiderately offended thee, 2 Samuel 11:2-4. I am troubled — ינעוותי, nagnaveeti, I am distorted, or depressed; or, as it is expressed by another word, signifying the same thing, bowed down, namely, in my body, as diseased persons generally are, and withal dejected in my mind. I go mourning — Hebrew, in black; the sign of mourning, which may here be taken figuratively. When I rise out of my bed, and walk, or rather creep about in my chamber, I do it with a sad heart and a dejected countenance. Or going may be here meant of his languishing, or going toward the grave, as this same word is used sometimes.

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.There is no soundness in my flesh - There is no sound place in my flesh; there is no part of my body that is free from disease. The word used here - מתם methôm - occurs only in Judges 20:48, where it is rendered "men;" in Isaiah 1:6, and in this place, where it is rendered "soundness." See the notes at Isaiah 1:6. It means that the body was wholly diseased; but what was the nature of the disease we are not informed. It would seem, however, that it was some cutaneous disease, or some disease that produced outward and loathsome eruptions that made his friends withdraw from him, Psalm 38:7, Psalm 38:11; compare Psalm 41:8.

Because of thine anger - That is, he regarded this as a punishment for sin; a specific manifestation of the divine displeasure on account of some particular offence or act of transgression. He does not refer, however, to the particular sin which he regarded as the cause of his sickness, and it is probable that this is just an instance of that state of mind, often morbid, in which we consider a particular calamity that comes upon us as a special proof of the divine displeasure. There are, undoubtedly, cases when sickness may be properly thus regarded; but it should be observed that, as this is not the universal rule in regard to sickness and other trials - as they come upon us under general laws, and because in sweeping over a community they often fall upon the righteous as well as the wicked, - we should not infer at once, when we are sick or otherwise afflicted, that it is for any "particular" sin, or that it is proof of any special displeasure of God against us. It is undoubtedly right to regard all affliction as having a close connection with sin, and to allow any calamity to suggest to us the idea of our depravity, for sin is the original cause of all the wretchedness and woe on earth; but under this general law we cannot always determine the "particular" reason why calamity comes on us. It may have other purposes and ends than that of being a specific punishment for our offences.

Neither is there any rest in my bones - Margin: "peace" or "health." The Hebrew word means "peace." The idea is, that there was no comfort; no rest. His bones were filled with constant pain. The flesh "and the bones" constitute the entire man; and the idea here is, that he was universally diseased. The disease pervaded every part of the body.

Because of my sin - Regarding his sin as the immediate cause of his suffering. In a general sense, as has been remarked above, it is not wrong to regard sin as the cause of all our misery, and we may allow our suffering to be, in some degree, a measure or gauge of the evil of sin. The error consists in our regarding a particular form of trial as the punishment of a particular sin. The effect in the case of tile psalmist was undoubtedly to bring to remembrance his sins; to impress his mind deeply with a sense of the evil of sin; to humble him at the recollection of guilt. This effect is not improper or undesirable, provided it does not lead us to the conclusion, often erroneous, that our affliction has come upon us on account of a particular transgression. That may be so indeed; but the idea that that is the universal rule in regard to affliction is one which we are not required to entertain. See the notes at Luke 13:1-5.

2. arrows … and thy hand—the sharp and heavy afflictions he suffered (De 32:23). My disease or grief hath seized upon all the parts of my body, my very bones not excepted, so that my bed can give me no rest;

because of my sin, which hath provoked thee to deal, thus severely with me.

There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger,.... Such was the nature of the affliction the psalmist laboured under, and which he took to be an effect of the anger of God towards him, that the whole frame of nature was affected with it, and from the crown of the head to, the soles of the feet there was no health or soundness, as in Isaiah 1:6; where the same word is used as here; some think the word (g) here used has the signification of man; and that the sense is, that through, the violence of the distemper he had not so much, as the form of a man, as his antitype in Isaiah 52:14; and as this led him to a view of his sins, as the cause of his affliction, he was so far from thinking himself sound and whole, or perfect in a spiritual sense, that he saw he was all over diseased with sin, and that in his flesh dwelt no good thing;

neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin; or "peace" (h) there; sin breaks the believer's rest, and disturbs his peace; nor can he, in a view of it, find any rest in himself, nor in any creature, nor in any service or duty, only in Jesus Christ, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice.

(g) "non superest amplius ulla forma seu figura hominis", Amama; so Joseph Kimchi. (h) "non (est) pax", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my {d} sin.

(d) David acknowledges God to be just in his punishments, because his sins had deserved much more.

3. His own sin is the cause of the divine indignation which inflicts the chastisement; and while God’s wrath assaults him from without, the fever of sin consumes him from within. With this verse and Psalm 38:5, comp. Isaiah’s description of the deep-seated disease of Israel’s body corporate (Isaiah 1:5-6).

anger] Better as R.V. indignation, as in Psalm 7:11; Psalm 102:10.

rest] R.V. health; lit., wholeness or peace. For in my bones see Psalm 6:2, note.

Verse 3. - There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger. The psalmist begins with a description of his bodily troubles; and, first of all, declares that there is "no soundness in his flesh," i.e. no healthiness, no feeling of vigour, no vital strength. Neither is there any rest in my bones, he says, because of my sin. His bones ache continually, and give him no rest (comp. Psalm 6:2; Psalm 22:14; Psalm 31:10; Psalm 42:10; and Job 30:17, 30). Psalm 38:3(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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