Psalm 38:7
For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
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(7) Loathsome disease.—The Hebrew word is a passive participle of a verb meaning to scorch, and here means inflamed or inflammation. Ewald renders “ulcers.” The LXX. and Vulg., deriving from another root meaning to be light, or made light of, render “mockings.”

Psalm 38:7. With a loathsome disease — Hebrew, נקלה, nikleh, with vileness, or with scorching heat. “The disease,” says Poole, “might be some burning fever, breaking forth outwardly in carbuncles, or biles. It is true, this and the other expressions may be taken figuratively; but we should not forsake the literal sense of the words without necessity.” Others, however, are of opinion, that “these are figurative expressions, signifying the excessive misery and extreme wretchedness of the psalmist’s condition. And it must be acknowledged that we find the same way of speaking, and almost the same words used in Scripture, by the prophets, for the same purpose. Thus the Lord says to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 21:6, Sigh therefore, with the breaking of thy loins; and with bitterness sigh before their eyes, where the latter clause explains the former. So Isaiah 21:3, exclaims, upon a like occasion, Therefore are my loins filled with pain, &c.; I was bowed down at the hearing of it. Now no man ever imagined that Ezekiel’s loins were broken, or that Isaiah had a pain in his back like that of a woman in labour: but every one understands these expressions as only denoting the prophet’s great grief and concern. And why should we not conclude that the Prophet David used the like expressions in a like sense; especially as he almost begins this Psalm with bold figurative expressions, and describes his miserable condition by the arrows of God sticking in him, and his hand pressing him sore.” — An anonymous writer quoted by Dodd.

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.For my bones are filled with a loathsome disease - This would seem to indicate the seat of the disease, though not its nature. The word used here, according to Gesenius (Lexicon), properly denotes the internal muscles of the loins near the kidneys, to which the fat adheres. The word rendered "loathsome" - the word "disease" being supplied by our translators - is derived from קלה qâlâh, a word which means to roast, to parch, as fruit, grain, etc.; and then, in the form used here, it means scorched, burned; hence, a burning or inflammation; and the whole phrase would be synonymous with "an inflammation of the kidneys." The word used here does not imply that there was any eruption, or ulcer, though it would seem from Psalm 38:5 that this was the fact, and that the inflammation had produced this effect.

And there is no soundness in my flesh - See Psalm 38:3. His disease was so deep-seated and so pervading, that there did not seem to be "any" soundness in his flesh. His whole body seemed to be diseased.

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].

Or, with filthiness; or, with scorching heat. The disease might be some burning fever, being also malignant or pestilential, either burning inwardly, or breaking forth outwardly in carbuncles or boils. It is true, this and the other expressions may be taken figuratively, of some grievous calamity; but we should not forsake the proper and the literal sense of the words without necessity, which seems not to be in this place.

For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease,.... The word here used has the signification of burning (k); and the Targum renders it, "my loins are filled with burning"; a burning fever was upon him, or there was an inflammation in those parts; a hot burning ulcer, which might be nauseous; and so was true in both senses. Aben Ezra interprets it abominable and vile; something not fit to be mentioned; and so Kimchi and Ben Melech. The word is rendered sometimes "lightly esteemed"; as in 1 Samuel 18:23; and Jarchi thinks it has this sense here; and the meaning is, that he was vile in his own eyes, and mean in his own esteem. Doubtless the psalmist has reference to something more than a bodily disease; at least not to that only, but to the disease of his soul also, sin, which has the nature of a disease; it is an hereditary one, which is derived from one to another by propagation; it is universal, and reaches to all men, and to all the parts of the body and powers of the soul; it is a complication of disorders: it is in its own nature mortal, and ever incurable but by Christ; and, as here, it is a loathsome one; it is loathsome to God, and to all sensible sinners: and when the psalmist says his loins were filled with it, it may signify that it was an internal disorder that was in him; sin that dwelt in him, a law in his members; and may denote the aboundings of sin in him, the swarms of corruptions that were in him; as also the pain it gave him, and the quick sense he had of it;

and there is no soundness in my flesh: which is repeated, see Psalm 38:3; partly for confirmation's sake, and partly to show the continued sense of it, as persons under a disorder are continually making mention of it.

(k) R. Joseph Kimchi & Abendana "ardore", Pagninus, Vatablus; "ardens ulcus", Musculus, so some in Vatablus; "tostione", Piscator; "adustione", Gejerus; so the Targum; "adusto", Gussetius, Ebr. Comment. p. 742.

For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
7. with a loathsome disease] R.V. with burning; fever and inflammation. Cp. Job 30:27; Job 30:30.

Verse 7. - For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease; my loins are full of burning (Kay, Revised Version). A burning pain in the lumbar region is apparently intended. And there is no soundness in my flesh. Repeated from ver. 3. Psalm 38:7(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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