Remove your stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of your hand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Stroke.—See Note to Psalm 38:11.
Blow.—Margin, “conflict.” A word only found here; from a root meaning rough. LXX. and Vulg. have “strength.”
Calvin’s last words are said to have been a reminiscence of this verse.Psalm 39:10-11. Remove thy stroke away from me — But though I may not, I will not, open my mouth to complain, yet I may open it to pray, that thou wouldest take off the judgment that thou hast inflicted upon me. I am consumed, &c. — Help me, therefore, before I be utterly and irrecoverably lost. When thou with rebukes — That is, with punishments, which are often so called; dost correct man for iniquity — Dost punish him as his iniquity deserves. Thou makest his beauty to consume away — Hebrew, חמודו, chamudo, desiderabile ejus, his desirable things, as this word signifies, Lamentations 1:11; Daniel 9:23; Daniel 10:3; Daniel 10:11; Daniel 10:19; his comeliness, strength, wealth, prosperity, and all his present excellences and felicities; like a moth — As a moth is easily crushed to pieces with a touch. Thus the Chaldee paraphrase, Like a moth broken asunder: or, rather, as a moth consumeth a garment, as Job 13:28; Isaiah 50:9, to which God compares his judgments secretly and insensibly consuming a people, Isaiah 51:8; Hosea 5:12. Surely every man is vanity — As was affirmed, Psalm 39:5, and is hereby confirmed. For though men in the height of their prosperity will not believe it, yet when God contendeth with them by his judgments, they are forced to acknowledge it.Psalm 39:9, does not take away the desire that the hand of God may be removed, and that the suffering that is brought upon us may cease. Perfect submission is not inconsistent with the prayer that, if it be the will of God, the calamity may be removed: Luke 22:42. On the word here rendered "stroke" - נגע nega‛ - see the notes at Psalm 38:11. It is equivalent here to chastisement, or judgment. It refers to the trial which he was then enduring, whatever it was, which had given occasion to the feelings that he says Psalm 39:1-2 he had felt bound to suppress when in the presence of the wicked, but in reference to which he had learned entirely to acquiesce Psalm 39:9. From that trial itself he now prays that he may be delivered.
I am consumed - I am wasting away. I cannot long bear up under it. I must sink down to the grave if it is not removed. See Psalm 39:13.
By the blow of thine hand - Margin, as in Hebrew: "conflict." That is, the blow which God brings on anyone when he has, as it were, a "strife" or a "conflict" with him. It is designed here to express his affliction, as if God had "struck" him.
I am consumed; help me, therefore, before I be utterly and irrecoverably lost.
I am consumed by the blow of thine hand; meaning either that his flesh was consumed by his affliction, which came from the hand of God, or he should be consumed if he did not remove it: he could not bear up under it, but must sink and die; if he continued to strive and contend with him, his spirit would fail before him, and the soul that he had made; and therefore he entreats he would remember he was but dust, and remove his hand from him; for this is a reason enforcing the preceding petition.Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. stroke] The same word as that rendered plague in Psalm 38:11. Cp. Job 9:34.
I am consumed &c.] By the conflict of thy hand am I consumed. ‘I’ stands in emphatic contrast with ‘thy hand’. When the power of the Almighty contends with me, I, frail mortal that I am, must needs perish. Cp. Job 10:2 ff.
10–13. Petition for relief (10, 11) and respite (12, 13).Verse 10. - Remove thy stroke away from me (camp. Psalm 38:11). I am consumed by the blow of thine hand; literally, by the quarrel of thine hand. But our version gives the true meaning. The "quarrel" has led the "hand" to deal the "stroke" by which the sufferer is "consumed" or "wasted away" (Kay). Psalm 90:12); for if life is only a few spans long, then even his suffering and the prosperity of the ungodly will last only a short time. Oh that God would then grant him to know his end (Job 6:11), i.e., the end of his life, which is at the same time the end of his affliction, and the measure of his days, how it is with this (מה, interrog. extenuantis, as in Psalm 8:5), in order that he may become fully conscious of his own frailty! Hupfeld corrects the text to אני מה־חלד, after the analogy of Psalm 89:48, because חדל cannot signify "frail." But חדל signifies that which leaves off and ceases, and consequently in this connection, finite and transitory or frail. מה, quam, in connection with an adjective, as in Psalm 8:2; Psalm 31:20; Psalm 36:8; Psalm 66:3; Psalm 133:1. By הן (the customary form of introducing the propositio minor, Leviticus 10:18; Leviticus 25:20) the preceding petition is supported. God has, indeed, made the days, i.e., the lifetime, of a man טפחות, handbreadths, i.e., He has allotted to it only the short extension of a few handbreadths (cf. ימים, a few days, e.g., Isaiah 65:20), of which nine make a yard (cf. πήχυιος χρόνος in Mimnermus, and 1 Samuel 20:3); the duration of human life (on חלד vid., Psalm 17:14) is as a vanishing nothing before God the eternal One. The particle אך is originally affirmative, and starting from that sense becomes restrictive; just as רק is originally restrictive and then affirmative. Sometimes also, as is commonly the case with אכן, the affirmative signification passes over into the adversative (cf. verum, verum enim vero). In our passage, agreeably to the restrictive sense, it is to be explained thus: nothing but mere nothingness (cf. Psalm 45:14; James 1:2) is every man נצּב, standing firmly, i.e., though he stand never so firmly, though he be never so stedfast (Zechariah 11:16). Here the music rises to tones of bitter lament, and the song continues in Psalm 39:7 with the same theme. צלם, belonging to the same root as צל, signifies a shadow-outline, an image; the בּ is, as in Psalm 35:2, Beth essentiae: he walks about consisting only of an unsubstantial shadow. Only הבל, breath-like, or after the manner of breath (Psalm 144:4), from empty, vain motives and with vain results, do they make a disturbance (pausal fut. energicum, as in Psalm 36:8); and he who restlessly and noisily exerts himself knows not who will suddenly snatch together, i.e., take altogether greedily to himself, the many things that he heaps up (צבר, as in Job 27:16); cf. Isaiah 33:4, and on - ām equals αὐτά, Leviticus 15:10 (in connection with which אלה הדברים, cf. Isaiah 42:16, is in the mind of the speaker).
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