Psalm 6:1
To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David. O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) O Lord, rebuke me not.—Repeated with change of one word in Psalm 38:1. The sublime thought that pain and sorrow are a discipline of love might be found in these words (as in Psalm 94:12; Proverbs 3:11-12; Jeremiah 10:24; Hebrews 12:3; Hebrews 12:11; Revelation 3:19), did not the context show that the sufferer in this case is praying for the chastisement to be altogether removed.

Psalm 6:1. O Lord, rebuke me not — That is, do not chasten or correct me, as the next clause explains it; in thine anger — With rigour or severity, as my sins deserve, but with gentleness and moderation, Jeremiah 10:24; or, in such a manner that the chastisement may not be the effect of thy strict justice, or anger, but of thy mercy and faithfulness.

6:1-7 These verses speak the language of a heart truly humbled, of a broken and contrite spirit under great afflictions, sent to awaken conscience and mortify corruption. Sickness brought sin to his remembrance, and he looked upon it as a token of God's displeasure against him. The affliction of his body will be tolerable, if he has comfort in his soul. Christ's sorest complaint, in his sufferings, was of the trouble of his soul, and the want of his Father's smiles. Every page of Scripture proclaims the fact, that salvation is only of the Lord. Man is a sinner, his case can only be reached by mercy; and never is mercy more illustrious than in restoring backsliders. With good reason we may pray, that if it be the will of God, and he has any further work for us or our friends to do in this world, he will yet spare us or them to serve him. To depart and be with Christ is happiest for the saints; but for them to abide in the flesh is more profitable for the church.O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger - As if God was rebuking him by the affliction which he was bringing upon him. This is the point on which the attention of the psalmist is now fixed. He had been apparently contemplating his afflictions, and inquiring into their cause, and he was led to the conclusion that it might be for his sins, and that his trials were to be interpreted as proof that God was angry with him. He speaks, therefore, of God as visiting him in his "anger," and in his "hot displeasure," and pleads with him that he would "not" thus rebuke and chasten him. The word "rebuke" here, like the word rendered "chasten," properly refers to the reproof of an offender "by words," but may also be used to denote the reproof which God administers by his providential dealings when he brings judgment upon anyone for his sins. This is the meaning here. The psalmist did not apprehend that God would openly "reprove" him for his sins; but he regarded his dealings with him as such a reproof, and he pleads that the tokens of the reproof might be taken away. The whole language is that which indicates a connection between suffering and sin; the feeling which we have when we are afflicted that it must be on account of our sins.

Neither chasten me - A word denoting substantially the same thing; used here in the sense of "punishing."

In thy hot displeasure - literally, "in thy heat." We speak of anger or wrath as "burning," or "consuming." Compare Genesis 39:19; Numbers 11:33; Deuteronomy 11:17; Psalm 106:40; Job 19:11; Job 32:2-3; Psalm 2:12.

PSALM 6

Ps 6:1-10. On Neginoth (See on [571]Ps 4:1, title) upon Sheminith—the eighth—an instrument for the eighth key; or, more probably, the bass, as it is contrasted with Alamoth (the treble, Ps 46:1) in 1Ch 15:20, 21. In deep affliction the Psalmist appeals to God's mercy for relief from chastisement, which otherwise must destroy him, and thus disable him for God's service. Sure of a gracious answer, he triumphantly rebukes his foes.

1. He owns his ill desert in begging a relief from chastisement.

1 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed.

3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long?

4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.

5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.

Having read through the first division, in order to see it as a whole, we will now look at it verse by verse. "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger." The Psalmist is very conscious that he deserves to be rebuked, and he feels, moreover, that the rebuke in some form or other must come upon him, if not for condemnation, yet for conviction and sanctification. "Corn is cleaned with wind, and the soul with chastenings." It were folly to pray against the golden hand which enriches us by its blows. He does not ask that the rebuke may be totally withheld, for he might thus lose a blessing in disguise; but, "Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger." If thou remindest me of my sin, it is good; but, oh, remind me not of it as one incensed against me, lest thy servant's heart should sink in despair. Thus saith Jeremiah, "O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing." I know that I must be chastened, and though I shrink from thy rod yet do I feel that it will be for my benefit; but, oh, my God, "chasten me not in thy hot displeasure," lest the rod become a sword, and lest in smiting, thou shouldest also kill. So may we pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are "not in anger, but in his dear covenant love."

Psalm 6:2, Psalm 6:3

"Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak." Though I deserve destruction, yet let thy mercy pity my frailty. This is the right way to plead with God if we would prevail. Urge not your goodness or your greatness, but plead your sin and your littleness. Cry, "I am weak," therefore O Lord, give me strength and crush me not. Send not forth the fury of thy tempest against so weak a vessel. Temper the wind to the shorn lamb. Be tender and pitiful to a poor withering flower, and break it not from its stem. Surely this is the plea that a sick man would urge to move the pity of his fellow if he were striving with him, "Deal gently with me, 'for I am weak.'" A sense of sin had so spoiled the Psalmist's pride, so taken away his vaunted strength, that he found himself weak to obey the law, weak through the sorrow that was in him, too weak, perhaps, to lay hold on the promise. "I am weak." The original may be read, "I am one who droops," or withered like a blighted plant. Ah! beloved, we know what this means, for we, too, have seen our glory stained, and our beauty like a faded flower.

"O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed." Here he prays for healing, not merely the mitigation of the ills he endured, but their entire removal, and the curing of the wounds which had arisen therefrom. His bones were "shaken," as the Hebrew has it. His terror had become so great that his very bones shook; not only did his flesh quiver, but the bones, the solid pillars of the house of manhood, were made to tremble. "My bones are shaken." Ah, when the soul has a sense of sin, it is enough to make the bones shake; it is enough to make a man's hair stand up on end to see the flames of hell beneath him, an angry God above him, and danger and doubt surrounding him. Well might he say, "My bones are shaken." Lest, however, we should imagine that it was merely bodily sickness - although bodily sickness might be the outward sign - the Psalmist goes on to say, "My soul is also sore vexed." Soul-trouble is the very soul of trouble. It matters not that the bones shake if the soul be firm, but when the soul itself is also sore vexed this is agony indeed. "But thou, O Lord, how long?" This sentence ends abruptly, for words failed, and grief drowned the little comfort which dawned upon him. The Psalmist had still, however, some hope; but that hope was only in his God. He therefore cries. "O Lord, how long?" The coming of Christ into the soul in his priestly robes of grace is the grand hope of the penitent soul; and, indeed, in some form or other, Christ's appearance is, and ever has been, the hope of the saints.

Calvin's favourite exclamation was "Domine usque quo" - "O Lord, how long?" Nor could his sharpest pains, during a life of anguish, force from him any other word. Surely this is the cry of the saints under the altar, "O Lord, how long?" And this should be the cry of the saints waiting for the millennial glories, "Why are his chariots so long in coming; Lord, how long?" Those of us who have passed through conviction of sin knew what it was to count our minutes hours, and our hours years, while mercy delayed its coming. We watched for the dawn of grace, as they that watch for the morning. Earnestly did our anxious spirits ask, "O Lord, how long?"

Psalm 6:4

"Return, O Lord; deliver my soul." As God's absence was the main cause of his misery, so his return would be enough to deliver him from his trouble. "Oh save me for thy mercies' sake." He knows where to look, and what arm to lay hold upon. He does not lay hold on God's left hand of justice, but on his right hand of mercy. He knew his iniquity too well to think of merit, or appeal to anything but the grace of God.

continued...Neginoth; of which See Poole "Psalm 4:1".

Upon Sheminith; or, upon the eighth. It is thought to be the shrillest or loftiest note, as alamoth is the lowest; of which see 1 Chronicles 15:20,21; and, as some add, Muth-labben, Psalm 9, the mean. But all this is only conjecture; and the Jews themselves have no certain knowledge of their own ancient music, and of the signification of the terms belonging to it.

A Psalm of David: the occasion of the Psalm seems plainly to have been some grievous distress or disease of the body then upon him, accompanied also with great trouble of conscience for his sins, whereby he had brought it upon himself.

David, being very weak and feeble, presenteth his misery before God, Psalm 5:1-3; prayeth for his mercy and recovery, Psalm 5:4-7; and being assured of a gracious hearing, triumphs over all his enemies, Psalm 5:8-10.

Rebuke me not, i.e. do not chasten or correct me, as the next clause explains it, and as this word is frequently used, as Job 22:4 Psalm 50:21 Isaiah 37:4 Revelation 3:19.

In thine anger; with rigour or severity, as my sins deserve, but with gentleness and moderation, Jeremiah 10:24 46:28, or so as it may not be the effect of thy strict justice or anger, but of thy mercy and faithfulness.

Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; the same thing repeated, after the manner.

O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, The Lord sometimes rebukes or reproves men by his spirit, and sometimes by his word and ministers, and sometimes by his providences, and that on account of sin; to bring to a sense and acknowledgment of it; and particularly for remissness in duty, or neglect of it; and for trusting in the creature, or in any outward enjoyment, boasting of it, and loving it too much; and these rebukes of his own people are always in love, and never in wrath, though they sometimes fear they are; see Psalm 88:7, Lamentations 3:1; and therefore deprecate them, as the psalmist here does; not the thing itself, but the manner in which it is apprehended it is done, or doing;

neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; when God chastens his own people it is not in a way of vindictive wrath, or as a proper punishment for sin; for this would be contrary to Christ's suretyship engagements and performances, and to the doctrine of his satisfaction for sin; it would draw a veil over it, and render it of none effect; it would be contrary to the justice of God to punish both surety and principal; and to the everlasting love of God to them, in which he always rests, and from which there can be no separation; nor would they be dealt with as children; and besides would be condemned with the world, and killed with the second death; whereas they will not, though chastened of God, it is the chastening of a father, is very instructive to them, and is always for their good, spiritual and eternal; is in measure, in judgment, and in love; and never in fury and hot displeasure; but this being feared, is deprecated.

<> O LORD, {a} rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

(a) Though I deserve destruction, yet let your mercy pity my frailty.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. The emphasis in the original lies on the words not in Thine anger, neither in Thy hot displeasure. The Psalmist pleads that his present suffering exceeds the measure of loving correction (Job 5:17; Proverbs 3:11-12; Jeremiah 10:24; Revelation 3:19). He can only interpret it as a sign that the wrath of God is resting upon him. Perhaps, like Job, he can detect no special sin to account for it. At least it is noteworthy that the Psalm contains no explicit confession of sin, and in this respect it is a remarkable contrast to the kindred Psalms 38, which opens with the same words.

1–3. The Psalmist pleads for mercy, deprecating the severity of God’s visitation.

Verse 1. - O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger. The psalmist begins by deprecating God's wrath and displeasure. He is conscious of some grievous sin, deserving rebuke and chastisement, and he does not ask to be spared his chastisement; but he would fain be chastised in love, not in anger (comp. Jeremiah 10:24, "O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing"). Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure; or, in thy wrath. In its primary sense, humah (חמה) is no doubt "heat," "glow; ' but the secondary sense of "anger," "wrath," is quite as common. Psalm 6:1(Heb.: 6:2-4) There is a chastisement which proceeds from God's love to the man as being pardoned and which is designed to purify or to prove him, and a chastisement which proceeds from God's wrath against the man as striving obstinately against, or as fallen away from, favour, and which satisfies divine justice. Psalm 94:12; Psalm 118:17; Proverbs 3:11. speak of this loving chastisement. The man who should decline it, would act against his own salvation. Accordingly David, like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 10:24), does not pray for the removal of the chastisement but of the chastisement in wrath, or what is the same thing, of the judgment proceeding from wrath [Zorngericht]. בּאפּך and בּחמתך stand in the middle, between אל and the verbs, for the sake of emphasis. Hengstenberg indeed finds a different antithesis here. He says: "The contrast is not that of chastisement in love with chastisement in wrath, but that of loving rescue in contrast with chastisement, which always proceeds from the principle of wrath." If what is here meant is, that always when God chastens a man his wrath is the true and proper motive, it is an error, for the refutation of which one whole book of the Bible, viz., the Book of Job, has been written. For there the friends think that God is angry with Job; but we know from the prologue that, so far from being angry with him, he on the contrary glories in him. Here, in this Psalm, assuming David to be its author, and his adultery the occasion of it, it is certainly quite otherwise. The chastisement under which David is brought low, has God's wrath as its motive: it is punitive chastisement and remains such, so long as David remains fallen from favour. But if in sincere penitence he again struggles through to favour, then the punitive becomes a loving chastisement: God's relationship to him becomes an essentially different relationship. The evil, which is the result of his sin and as such indeed originates in the principle of wrath, becomes the means of discipline and purifying which love employs, and this it is that he here implores for himself. And thus Dante Alighieri

(Note: Provided he is the author of I stte Salmi Penitenziali trasportati alla volgar poesia, vid., Dante Alighieri's Lyric poems, translated and annotated by Kannegiesser and Witte (1842) i. 203f., ii.208f.)

correctly and beautifully paraphrases the verse:

Signor, non mi riprender con furore,

E non voler correggermi con ira,

Ma con dolcezza e con perfetto amore.

In חנּני David prays God to let him experience His loving-kindness and tender mercy in place of the punishment He has a right to inflict; for anguish of soul has already reduced him to the extreme even of bodily sickness: he is withered up and weary. אמלל has Pathach, and consequently seems to be the 3 pers. Pul. as in Joel 1:10; Nahum 1:4; but this cannot be according to the rules of grammar. It is an adjective, like רענן, שׁאנן, with the passive pointing. The formation אמלל (from אמל Arab. aml, with the primary meaning to stretch out lengthwise) is analogous to the IX and XI forms of the Arabic verb which serve especially to express colours and defects (Caspari 59). The two words אני אמלל have the double accent Mercha-Mahpach together, and according to the exact mode of writing (vid., Baer in my Psalter ii. 492) the Mahpach, (the sign resembling Mahpach or rather Jethib), ought to stand between the two words, since it at the same time represents the Makkeph. The principal tone of the united pair, therefore, lies on aani; and accordingly the adj. אמלל is shortened to אמלל (cf. אדמדּם, הפכפּך, מרמס, and the like) - a contraction which proves that אמלל is not treated as part. Pul. ( equals מאמלל), for its characteristic a4 is unchangeable. The prayer for healing is based upon the plea that his bones (Job 4:14; Isaiah 38:13) are affrighted. We have no German word exactly corresponding to this נבהל which (from the radical notion "to let go," cogn. בּלהּ) expresses a condition of outward overthrow and inward consternation, and is therefore the effect of fright which disconcerts one and of excitement that deprives one of self-control.

(Note: We have translated Dr. Delitzsch's word erschrecht literally - the vexed of the Authorized Version seems hardly equal to the meaning.)

His soul is still more shaken than his body. The affliction is therefore not a merely bodily ailment in which only a timorous man loses heart. God's love is hidden from him. God's wrath seems as though it would wear him completely away. It is an affliction beyond all other afflictions. Hence he enquires: And Thou, O Jahve, how long?! Instead of אתה it is written את, which the Ker says is to be read אתּה, while in three passages (Numbers 11:15; Deuteronomy 5:24; Ezekiel 28:14) אתּ is admitted as masc.

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