Psalm 6:3
My soul is also sore vexed: but you, O LORD, how long?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) But thou, O Lord, how long?—Comp. Psalm 90:13. This is “belief in unbelief.” Domine quousque was Calvin’s motto. The most intense grief, it was said, could never extract from him another word. In its national form this faith amid despair is shown in Zechariah 1:12. (Comp Revelation 6:10.)

Psalm 6:3. My soul is sore vexed — Partly by sympathy with my body, and partly with the burden of my sins, and the sense of thine anger, and my own danger and misery. O Lord, how long? — Wilt thou suffer me to lie and languish in this condition? or, as the Chaldee paraphrast supplies the ellipses, How long wilt thou defer to give me some refreshment?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.My soul is also sore vexed - The word "soul" here is used in the sense in which it is commonly with us, as denoting the mind. The idea is, that his sorrows were not merely those of the bodily frame. They had a deeper seat than even the bones. His mind, his soul, was full of anguish also, in view of the circumstances which surrounded him, and which had brought on these bodily afflictions.

But thou, O Lord - This is a broken sentence, as if he had commenced an address to God, but did not complete it. It is as if he had said, "Here I suffer and languish; my sorrows are deep and unmitigated; as for thee, O Lord" - as if he were about to say that he had hoped God would interpose; or, that his dealings were mysterious; or, that they seemed strange or severe; but he ends the sentence by no language of complaint or complaining, but by simply asking "how long" these sorrows were to continue.

How long? - That is, how long wilt thou leave me thus to suffer? How long shall my unmitigated anguish continue? How long will it be ere thou wilt interpose to relieve me? The language implies that in his apprehension it was already a long time - as time usually seems long to a sufferer (compare Job 7:2-4), and that he was constantly looking out for God to interpose and help him. This is language such as all persons may be inclined to use on beds of pain and languishing. It seems indeed long to them now; it will, however, seem short when they look back upon it from the glories of the heavenly world. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

3. how long?—shall this be so (compare Ps 79:5).

but—or, "and."

thou—The sentence is incomplete as expressive of strong emotion.

My soul is also sore vexed; partly by sympathy with my body; and partly with the burden of my sins, and the sense of thine anger, and my own danger and misery.

How long wilt thou suffer me to lie and languish in this condition? It is a figure called aposiopesis, very agreeable to men in pain or anguish, who use to cut their words short. My soul is also sore vexed,.... Or "exceedingly troubled" (c), and even frightened and thrown into a consternation with indwelling sin, and on account of actual transgressions, and by reason of the hidings of God's face, and through the temptations of Satan, and because of the fear of death; to which Old Testament saints were very incident.

But thou, O Lord, how long? it is an abrupt expression, the whole he designed is not spoken, being hindered through the grief and sorrow with which his heart was overwhelmed; and is to be supplied after this manner,

"shall I have refreshment?''

as the Chaldee paraphrase; or,

"wilt thou look and not heal me?''

as Jarchi; or

"my soul be troubled?''

as Aben Ezra; or

"shall I be afflicted, and thou wilt not heal me?''

as Kimchi; or

"wilt thou afflict me, and not arise to my help?''

see Psalm 13:1.

(c) "turbata est valde", V. L. "conturbata", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "territa valde": Pagninus, Montanus; "consternata valde", Cocceius.

{c} My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?

(c) His conscience is also touched with the fear of God's judgment.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. Mind as well as body, the inner self as well as its outer organism, is dismayed. Our Lord appropriates these words, in view of His approaching Passion (John 12:27), using the Greek word (ταράσσειν) employed by the LXX.

how long?] Cp. Psalm 90:13. How pregnant is the aposiopesis! How long wilt Thou be angry? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face and refuse to hear me? Cp. Psalm 13:1.

It is recorded of Calvin in his last painful illness that he uttered no word of complaint unworthy of a Christian man; only raising his eyes to heaven he would say Usquequo Domine (Lord, how long?) for even when he was in health, this was a kind of watchword with him, in reference to the troubles of the brethren (Vita: Opp. Tom. 1).Verse 3. - My soul is also sore vexed. It is not, however, the body alone which suffers; the soul also is vexed, and vexed greatly (מְאֹד). Clearly the main emphasis is intended to be laid on the mental suffering. But thou, O Lord, how long! We may fill up the ellipse in various ways: "How long wilt thou look on?" "How long wilt thou hide thyself?" "How long wilt thou be angry?" (see Psalm 34:17; Psalm 79:5; Psalm 89:46). Or again, "How long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear?" (Habakkuk 1:2). The cry is that of one wearied out with long suffering (comp. Psalm 90:13). (Heb.: 5:8-10) Since the Psalm is a morning hymn, the futt. in Psalm 5:8 state what he, on the contrary, may and will do (Psalm 66:13). By the greatness and fulness of divine favour (Psalm 116:14) he has access (εἴσοδον, for בּוא means, according to its root, "to enter") to the sanctuary, and he will accordingly repair thither to-day. It is the tabernacle on Zion in which was the ark of the covenant that is meant here. That daily liturgical service was celebrated there must be assumed, since the ark of the covenant is the sign and pledge of Jahve's presence; and it is, moreover, attested by 1 Chronicles 16:37. It is also to be supposed that sacrifice was offered daily before the tabernacle. For it is not to be inferred from 1 Chronicles 16:39. that sacrifice was only offered regularly on the Bama (high place) in Gibeon before the Mosaic tabernacle.

(Note: Thus, in particular, Sthelin, Zur Kritik der Psalmen in the Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. vi. (1852) S. 108 and Zur Einleitung in die Psalmen. An academical programme, 1859. 4to.)

It is true sacrifice was offered in Gibeon, where the old tabernacle and the old altars (or at least the altar of burnt-offering) were, and also that after the removal of the ark to Zion both David (1 Chronicles 21:29.) and Solomon (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:2-6) worshipped and sacrificed in Gibeon. But it is self-evident sacrifices might have been offered where the ark was, and that even with greater right than in Gibeon; and since both David, upon its arrival (2 Samuel 6:17.), and Solomon after his accession (1 Kings 3:15), offered sacrifices through the priests who were placed there, it is probable-and by a comparison of the Davidic Psalms not to be doubted-that there was a daily service, in conjunction with sacrifices, before the ark on Zion.

But, moreover, is it really the אהל in Zion which is meant here in v. 8 by the house of God? It is still maintained by renowned critics that the tabernacle pitched by David over the sacred ark is never called בית ה or היכל or משׁכן ה or מקדשׁ or קדשׁ. But why could it not have all these names? We will not appeal to the fact that the house of God at Shilo (1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:3) is called בית and היכל ה, since it may be objected that it was really more of a temple than a tabernacle,

(Note: Vid., C. H. Graf, Commentation de templo Silonensi ad illustrandum locum Jude 18.30, 31, (1855, 4to.), in which he seeks to prove that the sanctuary in Shilo was a temple to Jahve that lasted until the dissolution of the kingdom of Israel.)

although in the same book, 1 Samuel 2:22 it is called אהל מועד, and in connection with the other appellations the poetic colouring of the historical style of 1 Samuel 1-3 is to be taken into consideration. Moreover, we put aside passages like Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26, since it may be said that the future Temple was present to the mind of the Lawgiver. But in Joshua 6:24; 2 Samuel 12:20, the sanctuary is called בית ה without being conceived of as a temple. Why then cannot the tabernacle, which David pitched for the ark of the covenant when removed to Zion (2 Samuel 6:17), be called בית ה? It is only when אהל and בּית are placed in opposition to one another that the latter has the notion of a dwelling built of more solid materials; but in itself beit (bt) in Semitic is the generic term for housing of every kind whether it be made of wool, felt, and hair-cloth, or of earth, stone, and wood; consequently it is just as much a tent as a house (in the stricter sense of the word), whether the latter be a hut built of wood and clay or a palace.

(Note: The Turkish Kamus says: "Arab. byt is a house (Turk. ew) in the signification of châne (Persic the same), whether it be made of hair, therefore a tent, or built of stone and tiles." And further on: "Beit originally signified a place specially designed for persons to retire to at night from Arab. bâta he has passed the night, if it does not perhaps come from the בוא, Arab. bayya, which stands next to it in this passage, vid., Job at Job 29:15-17]; but later on the meaning was extended and the special reference to the night time was lost." Even at the present day the Beduin does not call his tent ahl, but always bêt and in fact bêt sha'r (בית שׂער), the modern expression for the older bêt wabar (hair-house).)

If a dwelling-house is frequently called אהל, then a tent that any one dwells in may the more naturally be called his בּית. And this we find is actually the case with the dwellings of the patriarchs, which, although they were not generally solid houses (Genesis 33:17), are called בית (Genesis 27:15). Moreover, היכל (from יכל equals כּוּל to hold, capacem esse), although it signifies a palace does not necessarily signify one of stone, for the heavens are also called Jahve's היכל, e.g., Psalm 18:7, and not necessarily one of gigantic proportions, for even the Holy of holies of Solomon's Temple, and this par excellence, is called היכל, and once, 1 Kings 6:3, היכל הבּית. Of the spaciousness and general character of the Davidic tabernacle we know indeed nothing: it certainly had its splendour, and was not so much a substitute for the original tabernacle, which according to the testimony of the chronicler remained in Gibeon, as a substitute for the Temple that was still to be built. But, however insignificant it may have been, Jahve had His throne there, and it was therefore the היבל of a great king, just as the wall-less place in the open field where God manifested Himself with His angels to the homeless Jacob was בּית אלהים (Genesis 28:17).

Into this tabernacle of God, i.e., into its front court, will David enter (בּוא with acc. as in Psalm 66:13) this morning, there will he prostrate himself in worship, προσκυνεῖν (השׁתּחוה) reflexive of the Pilel שׁחוה, Ges. 75, rem. 18), towards (אל as in Psalm 28:2, 1 Kings 8:29, 1 Kings 8:35, cf. ל Psalm 99:5, Psalm 99:9) Jahve's היכל קדשׁ, i.e., the דּביר, the Holy of holies Psalm 28:2, and that "in Thy fear," i.e., in reverence before Thee (genit. objectivus). The going into the Temple which David purposes, leads his thoughts on to his way through life, and the special de'eesis, which only begins here, moulds itself accordingly: he prays for God's gracious guidance as in Psalm 27:11; Psalm 86:11, and frequently. The direction of God, by which he wishes to be guided he calls צדקה. Such is the general expression for the determination of conduct by an ethical rule. The rule, acting in accordance with which, God is called par excellence צדיק, is the order of salvation which opens up the way of mercy to sinners. When God forgives those who walk in this way their sins, and stands near to bless and protect them, He shows Himself not less צדיק (just), than when He destroys those who despise Him, in the heat of His rejected love. By this righteousness, which accords with the counsel and order of mercy, David prays to be led למען שׁוררי, in order that the malicious desire of those who lie in wait for him may not be fulfilled, but put to shame, and that the honour of God may not be sullied by him. שׁורר is equivalent to משׁורר (Aquila ἐφοδεύων, Jerome insidiator) from the Pilel שׁורר to fix one's eyes sharply upon, especially of hostile observation. David further prays that God will make his way (i.e., the way in which a man must walk according to God's will) even and straight before him, the prayer one, in order that he may walk therein without going astray and unimpeded. The adj. ישׂר signifies both the straightness of a line and the evenness of a surface. The fut. of the Hiph. הישׁיר is יישׁיר in Proverbs 4:25, and accordingly the Ker substitutes for the imper. הושׁר the corresponding form הישׁר, just as in Isaiah 45:2 it removes the Hiphil form אושׁר (cf. Genesis 8:17 הוצא Keri היצא), without any grammatical, but certainly not without some traditional ground.

כּי in Psalm 5:10 is closely connected with למען שׁוררי: on account of my way-layers, for the following are their characteristics. אין is separated by בּפיהוּ ( equals בּפיו Psalm 62:5) from נכונה the word it governs; this was the more easily possible as the usage of the language almost entirely lost sight of the fact that אין is the construct of אין, Ges. 152, 1. In his mouth is nothing that should stand firm, keep its ground, remain the same (cf. Job 42:7.). The singular suffix of בפיהו has a distributive meaning: in ore unuiscujusque eorum. Hence the sing. at once passes over into the plur.: קרבּם הוּות their inward part, i.e., that towards which it goes forth and in which it has its rise (vid., Psalm 49:12) is הוות corruption, from הוּה which comes from הוה equals Arab. hawâ, to yawn, gape, χαίνειν, hiare, a yawning abyss and a gaping vacuum, and then, inasmuch as, starting from the primary idea of an empty space, the verbal significations libere ferri (especially from below upwards) and more particularly animo ad or in aliquid ferri are developed, it obtains the pathological sense of strong desire, passion, just as it does also the intellectual sense of a loose way of thinking proceeding from a self-willed tendency (vid., Fleischer on Job 37:6). In Hebrew the prevalent meaning of the word is corruption, Psalm 57:2, which is a metaphor for the abyss, barathrum, (so far, but only so far Schultens on Proverbs 10:3 is right), and proceeding from this meaning it denotes both that which is physically corruptible (Job 6:30) and, as in the present passage and frequently, that which is corruptible from an ethical point of view. The meaning strong desire, in which הוּה looks as though it only differed from אוּה in one letter, occurs only in Psalm 52:9; Proverbs 10:3; Micah 7:3. The substance of their inward part is that which is corruptible in every way, and their throat, as the organ of speech, as in Psalm 115:7; Psalm 149:6, cf. Psalm 69:4, is (perhaps a figure connected with the primary meaning of הוות) a grave, which yawns like jaws, which open and snatch and swallow down whatever comes in their way. To this "they make smooth their tongue" is added as a circumstantial clause. Their throat is thus formed and adapted, while they make smooth their tongue (cf. Proverbs 2:16), in order to conceal their real design beneath flattering language. From this meaning, החליק directly signifies to flatter in Psalm 36:3; Proverbs 29:5. The last two lines of the strophe are formed according to the caesura schema. This schema is also continued in the concluding strophe.

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