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For my life is spent with sorrow,

and my years with sighing;

my strength fails because of my misery,

and my bones waste away.


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9. Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah! To move God to succor him, he magnifies the greatness of his misery and grief by the number of his complaints; not that God needs arguments to persuade him, but because he allows the faithful to deal familiarly with him, that they may disburden themselves of their cares. The greater the number of afflictions with which they are oppressed, the more do they encourage themselves, while bewailing them before God, in the hope of obtaining his assistance. These forms of expression may seem hyperbolical, but it is obvious that it was David’s purpose to declare and set forth what he had felt in his own person. First, he says that his eyes, his soul, and his belly, were consumed with grief. From this it appears that it was neither lightly nor for a short time that he was thus tormented and vexed by these calamities. Indeed, he was endued with so much meekness of spirit that he would not allow himself to be excited easily, and by a slight circumstance, nor vexed by immoderate sorrow. He had also been for a long time inured to the endurance of troubles. We must, therefore, admit that his afflictions were incredibly severe, when he gave way to such a degree of passion. By the word anger, too, he shows that he was not at all times of such iron-like firmness, or so free from sinful passion, as that his grief did not now and then break forth into an excess of impetuosity and keenness. Whence we infer that the saints have often a severe and arduous conflict with their own passions; and that although their patience has not always been free from peevishness, yet by carefully wrestling against it, they have at last attained this much, that no accumulation of troubles has overwhelmed them. By life some understand the vital senses, an interpretation which I do not altogether reject. But I prefer to explain it as simply meaning, that, being consumed with grief, he felt his life and his years sliding away and failing. And by these words again, David bewails not so much his pusillanimity of mind as the grievousness of his calamities; although he was by no means ashamed to confess his infirmity, for which he was anxiously seeking a remedy. When he says, that his strength failed under his sorrow, some interpreters prefer reading, under his iniquity; and I confess that the Hebrew word עון, on, bears both significations, 644644     “The word עוך,” says Hammond, “as it signifies sin, so it signifies also the punishment of sin, Isaiah 53:6, 11;” and in this last sense this critic here understands it, that it may be connected with grief and sighing, which are mentioned in the preceding clause, and may express those miseries which David’s sins had brought upon him. “וזע” observes Rogers, “signifies here and in some other places, affliction, the punishment or consequence of sin; see Genesis 4:13; 1 Samuel 28:10; 2 Kings 7:9,” etc. - Book of Psalms in Hebrew, metrically arranged, vol. 2, p.188. The Septuagint reads, in poverty or affliction, in which it is followed by the Syriac and Vulgate. nay, more frequently it signifies an offense or a fault. But as it is sometimes used for punishment, I have chosen the sense which appears most agreeable to the context. And although it is true that David was accustomed to ascribe the afflictions which he at any time suffered to his own fault, yet, as he is only recounting his miseries here, without mentioning the cause of them, it is probable that, according to his usual manner, he expresses the same thing twice by different words.