Psalm 6:6-7

6. I have become wearied in my groaning; I make my bed to swim1 every night; I water my couch with my tears. 7. Mine eye hath waxed dim for vexation; it hath waxed old among my persecutors.


These forms of expression are hyperbolical, but it must not be imagined that David, after the manner of poets, exaggerates his sorrow;2 but he declares truly and simply how severe and bitter it had been. It should always be kept in mind, that his affliction did not proceed so much from his having been severely wounded with bodily distress; but regarding God as greatly displeased with him, he saw, as it were, hell open to receive him; and the mental distress which this produces exceeds all other sorrows. Indeed, the more sincerely a man is devoted to God, he is just so much the more severely disquieted by the sense of his wrath; and hence it is that holy persons, who were otherwise endued with uncommon fortitude, have showed in this respect the greatest softness and want of resolution. And nothing prevents us at this day from experiencing in ourselves what David describes concerning himself but the stupidity of our flesh. Those who have experienced, even in a moderate degree, what it is to contend with the fear of eternal death, will be satisfied that there is nothing extravagant in these words. Let us, therefore, know that here David is represented to us as being afflicted with the terrors of his conscience,3 and feeling within him torment of no ordinary kind, but such as made him almost faint away, and lie as if dead. With respect to the words, he says, Mine eye hath waxed dim; for grief of mind easily makes its way to the eyes, and from them very distinctly shows itself. As the word qte athak, which I have translated it hath waxed old, sometimes signifies to depart from one's place, some expound it, that the goodness of his eyesight was lost, and his sight, as it were, had vanished. Others understand by it that his eyes were hidden by the swelling which proceeds from weeping. The first opinion, however, according to which David complains of his eyes failing him, as it were, through old age, appears to me the more simple. As to what he adds, every night, we learn from it that he was almost wholly wasted away with protracted sorrow, and yet all the while never ceased from praying to God.

1 "Je baigne ma couche. -- Fr. "I soak my couch." "Ou, je fay nager." -- Fr. marg. "or, I make to swim."

2 "II ne taut pas penser toutesfois que David amplifie sa tristesse a la facon des Poetes." -- Fr.

3 "Des frayeurs de la morte." -- Fr. "With the terrors of death."