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Psalm 6

Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness

To the leader: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.


O L ord, do not rebuke me in your anger,

or discipline me in your wrath.


Be gracious to me, O L ord, for I am languishing;

O L ord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.


My soul also is struck with terror,

while you, O L ord—how long?



Turn, O L ord, save my life;

deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.


For in death there is no remembrance of you;

in Sheol who can give you praise?



I am weary with my moaning;

every night I flood my bed with tears;

I drench my couch with my weeping.


My eyes waste away because of grief;

they grow weak because of all my foes.



Depart from me, all you workers of evil,

for the L ord has heard the sound of my weeping.


The L ord has heard my supplication;

the L ord accepts my prayer.


All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;

they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

3. And thou, O Jehovah, how long? This elliptical form of expression serves to express more strongly the vehemence of grief, which not only holds the minds of men bound up, but likewise their tongues, breaking and cutting short their speech in the middle of the sentence. The meaning, however, in this abrupt expression is doubtful. Some, to complete the sentence, supply the words, Wilt thou afflict me, or continue to chasten me? Others read, How long wilt thou delay thy mercy? But what is stated in the next verse shows that this second sense is the more probable, for he there prays to the Lord to look upon him with an eye of favor and compassion. He, therefore, complains that God has now forsaken him, or has no regard to him, just as God seems to be far of from us whenever his assistance or grace does not actually manifest itself in our behalf. God, in his compassion towards us, permits us to pray to him to make haste to succor us; but when we have freely complained of his long delay, that our prayers or sorrow, on this account, may not pass beyond bounds we must submit our case entirely to his will, and not wish him to make greater haste than shall seem good to him.

4. Return, O Lord. In the preceding verses the Psalmist bewailed the absence of God, and now he earnestly requests the tokens of his presence, for our happiness consists in this, that we are the objects of the Divine regard, but we think he is alienated from us, if he does not give us some substantial evidence of his care for us. That David was at this time in the utmost peril, we gather from these words, in which he prays both for the deliverance of his soul, as it were, from the jaws of death, and for his restoration to a state of safety. Yet no mention is made of any bodily disease, and, therefore, I give no judgment with respect to the kind of his affliction. David, again, confirms what he had touched upon in the second verse concerning the mercy of God, namely, that this is the only quarter from which he hopes for deliverance: Save me for thy mercy’s sake Men will never find a remedy for their miseries until, forgetting their own merits, by trusting to which they only deceive themselves, they have learned to betake themselves to the free mercy of God.

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