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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.

These forms of expression are hyperbolical, but it must not be imagined that David, after the manner of poets, exaggerates his sorrow; 8989    II ne taut pas penser toutesfois que David amplifie sa tristesse a la facon des Poetes.” — Fr. 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, 9090     “Des frayeurs de la morte.” — Fr. “With the terrors of death.” 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 עתק 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.

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