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38. Psalm 38

O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

2For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

4For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

5My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

6I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

7For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.

8I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

9Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.

10My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

11My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.

12They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.

13But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

14Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

15For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

16For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

17For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.

18For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.

19But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

20They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.

21Forsake me not, O Lord: O my God, be not far from me.

22Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

5 My wounds 5050     “The proper meaning of חכר is not a wound, but a bruise or wale made by a severe blow. My wales through my severe chastisement are become putrid and running sores.” — Fry have become putrid In this verse, he pleads the long continuance of his disease as an argument for obtaining some alleviation. When the Lord declares, concerning his Church,

“that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned,
for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins,”
(Isaiah 40:2)

his meaning is, that when he has sufficiently chastised his people, he is quickly pacified towards them; nay, more, that if he continue to manifest his displeasure for too long a time, he becomes through his mercy, as it were, weary of it, so that he hastens to give deliverance, as he says in another place,

“For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”— (Isaiah 48:9, 10)

The object, therefore, which David has in view, in complaining of the long continuance of his misery is, that when he had endured the punishment which he had merited, he might at length obtain deliverance. It was certainly no slight trial to this servant of God to be thus kept in continual languishing, and, as it were, to putrify and be dissolved into corruption in his miseries. In this his constancy is the more to be admired, for it neither broke down from the long period of delay, nor failed under the immense load of suffering. By using the term foolishness instead of sin, he does not seek in this way to extenuate his faults, as hypocrites do when they are unable to escape the charge of guilt; for in order to excuse themselves in part, they allege the false pretense of ignorance, pleading, and wishing it to be believed, that they erred through imprudence and inadvertence. But, according to a common mode of expression in the Hebrew language, by the use of the term foolishness, he acknowledges that he had been out of his right mind, when he obeyed the lusts of the flesh in opposition to God. The Spirit, by employing this term in so many places to designate crimes the most atrocious, does not certainly mean to extenuate the criminality of men, as if they were guilty merely of some slight offenses, but rather charges them with maniacal fury, because, blinded by unhallowed desires, they wilfully fly in the face of their Maker. Accordingly, sin is always conjoined with folly or, madness. It is in this sense that David speaks of his own foolishness; as if he had said, that he was void of reason and transported with madness, like the infatuated rage of wild beasts, when he neglected God and followed his own lusts.

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