New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary


Psa 6:1 For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments, upon the eight-stringed lyre. A Psalm by David.
Yahweh, don’t rebuke me in Your anger, neither discipline me in Your wrath-
This sounds like a reflection on his feelings after the sin with Bathsheba. He was so delighted at God's response that David wanted it to be sung by others. The words are very similar to those in Ps. 38:1, also a Bathsheba Psalm, which is titled "to bring to remembrance"; as if David wanted his past sin and forgiveness to be remembered, so that he might fulfil his desire to teach other sinners of God's grace (Ps. 51:13). And he used music to do this. See on Ps. 50:8. David had been open to Nathan's "rebuke" (Ps. 141:5), which was not given in God's anger so much as in His appeal for David to accept His grace. The chastening or "discipline" is the word used for David's experiences after the sin with Bathsheba (s.w. Ps. 38:1; 39:11).

Psa 6:2 Have mercy on me, Yahweh, for I am faint. Yahweh, heal me, for my bones are troubled-
This would refer to David's pain and illness after his sin with Bathsheba, of which we read in many of the Bathsheba Psalms. His bone pain looked ahead to that experienced by the Lord upon the cross, where He is presented as suffering as David did for sin- whilst personally innocent, He was totally our representative there.


Psa 6:3 My soul is also in great anguish. But You, Yahweh--how long?-
"In great anguish" is a phrase used only here and in :10, and about Saul the night before he died (1 Sam. 28:21). David is wishing his enemies felt like he did (:10), which may be considered a basic psychological reaction to suffering at the hands of others, and yet all the same appears to fall far short of Christian principles. And yet God responded to this- for perhaps this Psalm was originally written earlier in David's life, and it was answered in Saul's sufferings as David had. And then David reused the Psalm with reference to his anguish at the time of his sin with Bathsheba.

Psa 6:4 Return, Yahweh. Deliver my soul, and save me for Your grace’ sake-
The "return" of Yahweh suggests he felt the absence of God's presence, and it is this "return" of Yahweh that he pleads "how long?" in :3. David realized "grace" at the time of his sin with Bathsheba; his salvation could be by grace alone, and not, as he has pleaded in earlier Psalms, because of the pureness of his own hands.

Psa 6:5 For in death there is no memory of You. In Sheol, who shall give You thanks?-
Clear enough evidence that death is unconsciousness. David recognized that his life was indeed a giving of thanks to God, and such praise is in fact the purpose of our lives.

Psa 6:6 I am weary with my groaning; each night I flood my bed, I drench my couch with my tears-
This sounds like an emotional breakdown, regardless of the state of his physical health. Perhaps the groaning and tears were in prayer to God; for most references to David's activity "each night" are to his prayers.

Psa 6:7 My eye wastes away because of grief, it grows old because of all my adversaries-
"Grief" is the word used for the wrath of God (Ps. 85:4), but could also refer to the anger of others- perhaps the family of Bathsheba, or the followers of Saul, was originally in view. A sense of fading vision would be appropriate to both his physical and emotional state. In the Bathsheba context it would seem that during his illness, there arose "adversaries" against him. But as noted on :3,10, the Psalm may have originated whilst under persecution by Saul.

Psa 6:8 Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity-
This is the word for how God had departed from Saul, and maybe this was initially behind David's desire that Saul leave him alone. But it is also the word used for how violence would never depart from David because of his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12:10). David prayed for this to "depart" but it never did. David was open to the possibility that through prayer, God can remove the consequences of sin in this life; but such prayer is not always answered.


For Yahweh has heard the voice of my weeping- Who we are as persons is effectively our prayer and plea to God. This conception of prayer explains why often weeping, crying, waiting, meditating etc. are spoken of as "prayer" , although there was no specific verbalizing of requests (Ps. 5:1,2; 6:8; 18:1,2,3,6; 40:1; 42:8; 64:1 Heb.; 65:1,2; 66:17-20; Zech. 8:22). The association between prayer and weeping is especially common: 1 Sam. 1:10; Ps. 39:12; 55:1,2; Jn. 11:41,42; Heb. 5:7, especially in the Lord's life and the Messianic Psalms. "The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer" (Ps. 6:8,9) crystallizes the point.

Psa 6:9 Yahweh has heard my supplication, Yahweh accepts my prayer-
There is no evidence that suddenly David got better and his enemies disappeared. Rather does the reality dawn upon David whilst still in prayer- that his prayer has indeed been accepted. Perhaps there was some visible sign of this, such as a manifestation of Divine glory. But more likely he experienced as we do, a deep sense of reality- that his words had been heard and accepted by God in heaven.

Psa 6:10 May all my enemies be ashamed and dismayed. They shall turn back, they shall be disgraced suddenly
- As explained on :3, this had initial reference to the destruction of Saul; "dismayed" is s.w. "great anguish" in :3. And yet when this actually happened, David lamented over Saul; perhaps all the more because he realized his prayers against Saul had been answered, and he recognized he ought to have been more charitable to his enemies.