Psalm 6

Notes (NET Translation)

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments, according to the sheminith style; a psalm of David.

The term sheminith only occurs in Pss. 6 and 12 and 1 Chr. 15:21. It is related to the Hebrew word for “eighth”. It could denote a manner of singing or musical accompaniment.

1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger! Do not discipline me in your raging fury!

One line of interpretation sees the psalmist as making a connection between his sin and his current suffering. But the psalmist does not confess to sin as is done is Ps. 38. This suggests that the psalmist is a righteous sufferer like, for example, Job. Perhaps he is asking God not to rebuke him for his prayer of deliverance.

2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am frail! Heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking!

3 I am absolutely terrified, and you, Lord–how long will this continue?

In the Hebrew, the first half of the verse refers to the anguish of the soul (VanGameren 2008, p. 124). The end of the verse in Hebrew is simply “how long?”, as if the psalmist cannot complete his thought (VanGameren 2008, p. 125).

4 Relent, Lord, rescue me! Deliver me because of your faithfulness!

The psalmist’s appeal to God’s faithfulness is an appeal to God’s covenant love (Craigie 2004, p. 93).

5 For no one remembers you in the realm of death, In Sheol who gives you thanks?

Remembrance is not mere mental recollection but the recounting of God’s great deeds in an act of worship (Kidner 2008, p. 78; VanGameren 2008, p. 126). This is why “remember” is paralleled by “give thanks”. Sheol is the abode of the dead. From psalmist’s perspective, death will silence his worship.

6 I am exhausted as I groan; all night long I drench my bed in tears; my tears saturate the cushion beneath me.

The Hebrew literally says he caused his bed to swim or float (Craigie 2004, p. 93).

7 My eyes grow dim from suffering; they grow weak because of all my enemies.

8 Turn back from me, all you who behave wickedly, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping!

That God heard the psalmist’s weeping implies a commitment on God’s part to act. It is not merely that God has perceived the weeping of the psalmist. We are not told how the psalmist became aware of God’s commitment but it accounts for the change in tone in vv. 8-10.

9 The Lord has heard my appeal for mercy; the Lord has accepted my prayer.

10 May all my enemies be humiliated and absolutely terrified! May they turn back and be suddenly humiliated!

Bibliography

Craigie, Peter C., and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004.

Goldingay, John. Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 2006.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.

VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.

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