Psalms 56:8

8 Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll[a] — are they not in your record?

Psalms 56:8 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
New Living Translation (NLT)
8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
The Message Bible (MSG)
8 You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
American Standard Version (ASV)
8 Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book?
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
8 (You have kept a record of my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. They are already in your book.)
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
8 You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records?
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
8 Write down my poem of sadness. List my tears on your scroll. Aren't you making a record of them?

Psalms 56:8 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 56:8

Thou tellest my wanderings
Not his sins; though these are aberrations or wanderings from the ways of God's commandments; yet these are not told by the Lord: he takes no account of them; the number of them is not kept by him; they are blotted out, cast behind his back, and into the depths of the sea; though sometimes his people think they are told and numbered by him, ( Job 14:16 ) ( 31:4 ) ; but David's moves and flights from place to place are meant, through Saul's pursuit of him, as a partridge on the mountains. Some writers reckon twelve of these moves. The Targum renders it,

``thou numberest the days of my wandering;''

that is, the days of his pilgrimage and sojourning in this world: the number of our days, and months and years, in which we wander about in this uncertain state of things, is with the Lord, ( Job 14:5 ) ;

put thou my tears into thy bottle;
the allusion is to "lachrymatories", or tear bottles, in which surviving relatives dropped their tears for their deceased friends, and buried them with their ashes, or in their urns; some of which tear bottles are still to be seen in the cabinets of the curious. A description of which is given by Gejerus F3, from Olaus Wormius; and who also from Cotovicus relates, that the grave of M. Tullius Cicero was dug up in the island of Zacynthus, A. D. 1544, in which were found two glass urns; the larger had ashes in it, the lesser water: the one was supposed to contain his ashes, the other the tears of his friends: and as this was a custom with the Romans, something like this might obtain among the Jews; and it is a saying with them {d},

``whoever sheds tears for a good man (deceased) the holy blessed God numbers them, and puts them into his treasures, according to ( Psalms 56:8 ) ;''

which shows, that they thought that reference is here had to funeral tears. The meaning of the text is, that God would take notice of David's afflictions and troubles, which had caused so many tears, and remember them, and deliver him out of them: these being desired to be put into a bottle was, that they might be kept and reserved; not to make atonement for sin; for as a thousand rivers of oil cannot expiate one sin, could they be come at; so neither as many rivers of brinish tears, could they possibly be shed: nor to obtain heaven and happiness; for there is no comparison nor proportion between the sufferings of the saints and the glory that shall be revealed in them; though there is a connection of grace through the promise of God between them: but rather, that they might be brought forth another day and shown, to the aggravation of the condemnation of wicked men, who by their hard speeches, and ungodly actions, have caused them;

[are they] not in thy book?
verily they are; that is, the tears and afflictions of his people. They are in his book of purposes; they are all appointed by him, their kind and nature, their measure and duration, their quality and quantity; what they shall be, and how long they shall last; and their end and use: and they are in his book of providence, and are all overruled and caused to work for their good; and they are in the book of his remembrance; they are taken notice of and numbered by him, and shall be finished; they shall not exceed their bounds. These tears will be turned into joy, and God will wipe them all away from the eyes of his people.


F3 De Ebr. Luctu, c. 12. s. 5.
F4 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 105. 2.

Psalms 56:8 In-Context

6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, hoping to take my life.
7 Because of their wickedness do not let them escape; in your anger, God, bring the nations down.
8 Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll — are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise—

Cross References 2

  • 1. S 2 Kings 20:5
  • 2. Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 7:10; Daniel 12:1; Malachi 3:16

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "misery;" / "put my tears in your wineskin"
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