Psalms 6

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

1 [a][b]LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long?
4 Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
5 Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

Psalms 6 Commentary

Chapter 6

The psalmist deprecates God's wrath, and begs for the return of his favour. (1-7) He assures himself of an answer of peace. (8-10)

Verses 1-7 These verses speak the language of a heart truly humbled, of a broken and contrite spirit under great afflictions, sent to awaken conscience and mortify corruption. Sickness brought sin to his remembrance, and he looked upon it as a token of God's displeasure against him. The affliction of his body will be tolerable, if he has comfort in his soul. Christ's sorest complaint, in his sufferings, was of the trouble of his soul, and the want of his Father's smiles. Every page of Scripture proclaims the fact, that salvation is only of the Lord. Man is a sinner, his case can only be reached by mercy; and never is mercy more illustrious than in restoring backsliders. With good reason we may pray, that if it be the will of God, and he has any further work for us or our friends to do in this world, he will yet spare us or them to serve him. To depart and be with Christ is happiest for the saints; but for them to abide in the flesh is more profitable for the church.

Verses 8-10 What a sudden change is here! Having made his request known to God, the psalmist is confident that his sorrow will be turned into joy. By the workings of God's grace upon his heart, he knew his prayer was accepted, and did not doubt but it would, in due time, be answered. His prayers will be accepted, coming up out of the hands of Christ the Mediator. The word signifies prayer made to God, the righteous Judge, as the God of his righteousness, who would plead his cause, and right his wrongs. A believer, through the blood and righteousness of Christ, can go to God as a righteous God, and plead with him for pardon and cleansing, who is just and faithful to grant both. He prays for the conversion of his enemies, or foretells their ruin.

Cross References 20

  • 1. S Psalms 2:5; Psalms 38:1
  • 2. Psalms 4:1; Psalms 26:11; Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 12:15; Jeremiah 31:20
  • 3. Psalms 61:2; Psalms 77:3; Psalms 142:3; Isaiah 40:31; Jeremiah 8:18; Ezekiel 21:7
  • 4. S Numbers 12:13; Hosea 6:1
  • 5. Psalms 22:14; Psalms 31:10; Psalms 32:3; Psalms 38:3; Psalms 42:10; Psalms 102:3
  • 6. S Job 7:11; Psalms 31:7; Psalms 38:8; Psalms 55:4; S John 12:27; Romans 9:2; 2 Corinthians 2:4
  • 7. 1 Samuel 1:14; 1 Kings 18:21; Psalms 4:2; Psalms 89:46; Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 4:14; Habakkuk 1:2; Zechariah 1:12; Psalms 90:13
  • 8. Psalms 25:16; Psalms 31:2; Psalms 69:16; Psalms 71:2; Psalms 86:16; Psalms 88:2; Psalms 102:2; Psalms 119:132
  • 9. Psalms 13:5; Psalms 31:16; Psalms 77:8; Psalms 85:7; Psalms 119:41; Isaiah 54:8,10; Psalms 17:13
  • 10. Psalms 30:9; Psalms 88:10-12; Psalms 115:17; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Isaiah 38:18
  • 11. S Judges 8:5; Psalms 69:3
  • 12. S Job 3:24; S Job 23:2; Psalms 12:5; Psalms 77:3; Psalms 102:5; La 1:8,11,21,22
  • 13. S Job 16:16
  • 14. S Job 7:3; Luke 7:38; Acts 20:19; Psalms 42:3
  • 15. S Job 16:8; Psalms 31:9; Psalms 69:3; Psalms 119:82; Isaiah 38:14
  • 16. Psalms 119:115; Psalms 139:19
  • 17. Psalms 5:5; S Matthew 7:23; Luke 13:27
  • 18. Psalms 28:6; Psalms 116:1
  • 19. S 2 Kings 19:26
  • 20. Psalms 40:14; Psalms 71:24; Psalms 73:19

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 6:1-10 is numbered 6:2-11.
  • [b]. Title: Probably a musical term

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, a Psalm of David. What is designed by "the chief musician," and what is meant by "neginoth," have been observed preciously, See Gill on "Ps 4:1." As for "sheminith," it seems to be one particular sort of the "neginoth," or stringed instrument, which this man had the care of; see the title of Psalm 12:1: which most of the Hebrew writers {y} understand of the harp of eight strings, to which this psalm was set; and which, from the number of its strings, was called "sheminith," which signifies "the eighth": and this receives confirmation from 1 Chronicles 15:21. The eighth string was added to the harp by Simonides, according to Pliny {z}: but if such an harp is here meant, this refutes it, for David lived long before Simonides. Though some {a} have thought it refers to a poem or song of eight notes, to the tune of which this psalm was sung; or to the eighth note, which was grave, and which we call the bass. As for the eighth day of circumcision, of which some Jewish writers mystically interpret it; or the eighth, that is, the first day, or Lord's day, to which some of the ancient Christian writers refer it, or the eighth age, or millennium, as Theodoret; these can by no means be admitted of. The occasion of it was either some bodily disease the psalmist laboured under, or some distress of soul, on account of sin; and the rather this seems to be the case, seeing the psalm begins with the same words as Psalm 38:1, in which the psalmist so much bewails his iniquity. Some have thought it was drawn up for the use of any and every sick person; and others say it was written on the account of Israel in captivity, who were then as sick persons {b}: but rather the occasion of it was bodily sickness, inward guilt of conscience for sin, and distress by enemies; as appears from, Psalm 6:3.

{y} Targum, Jarchi, Kimchi, & Ben Melech in loc. {z} Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 56. {a} In Aben Ezra in loc. {b} Vid. Kimchi & Aben Ezra in loc.

Psalms 6 Commentaries

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.