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Psalms 6:1-4

Context
Psalm 6 1 

For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments, according to the sheminith style; 2  a psalm of David.

6:1 Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger!

Do not discipline me in your raging fury! 3 

6:2 Have mercy on me, 4  Lord, for I am frail!

Heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking! 5 

6:3 I am absolutely terrified, 6 

and you, Lord – how long will this continue? 7 

6:4 Relent, Lord, rescue me! 8 

Deliver me because of your faithfulness! 9 

1 sn Psalm 6. The psalmist begs the Lord to withdraw his anger and spare his life. Having received a positive response to his prayer, the psalmist then confronts his enemies and describes how they retreat.

2 tn The meaning of the Hebrew term שְׁמִינִית (shÿminit, “sheminith”) is uncertain; perhaps it refers to a particular style of music. See 1 Chr 15:21.

3 sn The implication is that the psalmist has sinned, causing God to discipline him by bringing a life-threatening illness upon him (see vv. 2-7).

4 tn Or “show me favor.”

5 tn Normally the verb בָּהַל (bahal) refers to an emotional response and means “tremble with fear, be terrified” (see vv. 3, 10). Perhaps here the “bones” are viewed as the seat of the psalmist’s emotions. However, the verb may describe one of the effects of his physical ailment, perhaps a fever. In Ezek 7:27 the verb describes how the hands of the people will shake with fear when they experience the horrors of divine judgment.

6 tn Heb “my being is very terrified.” The suffixed form of נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being”) is often equivalent to a pronoun in poetic texts.

7 tn Heb “and you, Lord, how long?” The suffering psalmist speaks in broken syntax. He addresses God, but then simply cries out with a brief, but poignant, question: How long will this (= his suffering) continue?

8 tn Heb “my being,” or “my life.” The suffixed form of נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “being”) is often equivalent to a pronoun in poetic texts.

9 sn Deliver me because of your faithfulness. Though the psalmist is experiencing divine discipline, he realizes that God has made a commitment to him in the past, so he appeals to God’s faithfulness in his request for help.



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