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Psalms 6:2-7

Context

6:2 Have mercy on me, 1  Lord, for I am frail!

Heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking! 2 

6:3 I am absolutely terrified, 3 

and you, Lord – how long will this continue? 4 

6:4 Relent, Lord, rescue me! 5 

Deliver me because of your faithfulness! 6 

6:5 For no one remembers you in the realm of death, 7 

In Sheol who gives you thanks? 8 

6:6 I am exhausted as I groan;

all night long I drench my bed in tears; 9 

my tears saturate the cushion beneath me. 10 

6:7 My eyes 11  grow dim 12  from suffering;

they grow weak 13  because of all my enemies. 14 

1 tn Or “show me favor.”

2 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.

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

4 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?

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

6 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.

7 tn Heb “for there is not in death your remembrance.” The Hebrew noun זֵכֶר (zekher, “remembrance”) here refers to the name of the Lord as invoked in liturgy and praise. Cf. Pss 30:4; 97:12. “Death” here refers to the realm of death where the dead reside. See the reference to Sheol in the next line.

8 tn The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, “no one.”

sn In Sheol who gives you thanks? According to the OT, those who descend into the realm of death/Sheol are cut off from God’s mighty deeds and from the worshiping covenant community that experiences divine intervention (Pss 30:9; 88:10-12; Isa 38:18). In his effort to elicit a positive divine response, the psalmist reminds God that he will receive no praise or glory if he allows the psalmist to die. Dead men do not praise God!

9 tn Heb “I cause to swim through all the night my bed.”

10 tn Heb “with my tears my bed I flood/melt.”

11 tn The Hebrew text has the singular “eye” here.

12 tn Or perhaps, “are swollen.”

13 tn Or perhaps, “grow old.”

14 sn In his weakened condition the psalmist is vulnerable to the taunts and threats of his enemies.



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