Psalm 38:4
For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
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(4) Are gone over mine head.—Like waves or a flood. (Comp. Psalm 18:15; Psalm 69:2; Psalm 69:15. Comp.

“A sea of troubles.”—Hamlet, Acts 3, scene 1)

38:1-11 Nothing will disquiet the heart of a good man so much as the sense of God's anger. The way to keep the heart quiet, is to keep ourselves in the love of God. But a sense of guilt is too heavy to bear; and would sink men into despair and ruin, unless removed by the pardoning mercy of God. If there were not sin in our souls, there would be no pain in our bones, no illness in our bodies. The guilt of sin is a burden to the whole creation, which groans under it. It will be a burden to the sinners themselves, when they are heavy-laden under it, or a burden of ruin, when it sinks them to hell. When we perceive our true condition, the Good Physician will be valued, sought, and obeyed. Yet many let their wounds rankle, because they delay to go to their merciful Friend. When, at any time, we are distempered in our bodies, we ought to remember how God has been dishonoured in and by our bodies. The groanings which cannot be uttered, are not hid from Him that searches the heart, and knows the mind of the Spirit. David, in his troubles, was a type of Christ in his agonies, of Christ on his cross, suffering and deserted.For mine iniquities are gone over mine head - This is merely an enlargement of the idea suggested in the last verse - that his present sickness was to be traced to his sin, and that he was suffering the punishment for sin. The idea is here that his sins were very numerous and very aggravated. They had risen up around him, or had so accumulated that the mass rose, like waves of the sea, above his head. A somewhat similar idea - though the thought there refers rather to the number of sins than the degree of guilt - occurs in Psalm 40:12 : "Mine iniquities ... are more than the hairs of my head."

As an heavy burden ... - That is, they are so heavy that I cannot bear them, and my frame has sunk under them. This might mean either that the sense of sin was so great that he could not bear up under it, but had been crushed by it (compare Psalm 32:3-4); or that on account of sin, "as if" it were a heavy weight, he had been crushed by disease. The general idea is, that the real cause of his sickness was the fact that he was a great sinner, and that God was punishing him for it.

4. iniquities—afflictions in punishment of sin (2Sa 16:12; Ps 31:10; 40:12).

gone over mine head—as a flood.

Mine iniquities; or, the punishment of mine iniquities, as this word is frequently used; which best agrees both with the foregoing and following verses, and with the metaphor here used; which in other places of Scripture is generally applied to afflictions, and not to sins.

Gone over my head, like deep waters, wherewith I am overwhelmed and almost drowned, Psalm 42:7 69:2 124:4,5.

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head,.... Like an inundation of waters, as the waves and billows of the sea; for the waters to come up to the neck or chin shows great danger; but when they go over the head the case is desperate, and a person is sinking and drowning; compare with this Psalm 69:1; the simile may denote both the number and weight of sins, and also signifies the overwhelming distress the psalmist was in, under a view of them;

as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me; the guilt of sin upon the conscience, without a view of pardon, lies heavy indeed, and makes a man a burden to himself, as it did Job, Job 7:20; yea, sin is not only grieving and afflicting to pardoned ones, and who know they are pardoned, but it is a burden to them under which they groan; nor is it possible for any so to bear it as to satisfy and make atonement for it; none but Christ could ever do this, and he has done it; nor is there any relief for burdened souls, but by looking to a sin bearing and sin atoning Saviour, and by casting the burden upon him, who invites them to him for rest.

For mine {e} iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

(e) He confesses his sins, God's justice, and makes prayer his refuge.

4. His sins are like a flood which overwhelms (Psalm 124:4-5); like a burden which crushes (Genesis 4:13; Isaiah 53:4; Job 7:20).

Verse 4. - For mine iniquities are gone over mine head; i.e. they overwhelm me like waves of the sea. Together with my bodily pain is mingled mental anguish - a sense of regret and remorse on account of my ill-doing, and a conviction that by my sins I have brought upon me my sufferings. As an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. They press me down, crush me to the earth, are more than I can bear. Psalm 38:4(Heb.: 38:2-9) David begins, as in Psalm 6:1-10, with the prayer that his punitive affliction may be changed into disciplinary. Bakius correctly paraphrases. Psalm 38:2 : Corripe sane per legem, castiga per crucem, millies promerui, negare non possum, sed castiga, quaeso, me ex amore ut pater, non ex furore et fervore ut judex; ne punias justitiae rigore, sed misericordiae dulcore (cf. on Psalm 6:2). The negative is to be repeated in Psalm 38:2, as in Psalm 1:5; Psalm 9:19; Psalm 75:6. In the description, which give the ground of the cry for pity, נחת, is not the Piel, as in Psalm 18:35, but the Niphal of the Kal נחת immediately following (root נח). קצף is anger as a breaking forth, fragor (cf. Hosea 10:7, lxx φρύγανον), with ĕ instead of ı̆ in the first syllable, vowels which alternate in this word; and חמה, as a glowing or burning. חצּים (in Homer, κῆλα), God's wrath-arrows, i.e., lightnings of wrath, are His judgments of wrath; and יד, as in Psalm 32:4; Psalm 39:11, God's punishing hand, which makes itself felt in dispensing punishment, hence תּנחת might be attached as a mood of sequence. In Psalm 38:4 wrath is called זעם as a boiling up. Sin is the cause of this experiencing wrath, and the wrath is the cause of the bodily derangement; sin as an exciting cause of the wrath always manifests itself outwardly even on the body as a fatal power. In Psalm 38:5 sin is compared to waters that threaten to drown one, as in Psalm 38:5 to a burden that presses one down. ככבּדוּ ממּנּי, they are heavier than I, i.e., than my power of endurance, too heavy for me. In Psalm 38:6 the effects of the operation of the divine hand (as punishing) are wounds, חבּוּרת (properly, suffused variegated marks from a blow or wheals, Isaiah 1:6; from חבר, Arab. ḥbr, to be or make striped, variegated), which הבאישׁוּ, send forth an offensive smell, and נמקּוּ, suppurate. Sin, which causes this, is called אוּלת, because, as it is at last manifest, it is always the destruction of itself. With emphasis does מפּני אוּלתּי form the second half of the verse. To take נעויתי out of Psalm 38:7 and put it to this, as Meier and Thenius propose, is to destroy this its proper position. On the three מפּני, vid., Ewald, 217, l. Thus sick in soul and body, he is obliged to bow and bend himself in the extreme. נעוה is used of a convulsive drawing together of the body, Isaiah 21:3; שׁחח, of a bowed mien, Psalm 35:14; הלּך, of a heavy, lagging gait. With כּי in Psalm 38:8 the grounding of the petition begins for the third time. His כּסלים, i.e., internal muscles of the loins, which are usually the fattest parts, are full of נקלה, that which is burnt, i.e., parched. It is therefore as though the burning, starting from the central point of the bodily power, would spread itself over the whole body: the wrath of God works commotion in this latter as well as in the soul. Whilst all the energies of life thus yield, there comes over him a partial, almost total lifelessness. פּוּג is the proper word for the coldness and rigidity of a corpse; the Niphal means to be brought into this condition, just as נדכּא means to be crushed, or to be brought into a condition of crushing, i.e., of violent dissolution. The מן of מנּהמת is intended to imply that the loud wail is only the utterance of the pain that is raging in his heart, the outward expression of his ceaseless, deep inward groaning.
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