Psalm 39:13
O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
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(13) Recover strength.—Better, Let me become cheerful, i.e., look up with a glad look once more on my face, as the angry look fades from the Divine countenance.

Before.—Literally, before I go, and am not. All the words and phrases of this last verse occur in the Book of Job. (See Job 7:8; Job 7:19; Job 7:21; Job 14:6; Job 10:20-21.)

Psalm 39:13. O spare me — Hebrew, השׁע ממני, hashang, memenni — Desiste a me, desist, or cease from me, that is, from afflicting me: do not destroy me; my life at best is short, and full of trouble, and thou knowest sufficient for it is the evil thereof: do not add affliction to the afflicted. That I may recover strength — Both in my outward and inward man, both which are much weakened and oppressed. Hebrew, אבליגה, abligah, recreabo me, that I may refresh myself or may be refreshed, or comforted, namely, eased of the burden of my sins, and of thy terrors consequent upon them; and better prepared for a comfortable and happy dissolution. Before I go hence — Unto the grave, as this phrase is often used; or the way of all the earth, Joshua 23:14; or whence I shall not return, as it is, Job 10:21. And be no more — Namely, among the living, or in this world. 39:7-13 There is no solid satisfaction to be had in the creature; but it is to be found in the Lord, and in communion with him; to him we should be driven by our disappointments. If the world be nothing but vanity, may God deliver us from having or seeking our portion in it. When creature-confidences fail, it is our comfort that we have a God to go to, a God to trust in. We may see a good God doing all, and ordering all events concerning us; and a good man, for that reason, says nothing against it. He desires the pardoning of his sin, and the preventing of his shame. We must both watch and pray against sin. When under the correcting hand of the Lord, we must look to God himself for relief, not to any other. Our ways and our doings bring us into trouble, and we are beaten with a rod of our own making. What a poor thing is beauty! and what fools are those that are proud of it, when it will certainly, and may quickly, be consumed! The body of man is as a garment to the soul. In this garment sin has lodged a moth, which wears away, first the beauty, then the strength, and finally the substance of its parts. Whoever has watched the progress of a lingering distemper, or the work of time alone, in the human frame, will feel at once the force of this comparison, and that, surely every man is vanity. Afflictions are sent to stir up prayer. If they have that effect, we may hope that God will hear our prayer. The believer expects weariness and ill treatment on his way to heaven; but he shall not stay here long : walking with God by faith, he goes forward on his journey, not diverted from his course, nor cast down by the difficulties he meets. How blessed it is to sit loose from things here below, that while going home to our Father's house, we may use the world as not abusing it! May we always look for that city, whose Builder and Maker is God.O spare me - The word used here - from שׁעה shâ‛âh - means "to look;" and then, in connection with the preposition, "to look away from;" and it here means, "Look away from me;" that is, Do not come to inflict death on me. Preserve me. The idea is this: God seemed to have fixed his eyes on him, and to be pursuing him with the expressions of his displeasure (compare Job 16:9); and the psalmist now prays that he would "turn away his eyes," and leave him.

That I may recover strength - The word used here - בלג bâlag - means, in Arabic, to be bright; to shine forth; and then, to make cheerful, to enliven one's countenance, or to be joyful, glad. In Job 9:27, it is rendered "comfort;" in Job 10:20, that I "may take comfort;" in Amos 5:9, "strengtheneth." It is not used elsewhere. The idea is that of being "cheered up;" of being strengthened and invigorated before he should pass away. He wished to be permitted to recover the strength which he had lost, and especially to receive consolation, before he should leave the earth. He desired that his closing days might not be under a cloud, but that he might obtain brighter and more cheerful views, and have more of the consolations of religion before he should be removed finally from this world. It is a wish not to leave the world in gloom, or with gloomy and desponding views, but with a cheerful view of the past; with joyful confidence in the government of God; and with bright anticipations of the coming world.

Before I go hence - Before Idie.

And be no more - Be no more upon the earth. Compare Psalm 6:5, note; Psalm 30:9, note. See also the notes at Job 14:1-12. Whatever may have been his views of the future world, he desired to be cheered and comforted in the prospect of passing away finally from earth. He was unwilling to go down to the grave in gloom, or under the influence of the dark and distressing views which he had experienced, and to which he refers in this psalm. A religious man, about to leave the world, should desire to have bright hopes and anticipations. For his own comfort and peace, for the honor of religion, for the glory of God, he should not leave those around under the impression that religion does nothing to comfort a dying man, or to inspire with hope the mind of one about to leave the earth, or to give to the departing friend of God cheerful anticipations of the life to come. A joyful confidence in God and his government, when a man is about to leave the world, does much, very much, to impress the minds of others with a conviction of the truth and reality of religion, as dark and gloomy views can hardly fail to lead the world to ask what that religion is worth which will not inspire a dying man with hope, and make him calm in the closing scene.

12, 13. Consonant with the tenor of the Psalm, he prays for God's compassionate regard to him as a stranger here; and that, as such was the condition of his fathers, so, like them, he may be cheered instead of being bound under wrath and chastened in displeasure. Spare me; or, cease from me, i.e. from afflicting me; do not destroy me. My life at best is but short and miserable, as I have said, and thou knowest; sufficient for it is the evil thereof: do not add affliction to the afflicted.

That I may recover strength, both in my outward and inward man, both which are much weakened and oppressed. Or, that I may be refreshed, or comforted, eased of the burden of my sins, and thy terrors consequent upon them, and better prepared for a comfortable and happy dissolution.

Before I go hence, Heb. before I go, to wit, unto the grave, as this phrase is used, Genesis 15:2 25:32; or the way of all the earth, as the phrase is completed, Joshua 23:14; or whence I shall not return, as it is Job 10:21; or, which is all one, into that place and state in which I shall not be, to wit, amongst the living, or in this world, as this phrase is frequently used, both in Scripture, as Genesis 5:24 37:30 42:36, and in heathen authors; of which see my Latin Synopsis. O spare me,.... Or "look from me" (f); turn away thy fierce countenance from me; or "cease from me (g), and let me alone"; as in Job 10:20; from whence the words seem to be taken, by what follows:

that I may recover strength; both corporeal and spiritual:

before I go hence; out of this world by death:

and be no more; that is, among men in the land of the living; not but that he believed he should exist after death, and should be somewhere, even in heaven, though he should return no more to the place where he was; see Job 10:20, when a man is born, he comes into the world; when he dies, he goes out of it; a phrase frequently used for death in Scripture; so the ancient Heathens called death "abitio", a going away (h).

(f) "respice aliorsum a me", Gejerus; "averte visum a me", Michaelis. (g) "Desine a me", Pagninus; "desiste a me", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "cessa a me", Vatablus. (h) Fest. Pomp. apud Schindler. Lexic. col. 440.

O spare me, that I may recover strength, {k} before I go hence, and be no more.

(k) For his sorrow caused him to think that God would destroy him completely, by which we see how hard it is for the saints to keep a measure in their words, when death and despair assails them.

13. O spare me] So Jerome, parce mihi. But more exactly, Look away from me. Cheyne renders, ‘avert thy frown.’

that I may recover strength] Lit. brighten up, as the sky when the clouds clear.

Parallels for every phrase in the verse are to be found in Job. See Job 7:19; Job 14:6; Job 10:20-21; Job 7:8 (R.V.).

It is, as Delitzsch remarks, the heroic character of Old Testament faith, that in the midst of the enigmas of life, and in full view of the deep gloom enshrouding the future, it throws itself unconditionally into the arms of God.Verse 13. - O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. The Psalmist, no longer anxious for death, but still expecting it, requests of God, in conclusion, a breathing-space, a short time of refreshment and rest, before he is called on to leave the earth and "be no more ;" i.e. bring his present state of existence to an end. Nothing is to be gathered from the expression used as to his expectation or non-expectation of a future life.

(Heb.: 39:8-12) It is customary to begin a distinct turning-point of a discourse with ועתּה: and now, i.e., in connection with this nothingness of vanity of a life which is so full of suffering and unrest, what am I to hope, quid sperem (concerning the perfect, vid., on Psalm 11:3)? The answer to this question which he himself throws out is, that Jahve is the goal of his waiting or hoping. It might appear strange that the poet is willing to make the brevity of human life a reason for being calm, and a ground of comfort. But here we have the explanation. Although not expressly assured of a future life of blessedness, his faith, even in the midst of death, lays hold on Jahve as the Living One and as the God of the living. It is just this which is so heroic in the Old Testament faith, that in the midst of the riddles of the present, and in the face of the future which is lost in dismal night, it casts itself unreservedly into the arms of God. While, however, sin is the root of all evil, the poet prays in Psalm 39:9 before all else, that God would remove from him all the transgressions by which he has fully incurred his affliction; and while, given over to the consequences of his sin, he would become, not only to his own dishonour but also to the dishonour of God, a derision to the unbelieving, he prays in Psalm 39:9 that God would not permit it to come to this. כּל, Psalm 39:9, has Mercha, and is consequently, as in Psalm 35:10, to be read with (not ŏ), since an accent can never be placed by Kametz chatûph. Concerning נבל, Psalm 39:9, see on Psalm 14:1. As to the rest he is silent and calm; for God is the author, viz., of his affliction (עשׂה, used just as absolutely as in Psalm 22:32; Psalm 37:5; Psalm 52:11, Lamentations 1:21). Without ceasing still to regard intently the prosperity of the ungodly, he recognises the hand of God in his affliction, and knows that he has not merited anything better. But it is permitted to him to pray that God would suffer mercy to take the place of right. נגעך is the name he gives to his affliction, as in Psalm 38:12, as being a stroke (blow) of divine wrath; תּגרת ידך, as a quarrel into which God's hand has fallen with him; and by אני, with the almighty (punishing) hand of God, he contrasts himself the feeble one, to whom, if the present state of things continues, ruin is certain. In Psalm 39:12 he puts his own personal experience into the form of a general maxim: when with rebukes (תּוכחות from תּוכחת, collateral form with תּוכחה, תּוכחות) Thou chastenest a man on account of iniquity (perf. conditionale), Thou makest his pleasantness (Isaiah 53:3), i.e., his bodily beauty (Job 33:21), to melt away, moulder away (ותּמס, fut. apoc. from המסה to cause to melt, Psalm 6:7), like the moth (Hosea 5:12), so that it falls away, as a moth-eaten garment falls into rags. Thus do all men become mere nothing. They are sinful and perishing. The thought expressed in Psalm 39:6 is here repeated as a refrain. The music again strikes in here, as there.
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