Psalm 6:2
Have mercy on me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
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(2) I am weak.—Properly, wither, or waste with disease, or languish, as in Hosea 4:3; Isaiah 16:8.

Vexed.—So LXX. and Vulg. Literally, affrighted. (Comp. Virgil’s gelidusque per ima cucurrit Ossa tremor.)

Psalm 6:2. Have mercy upon me — I plead not my merit, but thy free mercy; for I am weak — Or, I languish; my body pines away, and my spirit fails through my excessive pains and troubles. O Lord, heal me — That is, the distempers of my soul and body, of both which the word רפא, rapha, is used; for my bones are vexed — That is, my inward parts. Bones, reins, inward parts, often in Scripture signify the same as heart, soul, thought: see Psalm 35:10.6:1-7 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.Have mercy upon me, O Lord - That is, be gracious to me; or, show me compassion. This language may be used either in view of sin, of suffering, or of danger. It is a cry to God to interpose, and remove some present source of trouble, and may be employed by one who feels that he is a sinner, or by one on a bed of pain, or by one surrounded by enemies, or by one at the point of death, or by one who is looking out with apprehension upon the eternal world. It is commonly, indeed (compare Psalm 51:1), a cry to God in view of sin, pleading for pardon and salvation; but here it is a cry in view of trouble and danger, outward sorrow and mental anguish, that had overcome the strength of the sufferer and laid him on a bed of languishing. See introduction to the psalm, Section 3.

For I am weak - The original word here, אמלל 'ûmlal, means properly to languish or droop, as plants do that are blighted, Isaiah 24:7, or as fields do in a drought, Isaiah 16:8, and is here applied to a sick person whose strength is withered and gone. The condition of such an one is beautifully compared with a plant that withers for lack of moisture; and the word is used in this sense here, as referring to the psalmist himself when sick, as the result of his outward and mental sorrows. Such an effect has not been uncommon in the world. There have been numberless cases where sorrow has prostrated the strength - as a plant withers - and has brought on languishing sickness.

O Lord, heal me - This is language which would be properly applied to a case of sickness, and therefore, it is most natural to interpret it in this sense in this place. Compare Isaiah 19:22; Isaiah 30:26; Job 5:18; Genesis 20:17; Psalm 60:2; 2 Chronicles 16:12; Deuteronomy 28:27.

For my bones are vexed - The word "vexed" we now commonly apply to mental trouble, and especially the lighter sort of mental trouble - to irritate, to make angry by little provocations, to harass. It is used here, however, as is common in the Scriptures, in reference to torment or to anguish. The bones are the strength and framework of the body, and the psalmist means here to say that the very source of his strength was gone; that that which supported him was prostrated; that his disease and sorrow had penetrated the most firm parts of his body. Language is often used in the Scriptures, also, as if the "bones" actually suffered pain, though it is now known that the bones, as such, are incapable of pain. And in the same manner, also, language is often used, though that use of the word is not found in the Scriptures, as if the "marrow" of the bones were especially sensitive, like a nerve, in accordance with what is the common and popular belief, though it is now known that the marrow of the bones is entirely insensible to suffering. The design of the psalmist here is to say that he was crushed and afflicted in every part of his frame.

2. I am weak—as a culled plant (Isa 24:4).

my bones—the very frame.

are vexed—(Ps 2:5)—shaken with fear.

Have mercy upon me; I plead not my merit, but thy free mercy.

I am weak; or, I languish; my body pines away and my spirit fails through my excessive pains or troubles.

Heal me, i.e. the distempers of my soul and body, of both which this word is used, Psalm 41:4 107:18,20.

My bones are vexed; my torment is so deep and so general, that it reacheth and is very grievous even to my bones, though they are inward, and might seem to be out of the reach of it, and also strong and senseless, and therefore can best bear it. See the like expressions Job 4:14 33:19 Psalm 38:3 51:8. Have mercy upon me, O Lord,.... He knew he was a sinner, both by original sin and actual transgression, which he was always ready to own; he knew that what he had done deserved the wrath of God, even his hot displeasure; and that for such things it came upon the children of disobedience: he knew that there was mercy with God through Christ, and therefore he flees unto it, pleads for it, and entreats the manifestation of forgiving love: he pleads no merits of his own, nor makes any mention of former works of righteousness done by him, but throws himself upon the mercy of God in Christ; giving this as a reason,

for I am weak; either in body, through some disease upon him; or in soul, being enfeebled by sin, and so without spiritual strength to do that which was good of himself; to exercise grace, and perform duty, and much less to keep the law of God, or make atonement for sin, or to bear the punishment of it;

O Lord, heal me; meaning either his body, for God is the physician of the body, he wounds and he heals; so he healed Hezekiah and others; and he should be sought to in the first place by persons under bodily disorders: or else his soul, as in Psalm 41:4; sin is the disease of the soul, and a very loathsome one it is, and is incurable but by the balm of Gilead, and the physician there; by the blood of Christ, and forgiveness through it; and the forgiveness of sin is the healing of the diseases of the soul, Psalm 103:3;

for my bones are vexed; with strong pain; meaning his body, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra observe; because these are the foundation of the body, and the more principal parts of it: and this may be understood of his grief and trouble of heart for his sins and transgressions, which is sometimes expressed by the bones being broke, and by there being no rest in them, Psalm 51:8.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my {b} bones are vexed.

(b) For my whole strength is abated.

2. Have mercy upon me] Be gracious unto me. See note on Psalm 4:1.

I am weak] R.V., I am withered away, retaining the primary meaning of the word. Cp. Nahum 1:4, where it is rendered languisheth.

heal me] So Jeremiah prays (Psalm 17:14), combining this petition with that of Psalm 6:4. Cp. Job 5:18; Psalm 30:2; Psalm 41:4; Psalm 147:3.

for my bones are vexed] Even the solid framework of the body, the seat of its strength and solidity, is racked and shaken well nigh to dissolution. Cp. Psalm 22:14. ‘The bones,’ in the language of Hebrew poetry, denote the whole physical organism of the living man, as being the fundamental part of it. Hence they are the seat of health (Proverbs 16:24), or of pain, as here. In some passages, ‘the bones’ come to be identified with the man himself, as a living agent. Cp. Psalm 35:10. On the word ‘vexed,’ see note on Psalm 2:5.Verse 2. - Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak; rather, I am faint, or languid - withered away, like a faded plant or flower. O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. Bodily ailment seems certainly to be implied; but it is that sort of bodily ailment which is often produced by mental distress - a general languor, weariness, and distaste for exertion (comp. Psalm 22:14; Psalm 31:10; Psalm 38:3; Psalm 102:3). (Heb.: 5:8-10) Since the Psalm is a morning hymn, the futt. in Psalm 5:8 state what he, on the contrary, may and will do (Psalm 66:13). By the greatness and fulness of divine favour (Psalm 116:14) he has access (εἴσοδον, for בּוא means, according to its root, "to enter") to the sanctuary, and he will accordingly repair thither to-day. It is the tabernacle on Zion in which was the ark of the covenant that is meant here. That daily liturgical service was celebrated there must be assumed, since the ark of the covenant is the sign and pledge of Jahve's presence; and it is, moreover, attested by 1 Chronicles 16:37. It is also to be supposed that sacrifice was offered daily before the tabernacle. For it is not to be inferred from 1 Chronicles 16:39. that sacrifice was only offered regularly on the Bama (high place) in Gibeon before the Mosaic tabernacle.

(Note: Thus, in particular, Sthelin, Zur Kritik der Psalmen in the Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. vi. (1852) S. 108 and Zur Einleitung in die Psalmen. An academical programme, 1859. 4to.)

It is true sacrifice was offered in Gibeon, where the old tabernacle and the old altars (or at least the altar of burnt-offering) were, and also that after the removal of the ark to Zion both David (1 Chronicles 21:29.) and Solomon (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:2-6) worshipped and sacrificed in Gibeon. But it is self-evident sacrifices might have been offered where the ark was, and that even with greater right than in Gibeon; and since both David, upon its arrival (2 Samuel 6:17.), and Solomon after his accession (1 Kings 3:15), offered sacrifices through the priests who were placed there, it is probable-and by a comparison of the Davidic Psalms not to be doubted-that there was a daily service, in conjunction with sacrifices, before the ark on Zion.

But, moreover, is it really the אהל in Zion which is meant here in v. 8 by the house of God? It is still maintained by renowned critics that the tabernacle pitched by David over the sacred ark is never called בית ה or היכל or משׁכן ה or מקדשׁ or קדשׁ. But why could it not have all these names? We will not appeal to the fact that the house of God at Shilo (1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:3) is called בית and היכל ה, since it may be objected that it was really more of a temple than a tabernacle,

(Note: Vid., C. H. Graf, Commentation de templo Silonensi ad illustrandum locum Jude 18.30, 31, (1855, 4to.), in which he seeks to prove that the sanctuary in Shilo was a temple to Jahve that lasted until the dissolution of the kingdom of Israel.)

although in the same book, 1 Samuel 2:22 it is called אהל מועד, and in connection with the other appellations the poetic colouring of the historical style of 1 Samuel 1-3 is to be taken into consideration. Moreover, we put aside passages like Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26, since it may be said that the future Temple was present to the mind of the Lawgiver. But in Joshua 6:24; 2 Samuel 12:20, the sanctuary is called בית ה without being conceived of as a temple. Why then cannot the tabernacle, which David pitched for the ark of the covenant when removed to Zion (2 Samuel 6:17), be called בית ה? It is only when אהל and בּית are placed in opposition to one another that the latter has the notion of a dwelling built of more solid materials; but in itself beit (bt) in Semitic is the generic term for housing of every kind whether it be made of wool, felt, and hair-cloth, or of earth, stone, and wood; consequently it is just as much a tent as a house (in the stricter sense of the word), whether the latter be a hut built of wood and clay or a palace.

(Note: The Turkish Kamus says: "Arab. byt is a house (Turk. ew) in the signification of châne (Persic the same), whether it be made of hair, therefore a tent, or built of stone and tiles." And further on: "Beit originally signified a place specially designed for persons to retire to at night from Arab. bâta he has passed the night, if it does not perhaps come from the בוא, Arab. bayya, which stands next to it in this passage, vid., Job at Job 29:15-17]; but later on the meaning was extended and the special reference to the night time was lost." Even at the present day the Beduin does not call his tent ahl, but always bêt and in fact bêt sha'r (בית שׂער), the modern expression for the older bêt wabar (hair-house).)

If a dwelling-house is frequently called אהל, then a tent that any one dwells in may the more naturally be called his בּית. And this we find is actually the case with the dwellings of the patriarchs, which, although they were not generally solid houses (Genesis 33:17), are called בית (Genesis 27:15). Moreover, היכל (from יכל equals כּוּל to hold, capacem esse), although it signifies a palace does not necessarily signify one of stone, for the heavens are also called Jahve's היכל, e.g., Psalm 18:7, and not necessarily one of gigantic proportions, for even the Holy of holies of Solomon's Temple, and this par excellence, is called היכל, and once, 1 Kings 6:3, היכל הבּית. Of the spaciousness and general character of the Davidic tabernacle we know indeed nothing: it certainly had its splendour, and was not so much a substitute for the original tabernacle, which according to the testimony of the chronicler remained in Gibeon, as a substitute for the Temple that was still to be built. But, however insignificant it may have been, Jahve had His throne there, and it was therefore the היבל of a great king, just as the wall-less place in the open field where God manifested Himself with His angels to the homeless Jacob was בּית אלהים (Genesis 28:17).

Into this tabernacle of God, i.e., into its front court, will David enter (בּוא with acc. as in Psalm 66:13) this morning, there will he prostrate himself in worship, προσκυνεῖν (השׁתּחוה) reflexive of the Pilel שׁחוה, Ges. 75, rem. 18), towards (אל as in Psalm 28:2, 1 Kings 8:29, 1 Kings 8:35, cf. ל Psalm 99:5, Psalm 99:9) Jahve's היכל קדשׁ, i.e., the דּביר, the Holy of holies Psalm 28:2, and that "in Thy fear," i.e., in reverence before Thee (genit. objectivus). The going into the Temple which David purposes, leads his thoughts on to his way through life, and the special de'eesis, which only begins here, moulds itself accordingly: he prays for God's gracious guidance as in Psalm 27:11; Psalm 86:11, and frequently. The direction of God, by which he wishes to be guided he calls צדקה. Such is the general expression for the determination of conduct by an ethical rule. The rule, acting in accordance with which, God is called par excellence צדיק, is the order of salvation which opens up the way of mercy to sinners. When God forgives those who walk in this way their sins, and stands near to bless and protect them, He shows Himself not less צדיק (just), than when He destroys those who despise Him, in the heat of His rejected love. By this righteousness, which accords with the counsel and order of mercy, David prays to be led למען שׁוררי, in order that the malicious desire of those who lie in wait for him may not be fulfilled, but put to shame, and that the honour of God may not be sullied by him. שׁורר is equivalent to משׁורר (Aquila ἐφοδεύων, Jerome insidiator) from the Pilel שׁורר to fix one's eyes sharply upon, especially of hostile observation. David further prays that God will make his way (i.e., the way in which a man must walk according to God's will) even and straight before him, the prayer one, in order that he may walk therein without going astray and unimpeded. The adj. ישׂר signifies both the straightness of a line and the evenness of a surface. The fut. of the Hiph. הישׁיר is יישׁיר in Proverbs 4:25, and accordingly the Ker substitutes for the imper. הושׁר the corresponding form הישׁר, just as in Isaiah 45:2 it removes the Hiphil form אושׁר (cf. Genesis 8:17 הוצא Keri היצא), without any grammatical, but certainly not without some traditional ground.

כּי in Psalm 5:10 is closely connected with למען שׁוררי: on account of my way-layers, for the following are their characteristics. אין is separated by בּפיהוּ ( equals בּפיו Psalm 62:5) from נכונה the word it governs; this was the more easily possible as the usage of the language almost entirely lost sight of the fact that אין is the construct of אין, Ges. 152, 1. In his mouth is nothing that should stand firm, keep its ground, remain the same (cf. Job 42:7.). The singular suffix of בפיהו has a distributive meaning: in ore unuiscujusque eorum. Hence the sing. at once passes over into the plur.: קרבּם הוּות their inward part, i.e., that towards which it goes forth and in which it has its rise (vid., Psalm 49:12) is הוות corruption, from הוּה which comes from הוה equals Arab. hawâ, to yawn, gape, χαίνειν, hiare, a yawning abyss and a gaping vacuum, and then, inasmuch as, starting from the primary idea of an empty space, the verbal significations libere ferri (especially from below upwards) and more particularly animo ad or in aliquid ferri are developed, it obtains the pathological sense of strong desire, passion, just as it does also the intellectual sense of a loose way of thinking proceeding from a self-willed tendency (vid., Fleischer on Job 37:6). In Hebrew the prevalent meaning of the word is corruption, Psalm 57:2, which is a metaphor for the abyss, barathrum, (so far, but only so far Schultens on Proverbs 10:3 is right), and proceeding from this meaning it denotes both that which is physically corruptible (Job 6:30) and, as in the present passage and frequently, that which is corruptible from an ethical point of view. The meaning strong desire, in which הוּה looks as though it only differed from אוּה in one letter, occurs only in Psalm 52:9; Proverbs 10:3; Micah 7:3. The substance of their inward part is that which is corruptible in every way, and their throat, as the organ of speech, as in Psalm 115:7; Psalm 149:6, cf. Psalm 69:4, is (perhaps a figure connected with the primary meaning of הוות) a grave, which yawns like jaws, which open and snatch and swallow down whatever comes in their way. To this "they make smooth their tongue" is added as a circumstantial clause. Their throat is thus formed and adapted, while they make smooth their tongue (cf. Proverbs 2:16), in order to conceal their real design beneath flattering language. From this meaning, החליק directly signifies to flatter in Psalm 36:3; Proverbs 29:5. The last two lines of the strophe are formed according to the caesura schema. This schema is also continued in the concluding strophe.

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