A Prayer in Anxiety over Sin.
To the chief musician on Neginoth, the stringed instruments of the Temple-orchestra, upon Sheminith, that is, on the octave, probably in bass, the voice suited to the nature of its complaint, a psalm of David. The entire psalm is the cry of a soul beset with the deepest distress on account of the consciousness of sin and guilt, his prayer being that God would change the punishment of wrath into the gentle chastisement of love. V. 1. O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine anger, as just as this wrath is on account of the great transgressions whose weight the sinner feels, neither chasten me in Thy hot displeasure, which threatened to consume him altogether and pressed this cry for mercy from his anxious heart. V. 2. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, the free grace and favor of Jehovah being his only hope; for I am weak, so terrified as to make him languish and droop like a withered flower. O Lord, heal me, He being the only Physician whose skill could avail anything at all in this emergency; for my bones are vexed, his entire body threatening to come apart under the severe stress of the affliction besetting him. V. 3. My soul is also sore vexed, troubled, filled with the greatest terror; but Thou, O Lord, how long? When could he expect the relief for which he was so eagerly longing? He now follows up his question with a pleading cry. V. 4. Return, O Lord, for it seemed to the sufferer that Jehovah must have been absent during the severity of his trouble, deliver my soul, redeeming it from its depth of suffering. Oh save me for Thy mercies' sake, Jehovah's loving kindness being the only hope of the sinner. V. 5. For in death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave, who shall give Thee thanks? David wants God to consider that a condemnation of the sinner to the realm of death at that time, a definite rejection of him into the abyss of hell, would deprive Him of a willing worshiper, for which reason he asks relief before this extreme stage is reached. V. 6. I am weary with my groaning, utterly fatigued and worn out with the severity of his suffering; all the night make I my bed to swim, with streams of penitent tears; I water my couch with my tears, so that it is almost dissolved in consequence of their multitude. V. 7. Mine eye, as the mirror of man's entire being, is consumed because of grief, dissolved with mourning; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies, the power of vision and all the strength of the soul being blunted as with old age. However, in the midst of the sinner's sorrow and cry, while he utters his prayer for relief, his courage and strength grow. V. 8. Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; the sinner being sure of God's favorable answer to his prayer, his complaint changes to a joyful confidence; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping, and so the voice of God's free Spirit takes hold of him and causes him to rejoice. V. 9. The Lord hath heard my supplication, as it was pressed from his overburdened heart; the Lord will receive my prayer, wherefore he no longer fears his enemies, the ungodly, the hypocrites, but can defy them with holy courage. V. 10. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed, rather, in a definite statement, "they will be brought to shame," they will be terrified; let them return and be ashamed suddenly, their sneering mockery being changed to the most abject shame in one terrible moment, when the punishment of God strikes them. Thus every poor sinner, in the very midst of his anxiety, may look up to the Savior in the simple confidence of faith and rejoice in his salvation, no matter what attitude the enemies take.