Psalm 38

David had sinned. It damaged his relationship with the LORD, his own health, and his relationship with his friends. Finally, he confesses his guilt.





A Psalm by David, for a memorial.


VERSE 1. LORD, don’t rebuke me in your wrath, neither chasten me in your hot displeasure.

don’t rebuke me in your wrath. David pleads for deliverance from the anger of the LORD.

neither chasten me in your hot displeasure. This is one of the “penitential” psalms. They include:


VERSE 2. For your arrows have pierced me, your hand presses hard on me.


VERSE 3. There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation, neither is there any health in my bones because of my sin.

no soundness in my flesh. David was ill.


VERSE 4. For my iniquities have gone over my head. As a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.


VERSE 5. My wounds are loathsome and corrupt, because of my foolishness.

because of my foolishness. That is, because of his sin.


VERSE 6. I am pained and bowed down greatly. I go mourning all day long.


VERSE 7. For my waist is filled with burning. There is no soundness in my flesh.


VERSE 8. I am faint and severely bruised. I have groaned by reason of the anguish of my heart.


VERSE 9. Lord, all my desire is before you. My groaning is not hidden from you.

all my desire is before you. Even though our desires are hidden deep within us, they are not hidden from God. He is aware of them. God sees our desire for him, and interprets it as prayer. Our desire for God can be called the “Prayer of Desire.”


VERSE 10. My heart throbs. My strength fails me. As for the light of my eyes, it has also left me.


VERSE 11. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my plague. My kinsmen stand far away.

My lovers. The Hebrew word is אֹֽהֲבַ֨י (“’ō·hă·ḇay”). In this context, it means lovers. It is in the plural. David has more than one sexual lover. He is speaking of his sexual lovers.

and my friends. David’s friends avoided him.


VERSE 12. They also who seek after my life lay snares. Those who seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and meditate deceits all day long.

NAB translation: Those who seek my life lay snares for me; they seek my misfortune, they speak of ruin; they plot treachery all the day.

lay snares for me. In spiritual and religious groups, there are always some people who are actively trying to ruin their leader. One of the things they do is to lay snares.

speak mischievous things. A second thing some people do is bad-mouth their leader.

meditate deceits. A third thing some people do is to spread false rumors.


VERSE 13. But I, as a deaf man, don’t hear. I am as a mute man who doesn’t open his mouth.


VERSE 14. Yes, I am as a man who doesn’t hear, in whose mouth are no reproofs.


VERSE 15. For in you, LORD, do I hope. You will answer, Lord my God.

in you, LORD, do I hope. David’s hope is in the LORD.


VERSE 16. For I said, “Don’t let them gloat over me, or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.”


VERSE 17. For I am ready to fall. My pain is continually before me.

My pain is continually before me. David was in a state of chronic pain.


VERSE 18. For I will declare my iniquity. I will be sorry for my sin.


VERSE 19. But my enemies are vigorous and many. Those who hate me without reason are numerous.


VERSE 20. They who render evil for good are also adversaries to me, because I follow what is good.


VERSE 21. Don’t forsake me, LORD. My God, don’t be far from me.


VERSE 22. Hurry to help me, Lord, my salvation.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.