Psalm 6

The Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:47
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

“The first of the seven Penitential Psalms. It has been said that there is much of grief in it, but nothing of penitence. This, however, is an error. The tears shed by David over Absalom (2 Sam. 18:33) came, we are sure, from the fountain of a penitent heart. He knew well that Absalom’s rebellion was permitted by God as a penal consequence of his sin.”—Kay.

upon Sheminith—the eighth—an instrument for the eighth key; or, more probably, the bass, as it is contrasted with Alamoth (the treble, Ps 46:1)

A Psalm of David, that is, to the chief musician with stringed instruments, upon the eighth, probably the octave. Some think it refers to the bass or tenor key, which would certainly be well adapted to this mournful ode.
The situation is dire enough that David fears for his life. At least some of his concern is related to his enemies. This might refer to Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10–13), king Saul (1 Samuel 19:2), or his rebellious son, Absalom (Psalm 3). David pleads with God to spare him, pointing out that a dead body does not worship or praise (Psalm 6:4–5).
I tend to think that this is following the same theme as the previous Psalms here in the opening chapters of the book. However the context of David’s sin and situation are not known to us here.
Observe that the Psalm is readily divided into two parts. First, there is the Psalmist's plea in his great distress, reaching from the first to the end of the seventh verse. Then you have, from the eighth to the end, quite a different theme. The Psalmist has changed his note. He leaves the minor key, and betakes himself to more sublime strains. He tunes his note to the high key of confidence, and declares that God hath heard his prayer, and hath delivered him out of all his troubles.


Psalm 6:1 KJV 1900
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, Neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
The Psalmist is very conscious that he deserves to be rebuked, and he feels, moreover, that the rebuke in some form or other must come upon him, if not for condemnation, yet for conviction and sanctification.
One commentator wrote:
Psalms 1–87, Volume I Chastisement (The Whole Psalm)

“Only in love, not in wrath.”—Kay.

The Hebrew word used for ‘displeasure’ here means ‘wrath’ or ‘rage’.
Psalms 1–87, Volume I Chastisement (The Whole Psalm)

“There is a chastisement which proceeds from God’s love to the man as being pardoned, and which is designed to purify or to prove him; and a chastisement which proceeds from God’s wrath against the man, as striving obstinately against, or as fallen away from, favour, and which satisfies Divine justice.”—Delitzsch.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I Chastisement (The Whole Psalm)

1. The one is measured, the other overwhelming.

2. The one destroys, the other perfects.

3. The one is temporal, the other eternal.


On what grounds may we entreat for a milder chastisement?
1. Recognize the justice of the sufferings.
In other words when we see our sin and know it is just that sin should be punished.
David does not pray for the removal of the chastisement proceeding from wrath.
2. Bring broken by the sufferings
He is broken in body and soul. Notice the work weak here, it means ‘frail’ in the Hebrew. The idea here is that he is like a withered plant, drooping and blighted.
One commentator wrote:
Psalms 1–87, Volume I Chastisement (The Whole Psalm)

“The Hindoos, in extreme grief or joy, declare: ‘Our bones are melted;’ that is, like boiling lead, they are completely dissolved.”—Roberts.

The word for vexed here means ‘shaken with fear’ and it’s affects go into the soul.
Psalms 1–87, Volume I Chastisement (The Whole Psalm)

“My soul is also sore vexed” (ver. 3). “His soul is still more shaken than his body. The affliction is therefore not a merely bodily ailment, in which only a timorous man loses heart. God’s love is hidden from him. God’s wrath seems as though it would wear him completely away. It is an affliction beyond all other afflictions.”—Delitzsch.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I Chastisement (The Whole Psalm)

If we despise the chastisements of the Lord—that is, if we resent them, and rise up defiantly against them—they must continue punitive and destructive; but if our strength, pride, self-will, are utterly broken down, and we lie emptied of self at God’s feet, then we may look for the punitive chastisements of the just God to change into the loving chastisements of the Merciful One.

Remember that God will not despise a broken and contrite heart.
What is the great question that David asks the LORD?
How long?

how long This cry is common in lament psalms (e.g., Ps 13:1; 35:17; 74:10; 90:13). The psalmist desperately cries out for God to act, expressing concern that God allows his suffering to continue.

It often seems that the chastisement hangs over us for a prolonged period as if it will never cease and the trials will continue forever.
It is here that David appeals for the mercy of God.
It is by the mercies of God that we are not consumed.
Lamentations 3:22–23 KJV 1900
22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Turn, O Yahweh The psalmist emphatically petitions Yahweh for deliverance. Using three different Hebrew terms that can be translated “turn” (shuv), “deliver” (chalats), and “save” (yasha’), the psalmist appeals to Yahweh to deliver his life

The Hebrew word shuv (“turn”) often describes Yahweh turning away from His anger (2 Kgs 23:26; Jonah 3:9).

Sorrow for Sin

Psalm 6:6–7 KJV 1900
6 I am weary with my groaning; All the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. 7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; It waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
Necessity for sorrow
Psalms 1–87, Volume I Sorrow for Sin (Verses 6, 7)

Some speak slightingly of repentance and sorrow for sin, but such sorrow is required from saints and sinners.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I Sorrow for Sin (Verses 6, 7)

“In respect to the Penitential Psalms, it is recorded of St. Augustine that in his last sickness he ordered these psalms to be inscribed in a visible place on a wall of his chamber, where he might fix his eyes and heart upon them, and make their words his own in the breathing out of his soul to God.”—Wordsworth.

2. Mistakes concerning Sorrow
Psalms 1–87, Volume I Sorrow for Sin (Verses 6, 7)

Many true penitents perplex themselves touching this matter of sorrow for sin. They think that they do not feel enough, feel long enough, &c., &c.

Let us be concerned with the quality of our sorrow and not the quantity.
Psalms 1–87, Volume I (Sorrow for Sin (Verses 6, 7))
“it is not so much the weeping eye God respects as the broken heart.” — Spurgeon
Let us be concerned about the sincerity of our sorrow, not its duration.

The Night of Repentance

Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Night of Repentance (The Whole Psalm)

Night is about the Psalmist, and the night about him is an emblem of the night within him. He cannot sleep; all the night he waters his couch with his tears. The fact is, his sins have found him out, and he walks in darkness and in the shadow of death—the night of repentance.



Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Night of Repentance (The Whole Psalm)

There is darkness in the Psalmist’s soul, the felt absence of God. “Return, O Lord” (ver. 4). God is away, the sun of the soul.

Psalm 6:4 KJV 1900
4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: Oh save me for thy mercies’ sake.
Five things that are felt here:
Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Night of Repentance (The Whole Psalm)

Darkness means misery. How great the sorrow here pictured! “Weak.” “Bones vexed.” “Soul also sore vexed” Sinner, be sure some day or other sin will make your soul weep and bleed. (2.) Darkness means guilt and fear (ver. 1). Here the Psalmist feels his guilt, and dreads the unknown terrors of God’s wrath. (3.) Darkness means death. The Psalmist here dreads lest he should sink lower than the grave (ver. 5). He feels that his sin has brought him to the verge of everlasting destruction.


Psalm 6:3 KJV 1900
3 My soul is also sore vexed: But thou, O Lord, how long?
Here David is really petitioning to the Lord that if he is destroyed by God’s wrath, how could he then offer up worship and praise?
It is a petition to that has as its motive the fact that God’s interest is concerned with delivering a person who can render thanks that are well pleasing to God. They can only be offered up as one who is living and not swallowed up by death.

how long This cry is common in lament psalms (e.g., Ps 13:1; 35:17; 74:10; 90:13). The psalmist desperately cries out for God to act, expressing concern that God allows his suffering to continue.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Night of Repentance (The Whole Psalm)

How swiftly time goes when we are living joyfully! How long the hours, the months of suffering and unhappiness! Seven years are not long to a man with health, innocence, and freedom; but think of that period spent in a jail upon a treadmill!


Depart from me While the psalmist’s enemies are not the cause of his suffering, they aggravate his despair. The psalmist rebukes them.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Night of Repentance (The Whole Psalm)

“All mine enemies” (ver. 7). The Psalmist felt circumvented by enemies, and in his enemies he saw his sins. Men commit sins, and pass on as if they were to know those sins no more, but the day comes when they all live again.

Psalms 1–87, Volume I The Night of Repentance (The Whole Psalm)

all return to accuse and condemn. Be sure that some day or other your sin will find you out; and a thousand spectres will people the darkness, and fill you with agony and fear.

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more