38:0Many Christians think that this is a psalm that David wrote after the murder of Uriah. Others are Psalms 32, and 51.
The story of the murder of Uriah is in the second Book of Samuel, chapter 11. David saw a woman that he wanted to marry. Her name was Bathsheba. But she had a husband. His name was Uriah. Uriah was a soldier. At that time, the army was fighting David's enemies. So, David sent Uriah to fight where it was dangerous. Soon the enemy killed Uriah and then David married Bathsheba.
God was not pleased with what David did. God sent his servant Nathan to tell David that God was not pleased. God said that David killed Uriah so that he could marry Uriah's wife. But David was sorry, so God forgave him. This means that God did not punish David.
We think that David wrote Psalm 38 while he was waiting for God to forgive him. David was very sad and very ill after Nathan came. David thought that this was because God was punishing him.
LORD, Remember Me
This is a psalm of David.
He wrote it so that you, LORD will remember him.
1 LORD, do not tell me about my mistakes
when you are not pleased with me.
Do not punish me because you are so angry with me.
2 For your arrows have gone deep into me
and your hand has come down on me.
38:2Verse 2: David wrote that God was like a soldier shooting arrows at him. The arrows were the bad things that God did to David. They were not real arrows, but they were illnesses.
3 My body is very ill because you are so angry
and there is no health in my bones because of my sin.
38:3Verse 3: Here David tells us that his sin made God angry.
4 Also, my sin has gone over my head!
Like a heavy weight, it is too heavy for me to carry.
38:4Verse 4: David thinks that he is drowning in sin like a man would drown in water. Also, he thinks that his sin is like a heavy weight.
5 My wounds are going bad, they are making a bad smell.
This is because I was so stupid.
6 My sins have bent me down, I am very near to the ground.
Every day I walk about in black clothes.
38:6Verse 6: David did not even walk properly, he felt that his sin was so heavy that it bent him down.
7 Also, there is a terrible pain in my stomach.
There is nothing good in my body.
38:7Verse 7: We do not know what David's illness was. It was in all parts of his body.
8 I am very weak. Everything is pushing down on me.
I am making a noise like a wild animal because my heart is so sad.
9 LORD, you know everything that I want.
Nothing can hide me from you when I cry.
10 My heart is beating fast and my strength is failing me.
There is no light in my eyes.
38:10Verse 10: David says that he can feel his heart. It is knocking inside him very fast. The sad heart in verse 8 is really his mind, because the Jews believed that you thought with your heart. Here, though, it really is his heart. ‘No light in my eyes’ is a way of saying that ‘I am dying.’
11 My family and my friends stay away from my wounds.
The people that live near me stay far from me.
38:11Verse 11: In the Hebrew Bible, ‘my family’ is ‘the people that love me.’ It probably includes family and friends. ‘Family’ is not only your children, but your father, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles and so on!
12 Also, the people that are trying to kill me set traps for me.
Those people that want bad things to happen to me
are planning to destroy me.
They only think about their lies all day long.
38:12Verse 12: David is not only very ill, but he is depressed. ‘Depressed’ means that you feel very, very sad inside; you are not happy. His family and friends stay away from him and other people are trying to kill him. These other people were his enemies. They told lies about David and they made plans to kill him.
13 But I am like a deaf man. I hear nothing.
Also, I am like a dumb man. I do not open my mouth.
14 So, I have become like someone that hears but does not answer.
38:14Verses 13 and 14: But David did not answer the people that told lies about him. He did not listen to what they said, and he did not argue with them. The Hebrew word that we translated ‘does not answer’ really means ‘does not argue or correct.’
15 LORD, I have waited for you!
I believe that you will answer me, LORD my God.
16 I say this so that my enemies will not laugh at me.
When my foot slips, they stand up against me.
17 For I am ready to fall and my pain is always with me.
38:17Verse 17: This continues the idea of ‘my foot slips.’ Because his foot slips David will fall. He means that he will make more mistakes. We call these mistakes ‘sins’ – not obeying God's rules. It hurts him as much as his illnesses.
18 But I will say that I have done bad things.
My sin is always a trouble to me.
38:18Verse 18: David is not afraid to say that he has sinned, (broken God's rules).
19 Many people hate me for no reason.
A lot of people are saying lies about me.
20 Some people repay evil for good.
They fight me when I try to do what is good.
38:20Verse 20: ‘repay evil for good’ means ‘do bad things to me after I do good things to them.’
21 Do not leave me, LORD.
God, do not go far away from me.
22 Hurry to give me help, O LORD my Salvation.
38:22Verses 21 and 22: Again, like verse 15, we find 3 different names for God. Really, there are 4 names because Salvation is a name for God. That is why it has a capital S.