Lord, Remember Me

Psalm 38

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 38


Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible. Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.


The man that robbed people said to Jesus, "Jesus, Lord, remember me when they make you king". Jesus said to him, "What I tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise". (Luke 23:42-43) (Paradise is a name for Godís home, or heaven.)

Psalm 38

  (This is) a psalm of David. 
(He wrote it so that you, LORD) will remember him.

v1   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).

v2   For your arrows have gone deep into me
  and your hand has come down on me.

v3   My body is very ill because you are so angry
  and there is no health in my bones because of my sin.

v4   Also, my sin has gone over my head!
  Like a heavy weight, it is too heavy for me (to carry).

v5   My wounds are going bad, they are making a bad smell.
  (This is) because I was so stupid.

v6   My sins have bent me down, I am very near to the ground.
  Every day I walk about in black (clothes).

v7   Also, there is a terrible pain in my stomach.
  There is nothing good in my body.

v8   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.

v9   Lord, you know everything that I want.
  Nothing can hide me from you when I cry.

v10   My heart is beating fast and my strength is failing me.
  There is no light in my eyes.

v11   My family and my friends stay away from my wounds.
  The people that live near me stay far from me.

v12   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.

v13   But I am like a deaf man. I hear nothing.
  Also, I am like a dumb man. I do not open my mouth.

v14   So, I have become like someone that hears but does not answer.

v15   O LORD, I have waited for you!
  (I believe) that you will answer (me), O Lord my God.

v16   I say this so that my enemies will not laugh at me.
  When my foot slips they stand up against me.

v17   For I am ready to fall and my pain is always with me.

v18   But I will say that I have done bad things.
  My sin is always a trouble to me.

v19   Many people hate me for no reason.
  A lot of people are saying lies about me.

v20   Some people repay evil for good.
  They fight me when I try to do what is good.

v21   Do not leave me, O LORD.
  O God, do not go far away from me.

v22   Hurry to give me help, O Lord my Salvation.

Word list

pleased ~ find pleasure in

my wounds ~ where somebody cut my body

terrible ~ very, very bad

continued ~ the next part

beating ~ knocking inside me

my strength ~ how strong I am

set traps ~ put down something to catch an animal or a man

slips ~ falls over, as on ice or wet ground

repay ~ pays back

salvation ~ something that makes people safe

The story of Psalm 38

Many 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 Davidís 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 might marry Uriahís 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.

What Psalm 38 means

Verse 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.

Verse 3: Here David tells us that his sin made God angry.

Verse 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.

Verse 6: David did not even walk properly, he felt that his sin was so heavy that it bent him down.

Verse 7: We do not know what Davidís illness was. It was in all parts of his body.

Verse 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".

Verse 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!

Verse 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.

Verses 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".

Verse 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 Godís rules. It hurts him as much as his illnesses.

Verse 18: David is not afraid to say that he has sinned, (broken Godís rules).

Verse 20: "Repay evil for good" means "do bad things to me after I do good things to them".

Verses 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.

Something to do

1.  Here are some Bible verses. What verses in Psalm 38 do they make you think about?

  Isaiah 53:5 He has wounds because we sinned

  Mark 14:50 They all ran away from him

  Mark 15:3 He answered nothing

  (In these verses "he" and "him" mean Jesus.)

2.  Make a list of Godís names. You will find some in Psalm 38 and many more in the Bible. Here are some verses to help you to start.

  Deuteronomy 32:8 The Most High gave everyone a country (to live in)

  Ruth 1:20 The All Powerful has not been kind to me

  Isaiah 9:7 His name shall be Wonderful Counsellor, Powerful God, Father that Lives for Ever, and Prince of Peace.(A counsellor tells you what to do; a prince is the son of a king; and peace is when there no fighting).

Psalm 38 and Jesus

Many of the psalms make us think of Jesus. This one is a good example. In "something to do" there are several things to make you think of Jesus. In verse 13 is one very important thing about Jesus. Like David, Jesus did not say anything when people said bad things about him. Here is something that Peter wrote about Jesus in his first letter: "When they said very bad things to Jesus, he did not say bad things back". (I Peter 2:23) The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before Jesus died. Isaiah said that Jesus would say nothing when they killed him: "Like a sheep is dumb when they cut off its coat, so he does not open his mouth".(Isaiah 53:7) When somebody says what is going to happen we call it a prophecy. Psalm 38:13 is another prophecy!


Salvation is a name for God in this psalm. What is salvation? It means "making safe". But it does not mean making people safe in this world. It means making them safe when they die. It means that God will not punish (or hurt) people because they have sinned.

God keeps people safe in this world too. He does this while they are doing what he wants them to do. Then he takes them to heaven, where he lives. If they sin he may punish them, as he punished David in this psalm. But, if like David, he will forgive them if they are sorry and ask God to forgive them. We call someone that makes people safe a "saviour". Jesus makes people safe so we call Him the Saviour. His name in Hebrew means "he will save".

The Names of God

Some people have more than one name. Very important people often have a lot of names. A leader of a country could be called Mr Smith, or the Prime Minister, or the Army Chief, and so on.

God is so important that he has more names than anybody else! There are 4 of them in this psalm. In the first part (verses 1-8)he is called LORD. This is a translation of the Hebrew word Yahweh. It probably means someone that is always alive. In the second part he is called Lord. This translates the Hebrew word Adonai. It means someone with authority. In the last part of the psalm (verses 15-23) he is called LORD, Lord and God. God translates the Hebrew word Elohim. It probably means Ďmany powersí.

Other names for God that Christians use are Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Jesus means that he will keep us safe, Christ means that he is King.

Holy Spirit means that he will make us good like God. We must ask him to do all this for us.


© 2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

January 2001

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