A David Psalm

38 1-2 Take a deep breath, God; calm down—
    don’t be so hasty with your punishing rod.
Your sharp-pointed arrows of rebuke draw blood;
    my backside smarts from your caning.

3-4 I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months
    because of your accusation.
My bones are brittle as dry sticks
    because of my sin.
I’m swamped by my bad behavior,
    collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt.

5-8 The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
    because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
    feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
    my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
    my life is a vomit of groans.

9-16 Lord, my longings are sitting in plain sight,
    my groans an old story to you.
My heart’s about to break;
    I’m a burned-out case.
Cataracts blind me to God and good;
    old friends avoid me like the plague.
My cousins never visit,
    my neighbors stab me in the back.
My competitors blacken my name,
    devoutly they pray for my ruin.
But I’m deaf and mute to it all,
    ears shut, mouth shut.
I don’t hear a word they say,
    don’t speak a word in response.
What I do, God, is wait for you,
    wait for my Lord, my God—you will answer!
I wait and pray so they won’t laugh me off,
    won’t smugly strut off when I stumble.

17-20 I’m on the edge of losing it—
    the pain in my gut keeps burning.
I’m ready to tell my story of failure,
    I’m no longer smug in my sin.
My enemies are alive and in action,
    a lynch mob after my neck.
I give out good and get back evil
    from God-haters who can’t stand a God-lover.

21-22 Don’t dump me, God;
    my God, don’t stand me up.
Hurry and help me;
    I want some wide-open space in my life!

Psalm 38[a]

A psalm of David. A petition.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your wrath.(A)
Your arrows(B) have pierced me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health(C) in my body;
    there is no soundness in my bones(D) because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed(E) me
    like a burden too heavy to bear.(F)

My wounds(G) fester and are loathsome(H)
    because of my sinful folly.(I)
I am bowed down(J) and brought very low;
    all day long I go about mourning.(K)
My back is filled with searing pain;(L)
    there is no health(M) in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;(N)
    I groan(O) in anguish of heart.(P)

All my longings(Q) lie open before you, Lord;
    my sighing(R) is not hidden from you.
10 My heart pounds,(S) my strength fails(T) me;
    even the light has gone from my eyes.(U)
11 My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;(V)
    my neighbors stay far away.
12 Those who want to kill me set their traps,(W)
    those who would harm me talk of my ruin;(X)
    all day long they scheme and lie.(Y)

13 I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,(Z)
    like the mute, who cannot speak;
14 I have become like one who does not hear,
    whose mouth can offer no reply.
15 Lord, I wait(AA) for you;
    you will answer,(AB) Lord my God.
16 For I said, “Do not let them gloat(AC)
    or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip.”(AD)

17 For I am about to fall,(AE)
    and my pain(AF) is ever with me.
18 I confess my iniquity;(AG)
    I am troubled by my sin.
19 Many have become my enemies(AH) without cause[b];
    those who hate me(AI) without reason(AJ) are numerous.
20 Those who repay my good with evil(AK)
    lodge accusations(AL) against me,
    though I seek only to do what is good.

21 Lord, do not forsake me;(AM)
    do not be far(AN) from me, my God.
22 Come quickly(AO) to help me,(AP)
    my Lord and my Savior.(AQ)

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 38:1 In Hebrew texts 38:1-22 is numbered 38:2-23.
  2. Psalm 38:19 One Dead Sea Scrolls manuscript; Masoretic Text my vigorous enemies

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