Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Version Selector Up Arrow
KJV King James Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NIV New International Version
ESV English Standard Version
CSB Christian Standard Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NET New English Translation
RSV Revised Standard Version
ASV American Standard Version
YLT Young's Literal Translation
DBY Darby Translation
WEB Webster's Bible
HNV Hebrew Names Version
RVR60 Reina-Valera 1960
VUL Latin Vulgate
WLC Westminster Leningrad Codex
LXX Septuagint
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:




Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:



Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Return to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'


Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect

Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on YouTube

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Psalm 6

toggle collapse

A Confident Answer to an Agonized Plea

Psalm 6 is known as the first of seven penitential psalms - songs of confession and humility before God. It was a custom in the early church to sing these psalms on Ash Wednesday, the Wednesday before Easter. The title of this Psalm is, To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David.

A. The agonized plea.

1. (Psa 6:1) A plea to lighten the chastening hand.

O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.

a. Do not rebuke me in Your anger: We don't know what the occasion of sin was, but because of his sin David sensed he was under the rebuke of God. Therefore he called out to God to lighten the chastisement.

i. There may be times when we believe we are chastened by God's hand when really we suffer trouble brought upon ourselves. Nevertheless, there are certainly times when the LORD does chasten His children.

b. Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure: We know that God's chastening hand is not primarily a mark of His displeasure, but it is a mark of adoption. Hebrews 12:7 makes it clear that chastening is evidence of our adoption: If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? When God corrects us it doesn't feel pleasant, but it is good and for our good.

i. Anger … hot displeasure: Living before the finished work of Jesus, David had less certainty about his standing with God. On this side of the cross we know that all the anger God has towards us was poured out on Jesus at the cross. God chastens the believer out of correcting love and not out of anger.

2. (Psa 6:2-3) Two kinds of trouble.

Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD; how long?

a. I am weak … my bones are troubled: David knew the trial of physical weakness and pain. In the midst of this kind of chastisement, he cries out to God for mercy.

i. "So we may pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are 'not in anger, but in his dear covenant love.' " (Spurgeon)

b. My soul also is greatly troubled: David knew the trial of spiritual weakness and pain. The difficulty of these trials drove David to seek mercy from God.

i. These trials of body and soul were amplified by David's sense of God's anger against him. When we are not confident in God's love and assistance even small trials feel unbearable.

c. How long? David sensed he was under the chastisement of God, but he still knew he should ask God to shorten the trial. There is a place for humble resignation to chastisement, but God wants us to yearn for higher ground and to use that yearning as a motivation to seek Him and get things right with the LORD.

i. David seems to smart under the result of his sin, more than the sin itself. Ideally we are all terribly grieved by sin itself, but there is something to be said for confession and humility for the sake of the result of our sins.

3. (Psa 6:4-5) The urgency of David's plea.

Return, O LORD, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake!
For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

a. Return, O LORD, deliver me: In his agony David pleads for deliverance - but on the ground of God's mercy, not his own righteousness. David knew that the LORD's chastisement was righteous, but he also knew that God is rich in mercy.

i. The plea, "return" also shows that David felt distant from God. This was part of the agony of the trial. When we sense God is near us we feel that we can face anything, but when we sense Him distant from us we are weak before the smallest trial.

b. Save me for Your mercies' sake: The note of confession of sin is not strong in this Psalm of Penitence, but it is not absent. The fact that David appeals to the mercy of God for deliverance is evidence that he is aware that he doesn't deserve it.

i. "David's conscience is uneasy, and he must appeal to grace to temper the discipline he deserves." (Kidner)

c. In death there is no remembrance of You: It would be wrong to take these agonized words of David as evidence that there is no life beyond this life. The Old Testament has a shadowy understanding of the world beyond. Sometimes it shows a clear confidence (Job 19:25), and sometimes it has the uncertainty David shows here.

i. "Churchyards are silent places; the vaults of the sepulcher echo not with songs. Damp earth covers dumb mouths." (Spurgeon)

ii. 2 Timothy 2:10 says that Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of the after-life was murky at best in the Old Testament; but Jesus let us know more about heaven and hell than anyone else could. Jesus could do this because He had first-hand knowledge of the world beyond.

iii. David's point isn't to present a comprehensive theology of the world beyond. He is in agony, fearing for his life, and he knows he can remember God and give Him thanks now. He doesn't have the same certainty about the world beyond, so he asks God to act according to his certainty.

iv. "At rare moments the Psalms have glimpses of rescue from Sheol, in terms that suggest resurrection, or a translation like that of Enoch or Elijah (c.f. 16:10; 17:15; 49:15; 73:24)." (Kidner)

B. The determined resolution.

1. (Psa 6:6-7) A vivid description of David's agony.

I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.

a. I am weary with groaning: God's chastising hand was heavy upon David. His life seemed to be nothing but tears and misery. David's trial has at least three components: He felt God was angry with him, he lacked a sense of God's presence, and he couldn't sleep.

b. All night I make my bed swim: This is a good example of poetic exaggeration. David didn't want us to believe that his bed actually floated on a pool of tears in his room. Because this is poetic literature we understand it according to its literary context. This understands the Bible literally - according to its literary context.

c. My eye wastes away: David's eyes were red and sore from all the tears and lack of sleep. "As an old man's eye grows dim with years, so says David, my eye is grown red and feeble through weeping." (Spurgeon)

d. Because of all my enemies: David is brought so low that his enemies no longer spur him to seize victory. He seems depressed and discouraged.

2. (Psa 6:8-10) David's confident declaration.

Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.
Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

a. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity: It may be that the sin that led David into this chastisement was association with the ungodly. Here we see David acting consistently with his change of heart, and telling all ungodly associates to depart.

i. It is important to separate from ungodly associations. J. Edwin Orr describes some of the work among new converts in Halifax during the Second Great Awakening in Britain: "Among them was a boxer who had just won a money-prize and a belt. A crowd of his erstwhile companions stood outside the hall in order to ridicule him, and they hailed the converted boxer with a shout: 'He's getting' converted! What about that belt? Tha'lt either have to fight for it or give it up!' The boxer retorted: 'I'll both give it up and you up! If you won't go with me to heaven, I won't go with you to hell!' He gave them the belt, but persuaded some of them to accompany him to the services, where another was converted and set busily working."

b. The LORD has heard the voice of my weeping: David ends the Psalm on a note of confidence. He made his agonized cry to God, and God heard him.

i. Weeping has a voice before God. It isn't that God is impressed by emotional displays, but a passionate heart impresses Him. David wasn't afraid to cry before the LORD, and God honored the voice of his weeping.

ii. "Is it not sweet to believe that our tears are understood even when words fail! Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers." (Spurgeon)

iii. Once Luther wrestled hard with God in prayer and came jumping out of his prayer closet crying out, "Vicimus, vicimus" - that is, "Victory, victory!" David has the same sense of prevailing with God at the end of this prayer.

c. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled: David knows that when God receives his prayer, it will be trouble for his enemy. David now sees that his temporary agony and trouble gives way to a permanent agony and trouble for his enemies.

© 2006 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


Bible Search

Multiverse Retrieval

LexiConc Search

FAQ Search

Browse Dictionary Topics

Bible Reference

Encyclopedias / Dictionaries

Introductions to the Bible

Topical Indexes

Charts and Outlines


Maps / Images

Bible Commentaries

Text Commentaries

Audio & Video Commentaries

Theological Resources

Articles / Books

Women's Resources

Don Stewart

BLB Theological

Creeds, Catechisms, and Confessions





Digital Books

Mobile Apps for iPhone / iPad

Mobile blb.org

BLB Offline CDs

Free Web Tools


Email Devotional Sign-Up

BLB Daily Promises

Day by Day by Grace

Morning and Evening

Daily Bible Reading Plan


Video Tutorials


Theological Questions

Website Support

iApp Support

General Questions


Sowing Circle

Co-Laboring Ministries


About the BLB

Statement of Faith




Ministry FAQs


Donation Information

Contact the BLB

Hotjar - Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites

BLB Institute

BLB Blog

Email Newsletters



Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

©2017 Blue Letter Bible


Verse Tools Arrow

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

Enter Your
Email or Username




Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Why won't my login from the old site work?

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

Enter Your EmailUsername

First Name


[ Cancel ]


Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or Username


Return to Login

Close Login