[Psalm 6] This Psalm is classically known as the first of the Penitential, or repentance, Psalms.
Verses 1-2 Many scholarly folk agree that David was very ill and thought he was going to die. David possibly believed it was due to his own sin, which is interesting compared to the words of Jesus found in John 9 [especially v. 3]. Many protestant theologians [and I tend to agree] that this universally states God does not punish the sins of the people physically or with illness. However, this verse doesn’t seem to speak directly to that issue for all people but, instead, specifically in regards to this man and his situation/purpose. Ponder away friends. David seeks God’s mercy in His anguish.
Verses 3-5 David asks God how long [probably before He “turns” or “returns” as stated in v4]. He pleads his case for God’s attention on the basis of two things:
- God’s mercy [loyal, unfailing love]. God is loving by nature even when we are unfaithful to Him and David charges this to God hoping to settle His anger.
- For the sake of David’s praise – since he cannot praise God if he were dead. This is David’s humanity coming through NOT his theological stance. It seems obvious by the context that David is not denying conscience after death.
Verses 6-7 David describes the extent of his sorrow
Verses 8-10 The words, “Away from me” are quoted by Jesus in Matt 7:23, as He describes turning away those He didn’t “know” while trying to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Some say this is also a purging time of those unwanted in David’s kingdom. David finishes the Psalm by declaring his assurance that God has heard him and accepts his prayer.