O Lord, rebuke me not - This Psalm, Which is one of the seven Penitential Psalms, is supposed to have been written during some grievous disease with which David was afflicted after his transgression with Bath-sheba. It argues a deep consciousness of sin, and apprehension of the just displeasure of God. It is the very language of a true penitent who is looking around for help, and who sees, as Bishop Horne well expresses it, "above, an angry God, ready to take vengeance; beneath, the fiery gulf, ready to receive him; without, a world in flames; within, the gnawing worm." Of all these, none so dreadful as an angry God; his wrath he particularly deprecates. God rebukes and chastens him, and he submits; but he prays not to be rebuked in anger, nor chastened in hot displeasure. because he knows that these must bring him down to total and final destruction.
O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger - As if God was rebuking him by the affliction which he was bringing upon him. This is the point on which the attention of the psalmist is now fixed. He had been apparently contemplating his afflictions, and inquiring into their cause, and he was led to the conclusion that it might be for his sins, and that his trials were to be interpreted as proof that God was angry with him. He speaks, therefore, of God as visiting him in his “anger,” and in his “hot displeasure,” and pleads with him that he would “not” thus rebuke and chasten him. The word “rebuke” here, like the word rendered “chasten,” properly refers to the reproof of an offender “by words,” but may also be used to denote the reproof which God administers by his providential dealings when he brings judgment upon anyone for his sins. This is the meaning here. The psalmist did not apprehend that God would openly “reprove” him for his sins; but he regarded his dealings with him as such a reproof, and he pleads that the tokens of the reproof might be taken away. The whole language is that which indicates a connection between suffering and sin; the feeling which we have when we are afflicted that it must be on account of our sins.
Neither chasten me - A word denoting substantially the same thing; used here in the sense of “punishing.”
In thy hot displeasure - literally, “in thy heat.” We speak of anger or wrath as “burning,” or “consuming.” Compare Genesis 39:19; Numbers 11:33; Deuteronomy 11:17; Psalm 106:40; Job 19:11; Job 32:2-3; Psalm 2:12.