Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 38:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Mine iniquities are gone over mine head - He represents himself as one sinking in deep waters, or as one oppressed by a burden to which his strength was unequal.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head - This is merely an enlargement of the idea suggested in the last verse - that his present sickness was to be traced to his sin, and that he was suffering the punishment for sin. The idea is here that his sins were very numerous and very aggravated. They had risen up around him, or had so accumulated that the mass rose, like waves of the sea, above his head. A somewhat similar idea - though the thought there refers rather to the number of sins than the degree of guilt - occurs in Psalm 40:12: “Mine iniquities … are more than the hairs of my head.”

As an heavy burden … - That is, they are so heavy that I cannot bear them, and my frame has sunk under them. This might mean either that the sense of sin was so great that he could not bear up under it, but had been crushed by it (compare Psalm 32:3-4); or that on account of sin, “as if” it were a heavy weight, he had been crushed by disease. The general idea is, that the real cause of his sickness was the fact that he was a great sinner, and that God was punishing him for it.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Nothing will disquiet the heart of a good man so much as the sense of God's anger. The way to keep the heart quiet, is to keep ourselves in the love of God. But a sense of guilt is too heavy to bear; and would sink men into despair and ruin, unless removed by the pardoning mercy of God. If there were not sin in our souls, there would be no pain in our bones, no illness in our bodies. The guilt of sin is a burden to the whole creation, which groans under it. It will be a burden to the sinners themselves, when they are heavy-laden under it, or a burden of ruin, when it sinks them to hell. When we perceive our true condition, the Good Physician will be valued, sought, and obeyed. Yet many let their wounds rankle, because they delay to go to their merciful Friend. When, at any time, we are distempered in our bodies, we ought to remember how God has been dishonoured in and by our bodies. The groanings which cannot be uttered, are not hid from Him that searches the heart, and knows the mind of the Spirit. David, in his troubles, was a type of Christ in his agonies, of Christ on his cross, suffering and deserted.