Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 38:5

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

My wounds stink and are corrupt - Taking this in connection with the rest of the Psalm, I do not see that we can understand the word in any figurative or metaphorical way. I believe they refer to some disease with which he was at this time afflicted; but whether the leprosy, the small pox, or some other disorder that had attacked the whole system, and showed its virulence on different parts of the outer surface, cannot be absolutely determined.

Because of my foolishness - This may either signify sin as the cause of his present affliction, or it may import an affliction which was the consequence of that foolish levity which prefers the momentary gratification of an irregular passion to health of body and peace of mind.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

My wounds stink - The word rendered “wounds” here means properly the swelling or wales produced by stripes. See the notes at Isaiah 1:6; notes at Isaiah 53:5. The meaning here is, that he was under chastisement for his sin; that the stripes or blows on account of it had not only left a mark and produced a swelling, but that the skin itself had been broken, and that the flesh had become corrupt, and the sore offensive. Many expositors regard this as a mere figurative representation of the sorrow produced by the consciousness of sin; and of the loathsome nature of sin, but it seems to me that the whole connection rather requires us to understand it of bodily suffering, or of disease.

And are corrupt - The word used here - מקק mâqaq - means properly to melt; to pine away; and then, to flow, to run, as sores and ulcers do. The meaning here is, My sores run; to wit, with corrupt matter.

Because of my foolishness - Because of my sin, regarded as folly. Compare the notes at Psalm 14:1. The Scripture idea is that sin is the highest folly. Hence, the psalmist, at the same time that he confesses his sin, acknowledges also its foolishness. The idea of sin and that of folly become so blended together - or they are so entirely synonymous - that the one term may be used for the other.

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.