Prayer of an Afflicted Sinner

1A psalm of David. For remembrance.


2LORD, do not punish me in your anger;

in your wrath do not chastise me!a

3Your arrows have sunk deep in me;b

your hand has come down upon me.

4There is no wholesomeness in my flesh because of your anger;

there is no health in my bones because of my sin.c

5My iniquities overwhelm me,

a burden too heavy for me.d


6Foul and festering are my sores

because of my folly.

7I am stooped and deeply bowed;e

every day I go about mourning.

8My loins burn with fever;

there is no wholesomeness in my flesh.

9I am numb and utterly crushed;

I wail with anguish of heart.f

10My Lord, my deepest yearning is before you;

my groaning is not hidden from you.

11My heart shudders, my strength forsakes me;

the very light of my eyes has failed.g

12Friends and companions shun my disease;

my neighbors stand far off.

13Those who seek my life lay snares for me;

they seek my misfortune, they speak of ruin;

they plot treachery every day.


14But I am like the deaf, hearing nothing,

like the mute, I do not open my mouth,

15I am even like someone who does not hear,

who has no answer ready.

16LORD, it is for you that I wait;

O Lord, my God, you respond.h

17For I have said that they would gloat over me,

exult over me if I stumble.


18I am very near to falling;

my wounds are with me always.

19I acknowledge my guilt

and grieve over my sin.i

20My enemies live and grow strong,

those who hate me grow numerous fraudulently,

21Repaying me evil for good,

accusing me for pursuing good.j

22Do not forsake me, O LORD;

my God, be not far from me!k

23Come quickly to help me,l

my Lord and my salvation!

* [Psalm 38] In this lament, one of the Penitential Psalms (cf. Ps 6), the psalmist acknowledges the sin that has brought physical and mental sickness and social ostracism. There is no one to turn to for help; only God can undo the past and restore the psalmist.

a. [38:2] Ps 6:2.

b. [38:3] Jb 6:4; Lam 3:12; Ps 31:11; 64:7.

c. [38:4] Is 1:56.

d. [38:5] Ps 40:13; Ezr 9:6.

e. [38:7] Ps 35:14.

f. [38:9] Ps 102:46.

g. [38:11] Ps 6:8; 31:10.

h. [38:16] Ps 13:4.

i. [38:19] Ps 32:5; 51:5.

j. [38:21] Ps 109:5.

k. [38:22] Ps 22:2, 12, 20; 35:22.

l. [38:23] Ps 40:14.

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