Psalm 38:14 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 38:14, NIV: I have become like one who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply.

Psalm 38:14, ESV: I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

Psalm 38:14, KJV: Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.

Psalm 38:14, NASB: Yes, I am like a person who does not hear, And in whose mouth are no arguments.

Psalm 38:14, NLT: I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply.

Psalm 38:14, CSB: I am like a man who does not hear and has no arguments in his mouth.

What does Psalm 38:14 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This follows the comment of the previous verse (Psalm 38:13), where David notes his silence and deafness in response to enemy attacks (Psalm 38:12). These comments could be interpreted as part of David's crushed response to God's conviction (Psalm 38:1–4, 8), meaning he is incapable of sensibly hearing what is happening, or of responding reasonably.

The other option is that David is choosing not to respond to the attacks of his enemies. Because a deaf person cannot hear what someone says negatively about him, he has no motive to argue or bicker. David's repentance over sin may have led him to accept that God would settle the matter, so he could simply let go and leave the issue to the Lord.

It takes discipline to refuse to talk back to an accuser, and the misuse of the tongue can cause a storm of hostile feelings. The apostle James advocates for controlling the tongue. He writes in James 3:2, "If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man." He points out also that "the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell" (James 3:6).