Psalm 38:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 38:7, NIV: My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.

Psalm 38:7, ESV: For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh.

Psalm 38:7, KJV: For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.

Psalm 38:7, NASB: For my sides are filled with burning, And there is no healthy part in my flesh.

Psalm 38:7, NLT: A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken.

Psalm 38:7, CSB: For my insides are full of burning pain, and there is no soundness in my body.

What does Psalm 38:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

David continues his poetic description (Psalm 38:2, 5) of the pain he feels under God's corrective rebuke. The word "burning" derives from a Hebrew term meaning "to scorch." The imagery is of extreme inflammation. Modern afflictions such as shingles can cause intense pain on the sides of the body, accompanied by a rash, chills, and nausea. Such a condition would make it nearly impossible to find relief either by standing, sitting, or lying down. The slightest movement can trigger the sensation of one's ribs being on fire. Other statements in this psalm appear to be metaphors, so David most likely is not describing a physical disease. He is, however, pointing out the drastic misery which guilt and shame are inflicting on him.

In the same way, David also comments that no part of his body is healthy. Sin, itself, can lead to physical consequences through disease or injury. Intense emotional pain can also cause symptoms in one's physical body. That is not to say all sickness is due to the suffering person's sin. Physical suffering might be tied directly to sin (John 5:14), or it may be completely unrelated (John 9:1–3). David seems fully aware that his experience—in whatever combination of physical and emotional stress—was due to his choice to sin against God (Psalm 38:1).