What does Psalm 32:3 mean?
ESV: For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
NIV: When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
NASB: When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long.
CSB: When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long.
NLT: When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
KJV: When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
Verse Commentary:
David tried to keep his sin of adultery secret (2 Samuel 11:2–5). After learning Bathsheba was pregnant, he brought Uriah, her husband and a soldier, home from the battle zone. David assumed she and her husband would have intercourse and everyone would assume that the husband was the father of the unborn child. But the plan didn't work (2 Samuel 11:6–13). Later, David gave orders to move Uriah to the frontline, arranging for him to be killed in battle (1 Samuel 11:14–15). He then took Bathsheba as his own wife.

For some time after, David continued to deny and ignore his sin, but his failure to repent and confess caused him physical distress. In ancient Hebrew thinking, the bones were the most essential essence of a person's physical body. For the bones to "waste away" implied intense sickness. The Lord was chastening him. Sin has consequences. In David's case, it brought emotional and physical pain. Although not all sickness is the result of sinning, a believer may become weak if he refuses to repent. Paul wrote that some Corinthians were weak and sickly because they partook of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27–30).

It was not until Nathan, a prophet, directly confronted David that he finally broke down and repented (2 Samuel 12:1–15). This inspired David to write Psalm 51.
Verse Context:
Psalm 32:1–4 expresses David's relief and happiness once God forgave his sin (Psalm 51:1). He recalls the misery he felt when he refused to acknowledge and confess his wrongdoing. David's resistance to admitting his sin imposed dire consequences: physical distress and relentless conviction. This is one of the ways in which God communicates to His believers when they need to repent of sin.
Chapter Summary:
This psalm follows a progression of David's own experience: from the pressure of resisting confession, to the relief of being forgiven, to a renewed appreciation of God's graciousness for His people. David notes that being forgiven of sin is a great blessing, and those who resist repentance are delaying that restoration. He reflects on his own experience with stubbornness and encourages all people to seek God in sincerity.
Chapter Context:
Psalm 32 follows David's confession of the sins of adultery and murder. Psalm 51 records his initial response when confronted by the prophet Nathan. The background of David's sin, Nathan's rebuke, and the aftermath are found in 2 Samuel 11—12. For some undisclosed time, David refused to acknowledge his sin, but when he finally confessed it, the Lord graciously forgave him.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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