Psalm 6

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Illumination from the Hours of Étienne Chevalier, created by the artist Jean Fouquet in the 1450s. David, in armour, kneels in penitence before God encircled by cherubim, while in the foreground lies a corpse, with devils torturing souls. Below, in gold capitals on a blue ground, are the opening words of Psalm 6: Domine ne in furore tuo arguas me neque in ira tua corripias me - "Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chastise me in thy wrath."

Psalm 6 is the 6th psalm from the Book of Psalms. Its authorship is traditionally assigned to King David. David's supposed intention in writing the psalm was that it would be for anyone suffering from sickness or distress or for the state of Israel while suffering through oppression.[1]

The Geneva Bible (1599) gives the following summary:

When David by his sins had provoked God’s wrath, and now felt not only his hand against him, but also conceived the horrors of death everlasting, he desireth forgiveness. 6 Bewailing that if God took him away in his indignation, he should lack occasion to praise him as he was wont to do while he was among men. 9 Then suddenly feeling God’s mercy, he sharply rebuketh his enemies which rejoiced in his affliction.

The psalm is the first of the seven Penitential Psalms, as identified by Cassiodorus in a commentary of the 6th century AD. Many translations have been made of these psalms, and musical settings have been made by many composers.

Psalm 6 in medieval illumination[edit]

The psalm was frequently chosen for illumination in medieval Books of Hours, to open the section containing the penitential psalms.


  1. ^ The Artscroll Tehillim page 8