Psalm 6 is a quintessential prayer for help. Despite what some commentators say, the language is not generic in the sense of being suitable in all details to a wide variety of situations. The psalm records the petition of someone who knows his powers to be exhausted and his courage to be depleted in the face of malefactors pressing upon him.
The psalmist sees God's anger and punishment in the enemies that surround him and in the exhaustion that overwhelms him. He cries out for mercy, and expresses confidence that God has heard his prayer. The final verse anticipates the resolution the psalmist seeks.
The theological monism characteristic of Yahwism is evident in this psalm. Yahweh is the one from whom both good and bad issues. Cf. Exod 20:5b-6.
A trenchant example of a Yahwist who attributes misfortune to God is found in Lam 3. The personages of Job and Jeremiah and the authors of a number of laments preserved in the Psalter also attribute misfortune to God.
Without exception, however, the one who petitions for help expects the God-who-destroys-what-is to turn things around to the petitioner's advantage. Cf. 1 Sam 2:1-10; Isa 45:5-8.
It is possible that Psalm 6 was originally meant to be recited by the king when harried by foes. "A Psalm of/for David," as the superscription says. In Jewish tradition, it is recited every weekday morning by the faithful.
The author of Psalm 6 was a superb poet. For a scansion and translation, go to: