What does "a wineskin in the smoke" mean? (Psalm 119:83)

"Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
    I do not forget your decrees." (NIV)

Psalms 119:83

ESV - 83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 11 2021 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Conditioning a wineskin for use by exposing or subjecting it to smoke would cause it to shrink, dry up, and become hardened. The psalmist is comparing that condition to the effects of his current situation on his heart (the seat of his spiritual being), but not in connection with any beneficial or useful sense or purpose.

Similarly in Psalm 22:15 (which describes a time of great distress in David's life), David describes his strength as having been "dried up like a potsherd".

March 11 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
According to my Ryrie Study Bible, "like a bottle (wineskin) in the smoke means black, shriveled, of no further use. The psalmist "felt like a dried-up wineskin that had been thrown aside as useless." (WWW)

83. bottle in the smoke—as a skin bottle dried and shriveled up in smoke, so is he withered by sorrow. Wine bottles of skin used to be hung up in smoke to dry them before the wine was put in them [MAURER].

119:83 like a wineskin in the smoke possibly expresses exhaustion or waiting. The psalmist may be portraying the dried-out nature of an old wineskin. -- Faithlife Study Bible 

The NIVSB says it best, "like a wineskin in the smoke" means this: "As a wineskin hanging in the smoke and heat above a fire becomes smudged and shriveled, so the psalmist bears the marks of his affliction."

March 12 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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