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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    PSALMS 43

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    PSALM XLIII

    The psalmist begs God to take his part against his enemies, 1, 2; to send his light and truth to guide him to the tabernacle, 3; promises, if brought thither, to be faithful in the Divine service, 4; chides himself for despondency, and takes courage, 5.

    NOTES ON PSALM XLIII

    There is no title to this Psalmin the Hebrew, nor in the Chaldee. The Syriac says it was composed "by David when Jonathan told him that Saul intended to slay him." The Arabic says of this, as of the preceding, that it is a prayer for the backsliding Jews. It is most evidently on the same subject with the forty-second Psalm, had the same author or authors, and contains the remaining part of the complaint of the captive Jews in Babylon. It is written as a part of the forty-second Psalmin forty-six of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.

    Verse 1. "Judge me, O God, and plead my cause " - ybyr hbyr ribah ribi, a forensic term, properly enough translated, plead my cause, be my counsellor and advocate.

    Ungodly nation ] The Babylonians; the impious, perfidious, wicked, and deceitful Babylonians.

    "The deceitful and unjust man. " - Nebuchadnezzar.

    Verse 2. "For those art the God of my strength " - The psalmist speaks here, as in other places in the person of the whole Israelitish people then captive in Babylon. We still acknowledge thee for our God. Why are we cast off? Now that we are humbled and penitent, why are we not enlarged? Why are we not saved from this oppression of the Babylonians?

    Verse 3. "O send out thy light and thy truth " - We are in darkness and distress, O send light and prosperity; we look for the fulfillment of thy promises, O send forth thy truth. Let thy fight guide me to thy holy hill, to the country of my fathers; let thy truth lead me to thy tabernacles, there to worship thee in spirit and in truth.

    Verse 4. "Then will I go unto the altar " - When thy light-a favourable turn on our affairs, leads us to the land of our fathers, and thy truth-the fulfillment of thy gracious promises, has placed us again at the door of thy tabernacles, then will we go to thy altar and joyfully offer those sacrifices and offerings which thy law requires, and rejoice in thee with exceeding great joy.

    Verse 5. "Why art thou cast down " - Though our deliverance be delayed, God has not forgotten to be gracious. The vision, the prophetic declaration relative to our captivity, was for an appointed time. Though it appear to tarry, we must wait for it. In the end it will come, and will not tarry; why then should we be discouraged? Let us still continue to trust in God, for we shall yet praise him for the fullest proofs of his approbation in a great outpouring of his benedictions.

    ANALYSIS OF THE FORTY-THIRD PSALM

    This Psalm, which is of the same nature with the former, and properly a part or continuation of it, contains two chief things: - I. A petition, which is double. 1. One in the first verse. 2. The other in the fourth verse.

    II. A comfortable apostrophe to his own soul, ver. 5.

    "First, He petitions God: " - 1. That, being righteous, he would be his Judge: "Judge me, O Lord." 2. That, being merciful, he would plead his cause: "Plead my cause." 3. That, being almighty, he would deliver him: "Deliver me," ver. 1.

    "For this petition he assigns two reasons: " - 1. The unmerciful disposition of his enemies. 1. They were a factious, bloody, inhuman people: "Plead my cause against an ungodly nation," dysj al ywg goi lo chasid, "a people without mercy." 2.

    They were men of deceit and iniquity: "Deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man," ver. 1.

    2. The other reason he draws from the nature of God, and his relation to him: "For thou art the God of my strength." Thou hast promised to defend me. On this he expostulates:

    1. "Why hast thou cast me off?" For so, to the eye of sense, it at present appears. 2. "Why go I mourning, because of the oppression of the enemy?" ver. 2.

    Secondly, The second part of his petition is, that he may be restored to God's favour, and brought back to his own country, ver. 3.

    1. "O send forth thy light and thy truth," the light of thy favour and countenance, and make thy promises true to me: "Let them lead me," ver. 3.

    2. "Let them guide me;" ] whither? To dignity and honours? No, I ask not those: I ask to be guided to thy holy hill and tabernacles, where I may enjoy the exercises of piety in thy pure worship, ver. 3.

    Thirdly, That he might the better move God to hear his petition, he does as good as vow that he would be thankful, and make it known how good God had been to him.

    1. "Then will I go unto the altar of God, my exceeding joy." The joy and content he would take in this should not be of an ordinary kind.

    2. "Yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God." His joy should be expressed outwardly by a Psalm, doubtless composed for the occasion; the singing of which should be accompanied by the harp, or such instruments of music as were then commonly used in the Divine worship.

    The petitions being ended, and now confident of audience and favour, he thus addresses his heavy and mournful heart as in the former Psalm:

    1. Chiding himseif. 2. Encouraging himself.

    1. "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?" Chiding.

    2. "Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." Encouraging. See notes and analysis of the preceding Psalm.

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