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Bible Commentaries

Clarke's Commentary

Psalms 43

Verse 1

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.


There is no title to this Psalm in 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 Psalm in forty-six of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS.

Verse Psalms 43:1. Judge me, O God, and plead my causeריבה ריבי 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

Verse Psalms 43:2. 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

Verse Psalms 43:3. O send out thy light and thy truth — We are in darkness and distress, O send light and prosperity; we look for the fulfilment of thy promises, O send forth thy truth. Let thy light 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

Verse Psalms 43:4. 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

Verse Psalms 43:5. 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.

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, Psalms 43:5.

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," Psalms 43:1.

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," גוי לא כסיד goi lo chasid, "a people without mercy." 2. They were men of deceit and iniquity: "Deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man," Psalms 43:1.

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?" Psalms 43:2.

Secondly, The second part of his petition is, that he may be restored to God's favour, and brought back to his own country, Psalms 43:3.

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," Psalms 43:3.

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, Psalms 43:3.

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 himself. 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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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 43". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/psalms-43.html. 1832.