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"Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation:
Oh deliver men from the deceitful and unjust man.
For thou art the God of my strength; why hast thou cast me off?.
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?"
"Against an ungodly nation" (Psalms 43:1). The ungodly nation was either Assyria which captivated Northern Israel, or Babylon which made captives of Judaea, certainly not the Israel of God. As Leupold pointed out, "The word for nation here is `[~goy],' which was commonly used for hostile Gentiles."
"The deceitful and unjust man" (Psalms 43:1). This is a reference to the king of Babylon or Assyria. Leupold applied this to Absalom; but we cannot imagine any group of Israelite singers accepting these words as applicable to David's beloved son Absalom. Oh yes, Absalom was as wicked as any man could possibly be; but David loved him in spite of this, even giving orders to the military to "deal tenderly" with him. Besides, this deceitful and unjust man was "an oppressor" of the psalmist (Psalms 42:9 and Psalms 43:2); and Absalom, despite his intentions was never in a position to "oppress" David.
"Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me:
Let them bring me to thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Then will I go unto the altar of God,
Unto God my exceeding joy;
And upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God."
"Let them bring me to thy holy hill" (Psalms 43:3). We suppose this is the same as the hill Mizar mentioned in Psalms 42:6, the word `hill,' being the common designation of Jerusalem, Mount Zion, or the Temple mountain, the same being the place where Abraham offered Isaac. This is as good an explanation as any until someone is able to identify "Mizar"!
"To thy tabernacles ... the altar of God" (Psalms 43:3-4). This indicates that the Temple services were still being conducted at the time this psalm was written; but, as already noted, this has no bearing whatever upon "when" the psalms were written. The Temple was not destroyed, nor were its services interrupted, until the end of the reign of Zedekiah, all of which was during the Babylonian captivity for many Israelites, including Daniel and his associates.
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
And why art thou disquieted within me?
Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him,
Who is the help of my countenance, and my God."
Just as Jonah, even after being swallowed by the great fish, exclaimed, "Yet will I look unto thy holy temple ... and yet ... my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple"; just so, here the oppressed, taunted and tearful mourner, shouted the third time, "I shall yet praise Him." It also reminds us of Job who said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15).
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 43". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13