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Bible Commentaries

Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Psalms 43

Psalms 43

Verse 1

Ver. 1. Judge me, O God, and plead my quarrel against a people without love, from the man of deceit and unrighteousness deliver me. The constr. of ריב with ב is to be explained by the circumstance, that the idea of deliverance lies enclosed in the words: plead my cause. In the גוי is contained the idea, not of the profane, but of the multitude. That it can by no means serve as a proof, that the Psalmist was oppressed by the heathen, is shown, for example, by Isaiah 1:4. The negative description of the enemies of the Psalmist: people not loving, is to be explained from the contrast it presents to what they should have been, and what the Psalmist actually was. חסיד denotes such an one, as has love toward God and his brother, comp. on Psalms 4:3. The man of deceit is an ideal person. The mention of deceit suits better to domestic, than to foreign enemies.

Verse 2

Ver. 2. For thou art my guardian-God, wherefore dost thou cast me off ? why go I mourning under the oppression of the enemy? In laying the ground for his prayer, the Psalmist draws the Lord’s attention to an opposition between his relation to the Psalmist and the treatment the latter was experiencing, in case this did not soon come to an end. In place of my guardian-God, prop. my fortification-God, there was the corresponding: my rock, in Psalms 42:9, comp. Psalms 27:1, Psalms 31:4, Psalms 37:39.

Verse 3

Ver. 3. Send thy light and thy truth, let them lead me, bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling. The light of the Lord is a figurative description of his help-affording favour, חסד , which elsewhere is commonly formed into a pair, with his truth, his fidelity in fulfilling his promises, the preservation of his covenant, comp. Psalms 57:3, “God will send forth his mercy and his truth,” and the primary passage in Exodus 15:13, “thou in thy favour hast led the people, which thou hast redeemed, to thy holy habitation,” which must be fulfilled anew in the experience of the Psalmist. The favour of God is described as light, because it serves to enlighten for his people the darkness of their misery, comp. Psalms 36:9. That the Psalmist speaks of the holy hill of the Lord, Mount Zion, which was first made by David the seat of the sanctuary, shows that we are not with some expositors to refer this, and the preceding Psalm, to the times of Saul. The centre of all the Psalmist’s wishes is his return to the sanctuary, because the exclusion from that was, of all the marks of the divine displeasure under which he suffered, the most palpable. In his return to the sanctuary he would find a matter-of-fact justification, a pledge of the return of God’s grace. Hence it appears, that this prayer is as to its form merely peculiar to the Psalmist, but in substance common to all those who are involved in distress.

Verse 4

Ver. 4. And I will come to the altar of God, to the God, who is my joy and delight, and praise thee upon the harp, God, my God. The words: And come will I, q. d. I wish, that thou wilt give me the opportunity to come. Instead of: my joy and delight, prop. my jubilee-joy, q. d. my God, in whom I rejoice making jubilee, even now in my distress, comp. Psalms 42:8, and still more, when the clouds are dispersed, which now hide from me thy gracious countenance.

Verse 5

Ver. 5. Why art thou troubled, my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, the salvation of my countenance and my God. The words: I shall praise him, here refer back to: I will praise him in Psalms 43:4. What the soul hopingly wished for, that has his spirit in faith already apprehended, so that the poor and bowed down can comfort himself and stand upright.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 43". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/psalms-43.html.