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To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
So panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my meat day and night,
While they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me:
For I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him
For the help of his countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee
From the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.
7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts:
All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime.
And in the night his song shall be with me,
And my prayer unto the God of my life.
9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me:
While they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?
11 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 health of my countenance, and my God.
1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation:
O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
2 For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off?
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me;
Let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God,
Unto God my exceeding joy:
Yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him,
Who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Contents and Composition.—In regard to the Title, see Introduction, § 8, and § 2. The division of the matter into two distinct Psalms is very ancient, since we find it in all the versions. But it does not follow from this that such was their original relation, and that we have here (Hengstenberg) a nearly connected pair of Psalms. Not only are the contents, the tone, the structure of the strophes, and particular turns of expression similar in both, but the progress of thought is such that the two strophes of Psalms 42:0, taken by themselves might have been worked by P. Gerhardt into a regular Church hymn; and yet they by no means have such a complete rounding off, that Psalms 43:0. can certainly be regarded as simply a later addition (Cocceius, Rudinger, Venema), nor need we (with Hofmann) insist upon its being wholly independent of the former. On the contrary we find in Psalms 43:0. the prayer which is necessary to link together the complaint and the hopeful submission of Psalms 42:0; and hence in a certain relation it might be used independently as a Church prayer on Judica Sunday.1 But if it be regarded as a third strophe organically connected with the two preceding ones, it explains the very marked contrast of the second strophe. Hence most modern interpreters favor the view of their original unity, which is also supported by many MSS. The subsequent separation of the Psalms is by no means inconceivable (Hengsten.), though the occasion of it is unknown. The third strophe, which has none of the local references of the second, might very easily have been used as an independent Church song (Clauss). For the fundamental thought in it is an eager desire to share in the services of the Temple with the great annual assemblies of worshippers,—a desire which was quickened by the lively remembrance of former festivals, and which was still more intensified by the sense of present deprivation, and by a forced residence in a strange country and amidst heathen enemies. With this sentiment, the elegiac tone of the Psalm and its rythmic structure exactly agree. Thus in the three closing groups we find the most charming and touching thoughts united in a manner corresponding to the threefold aspect in which the fundamental sentiment is presented. There is first the desire, then the complaint, and finally the prayer with its so strongly expressed confidence in God. Very similar to it is Psalms 84:0. in which the Psalmist prays for the Messiah. This may be accounted for by the fact that here the poet expresses not David’s mind (Rosen., Hengsten., Tholuck), but speaks in his own name. Perhaps he was with David during his exile to the region east of Jordan, by reason of Absalom’s rebellion (2 Samuel 17:24); for it closely resembles the Davidic Psalms of that period, (Del.) and in Psalms 42:7, express mention is made of the Psalmist’s residence in that country. We need not suppose that this expressed longing for the temple came from a priest (Paul, De Wette, Rosen., Maur); nor from the people of Israel while in captivity (the Rabbins, Koster); nor does the supposed connection of Psalms 42:8, with Jonah 2:4, and of Psalms 42:9, with Sir 18:4, oblige us to refer it to a later age. These remarkable expressions originated with the Psalm and illustrate its thoroughly independent character. Nor is there any historical ground obliging us to suppose that they were uttered either by King Jechoniah (Ewald); or by one of the nobles who accompanied him to Babylon; (Cleric.); or by Priests (Reuss); or by a Levite banished by Athaliah (Vaihinger); or by the High-priest Onias III. who in the second century before Christ, after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Egyptian general Skopas, is said to have been carried by him as a hostage, to the sources of the Jordan (Hitzig); or to Antiochus Epiphanes, (Rud., Olshaus.). It is remarkable that the name Jehovah is used Psalms 42:9, while in other places Elohim is apparently employed for a special purpose, as for example in Psalms 43:4, we have Elohim Elohai instead of Jehovah Elohai. [Wordsworth: “These two Psalms are used together in the Hebrew Synagogues at the Great Festival of Tabernacles, Psalms 43:0. is appointed in the Gregorian use for Good-Friday, and in the present Latin Church for Easter eve.”—J. F.]
Psalms 42:1. Panteth.—The radical idea of עדג is to direct oneself, to turn, to incline. (Hupfeld). [To ascend, i.e., the Arabic م ج Tregelles.—J. F.] This inclination may be both downwards and upwards; and hence its twofold construction with עַל and אֶל, the latter in Joel 1:20. From this latter passage translated by Sept. Vulg, Chald., “look up” Gesenius and most of the moderns, after the Sept., Chald., Jerome, derive the sense of longing and desire. The word, however, does not mean a simply quiet longing and inward desire, but an audible panting produced by the agony of thirst. The rendering of it by the word “to cry” (Syr., Rabbins, Luth., Calvin, and most of the older expositors) is, however, too strong. Its application to the relation of the soul of man to God Psalms 42:2, and to the beasts of the field, Joel 1:20, is explained by the fact that the Living God is often set forth as a spring of living water for the refreshment of the thirsty, Psalms 36:10; Psalms 84:3; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13.—[Alexander: “The essential idea is that of intense desire and an overwhelming sense of want.”—J. F.] Names of animals are often used for either sex, or for both sexes. Here the word for hart, must be taken in a feminine sense [Germ. Hindin], as it is an image of the soul, the term for which in Hebrew is feminine, and is associated with feminine predicates. The particle of comparison refers, as the accent indicates, not to the whole sentence, but to the principal word in it, (Ewald, Gram., § 360), hence the verb must be taken as relative to it.
Ver 2 refers, as is obvious from Exodus 33:20, to the festive appearances of the people “before the Lord,” Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23, yet not in the sense of beholding the face of the Lord (Luther following some ancient expositors), though we find here the accusative but without the preposition which should stand before it. In this place the accusative is local and not objective. Hence it is not to be supposed that the reading אֶרְאֶה designed by the Poet (Böttch., Olshaus.), was afterwards changed, by a sort of religious fear into אֵרִָאֶה, a reading which, by the way, is found in some MSS. and is favored by Dathe, Knapp, and others. The Septuagint has the right reading, but it translates the former line “my soul thirsteth for the living God” or “after God the mighty the living,” because when Elohim and El come together, the latter word is usually rendered ἰσχυρός. [Alexander: “Of the two divine names here used, one (Elohim) describes God as an object of religious worship, the other (El) as a Being of infinite power.”—J. F.]
Psalms 42:3. Tears become bread, not in the sense of nourishment, precious as bread (Calvin); nor of being a necessity like bread (De Wette); but of a substitute for bread. Job 3:24. Some take the meaning here to be the same as in 1 Samuel 1:7 i.e., forgetting to take food through sorrow (Hengst., Schegg), but the phrase is simply a picture of one’s daily life (Stier, Hupfeld, Delitz.) as in Psalms 80:6; Psalms 103:10, 1 Kings 22:29; Isaiah 30:20. [Perowne: “My tears have been my daily portion.”—J. F.]
Psalms 42:4. When I remember, (or think of). Many refer this to the scorn of enemies, and regard the statement as a hypothetical one, (Luther, Stier, Ges., Ewald,) the pilgrimage or the “going with the multitude” being the object of thought, i.e., of desire and hope. (So most ancient translators, Luth., Flam., Geier, Cleric., Stier, Köster). The description of the pilgrimage presents it, however, rather as an object of memory than desire. (Hup., Del., Hitzig). The imperfect form of the verb must not be taken in the sense of an optative future (that I might go), but as a preterite. [Barnes: “Though the future tense is used as denoting what the state of his mind would be, the immediate reference is to the past.” Perowne: “Let me remember, fain would I remember.”—J. F] As he recalls those festive processions in which he had taken part, and contrasts them with his present condition, the soul of the Psalmist melts within him, like water, 1 Samuel 7:6; Job 30:16. He now pours out his heart in tears (Lamentations 2:19,) as at other times he has poured it out in lamentation and prayer, 1 Samuel 1:25; Psalms 62:9; Psalms 102:1; Psalms 142:3.—“Multitude,” lit. a mass of boughs, a thicket. [“The word סָךְ occurs no where else in Scripture.”—J. F.] A similar figure is used in Isaiah 10:17, in reference to the Assyrian army.—“The multitude that kept holy day,” (2 Samuel 6:19; comp. Isaiah 30:29), is in apposition with the personal suffix of the verb, which in the Hithpael signifies to go slowly, Isaiah 38:15. But as the Hithpael can have no transitive meaning, this suffix does not stand for an accusative of the object, but must be taken in the sense of, “in respect to it” (Hitzig). This suits very well the place in the procession, which the Psalmist may have held as a Levite. If, on the other hand, it be taken as in apposition to the whole sentence, (Hupfeld) the suffix is out of place. Either this must be removed from the text as in Isaiah 38:15, (Cleric., Olsh.), or by a change of the vowel points the verb must be put into the Piel form (= that I might lead or guide them, as Aquil., Ewald, Vaihinger, and others). [Barnes: “This does not refer to what had been in the past, but to what he confidently expected would be in the future.”—J. F.]
Psalms 42:5. In the soul’s address to itself its unrest is very strongly expressed, as in Psalms 55:18; Psalms 77:4, by a word which elsewhere signifies to rave. [Perowne: “The word is used elsewhere of the raging and roaring of the sea. His soul is tossed and agitated like an angry sea.”—J. F.] The expression, “for I shall yet praise Him,” probably refers to such grateful praise as lives in one’s memory (Stier). God will do again, as He has formerly done (Hupfeld). According to the common text the first strophe ends with the words “the help of His countenance,” and the following one, omits the “and,” beginning with the vocative, “O my God.” Most modern expositors, like the Sept., Vulgate, Syriac, have so arranged the conclusion that it is expressed in the remaining final words. The defence (by Hengst., Hofm.) of the textus receptus is weak. As a matter of course slight variations occur in this refrain as elsewhere, e.g., Psalms 49:13, 21; Psalms 56:5, Psalms 56:11, and in this very Psalm they are found in several other single strophes; the phrase פָּנָיו יְשׂוּעוֹה also gives a good sense, and frequently occurs, e.g.,Psalms 44:4; Isaiah 64:9. The only objection is their position. For being dependent upon the verb “praise,” and placed parallel to the preceding “Him,” i.e., God, if the connecting “and” be omitted, there arises a hard construction which requires a mental repetition of the verb, or the opposition is changed into a cold substitution. But to assert that the vocative address in the strophe “O my God” is absolutely indispensable (Hengst.), or that the poet should commence his strophe as he closes it, because at the end of the first one he must appeal to God as his God (Hofm.) is as gratuitous as it is untenable. By changing the text in the way proposed, we get not only a uniformity in the turn of the verse, but a suitable sense in an unobjectionable form, and a proper rhythmical cadence at the close.—The “countenance” is neither a simple nor a poetical designation of a person, but a characteristic manifestation of him in his moral and intellectual relations. It is often used not only in reference to God, Exodus 33:14, but also to man, Isaiah 3:15. The plural “helps” expresses not merely manifold manifestations of help, but also the essential idea, the very substance of help itself. Now while one may point to Elohim as the substance and idea of that help, which he should seek for and acknowledge, yet in a prayer he would hardly stop to explain Elohim in this way, nor would he put on the same level, and as the objects of his praise, the manifestations of Divine help and the person of God Himself. [Alexander: “Salvation, frequent or complete deliverance. His face, his propitious countenance or aspect, with allusion to the benediction in Numbers 6:25-4.6.26.”—J. F.]
Psalms 42:6. My soul is cast down within me. In this beginning of the second strophe, we have a renewed account of the Psalmist’s state of mind, which shows that in spite of the self-admonition and hope already expressed, his dejection and unrest were not yet overcome; the stream of his comfortable thoughts and feelings, the result of his hope in God, did not always flow onward without obstruction, but had its ebb as well as its flood-tide. But as before Psalms 42:5 the mourner recalled to mind with a mixture of sadness and joy his former festive journeys to the temple, so now again, though an exile in a heathen land, and banished from the sanctuary, he maintains communion with God. Calvin’s explanation of עַל־כֵּן in the sense of “therefore, because,” in which he is followed by many commentators, is ungrammatical, and makes the remembrance of God the cause of the sadness of the poet, while seemingly forsaken of the Lord. The text, on the contrary, makes that mental depression which arises out of his own helplessness and his conscious need of aid the cause of his remembrance of the living God. Comp. Jonah 2:8. The beginning and end of the line “me” and “thee” are antithetic.
From the land of Jordan.—The locality is indicated as Transjordanic (unclean, Joshua 22:19; because heathen) by the phrase “and of the Hermonites.” Hermon was as characteristic a feature of the Transjordanic region as Tabor was of the Cisjordanic, Psalms 89:13, i.e., the land of Canaan in the strict sense of the words, or the land of Lebanon, Joshua 22:11. The plural Her monim is not used in allusion to the two summits of Hermon,2 because there is no reason why we should limit the locality to the northern side of the mountain, and the sources of the Jordan, but it is employed here in a sense analogous to that of שִׂעירם, Leviticus 17:7 (rendered in E. V devils) and Baalim, 1 Kings 18:18, either as having a representative meaning, (Hengst.), or as a plural of amplification (Diedrich), since Hermon with its mighty cone far exceeds in height all the other peaks of the South-Eastern portion of Anti-Lebanon. The precise residence of the Psalmist is indicated by the words מִהַר מצְעָר, (lit., hill of littleness) not the Zoar mentioned, Genesis 19:20 (Ven.) but some mountain whose name is now unknown. The phrase cannot be taken as in apposition with Hermon, not only because the words are in the singular, but because they could be applied to the lofty Hermon only in an ironical sense (Rosenm., Hengst., Hofm.), or as contrasting it contemptuously (mountain of contempt, Hupfeld) with Zion, and there is no evidence that the poet had any such idea in his mind. Yet many have thought that Zion, which while physically humble, in its moral relations far surpassed all other mountains, is meant. So Olshausen and Hitzig explain the phrase, but each of them in a very different way. For while the use of the preposition מִך, and its connection with זכר, very well agree with the assumption that an Israelite exiled from Palestine and the “little mountain” Zion (Olsh.), should have remembered Jehovah, yet the description of Palestine as the land of Jordan and the Hermonites is inadmissible. The translation “while I remember thee, O thou little hill” (Hitzig) requires an arbitrary change in the text, by striking out the preposition before הר, and giving to the word rendered “therefore” the sense of “because.” The choice of this phrase as a name of Zion, according to this interpretation, must be for the purpose of presenting strongly the contrast between Zion and Hermon, which according to its Arabic etymology means a lofty mountain. All the geographical and historical relations of these two places are utterly perverted, if we suppose that Hermonim (the lofty mountain) is applied in a hyperbolic sense to the hills on which Jerusalem stands, by some one who had been banished or had fled to (Böttcher) the low, ridgy region beyond Jordan, and who there expresses his longing desire for the house of God and his native hills, in the words “therefore I think of thee, from the land of Jordan, and of the high mountain from the hill of littleness.”
Psalms 42:7. Deep calleth unto deep.—תּהום in all other places denotes not a single billow, but the confused noise of deep waters in motion. The force of the phrase here, lies in this, that the fact of one deep being heard by another is dependent on, or is connected with, (according to the sense assigned to ל) the great waterfalls which God makes. The image, therefore, is not that of waves rushing after each other in rapid succession, but that of a man in an abyss of water whose roaring joined with the voice of unseen and unmeasured cataracts impresses him with a sense of great and imminent danger. The rush and roar at once excite and stupify him. There is no proof in 2 Samuel 5:8, that by waterfalls is meant heavy showers of rain, such as might remind one of the deluge (Vatab, Grot., Geier, Hengst.) That verse is very obscure and variously explained, but the Hebrew word (there rendered “gutter”) which is found only in these two passages, probably means a waterfall or cataract (Ewald, Kiel). [Alexander: “The sense of waterfalls or cataracts, although supported by ancient versions has no foundation in etymology or usage.” Barnes: “There are two forms in which waterspouts occur in the East. One of them is described by Dr. Thomson, The Land and Book, I. 498.—The Arabs call it sale, we, a waterspout or bursting of a cloud. In the neighborhood of Hermon I have witnessed it repeatedly, and was caught in one last year, which in five minutes flooded the whole mountain side, and carried off whatever the tumultuous torrents encountered, as they leaped madly down in noisy cascades.”—J. F.] We need not, however, suppose that the waterfalls are those of the main source of the Jordan near Paneas (Bângas) on the south side of Hermon (Robinson, Bib. Researches, III, 309), nor the cataracts of the Lake Muzerib, which are from 60 to 80 feet high (Wetstein in appendix to Delitzsch on Job, 524) and are said to be the only ones in Syria. For the design of the Psalmist is to give us not a geographic but a symbolical description of his situation, and of his feelings at the time.
Psalms 42:8. Yet the Lord will command.—Most expositors since Kimchi, think that in these words, the Psalmist, as in Psalms 42:5, recalls his earlier gracious experiences, and contrasts them with his present destitution, the painful sense of which is expressed in his complaint, Psalms 42:10. But such a contrast of Then and Now, in this connection, as Calvin, Isaaki, and others admit, would have required, at least in Psalms 42:9, the perfect. To take the imperfect of Psalms 42:9 as the present in Psalms 42:10, is wholly arbitrary, and there is no need for it here, inasmuch as there is no evidence of any antithesis. Again, neither the connection nor the grammatical expression warrants the exposition of Delitzsch, that, a confidently expected and not distant day of Divine grace would be followed by a night of thanksgiving, a night rendered so joyful with Psalms and hymns of praise, that the exulting Psalmist would be unable to sleep. “Day” and “night” are not to be taken here as symbols of times of prosperity and of adversity, but as a poetical paraphrase for that which is continuous, constant (Hengst., Hupf.) The assignment of the gifts of God’s grace and the prayers and songs which they call forth, to different times, has little ground to stand on. The whole sentence is an expression of the Psalmist’s present state of mind, which, as Hupfeld justly says, was a mixed one. This view is preferable because schiroh denotes a song of which God is the author, (Heng., Hupf., Job 35:19) rather than one of which God is the object (Hitzig, Del.); and tefillah in apposition with schir need not be taken in the limited sense of a petition (Hengst.), nor in the larger sense of a prayer and thanksgiving, since in the verses that follow we have not the prayer itself, (Vaihinger), but a specimen of it (Hengst.)—a specimen proving that in the midst of his troubles, and though God seemed to have forsaken him, the pious singer had received grace as a messenger from God, and prayer as a gift of God, so that he knew how to cleave to God as the God of his life, and to rest upon Him with a firm faith, as upon a rock, while amid the tossing and roaring waves. The Syriac text and that of some other MSS. “to the living God,” is probably only a modification of Psalms 42:3. In some copies, Psalms 5:11—perhaps as an explanatory correction—begins with בְ Beth (Beth essential) instead of כְ Caph. It is not said here that reproach should be added to oppression, but that the one should in some way be an effect of the other. “Oppression“ does not necessarily (Hengstenb.) mean “murder” (Symm., Aquil.); it is to be taken in its original sense, as in the Arabic, and in Psalms 62:4; Psalms 69:21; Isaiah 48:13; Ezekiel 21:27. [Alexander: “The strong expression in the first clause, Psalms 42:11, is intended to denote excruciating pain.”—J. F.]
Psalms 43:2. Why hast thou forsaken me.—The original here used is much stronger in meaning than that in Psalms 42:10, expressing much more than “forsaking” or “casting off.” Its primary meaning is “to stink,” “to become rancid,” and it here conveys the idea of turning away as from something loathsome. In the German language there is no word exactly corresponding to it, for verstossen and verschmähen convey a different idea, and do not suit the phrase “God of my strength,” which is parallel to the earlier used phrase “God of my rock.”—The “deceitful man,” or “man of deceit,” must not be taken as an ideal person, but as an individualized foe, probably with reference to some one specially prominent enemy. Viewed in connection with the previous verses, the locality indicates that this opposer was a heathen. This heathenish character, however, would be inferred neither from the word גוֹיִ, nor from the adjective לא־חסיד, “ungodly,” for the first word denotes a mass of people, Isaiah 1:4, and the adjective does not of necessity deny their piety towards God, but only their gracious, kind, and merciful conduct towards men.—The light is that of Divine grace, which illumines and cheers the night of misery, Psalms 36:10; and it is sent with the Truth as a pledge that the promises of the faithful God shall be performed, Psalms 57:4, and that the Lord’s people shall be at last brought to His own dwelling-place, Exodus 15:13. [Perowne: “Light and Truth—instead of the more usual Loving-kindness and Truth—these shall be to him, so he hopes, as angels of God, who shall lead him by the hand till they bring him to the holy mountain. Possibly there may be an allusion to the Urim and Thummim.”—J. F.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The Living God alone can be the object of desire of the human heart. This yearning after the Living God comprehends the deepest aspirations of the pious soul. During our life on earth, this desire finds its satisfaction by means of the acts of divine worship. If deprived of these means of grace by any external force, this spiritual longing only becomes the more intense, and, in a way not to be mistaken, it will manifest its liveliness, fervor, depth, and power. Communion in the public worship of God is not necessarily communion with God Himself, but it is both an expression and sign of it, and a means and help to it. It is the channel of the brook, through which the water smoothly flows, without the supply of which, the soul becomes like a “land of drought,” Psalms 62:2; and, like the beasts of the field under such circumstances, it perishes of thirst, Joel 1:20.
2. Whenever the pious man finds himself in a condition, in which he is hindered from going to the house of God, which keeps him away from the congregation of the Lord, and from using the appointed means of grace, he feels and recognizes not only the power of the enemies, or of the outward misfortunes that have occasioned this loss, but also the chastening hand of God. His sorrows are intensified partly by the unjustifiable scorn of his enemies, on account of his having been deserted by God, richly as he may have merited such dealing at God’s hands, and partly by the sad yet sweet remembrance of the spiritual enjoyments of other days in the house of the Lord and the fellowship of His people.
3. The bread of tears, Psalms 80:6, though very distasteful, is yet wholesome food, since it awakens and maintains hunger and thirst for the Living God, and the means of communion with Him. But though the pious man, under such circumstances, is, as it were, divided into two parts, is driven now in this direction, now in that by mixed and even antagonistic feelings, yet he finally struggles through and above all the impulses of the flesh, subdues the unrest and impatience of his soul, and learns to lean upon and trust in God alone. The remedy for weakness is hope in God; and the ground of hope is the assured faith of the Psalmist, that God, who is still his God, will in due time redeem him, and give him cause for singing joyful songs of deliverance. (Heng.)
4. Temptations caused by times of trouble, and the growing insolence and number of enemies are specially grievous, when old doubts and anxious questions force themselves afresh upon the soul, when the feeling that God has forsaken us gains in strength, until it even reaches the point of apprehending that we may be cast off. But so long as the tempted man is able both to weep and to pray, so long as he can interweave his questionings and complaints with expressions of faith in God’s grace and truth, there is good ground for confidence in his final deliverance and salvation. Even in the midst of troubles, the believer lays hold of God’s grace, as a Light, sent by Him as a testimony of His mercy, to confirm His faithfulness and truth, and to be a guide to those who seek Him.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The soul’s longing for its home.—a. How it is awakened. b. Whither it is directed. c. By what it is quieted.—The bread of tears is bitter, but is often wholesome.—Happy the man who feels himself to be a stranger only in the world, but not in the house of God.—God never leaves those who sigh for Him without comfort, nor those who seek Him without guidance.—He alone who has first conversed earnestly with God, can speak comfortably to his own soul.—So great is the blessing connected with the service of God, that the mere memory of it can keep a tempted soul from despair.—The ordinances of divine worship are the open channels, the ordained methods, the appointed ways through which God in his mercy sends to us needy ones the water of life, the light of truth, the power of grace.—Suffering is painful; scorn is still more so; but most of all is guilt.—While each day has its prayer, and each night its song, the sources of divine help and comfort are open to the soul.—In a time of sorrow, he who begins with prayer, and continues to exhort his soul to be patient and trust in God, may confidently hope that he will end with a hymn of praise.—We may enjoy communion with God even when exiled from the house of God; but there is an essential difference between voluntary and compulsory exile.—The good man may fall into trouble, but he is not disheartened; he may come out of one tribulation only to go into another, but he is never destroyed.—The true longing of the soul is for communion with God Himself; but whoever desires to feel it, must not despise the means of grace in the ways of divine worship.—There is such a thing as yearning for the house, the word, the face of God.—Faith has a struggle with temptation in times of trouble, and with the weakness of the flesh.
Luther: Where God’s word is, there is God’s house; and His countenance is His presence, where He manifests Himself, and through His word reveals His grace.
Calvin: David presents himself to us here as if he had been divided into two parts. So far as he by faith rests on the promises of God, he is armed with a spirit of invincible courage, rises superior to fleshly feelings, and, at the same time, chides himself for his weakness. Without the grace of God, we can never overcome those evil thoughts, which are constantly rising within us.
Starke: Earthly things can never satisfy the soul, since they are transient and liable to change. The soul of man is immortal, and therefore needs an immortal source of consolation,—one that has in itself eternal life.—We now see the face of God in His word and sacraments, but as the soul is created for eternity, it is ever longing to behold the Lord face to face. The highest enjoyment is to feel that God is our God; and never is the soul so sorely troubled as when, instead of being certain of this, it imagines the contrary.—Sometimes the more lonesome a man is, the more trustingly he can tell God of his needs, and the Heavenly Father, who sees in secret, will hear and answer his complaint.—Even in our greatest temptations, nothing is better than prayer and confidence in God.—When God sends a cross, it is always in such a way that we should thank Him for it, as a costly and wholesome medicine.—In our greatest tribulations, if we have faith, we shall also have hope and patience.—When God’s waves break upon us, it is not to destroy but to do us good; they are under His control, and by a word He can assuage and still them.—Let us not be tender saints, but let us learn how to bear the cross.—When things go well with thee, gather up a treasure of divine promises, they will be useful to thee in times of trouble.—If thou neglectest to do so, how wilt thou sustain thyself?—A believer is not so much troubled by a personal injury as by dishonor done to the name of God,—he will willingly suffer any thing, even death itself, if only God is thereby praised. How easy is it for God to change complaint into joy, and the song of sadness into the hymn of praise.—We can have no better guide than God and His word; but under whose conduct art thou? O soul!—What greater blessedness can one have than to be able to call God his delight and joy?—The calmness which God imparts is the true Christian’s greatest treasure.—From God’s gracious countenance comes the fulness of the believer’s help and comfort, and for it he is ever and most heartily thankful.—Our hearts are full of darkness;—if we would have them full of light, the bright morning star must shine into them.—Osiander: If justice is denied us here on earth, we must commit our cause to God.—To know God as our gracious God is a real and perpetual joy.—Selnekker: When there is no cross one becomes more easily secure, as well as lazy and negligent in prayer, and then the displeasure of God is near at hand.—He who trusts in God endures; he who does not falls and perishes.—Franke: We must carefully note the necessity of a genuine penitential struggle, and observe how it has fared with other children of God in this respect.—The moment one becomes a follower of Christ, he is liable to have a cross laid upon him.—Arndt: He whose strength is in God will not be utterly cast down, nor will he always go sorrowfully.—Frisch: It is a peculiar trait of God’s children that they rejoice in the exercises of His true worship, and nothing pains them more than the being prevented in joining in them.—The remembrance of God is the best medicine for our sadness.—Listen to the voice of thy God, so that thy heart may by faith share in the joy and consolation which He gives in His word; but do thou also open thy mouth in praise of God, and laud Him with thy tongue, which He has given thee in order that thou mayest proclaim his glory in time and in eternity.—Oetinger: The Christian overtaken by sorrow and oppressed by enemies prays to God to undertake his cause, and to open the way for his return to the assembly of the saints; he will guard against sorrow, but if it comes upon him in a new form, he will turn afresh to God and get strength from Him.—Roos How shall we get out of sorrow and unrest? By waiting, in confidence, for God. What we have not, we must hope for; what is not now, we must expect, relying upon God’s goodness, faithfulness, omnipotence, and the truth of those promises, which are yea and amen in Christ Jesus.—Whenever David approached the altar of God, he went to God his delight and joy.—God Himself did not call the Temple precisely a house of sacrifice, but the house of prayer for all nations, Isaiah 56:7; Luke 19:46—Rieger: As faith grows in power we learn to apply to God the most tender names; as we get nearer and nearer beneath His wings we find a retreat and refuge in His house, at His altar, in Himself.—As the light of His face illumines our darkness, it also diffuses the light of peace and joy over our countenance.—Renschel: We should take comfort from certain passages of Scripture when we find that the holiest people have been led into the same school.—Burk: Exspecta Deum; erit quum confitebor ei; erit Deus meus. (Wait for God; He will be when I confess to Him, my God).—Günther: When do men think least of their God? When they are in misery? or in the days of prosperity?—Tholuck: When the heart is sad, even the fairest scenes of nature assume a sombre garment. He whose past life has been eventful stands upon an eminence from whence he can cast joyful looks into the future.—Umbreit: There is a melaneholy joy in the remembrance of a devout and blessed life at home.—Most brilliantly does the light of God’s help shine in the faithfulness with which He always attends the pious.—Schaubach: (15th Sunday after Trinity). No man can serve two masters. But the distinctive feature of our time is not unqualified devotion to the kingdom of God, but rather indecision and lukewarmness.—The sharpest sting of pain in all personal trials, is the scornful question, “Where is now thy God?”—Diedrich: If I can only see God beside me, one look to Him consoles me for a whole world of suffering.—Even to the timid God makes eternal salvation certain when they look to Him with tearful eyes.—Taube: The soul of a child of God, that in the depth of want and temptation thirsts for and cries to God, through victorious faith comes before God and finds its rest in God.—Soul-thirst, soul-need, soul-struggles.—Against men of deceit and injustice, you can do nothing but complain to God and leave the case with Him.—Deichert: If God be for us, who can be against us?—Schaubach: (Judica Sunday) God has judged and conducted the cause of His Son against the unholy people.
[Henry: 1. Those that come to the tabernacles, should come to the altar; those who come to ordinances, should qualify themselves to come, and then come to special ordinances, to those that are most affecting and most binding. 2 Those that come to the altar of God, must see to it that therein they come unto God, and draw near to Him with the heart. 3. Those that come unto God, must come to Him as their exceeding joy, not only as their future bliss, but their present joy. When we come to God as our exceeding joy, our comforts in Him must be the matter of our praises in Him as God and our God.—Robertson: The Living God. What we want is not infinitude, but a boundless One; not to feel that love is the law of this universe, but to feel One whose name is Love.—It is a dark moment when the sense of that personality is lost; more terrible than the doubt of immortality.—No thought is more hideous than that of an eternity without Him.—Distinguish between the feelings of faith that God is present, and the hope of faith that He will be.—What God is in Himself, not what we may chance to feel Him in this or that moment to be, that is our hope.—Barnes: He who has an eternity of blessedness before him,—who is to commence a career of glory which is never to terminate and never to change should not be cast down—should not be overwhelmed with sorrow.—J. F.]
The Fifth Sunday in Lent.—[J. F.]
[“The gigantic Jebelesh Sheikh, or Hermon, lay before us. We had a view of two of its conspicuous summits on account of which it is probably spoken of in Scripture as the hill of the Hermonites.” Lands of the Bible, by Dr. J. Wilson, II 161.—J. F.]
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 42". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent