Psalms 43

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 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 1. Judge me, O God, and plead my cause] 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

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. 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, Ps 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,"

Ps 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," goi lo chasid, "a people without

mercy." 2. They were men of deceit and iniquity: "Deliver me from

the deceitful and unjust man," Ps 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?"

Ps 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,

Ps 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," Ps 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, Ps 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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