Psalms 43

1Vindicate me, O God!
Fight for me
Or “argue my case.”
against an ungodly nation!
Deliver me
The imperfect here expresses a request or wish. Note the imperatives in the first half of the verse. See also v. 3.
from deceitful and evil men!
Heb “from the deceitful and evil man.” The Hebrew text uses the singular form “man” in a collective sense, as the reference to a “nation” in the parallel line indicates.

2 For you are the God who shelters me.
Heb “God of my place of refuge,” that is, “God who is my place of refuge.” See Ps 31:4.

Why do you reject me?
The question is similar to that of Ps 42:9, but זָנַח (zanakh, “reject”) is a stronger verb than שָׁכַח (shakhakh, “forget”).

Why must I walk around
The language is similar to that of Ps 42:9, but the Hitpael form of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh; as opposed to the Qal form in 42:9) expresses more forcefully the continuing nature of the psalmist’s distress.
Walk around mourning. See Ps 38:6 for a similar statement.

because my enemies oppress me?
3 Reveal
Heb “send.”
your light
God’s deliverance is compared here to a light which will lead the psalmist back home to the Lord’s temple. Divine deliverance will in turn demonstrate the Lord’s faithfulness to his people.
and your faithfulness!
They will lead me,
Or “may they lead me.” The prefixed verbal forms here and in the next line may be taken as jussives.

they will escort
Heb “bring.”
me back to your holy hill,
In this context the Lord’s holy hill is Zion/Jerusalem. See Isa 66:20; Joel 2:1; 3:17; Zech 8:3; Pss 2:6; 15:1; 48:1; 87:1; Dan 9:16.

and to the place where you live.
Or “to your dwelling place[s].” The plural form of the noun may indicate degree or quality; this is the Lord’s special dwelling place (see Pss 46:4; 84:1; 132:5, 7).

4 Then I will go
The cohortative expresses the psalmist’s resolve. Prefixed with the vav (ו) conjunctive it also expresses the result or outcome of the preceding verbs “lead” and “escort.”
to the altar of God,
to the God who gives me ecstatic joy,
Heb “to God, the joy of my happiness.” The phrase “joy of my happiness” employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the degree of the psalmist’s joy. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.

so that I express my thanks to you,
The cohortative with vav (ו) conjunctive probably indicates purpose (“so that”) or intention.
O God, my God, with a harp.
Why are you depressed,
Heb “Why do you bow down?”
O my soul?
For poetic effect the psalmist addresses his soul, or inner self.

Why are you upset?
Heb “and why are you in turmoil upon me?”

Wait for God!
For I will again give thanks
to my God for his saving intervention.
Heb “for again I will give him thanks, the saving acts of my face and my God.” The last line should be emended to read יְשׁוּעֹת פְנֵי אֱלֹהָי (yeshuot feney elohay, “[for] the saving acts of the face of my God,” that is, the saving acts associated with God’s presence/intervention. This refrain is identical to the one in Ps 42:11. See also 42:5, which differs only slightly.

Psalm 44

Psalm 44. The speakers in this psalm (the worshiping community within the nation Israel) were disappointed with God. The psalm begins on a positive note, praising God for leading Israel to past military victories. Verses 1–8 appear to be a song of confidence and petition which the people recited prior to battle. But suddenly the mood changes as the nation laments a recent defeat. The stark contrast between the present and the past only heightens the nation’s confusion. Israel trusted in God for victory, but the Lord rejected them and allowed them to be humiliated in battle. If Israel had been unfaithful to God, their defeat would make sense, but the nation was loyal to the Lord. Comparing the Lord to a careless shepherd, the nation urges God to wake up and to extend his compassion to his suffering people.

For the music director; by the Korahites, a well-written song.

The meaning of the Hebrew term מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil) is uncertain. See the note on the phrase “well-written song” in the superscription of Ps 42.
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