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Psalm 44

National Lament and Prayer for Help

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Maskil.

1

We have heard with our ears, O God,

our ancestors have told us,

what deeds you performed in their days,

in the days of old:

2

you with your own hand drove out the nations,

but them you planted;

you afflicted the peoples,

but them you set free;

3

for not by their own sword did they win the land,

nor did their own arm give them victory;

but your right hand, and your arm,

and the light of your countenance,

for you delighted in them.

 

4

You are my King and my God;

you command victories for Jacob.

5

Through you we push down our foes;

through your name we tread down our assailants.

6

For not in my bow do I trust,

nor can my sword save me.

7

But you have saved us from our foes,

and have put to confusion those who hate us.

8

In God we have boasted continually,

and we will give thanks to your name forever.Selah

 

9

Yet you have rejected us and abased us,

and have not gone out with our armies.

10

You made us turn back from the foe,

and our enemies have gotten spoil.

11

You have made us like sheep for slaughter,

and have scattered us among the nations.

12

You have sold your people for a trifle,

demanding no high price for them.

 

13

You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,

the derision and scorn of those around us.

14

You have made us a byword among the nations,

a laughingstock among the peoples.

15

All day long my disgrace is before me,

and shame has covered my face

16

at the words of the taunters and revilers,

at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.

 

17

All this has come upon us,

yet we have not forgotten you,

or been false to your covenant.

18

Our heart has not turned back,

nor have our steps departed from your way,

19

yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals,

and covered us with deep darkness.

 

20

If we had forgotten the name of our God,

or spread out our hands to a strange god,

21

would not God discover this?

For he knows the secrets of the heart.

22

Because of you we are being killed all day long,

and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

 

23

Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

Awake, do not cast us off forever!

24

Why do you hide your face?

Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?

25

For we sink down to the dust;

our bodies cling to the ground.

26

Rise up, come to our help.

Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.


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Ps 44:1-26. In a time of great national distress, probably in David's reign, the Psalmist recounts God's gracious dealings in former times, and the confidence they had learned to repose in Him. After a vivid picture of their calamities, he humbly expostulates against God's apparent forgetfulness, reminding Him of their faithfulness and mourning their heavy sorrows.

1-3. This period is that of the settlement of Canaan (Jos 24:12; Jud 6:3).

have told—or, "related" (compare Ex 10:2).

2. plantedst them—that is, "our fathers," who are also, from the parallel construction of the last clause, to be regarded as the object of "cast them out," which means—literally, "send" them out, or, "extend them." Heathen and people denote the nations who were driven out to make room for the Israelites.

4. Thou art my King—literally, "he who is my King," sustaining the same covenant relation as to the "fathers."

5. The figure drawn from the habits of the ox.

6-8. God is not only our sole help, but only worthy of praise.

7. put … to shame—(compare Ps 6:10), disgraced.

8. thy name—as in Ps 5:11.

9. But—contrasting, cast off as abhorrent (Ps 43:2).

goest not forth—literally, "will not go" (2Sa 5:23). In several consecutive verses the leading verb is future, and the following one past (in Hebrew), thus denoting the causes and effects. Thus (Ps 44:10-12), when defeated, spoiling follows; when delivered as sheep, dispersion follows, &c.

11. The Babylonian captivity not necessarily meant. There were others (compare 1Ki 8:46).

13, 14. (Compare De 28:37; Ps 79:4).

15. shame of … face—blushes in disgrace.

16. Its cause, the taunts and presence of malignant enemies (Ps 8:2).

17-19. They had not apostatized totally—were still God's people.

18. declined—turned aside from God's law.

19. sore broken—crushed.

place of dragons—desolate, barren, rocky wilderness (Ps 63:10; Isa 13:22),

shadow of death—(Compare Ps 23:4).

20, 21. A solemn appeal to God to witness their constancy.

stretched out … hands—gesture of worship (Ex 9:29; Ps 88:9).

22. Their protracted sufferings as God's people attests the constancy. Paul (Ro 8:36) uses this to describe Christian steadfastness in persecution.

23-26. This style of addressing God, as indifferent, is frequent (Ps 3:7; 9:19; 13:1, &c.). However low their condition, God is appealed to, on the ground, and for the honor, of His mercy.




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