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42. Psalm 42

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? 3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? 4When 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. 5Why 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. 6O 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. 7Deep 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. 9I 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? 11Why 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.

8. Jehovah will command his loving-kindness by day The verb here used is of the future tense; but I do not deny that, according to the Hebrew idiom, it might be rendered in the past tense, as some do who think that David here enumerates the benefits which he had formerly received from God, in order by contrast to add greater force to the complaint which he makes of his present sad and miserable condition; as if he had said, How comes it to pass that God, who formerly manifested so much kindness towards me, having as it were changed his mind, now deals towards me with great severity? But as there is no sufficient reason for changing the tense of the verb, and as the other interpretation seems more in accordance with the scope of the text, let us adhere to it. I do not, indeed, positively deny, that for the strengthening of his faith, David calls to memory the benefits which he had already experienced from God; but I think that he here promises himself deliverance in future, though it be as yet hidden from him. I have, therefore, no desire to raise any discussion regarding the verb, whether it should be taken in the future or in the past tense, provided only it be fully admitted that the argument of David is to this effect: Why should I not expect that God will be merciful to me, so that in the day-time his loving-kindness may be manifested towards me, and by night upon my bed a song of joy be with me? He, no doubt, places this ground of comfort in opposition to the sorrow which he might well apprehend from the dreadful tokens of the divine displeasure, which he has enumerated in the preceding verse. The prayer of which he speaks in the end of the verse is not to be understood as the prayer of an afflicted or sorrowful man; but it comprehends an expression of the delight which is experienced when God, by manifesting his favor to us, gives us free access into his presence. And, therefore, he also calls him the God of his life, because from the knowledge of this arises cheerfulness of heart.


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