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44. Psalm 44

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

3For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

4Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

5Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

6For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

7But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

8In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

9But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies.

10Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves.

11Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.

12Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price.

13Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.

14Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.

15My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me,

16For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.

17All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.

18Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

19Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.

20If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;

21Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

22Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

23Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.

24Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?

25For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth.

26Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.

10. Thou hast made us to turn back from the enemy. Here the people of God still further complain, that he had made them to flee before their enemies, and had given them up as a prey to be devoured by them. As the saints firmly believe that men are strong and valiant only in so far as God upholds them by his secret power, they also conclude, that when men flee, and are seized with trembling, it is God who strikes them with terror, so that the poor wretched creatures are deprived of reason, and both their skill and courage fail them. The expression here used is taken from the Law, Deuteronomy 32:30, where Moses says,

“How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?”

The faithful, fully persuaded of this truth, do not ascribe to fortune the change which had passed over them, that those who were wont vigorously and fearlessly to assail their enemies, were now terrified by their very appearance; but they feel assured that it was by the appointment of heaven that they were thus discomfited, and made to flee before their enemies. And as they formerly confessed that the strength which they had hitherto possessed was the gift of God, so, on the other hand, they also acknowledge that the fear by which they are now actuated was inflicted upon them as a punishment by God. And when God thus deprived them of courage, they say that they are exposed to the will of their enemies; for in this sense I interpret the word למו, lamo, which I have rendered, for themselves, namely, that their enemies destroyed them at their pleasure and without any resistance, as their prey.

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