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Psalm 44

National Lament and Prayer for Help

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Maskil.


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:


you with your own hand drove out the nations,

but them you planted;

you afflicted the peoples,

but them you set free;


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.



You are my King and my God;

you command victories for Jacob.


Through you we push down our foes;

through your name we tread down our assailants.


For not in my bow do I trust,

nor can my sword save me.


But you have saved us from our foes,

and have put to confusion those who hate us.


In God we have boasted continually,

and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah



Yet you have rejected us and abased us,

and have not gone out with our armies.


You made us turn back from the foe,

and our enemies have gotten spoil.


You have made us like sheep for slaughter,

and have scattered us among the nations.


You have sold your people for a trifle,

demanding no high price for them.



You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,

the derision and scorn of those around us.


You have made us a byword among the nations,

a laughingstock among the peoples.


All day long my disgrace is before me,

and shame has covered my face


at the words of the taunters and revilers,

at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.



All this has come upon us,

yet we have not forgotten you,

or been false to your covenant.


Our heart has not turned back,

nor have our steps departed from your way,


yet you have broken us in the haunt of jackals,

and covered us with deep darkness.



If we had forgotten the name of our God,

or spread out our hands to a strange god,


would not God discover this?

For he knows the secrets of the heart.


Because of you we are being killed all day long,

and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.



Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?

Awake, do not cast us off forever!


Why do you hide your face?

Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?


For we sink down to the dust;

our bodies cling to the ground.


Rise up, come to our help.

Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

To the same purpose is that other comparison, (verse 11) in which they say that they were given as sheep for food 141141     “This very strongly and strikingly intimates the extent of the persecution and slaughter to which they were exposed; there being no creature in the world of which such vast numbers are constantly slaughtered as of sheep, for the subsistence of man. The constancy of such slaughter is also mentioned in verse 22, as illustrating the continual oppression to which the Hebrews were subject.” — Illustrated Commentary upon the Bible. By this the prophet intimates, that being already vanquished previous to the battle, they fell down, as it were, upon the earth before their enemies, ready to be devoured by them, 142142     “Prests a estre par eux devorez.” — Fr. and not fit for any thing else than to gratify their insatiable cruelty. It ought to be observed, that when the faithful represent God as the author of their calamities, it is not in the way of murmuring against him, but that they may with greater confidence seek relief, as it were, from the same hand which smote and wounded them. It is certainly impossible that those who impute their miseries to fortune can sincerely have recourse to God, or look for help and salvation from him. If, therefore, we would expect a remedy from God for our miseries, we must believe that they befall us not by fortune or mere chance, but that they are inflicted upon us properly by his hand. Having stated that they were thus abandoned to the will of their enemies, they add, at the same time, that they were scattered among the heathen: a dispersion which was a hundred times more grievous to them than death. The whole glory and felicity of that people consisted in this, that, being united under one God and one King, they formed one body; and that such being the case, it was a sign that the curse of God lay heavy upon them to be mingled among the heathen, and scattered hither and thither like broken members.

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