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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.

12 Thou hast sold thy people, and not become rich. In saying that they were sold without any gain, it is meant that they were exposed to sale as slaves that are contemptible, and of no value. In the second clause, too, And hast not increased the price of them, there seems to be an allusion to the custom of exposing things to auction, and selling them to the highest bidder. We know that those slaves who were sold were not delivered to the buyers till the price of them had been increased by bidding. Thus the faithful mean, that they were cast out as being altogether worthless, so that their condition had been worse than that of any bond-slave. 143143     As if they had said, Thou hast sold us to our enemies at whatever price they would give; like a person who sells things that are useless at any price, not so much for the sake of gain, as to get quit of what he considers of no value and burdensome. And as they rather appeal to God than turn to their enemies, of whose pride and cruelty they had just cause to complain, let us learn from this, that there is nothing better, or more advantageous for us in our adversity, than to give ourselves to meditation upon the providence and judgment of God. When men trouble us, it is no doubt the devil who drives them to it, and it is with him we have to do; but we must, notwithstanding, raise our thoughts to God himself, that we may know that we are proved and tried by him, either to chastise us, or to exercise our patience, or to subdue the sinful desires of our flesh, or to humble us and train us to the practice of self-denial. And when we hear that the Fathers who lived under the Law were treated so ignominiously, there is no reason why we should lose courage by any outrage or ill treatment, if God should at any time see meet to subject us to it. It is not here said simply that God sold some people, but that he sold his own people, as if his own inheritance were of no estimation in his sight. Even at this day, we may in our prayers still make the same complaint, provided we, at the same time, make use of this example, for the purpose of supporting and establishing our faith, so that, however much afflicted we may be, our hearts may not fail us. In Isaiah 52:3, God, using the same form of speech, says that he sold his people without price; but there it is to be understood in a different sense, namely, to show that he will have no difficulty in redeeming them, because he is under no obligation to those that bought them, and had received nothing from them in return.

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