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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.

13 Thou hast made us a reproach to our neighbors Here the Psalmist speaks of their neighbors, who were all actuated either by some secret ill-will, or avowed enmity to the people of God. And certainly it often happens, that neighborhood, which ought to be the means of preserving mutual friendship, engenders all discord and strife. But there was a special reason in respect of the Jews; for they had taken possession of the country in spite of all men, and their religion being hateful to others, so to speak, served as a trumpet to stir up war, and inflamed their neighbors with rage against them. Many, too, cherished towards them a feeling of jealousy, such as the Idumeans, who were inflated on the ground of their circumcision, and imagined that they also worshipped the God of Abraham as well as the Jews. But what proved the greatest calamity to them was, that they were exposed to the reproach and derision of those who hated them on the ground of their worship of the true God. The faithful illustrate still farther the greatness of their calamity by another circumstance, telling us, in the last clause of the verse, that they were met by reproaches on all sides; for they were beset round about by their enemies, so that they would never have enjoyed one moment of peace unless God had miraculously preserved them. Nay, they add still farther, (verse 14,) that they were a proverb, a byword, or jest, even among the nations that were far off. The word משל, mashal, which is translated proverb, might be taken in the sense of a heavy imprecation or curse, as well as of a byword or jest; but the sense will be substantially the same, namely, that there were no people under heaven held in greater detestation, insomuch that their very name was bandied about every where in proverbial allusions, as a term of reproach. To the same purpose also is the wagging, or shaking of the head, which occurs in Psalm 22, of which we have already spoken. There can be no doubt that the faithful recognised this as inflicted upon them by the vengeance of God, of which mention was made in the Law. In order to arouse themselves to the consideration of the judgments of God, they carefully compared with the threatenings of God all the punishments which he inflicted upon them. But the Law had declared beforehand, in express terms, this derision of the Gentiles, which they now relate as a thing that had come to pass, (Deuteronomy 28:3.) Moreover, when it is said, among the heathen, and among the people, the repetition is very emphatic and expressive; for it was a thing quite unseemly and intolerable, that the heathen nations should presume to torment with their scoffings the chosen people of God, and revile them by their blasphemies at their pleasure. That the godly complained not of these things without cause is abundantly obvious from a passage in Cicero, in his oration in defense of Flaccus, in which that heathen orator, with his accustomed pride, scoffs no less against God than against the Jews, asserting that it was perfectly clear that they were a nation hated of the gods, inasmuch as they had often, and, as it were, from age to age, been wasted with so many misfortunes, and in the end subjected to a most miserable bondage, and kept, as it were, under the feet of the Romans. 144144     “Et comme tenue sous les pieds des Romains.” — Fr.

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