Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

77. Psalm 77

I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.

2In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.

3I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

4Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.

6I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

7Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?

8Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?

9Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

10And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

11I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

12I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

13Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

14Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

15Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

16The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

17The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.

18The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

19Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

20Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

10. And I said, My death, the years of the right hand, etc. This passage has been explained in various ways. Some deriving the word חלותי, challothi, from חלה, chalah, which signifies to kill, consider the prophet as meaning, that being overwhelmed with an accumulation of calamities, the only conclusion to which he could come was, that God had appointed him to utter destruction; and that his language is a confession of his having fallen into despair. Others translate it to be sick, to be infirm or enfeebled, which is much more agreeable to the scope of the passage. 296296     Walford translates, “Then I said, My disease is this. “Such,” he observes, “is the exact rendering of the text. Some painful disease had befallen him, which was heightened by the depression of his spirits, which deprived him of mental vigor and energy, and clothed every object in the blackest colours. ... ‘I said, This is my disease.’ My mind is oppressed by the mortified feelings of my corporeal frame, and on this account, the changes by which the hand of God has affected me appear in the darkest colours, and I am ready to give up every hope that he will ever display his goodness to me as he formerly did.” But they differ with respect to the meaning. According to some interpreters, the prophet accuses and reproves himself for his effeminacy of mind, and for not setting himself more manfully to resist temptation. 297297     According to this view, he refers to what he had said in the 7th, 8th, and 9th verses, in which he seemed to arrive at the conclusion, that there would never be an end to his present afflictions, as if the decree had gone forth, and God had pronounced a final and irreversible sentence. But here he checks and corrects himself for having given utterance to such language, and recalls his thoughts to more just and encouraging sentiments respecting God. He acknowledges his sin in questioning or yielding to a feeling of suspicion in reference to the divine love, and the truth of the divine promises; and confesses that this flowed from the corruption of his nature, and the weakness of his faith; that he had spoken rashly and in haste; and that taking shame and confusion of face to himself, he would now desist and proceed no farther. This exposition may be admitted; for the people of God ordinarily gather courage after having for a time wavered under the shock of temptation. I, however, prefer a different interpretation, namely, that this was a disease merely temporary, and on this account, he compares it indirectly to death; even as it is said in Psalm 118:18,

“The Lord hath chastised me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.” Also, “I shall not die, but live.” (Psalm 118:18)

He, therefore, I have no doubt, unburdens himself by cherishing the confident persuasion, that although he was at present cast down, it was only for a season, and that therefore it behoved him patiently to endure this sickness or disease, since it was not mortal. Nor are commentators agreed in the explanation of the second clause. Those who connect this verse with the preceding verses, think that the prophet was reduced to such a state of despondency at first, that he looked upon himself as utterly undone; and that afterwards he lifted up his head at times, even as those who are thrown into the deep in a shipwreck repeatedly rise above the water. Besides, they would have this to be understood as a word of encouragement addressed by some one to the prophet, desiring him to call to remembrance the years in which he had experienced that God was merciful to him. But it will be more appropriate to understand it thus:, Thou hast no reason to think that thou art now doomed to death, since thou art not laboring under an incurable disease, and the hand of God is wont to make whole those whom it has stricken. I do not reject the opinion of those who translate שנות, shenoth, by changes; 298298    Walford translates the verse thus: —
   “Then I said, My disease is this,
The change of the right hand of the High God.”

   “There is no authority,” he observes, “for the version, ‘I will remember the years;’ his meaning is, the power of God has changed and altered my condition; from a state of health and peace, he has brought me into disease, and pain, and sorrow. This, he says, he will remember, so as to inspire some hope that the power which had brought low would again raise him up.”
for as the Hebrew verb שנה, shanah, signifies to change, or to do a thing again and again, the Hebrews have taken from it the word שנות, shenoth, which they employ to denote years, from their revolving character, from their turning round, as it were, in the same orbit. But in whatever way we may understand it, the comfort of which I have spoken will remain firm, which is, that the prophet, assuring himself of a favorable change in his condition, does not look upon himself as doomed to death. Others give a somewhat different interpretation, arriving at it in another way: 299299     Our Author seems to refer to those interpreters who, as in our English version, make the supplement, But I will remember, before the words, “the years of the right hand of the Most High.” as if the prophet had said, Why shouldst thou not patiently endure the severity of God at this time, when hitherto he has cherished thee by his beneficence? even as Job said,

“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not
also receive evil?” (Job 2:10)

But it is more probable that the prophet directs his view to the future, and means that it became him to await the years or revolutions of the right hand of the Most High, until lie should afford clear and undisputed evidence of the return of his favor towards him.


VIEWNAME is study