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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.

1. My voice came to God, and I cried. This is not a mere complaint, as some interpreters explain it, denoting the surprise which the people of God felt in finding that he who hitherto had been accustomed to grant their requests shut his ears to them, and was called upon in vain. It appears more probable that the prophet either speaks of the present feeling of his mind, or else calls to remembrance how he had experienced that God was inclined and ready to hear his prayers. There can be no doubt that he describes the greatness of the sorrow with which he was afflicted; and, in nay opinion, he denotes a continued act both by the past and the future tenses of the verbs. In the first place, he declares that he did not foolishly rend the air with his cries, like many who pour forth bitter cries without measure and at random under their sorrows; but that he addressed his speech to God when necessity constrained him to cry. The copula and, which is joined to the verb cried, should be resolved into the adverb of time when, in this way, When I cried my voice came to God At the same time, he also shows, that although he had been constrained often to reiterate his cries, he had not given over persevering in prayer. What is added immediately after is intended for the confirmation of his faith: And he heard me. The copula and, as in many other places, is here put instead of the causal adverb for. The meaning is, that he encouraged himself to cry to God, from the consideration that it was God’s usual manner to show his favor and mercy towards him.

2. I sought the Lord in the day of my trouble. In this verse he expresses more distinctly the grievous and hard oppression to which the Church was at that time subjected. There is, however, some ambiguity in the words. The Hebrew word יד, yad, which I have translated hand, is sometimes taken metaphorically for a wound; and, therefore, many interpreters elicit this sense, My wound ran in the night, and ceased not, 286286     This is the rendering in our English Bible, which Dr Adam Clarke pronounces to be “a most unaccountable translation.” The reading of the margin, however, “my hand,” favours the sense given by our Author. that is to say, My wound was not so purified from ulcerous matter as that the running from it was made to stop. But; I rather take the word in its ordinary signification, which is hand, because the verb נגרה, niggera, which he uses, signifies not only to run as a sore does, but also to be stretched forth or extended. 287287     This is the translation adopted by many critics, and it appears to be the true signification of the passage. Thus Symmachus’ version is, ἡ χειρ μου νυκτοςἐκτετατο διηνεκως, “my hand was stretched out by night continually;” and, in like manner, Jerome, “Manus mea nocte extenditur, et non quiescit.” Parkhurst renders the verse thus: “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out by night and ceased not,” or, “without interruption.” With this agree the versions of Horsley, Mant, Fry, Adam Clarke, Walford, and others. The stretching out of the hand was an usual gesture in prayer. Instead of ידי, the Chaldee reads עיני, “mine eye trickled down,” which Archbishop Secker and Green think likely to be the true reading. Now, when he affirms that he sought the Lord in the day of his trouble, and that his hands were stretched out to him in the night season, this denotes that prayer was his continual exercise, — that his heart was so earnestly and unweariedly engaged in that exercise, that he could not desist from it. In the concluding sentence of the verse the adversative particle although is to be supplied; and thus the meaning will be, that although the prophet found no solace and no alleviation of the bitterness of his grief, he still continued to stretch forth his hands to God. In this manner it becomes us to wrestle against despair, in order that our sorrow, although it may seem to be incurable, may not shut our mouths, and keep us from pouring out our prayers before God.


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