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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.

6. I will call to remembrance my song in the night. By his song he denotes the exercise of thanksgiving in which he had engaged during the time of his prosperity. 289289     “The times were indeed greatly altered; formerly his sleep had been prevented by the joyfulness of his feelings, which prompted the voice of thanksgiving during even the shades of night; now his sleep is taken away by the severity of his disease, and the anguish of his soul, which was augmented by the contrast with his past happiness.” — Walford. There is no remedy better adapted for healing our sorrows, as I have just now observed, than this; but Satan often craftily suggests to our thoughts the benefits of God, that the very feeling of the want of them may inflict upon our minds a deeper wound. It is, therefore, highly probable, that the prophet was pierced with bitter pangs when he compared the joy experienced by him in time past with the calamities which he was presently suffering. He expressly mentions the night; because, when we are then alone by ourselves, and withdrawn from the society and presence of men, it engenders in the mind more cares and thoughts than are experienced during the day. What is added immediately after with respect to communing with his own heart, is to the same effect. Solitude has an influence in leading men to retire within their own minds, to examine themselves thoroughly, and to speak to themselves freely and in good earnest, when no created being is with them to impose a restraint by his presence.

The last clause of the verse, And my spirit will search diligently, admits of a twofold exposition. The word חפש, chaphas, for search diligently, 290290     “The verb חפש, chaphas, signifies such an investigation as a man makes who is obliged to strip himself in order to do it. Or, to lift up coverings, to search fold by fold; or, in our phrase, to leave no stone unturned The Vulgate translates, et scopebam spiritum meum As scopebam is no pure Latin word, it may probably be taken from the Greek, σκοπεω, scopeo, ‘to look about, to consider attentively.’ It is, however, used by no author but St Jerome, and by him only here, and in Isaiah 14:23, ‘And I will sweep it with the besom of destruction;’ ‘scopabo eam in scopa terens.’ Hence we see that he has formed a verb from the noun scopae; a sweeping brush or besom.” — Dr Adam Clarke being in the masculine gender, and the word רוה, ruach, for spirit, being sometimes feminine, some commentators suppose that the name of God is to be understood, and explain the sentence as if the Psalmist had said, There is nothing, O Lord! so hidden in my heart into which thou hast not penetrated. And God is with the highest propriety said to search the spirit of the man whom he awakens from his indolence or torpor, and whom he examines by acute afflictions. Then all hiding — places and retreats, however obscure, are explored, and affections before unknown are brought into the light. As, however, the gender of the noun in the Hebrew language is ambiguous, others more freely translate, MY spirit hath searched diligently. This being the sense which is most generally embraced, and being, at the same time, the most natural, I readily adopt it. In that debate, of which the inspired writer makes mention, he searched for the causes on account of which he was so severely afflicted, and also into what. his calamities would ultimately issue. It is surely highly profitable to meditate on these subjects, and it is the design of God to stir us up to do this when any adversity presses upon us. There is nothing more perverse than the stupidity 291291     “La stupidite brutale.” — Fr. “The brutish stupidity.” of those who harden themselves under the scourges of God. Only we must keep within due bounds, in order that we may not be swallowed up of over much sorrow, and that the unfathomable depth of the Divine judgments may not overwhelm us by our attempting to search them out thoroughly. The prophet’s meaning is, that when he sought for comfort in all directions, he could find none to assuage the bitterness of his grief.


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