Psalms 42:4 MEANING

Psalm 42:4
(4) When I.--The conjunction "when" is not expressed, but may be implied from the next clause. Others render, "let me recall these days (i.e., what follows), let me pour out my soul within me" (literally, upon me. Comp. Psalm 142:3). But the Authorised Version is better, "when I think of it, my heart must overflow." The expression, "I pour out my soul upon me," may, however, mean, "I weep floods of tears over myself," i.e., "over my lot."

For I had gone with the multitude.--The LXX. and Vulg., as well as the strangeness of the words rendered "multitude" and "went with them," indicate a corruption of the text. Fortunately the general sense and reference of the verse are independent of the doubtful expressions. The poet indulges in a grateful recollection of some great festival, probably the Feast of Tabernacles. (See LXX.)

That kept holyday.--Literally, dancing or reeling. But the word is used absolutely (Exodus 5:1; Leviticus 23:41) for keeping a festival, and especially the Feast of Tabernacles. Dancing appears to have been a recognised part of the ceremonial. (Comp. 2 Samuel 6:16.)

Verse 4. - When I remember these things; rather, these things I remember - the things remembered being those touched on in the rest of the verse - his former free access to the house of God, and habit of frequenting it, especially on festival occasions, when the multitude "kept holy day." "Deep sorrow," as Hengstenberg remarks, "tries to lose itself in the recollection of the happier past." I pour out my soul in me. "The heart pours itself out, or melts in any one, who is in a manner dissolved by grief and pain." David does not alleviate his sorrow, but aggravates it, by thinking of the happy past. "Nessun muggier dolore che ricordarsi di tempo felice nella miseria" (Dante). For I had gone (rather, how I went) with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy day (comp. 2 Samuel 6:12-19).

42:1-5 The psalmist looked to the Lord as his chief good, and set his heart upon him accordingly; casting anchor thus at first, he rides out the storm. A gracious soul can take little satisfaction in God's courts, if it do not meet with God himself there. Living souls never can take up their rest any where short of a living God. To appear before the Lord is the desire of the upright, as it is the dread of the hypocrite. Nothing is more grievous to a gracious soul, than what is intended to shake its confidence in the Lord. It was not the remembrance of the pleasures of his court that afflicted David; but the remembrance of the free access he formerly had to God's house, and his pleasure in attending there. Those that commune much with their own hearts, will often have to chide them. See the cure of sorrow. When the soul rests on itself, it sinks; if it catches hold on the power and promise of God, the head is kept above the billows. And what is our support under present woes but this, that we shall have comfort in Him. We have great cause to mourn for sin; but being cast down springs from unbelief and a rebellious will; we should therefore strive and pray against it.When I remember these things,.... Either the reproaches of his enemies; or rather his past enjoyments of God in his house, he after makes mention of;

I pour out my soul in me, that is, he had no life nor spirit in him, but was quite overwhelmed with distress and anguish; or he poured out his soul in prayer to God, that it might be with him as in times past;

for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God; the place of public worship, whither he had often gone, with great pleasure and delight; and, which added thereto, there were many that went along with him; or whom he had "caused to go" (g), had brought along with him; which is the sense of the word, only used here and in Isaiah 38:15; as Dr. Hammond from R. Tanchum and Aben Walid, has shown: a good man will not only attend divine worship himself, but will bring others with him: but now, he could neither go alone, nor in company, the remembrance of which greatly affected his mind; see Psalm 137:1;

with the voice of joy and praise: the people singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs;

with a multitude that kept holy day; as especially on the three great festivals in the year, the feasts of passover, pentecost, and tabernacles, when all the males of Israel appeared before God together, and which was a large multitude; and a delightful sight it was to behold them, when they were all engaged in religious worship at once.

(g) "deduceham", Tigurine version; "assumebum mihi iilos", Michaelis; "efficiebam eos in societatem collectos socios esse mihi", Gussetius, p. 180.

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