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Song of Solomon
Psalms 77 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)
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> I cried unto God with my voice,
unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice.
The repetition marks the intensity of the appeal, "with my voice" - that the appellant is not content with mere silent prayer.
And he gave ear unto me;
rather, "that he may hearken unto me" (Cheyne), or "and do thou hearken unto me" (Hengstenberg, Kay).
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord
My sore ran in the night;
my band was stretched out in the night
(Cook, Cheyne, Revised Version); comp.
And ceased not
. He continued in prayer all through the night.
My soul refused to be
). He was like Jacob when he lost Joseph, or like Rachel weeping for her children.
I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
I remembered God, and was troubled.
The tenses used are present rather than past; they mark continuance; they describe the condition in which the writer remained for days or weeks. He thought of God, but the thought troubled him. It was God who had brought the calamity, whatever it was, upon his people. Seemingly, he had "cast them off" - he had "forgotten to be gracious" (see vers. 7-9).
muse or meditate
(Hengstenberg, Kay, Cheyne).
And my spirit
waxeth faint, as in
the Prayer book Version.
Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
Thou holdest mine eyes waking;
thou boldest the watches of mine eyes; i.e.
preventedst me from obtaining any sleep.
I am so troubled that I
was perplexed and did not speak.
The perplexity was probably caused by an inability to understand God's ways. Why had he afflicted his people? Was the affliction always to continue? Was Israel cast off?
I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
I have considered;
In my perplexity, when I could no longer speak, I betook myself to meditation.
I considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
He called to mind,
, God's doings in the past (comp. vers. 14-19).
I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
to remembrance my song in the night.
He bethought himself of the songs of thanksgiving which he used to sing to God in the night (comp.
) on account of mercies received; but this did not comfort him. "Nessun maggior dolore che ricordarsi di tempo felice nella miseria."
I commune with mine own heart, and
my spirit made diligent search;
or, "and I diligently searched out my spirit" (Cheyne). The results of the searchings out seem to be given in vers. 7-10.
Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
Will the Lord cast off forever?
The psalmist asked himself in the night such questions as these: Is it really to be supposed that God will cast off his people
And will he be favourable
) no more? Surely such desertion is incredible.
Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth
promise fail for evermore?
mercy clean gone forever?
The mercy which he has so long shown towards Israel (comp.
promise fail forevermore?
The promise which he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that he would be with their seed forever (
Genesis 35:11, 12
Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
God forgotten to be gracious?
Can God, who forgets nothing and no one (
), have forgotten his own nature, which is to be "merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness" (
)? Assuredly not. The higher nature in the psalmist, as Professor Cheyne observes, expostulates with the lower one.
Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?
Has he shut them up, "as in a closed hand" (Kay, Canon Cook)? (comp.
And I said, This
but I will remember
the years of the right hand of the most High.
And I said, This is my infirmity;
"the fault is not in God, but in myself" - in my own weakness and want of faith. But I will remember
the years of the right
hand of the Most High
. There is no "I will remember" in the original, which expresses the thought of the writer imperfectly; but some such phrase must of necessity be supplied. The words are retained in the Revised Version and by Professor Cheyne. The remembrance of God's mercies during the many years that are past is that which best sustains us in a time of severe trouble.
I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
I will remember the works of the Lord.
The same thought
carried on and expressed more clearly in the present and the ensuing verse. Then a special remembrance is made of one particular mercy - the deliverance from Egypt (vers. 13-20).
Surely I will remember thy wonders of old
I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings;
rather, as in the Revised Version,
and muse on thy doings
(comp. ver. 3).
Thy way, O God,
in the sanctuary: who
great a God as
Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
God's "way" - his conduct, his proceedings - however strange and mysterious it may seem to us, is always holy,
just and right (comp.
Who is so great a God as our God?
God is both good and great; just in himself, and able to execute justice.
the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
Thou art the God that
The gods of the heathen could do nothing. They were weakness, vanity, nothingness. Jehovah alone was powerful. He could work, and could "work wonders." This clause prepares the way for the magnificent description of the deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea, which occupies vers. 16-19.
Thou hast declared thy strength among the people;
among the peoples
in the sight of many heathen nations (comp.
Thou hast with
arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
Thou hast with thine arm
with thy mighty strength)
The deliverance from Egypt is constantly called a "redemption" (
2 Samuel 7:23
1 Chronicles 17:21
, etc.). It is brought forward here "as the greatest and most wonderful of all the works of God, and hence as containing the strongest pledge of future deliverance" (Hengstenberg).
sons of Jacob and Joseph.
A new designation of the people of Israel, and one which elsewhere occurs only in
. Professor Cheyne suggests that it is a geographical division - by Jacob southern Israel, and by Joseph northern Israel, being intended (comp.
Amos 5:6, 15
The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
The waters saw thee, O God, the
waters saw thee.
Professor Cheyne regards this and the three following verses as not belonging properly to this psalm, but a "fragment of another," accidentally transferred to this place. But most commentators see in the passage a most essential portion of the poem. It is the thought of the deliverance from Egypt that especially sustains and comforts the psalmist in his extreme distress. The passage is prepared for by vers. 11 and 14, and is exegetical of ver. 15.
They were afraid.
They shrank from the sight of God, and made a way for his people to pass over.
depths also were troubled
. The very abysses trembled with fear, and moved themselves, leaving the bottom of the sea dry (see
The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
clouds poured out water
. The description here becomes more poetical than historical, unless, indeed, we may suppose that the writer possessed, besides what is said in Exodus, some traditional account of the passage.
skies sent out a sound;
or, "uttered a voice" - the voice of the thunder, beyond a doubt (compare next verse).
lightnings darted hither and thither (see
2 Samuel 22:15
The voice of thy thunder
in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
The voice of thy thunder was in the heavens;
in the whirlwind
(Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version). A storm of wind usually accompanies thunder and lightning. This the author, with poetical exaggeration, heightens into a "whirlwind" (comp.
The lightnings lightened the world.
More hyperbole. Not only did they "go abroad" (ver. 17), darting hither and thither, but their intense brightness illuminated the whole earth.
The earth trembled and shook.
Through the reverberation of air, the earth seems to shake in a heavy thunderstorm.
in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
Thy way is in
was in the sea.
, in person before thy people in their passage across the dry bed of the Red Sea; truly there, though invisible (comp.
Psalm 78:52, 53
And thy path in the great waters;
So the Revised Version.
And thy footsteps are not known;
. No one perceived thy presence, much less discerned thy footsteps. As in external nature and in the human heart, God worked secretly.
Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Thou leddest thy people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.
God was the true Leader. Moses and Aaron were but his instruments. Moses at one time refused to lead any more, unless God would pledge himself to go up with him (see
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