Psalm 42:7
Deep calls to deep at the noise of your waterspouts: all your waves and your billows are gone over me.
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(7) Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts.—Better, Flood calleth unto flood at the noise of thy cataracts. The exile is describing what was before his eyes, and in his ears. There can, therefore, be little doubt that, as Dean Stanley observed, this image was furnished by the windings and rapids of the Jordan, each hurrying to dash itself with yet fiercer vehemence of sounding water over some opposing ledge of rocks “in cataract after cataract to the sea.” Thus every step taken on that sorrowful journey offered an emblem of the griefs accumulating on the exile’s heart. The word rendered waterspout only occurs besides in 2Samuel 5:8, where the Authorised Version has “gutter,” but might translate “watercourse.”

All thy waves and thy billows.—From derivation, breakers and rollers. The poet forgets the source of his image in its intensity, and from the thought of the cataract of woes passes on to the more general one of “a sea of troubles,” the waves of which break upon him or roll over his head. The image is common in all poetry. (Comp. “And as a sea of ills urges on its waves; one falling, another, with huge (literally, third) crest, rising.”—Æsch., Seven against Thebes, 759.)

Psalm 42:7. Deep calleth unto deep — One affliction comes immediately after another, as if it were called for, or invited by the former. This he expresses by a metaphor taken from the old flood, when the upper deep, or collection of waters in the clouds, called for the lower deep, or abyss of waters in the sea and rivers, and in the bowels of the earth; that both might unite their forces to drown the world. Thus the Chaldee understands it. Or the metaphor may be taken from the sea, when its waves rage, and deep furrows are everywhere made in it, into which ships, and the people in them, sink down, and then rise and sink again, successively and continually. At the noise of thy water-spouts — This may be understood of water- spouts, properly so called; which, according to Dr. Shaw, p. 333 of his Travels, are more frequent on the Syrian and Jewish coasts than in any other part of the Mediterranean, and could not be unknown to David and the Israelites. Or he may allude to violent and successive rains, which frequently descend from heaven at the noise or call of God’s water-spouts, the clouds; which, by their terrible thunders, and rattling noises, as it were, incite and call forth the heavy and tempestuous showers which are contained within them. But Bishop Lowth, in his 6th Prelection, translates this clause, Abyss calleth to abyss, thy cataracts roaring around. And he thinks the psalmist’s metaphor is taken from the sudden torrents of water which were wont to descend from the mountains twice in the year, and to burst through the narrow valleys of that hilly country, from the periodical rains, and the melting of the snows of Lebanon and the neighbouring mountains, in the beginning of the summer, and causing the river Jordan to overflow all its banks. All thy waves and billows are gone over me — That is, are gone over my head, as the verb עברו, gnabaru, is used Psalm 38:4. They do not lightly sprinkle me, but almost overwhelm me. Thus Bishop Lowth, All thy waves and waters have overwhelmed me. The meaning is, Thou hast sent one sharp trial or affliction upon me after another.42:6-11 The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies. David saw troubles coming from God's wrath, and that discouraged him. But if one trouble follow hard after another, if all seem to combine for our ruin, let us remember they are all appointed and overruled by the Lord. David regards the Divine favour as the fountain of all the good he looked for. In the Saviour's name let us hope and pray. One word from him will calm every storm, and turn midnight darkness into the light of noon, the bitterest complaints into joyful praises. Our believing expectation of mercy must quicken our prayers for it. At length, is faith came off conqueror, by encouraging him to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his God. He adds, And my God; this thought enabled him to triumph over all his griefs and fears. Let us never think that the God of our life, and the Rock of our salvation, has forgotten us, if we have made his mercy, truth, and power, our refuge. Thus the psalmist strove against his despondency: at last his faith and hope obtained the victory. Let us learn to check all unbelieving doubts and fears. Apply the promise first to ourselves, and then plead it to God.Deep calleth unto deep - The language used here would seem to imply that the psalmist was near some floods of water, some rapid river or water-fall, which constituted an appropriate illustration of the waves of sorrow that were rolling over his soul. It is not possible to determine exactly where this was, though, as suggested in the verse above, it would seem most probable that it was in the vicinity of the upper portion of the Jordan; and doubtless the Jordan, if swollen, would suggest all that is conveyed by the language used here. The word rendered deep - תהום tehôm - means properly a wave, billow, surge, and then, a mass of waters; a flood - the deep; the sea. In this latter sense it is used in Deuteronomy 8:7; Ezekiel 31:4; Genesis 7:11; Job 28:14; Job 38:16, Job 38:30; Psalm 36:6. Here it would seem to mean merely a wave or billow, perhaps the waves of a rapid stream dashing on one shore, and then driven to the opposite bank, or the torrents pouring over rocks in the bed of a stream. It is not necessary to suppose that this was the ocean, nor that there was a cataract or water-fall. All that is meant here would be met by the roaring waters of a swollen river. The word "calleth," here means that one wave seemed to speak to another, or one wave responded to another. See a similar expression in Psalm 19:2, "Day unto day uttereth speech." Compare the notes at that verse.

At the noise of thy water-spouts - literally, "at the voice." That is, "water-spouts" make a noise, or seem to give forth a voice; and this appears to be as if one part of the "deep" were speaking to another, or as if one wave were calling with a loud voice to another. The word "water-spouts" - צנור tsinnor - occurs only here and in 2 Samuel 5:8, where it is rendered gutter. It properly means a cataract, or a water-fall, or a water-course, as in 2 Samuel. ny pouring of water - as from the clouds, or in a swollen river, or in a "water spout," properly so called - would correspond with the use of the word here. It may have been rain pouring down; or it may have been the Jordan pouring its floods over rocks, for it is well known that the descent of the Jordan in that part is rapid, and especially when swollen; or it may have been the phenomena of a "water-spout," for these are not uncommon in the East. There are two forms in which "waterspouts" occur, or to which the name is given in the east, and the language here would be applicable to either of them.

One of them is described in the following manner by Dr. Thomson, Land and the Book, vol. i., pp. 498, 499: "A small black cloud traverses the sky in the latter part of summer or the beginning of autumn, and pours down a flood of rain that sweeps all before it. The Arabs call it sale; we, a waterspout, or the bursting of a cloud. In the neighborhood of Hermon I have witnessed it repeatedly, and was caught in one last year, which in five minutes flooded the whole mountain side, washed away the fallen olives - the food of the poor - overthrew stone walls, tore up by the roots large trees, and carried off whatever the tumultuous torrents encountered, as they leaped madly down from terrace to terrace in noisy cascades. Every summer threshing-floor along the line of its march was swept bare of all precious food, cattle were drowned, flocks disappeared, and the mills along the streams were ruined in half an hour by this sudden deluge."

The other is described in the following language, and the above engraving will furnish an illustration of it. Land and the Book, vol, ii., pp. 256, 257: "Look at those clouds which hang like a heavy pall of sackcloth over the sea along the western horizon. From them, on such windy days as these, are formed waterspouts, and I have already noticed several incipient "spouts" drawn down from the clouds toward the sea, and ... seen to be in violent agitation, whirling round on themselves as they are driven along by the wind. Directly beneath them the surface of the sea is also in commotion by a whirlwind, which travels onward in concert with the spout above. I have often seen the two actually unite in mid air, and rush toward the mountains, writhing, and twisting, and bending like a huge serpent with its head in the clouds, and its tail on the deep." We cannot now determine to which of these the psalmist refers, but either of them would furnish a striking illustration of the passage before us.

All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me - The waves of sorrow; anguish of soul; of which rolling floods would be an emblem. The rushing, and heaving, and restless waters furnished the psalmist with an illustration of the deep sorrows of his soul. So we speak of "floods of grief ... floods of tears," "oceans of sorrows," as if waves and billows swept over us. And so we speak of being "drowned in grief;" or "in tears." Compare Psalm 124:4-5.

7. The roar of successive billows, responding to that of floods of rain, represented the heavy waves of sorrow which overwhelmed him. Deep calleth unto deep, i.e. one affliction comes immediately after another, as if it were called for and invited by the former; which he expresseth by a metaphor taken either,

1. From the old flood, when the upper deep, or abyss of waters, (in the clouds,) called the lower deep, or abyss of waters in the sea and rivers, that both might unite their forces together to drown the world. And thus the Chaldee understands it. Or,

2. From the sea, when its waves rage, and it is full of deep furrows, into which ships and passengers sink down, and then rise and sink again, successively and continually. But these tempests are caused in the sea by God’s mighty winds, rather than by his water-spouts. Or,

3. From violent and successive showers of rain; which frequently come down from heaven, as it were, at the noise or call of God’s water-spouts, to wit, the clouds; which by their rattling noises and terrible thunders do in a manner invite and call forth the showers which are contained in their bowels.

All thy waves and thy billows; thou hast sent one sharp trial or affliction upon me after another.

Are gone over me, i.e. are gone over my head, as this same verb is used, Psalm 38:4. They do not lightly sprinkle me, but almost overwhelm me. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of the water spouts,.... By which are meant afflictions, comparable to the deep waters of the sea, for their multitude and overwhelming nature; see Psalm 69:1; these came pouring down, one after another, upon the psalmist: as soon as one affliction over, another came, as in the case of Job; which is signified by one calling to another, and were clamorous, troublesome, and very grievous and distressing;

all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me: with which he seemed to be covered and overwhelmed, as a ship is at sea. It may be observed, that the psalmist calls afflictions God's water spouts, and "his" waves and "his" billows; because they are appointed, sent, ordered, and overruled by him, and made to work for the good of his people: and now, though these might seem to be a just cause of dejection, yet they were not, as appears from Psalm 42:8.

{g} Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

(g) Afflictions came so thick upon me that I felt overwhelmed: by which he shows there is no end to our misery till God is pacified and sends help.

7. at the noise of thy waterspouts] Better, in the roar of thy cataracts. God is sending upon him one trouble after another. He is overwhelmed with a flood of misfortunes. The metaphorical language is derived from the surrounding scenery. The roar of the cataracts calling to one another from opposite sides of the valley is like the voice of one abyss of waters (Psalm 33:7 note) summoning another to break forth and join in overwhelming him. The torrents and eddies of the Jordan suggest the breakers and waves of calamity which have gone over his head. Tristram in describing Banias speaks of “the impetuous stream which has hewn out its channel in the black basalt,” and of the “wild medley of cascades and dashing torrents” everywhere (Land of Israel, p. 573). According to Robinson (Researches, iii. 405) “in the rainy season, and at the time of the melting of the snow on Hermon, an immense volume of water must rush down the chasm” below the ridge on which the castle stands. It might be supposed that the figure of breakers and waves must have been suggested by the sea, but no one who has seen mountain streams in spate will doubt that the words might refer to the Jordan in flood. The winter rainfall in Palestine is enormous. See Tristram’s Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 31.

Psalm 42:7 b is borrowed in Jonah’s prayer (Jonah 2:3).Verse 7. - Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts. Blow follows blow. Misfortunes "come not in single file, but in battalions." The imagery may be taken from the local storms that visit the Trans-Jordanic territory (see Lynch, 'Expedition to the Jordan and the Dead Sea;' and Wilson, 'Negeb,' pp. 26, 27). All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me (comp. Psalm 69:1, 2; Psalm 88:7, 17; Psalm 144:7). (Heb.: 42:2-6) The poet compares the thirsting of his soul after God to the thirsting of a stag. איּל (like other names of animals is epicoene, so that there is no necessity to adopt Bצttcher's emendation כּעיּלת תערג) is construed with a feminine predicate in order to indicate the stag (hind) as an image of the soul. ערג is not merely a quiet languishing, but a strong, audible thirsting or panting for water, caused by prevailing drought, Psalm 63:2; Joel 1:20; the signification desiderare refers back to the primary notion of inclinare (cf. Arab. 'l-mı̂l, the act of inclining), for the primary meaning of the verb Arab. ‛rj is to be slanting, inclined or bent, out of which has been developed the signification of ascending and moving upwards, which is transferred in Hebrew to an upward-directed longing. Moreover, it is not with Luther (lxx, Vulgate and authorized version) to be rendered: as the (a) stag crieth, etc., but (and it is accented accordingly): as a stag, which, etc. אפיק equals אפק is, according to its primary signification, a watercourse holding water (vid., Psalm 18:16). By the addition of מים the full and flowing watercourse is distinguished from one that is dried up. על and אל point to the difference in the object of the longing, viz., the hind has this object beneath herself, the soul above itself; the longing of the one goes deorsum, the longing of the other sursum. The soul's longing is a thirsting לאל חי. Such is the name here applied to God (as in Psalm 84:3) in the sense in which flowing water is called living, as the spring or fountain of life (Psalm 36:10) from which flows forth a grace that never dries up, and which stills the thirst of the soul. The spot where this God reveals Himself to him who seeks Him is the sanctuary on Zion: when shall I come and appear in the presence of Elohim?! The expression used in the Law for the three appearings of the Israelites in the sanctuary at solemn feasts is אל־פני ה נראה or את־פני, Exodus 23:17; Exodus 34:23. Here we find instead of this expression, in accordance with the license of poetic brevity, the bare acc. localis which is even used in other instances in the definition of localities, e.g., Ezekiel 40:44). Bttcher, Olshausen, and others are of opinion that אראה in the mind of the poet is to be read אראה, and that it has only been changed into אראה through the later religious timidity; but the avoidance of the phrase ראה פּני ה is explained from the fundamental assumption of the Tra that a man could not behold God's פנים without dying, Exodus 33:20. The poet now tells us in Psalm 42:4 what the circumstances were which drove him to such intense longing. His customary food does not revive him, tears are his daily bread, which day and night run down upon his mouth (cf. Psalm 80:6; Psalm 102:20), and that בּאמר, when say to him, viz., the speakers, all day long, i.e., continually: Where is thy God? Without cessation, these mocking words are continually heard, uttered again and again by those who are found about him, as their thoughts, as it were, in the soul of the poet. This derision, in the Psalms and in the Prophets, is always the keenest sting of pain: Psalm 79:10; Psalm 115:2 (cf. Psalm 71:11), Joel 2:17; Micah 7:10.

In this gloomy present, in which he is made a mock of, as one who is forsaken of God, on account of his trust in the faithfulness of the promises, he calls to remembrance the bright and cheerful past, and he pours out his soul within him (on the עלי used here and further on instead of בּי or בּקרבּי, and as distinguishing between the ego and the soul, vid., Psychol. S. 152; tr. p. 180), inasmuch as he suffers it to melt entirely away in pain (Job 30:16). As in Psalm 77:4, the cohortatives affirm that he yields himself up most thoroughly to this bittersweet remembrance and to this free outward expression of his pain אלּה (haecce) points forwards; the כּי (quod) which follows opens up the expansion of this word. The futures, as expressing the object of the remembrance, state what was a habit in the time past. עבר frequently signifies not praeterire, but, without the object that is passed over coming into consideration, porro ire. סך (a collateral form of סך), properly a thicket, is figuratively (cf. Isaiah 9:17; Isaiah 10:34) an interwoven mass, a mixed multitude. The rendering therefore is: that I moved on in a dense crowd (here the distinctive Zinnor). The form אדּדּם is Hithpa., as in Isaiah 38:15, after the form הדּמּה from the verb דּדה, "to pass lightly and swiftly along," derived by reduplication from the root דא (cf. Arab. d'ud'u), which has the primary meaning to push, to drive (ἐλαύνειν, pousser), and in various combinations of the ד (דא, Arab. dah, דח, Arab. da‛, דב, דף) expresses manifold shades of onward motion in lighter or heavier thrusts or jerks. The suffix, as in גּדלני equals גּדל עמּי, Job 31:18 (Ges. 121, 4), denotes those in reference to whom, or connection with whom, this moving onwards took place, so that consequently אדּדּם includes within itself, together with the subjective notion, the transitive notion of אדדּם, for the singer of the Psalm is a Levite; as an example in support of this אדּדּם, vid., 2 Chronicles 20:27., cf. v. 21. המון חוגג is the apposition to the personal suffix of this אדדם: with them, a multitude keeping holy-day. In Psalm 42:6 the poet seeks to solace and encourage himself at this contrast of the present with the past: Why art thou thus cast down... (lxx ἵνα τί περίλυπος εἶ, κ. τ. λ., cf. Matthew 26:38; John 12:27). It is the spirit which, as the stronger and more valiant part of the man, speaks to the soul as to the σκεῦος ἀσθενέστερον; the spiritual man soothes the natural man. The Hithpa. השׁתּוחח, which occurs only here and in Psalm 43:1-5, signifies to bow one's self very low, to sit down upon the ground like a mourner (Psalm 35:14; Psalm 38:7), and to bend one's self downwards (Psalm 44:26). המה (the future of which Ben-Asher here points ותּהמי, but Ben-Naphtali ותּהמּי), to utter a deep groan, to speak quietly and mumbling to one's self. Why this gnawing and almost desponding grief? I shall yet praise Him with thanksgiving, praise ישׁוּעות פּניו, the ready succour of His countenance turned towards me in mercy. Such is the text handed down to us. Although it is, however, a custom with the psalmists and prophets not to express such refrainlike thoughts in exactly the same form and words (cf. Psalm 24:7, Psalm 24:9; Psalm 49:13, 21; Psalm 56:5, Psalm 56:11; Psalm 59:10, 18), nevertheless it is to be read here by a change in the division both of the words and the verses, according to Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 43:5, ישׁוּעות פּני ואלהי, as is done by the lxx (Cod. Alex.), Syriac, Vulgate, and most modern expositors. For the words ישׁועות פניו, though in themselves a good enough sense (vid., e.g., Psalm 44:4, Isaiah 64:9), produce no proper closing cadence, and are not sufficient to form a line of a verse.

(Note: Even an old Hebrew MS directs attention to the erroneousness of the Soph pasuk here; vid., Pinsker, Einleitung, S. 133 l.)

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